The Stolen White Elephant-by Mark Twain

The Stolen White Elephant



Elephants are amazing animals. They are smart, loyal, and majestic. They can also be very expensive and valuable, especially if they are rare or exotic. That’s why losing an elephant can be a big problem.

But don’t panic. There’s hope. You can find your missing elephant if you follow some simple steps. And who better to guide you than Mark Twain, the famous American writer and humorist?

Mark Twain wrote a short story called The Stolen White Elephant in 1882. It’s about a detective who tries to find a white elephant that was stolen from the King of Siam while it was being transported to America as a gift. The story is full of twists, turns, and laughs as the detective follows the clues and tracks down the thief.

In this article, we’ll use Mark Twain’s story as an inspiration and show you how to find your missing elephant in any situation. Whether your elephant was stolen by a criminal mastermind, escaped from a zoo, or wandered off in the jungle, we’ll help you get it back.

So grab your magnifying glass and your sense of humor and let’s get started!

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Mark Twain

Step 1: Report the loss

The first thing you need to do when you lose an elephant is to report it to the authorities. This will help them alert the public and look for any leads or sightings of your elephant.

In Mark Twain’s story, the detective reports the loss of the white elephant to the police commissioner of New York City. He also sends telegrams to all the police departments in America and Canada, asking them to keep an eye out for the elephant.

You should do the same thing when you lose your elephant. Contact your local police station and animal control agency and tell them about your elephant. Give them as much information as possible, such as:

  • The name, age, gender, and appearance of your elephant
  • The date, time, and place where you last saw your elephant
  • The reason why your elephant went missing (e.g., theft, escape, accident)
  • Any distinctive features or markings on your elephant (e.g., color, size, tusks)
  • Any tags or microchips on your elephant (e.g., name tag, GPS tracker)
  • Any photos or videos of your elephant

The more details you provide, the easier it will be for the authorities to find your elephant.

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Step 2: Search the area

The next thing you need to do when you lose an elephant is to search the area where you last saw it. This will help you find any clues or traces of your elephant.

In Mark Twain’s story, the detective searches the dock where the white elephant was supposed to arrive by ship. He finds some footprints and some hay that were left behind by the elephant.

You should do the same thing when you lose your elephant. Go back to the location where you lost it and look around carefully. You might find some signs of your elephant, such as:

  • Footprints or droppings
  • Broken fences or gates
  • Damaged trees or plants
  • Chewed or torn items
  • Hair or skin samples

The more evidence you collect, the easier it will be for you to track down your elephant.

Step 3: Follow the trail

The third thing you need to do when you lose an elephant is to follow the trail that it left behind. This will help you locate the current whereabouts of your elephant.

In Mark Twain’s story, the detective follows the footprints and the hay that he found at the dock. He discovers that the white elephant was taken by a train to New Jersey, then by a wagon to Philadelphia, then by another train to Chicago, and so on.

You should do the same thing when you lose your elephant. Follow the clues and the traces that you found in the previous step. You might discover that your elephant was:

  • Transported by a vehicle (e.g., truck, trailer, boat)
  • Moved by a person or a group (e.g., thief, smuggler, circus)
  • Attracted by a place or a thing (e.g., food, water, mate)
  • Scared by a noise or a threat (e.g., fire, gun, predator)

The more information you gather, the easier it will be for you to find your elephant.

Step 4: Confront the culprit

The fourth thing you need to do when you lose an elephant is to confront the culprit who took it or who knows where it is. This will help you recover your elephant and bring it back to safety.

In Mark Twain’s story, the detective finally tracks down the thief who stole the white elephant. He finds him in a barn in Arkansas, where he has been hiding the elephant and selling its ivory tusks. The detective arrests the thief and recovers the elephant.

You should do the same thing when you lose your elephant. Confront the person or the group who has your elephant or who can help you get it back. You might encounter:

  • A criminal or a gang (e.g., poacher, kidnapper, blackmailer)
  • A friend or a foe (e.g., rival, enemy, prankster)
  • A stranger or a helper (e.g., witness, informant, rescuer)
  • A surprise or a twist (e.g., plot twist, misunderstanding, coincidence)

The more courage you show, the easier it will be for you to reclaim your elephant.

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Step 5: Celebrate the reunion

The fifth and final thing you need to do when you lose an elephant is to celebrate the reunion with your elephant. This will help you express your joy and gratitude for finding your elephant.

In Mark Twain’s story, the detective returns the white elephant to the King of Siam, who is very happy and thankful. He rewards the detective with a large sum of money and a medal of honor.

You should do the same thing when you lose your elephant. Celebrate the reunion with your elephant and thank everyone who helped you along the way. You might:

  • Hug and kiss your elephant
  • Feed and groom your elephant
  • Play and have fun with your elephant
  • Share your story with others
  • Donate or raise money for elephant conservation

The more love you give, the easier it will be for you to enjoy your elephant.

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Here are some frequently asked questions about finding your missing elephant:

Q: How long does it take to find a missing elephant? A: It depends on many factors, such as how far your elephant traveled, how many clues it left behind, how many people are looking for it, and how lucky you are. It could take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks or even months.

Q: How common is it to lose an elephant? A: It’s not very common, but it does happen from time to time. According to [The Elephant Database], there are about 415,000 elephants in Africa and 50,000 elephants in Asia as of 2021. However, these numbers are declining due to habitat loss, poaching, and human-elephant conflict. Some elephants are also kept in captivity in zoos, circuses, temples, and private collections. These elephants may escape or be stolen by unscrupulous people.

Q: What are some tips to prevent losing an elephant? A: Here are some tips to prevent losing an elephant:

  • Keep your elephant in a secure and comfortable enclosure that has enough space, food, water, shade, and enrichment.
  • Monitor your elephant regularly and check for any signs of stress, illness, injury, or boredom.
  • Provide your elephant with proper identification and tracking devices, such as tags, microchips, collars, or GPS trackers.
  • Educate yourself and others about elephants and their needs, rights, and threats.
  • Support organizations that work for elephant conservation and welfare.


The conclusion of the story is that the white elephant died of hunger in a basement, where it was hidden by the thieves. The detective, who was praised for his brilliant work, failed to find it in time. The deliverer, who was responsible for transporting the elephant from Siam to Britain, lost his job and his money, but still admired the detective’s skill. The story ends with a sarcastic remark by Twain, who mocks the detective genre and the American society.

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