Read PDF The Stolen White Elephant [with Biographical Introduction]

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View 2 comments. Oct 10, M. Not one of Mr. Twain's stronger works. Thinking this was a picture book because of the illustrations and short length, I read it aloud. It wasn't the most uplifting of books I think the detective staged the snatching himsel Thinking this was a picture book because of the illustrations and short length, I read it aloud.

I think the detective staged the snatching himself for his own purposes and get's all he wants from it too. What of the elephant itself that eats men and Bibles of all things Maybe I'll go look up a review to explain it to me and maybe I'll like it better then. Jul 27, Cynthia Egbert rated it liked it. I just struggle with Mark Twain's works.

He actually drives me crazy. This is a funny farce and I am not sorry that I read it, but I am quite relieved that it was a short story. The illustrations done by Robert Ingpen in the first edition book I read were stunning though. One quote from the book pretty much sums it up, "It is not our provence to prevent crime, but to punish it. We cannot punish it until it is committed. Dec 31, Marts Thinker rated it really liked it Shelves: classics. Enjoyed this Twain tale. So a white elephant which should be a peace gift, mysteriously goes missing, so the man who should be in charge of it makes a report to the authorities and the chief detective immediately starts the search.

Well after quite a while the elephant is found dead, and the poor guy really ends up literally poor after paying out so much reward money to have it found. Duh, Duh,.. I know the detective was behind it all along May 03, Kotryna rated it it was amazing. Had a great little read while waiting in a queue at the bank.

Nov 08, Simon Saha rated it really liked it. The short story is a satirical take on police investigations and how they deceive and loot victims. The narration is in the first person from an unnamed protagonist. The narrator describes that white elephants are considered sacred by kings in Siam. Once the King of Siam gifted a white elephant to Queen of England. The man was given the task to carry it safely but the elephant got stolen at a stopover in Jersey City.

Mark Twain

He quickly reports about the missing animal to Inspector Blunt in police headquarters. The officer is described as efficient and methodical by him. Nevertheless, readers soon find the detective extremely foolish in attacking the problem. For example, the narrator reveals that elephant eats anything from men to bible.


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Hilariously, Blunt takes down the details like number of men and type of bible which it can eat. Irrelevant details are thus taken in the most serious way which keeps the readers entertained and amused. The detective then sends copies of the notes and photograph to the entire workforce.

Chapter 11 - The Stolen White Elephant

He persuades the man to offer a reward of dollars for the elephant. The protagonist, who seems equally dumb, feels blessed by assurances of the inspector. Next morning, newspapers get flooded with new of missing elephant.

About this book

Also, detective theories from eminent investigators are written of the same. Even they name the probable culprits with Blunt reveling the principal suspects as two known convicts. Interestingly, none of these theories or probable convicts are the same. These messages are extremely funny. Similarly, another believes that the elephant mistakenly stole empty bottles and then headed to nearest pond.

Despite all the self-boasting by Blunt and his recruits, the elephant is not found for weeks.

Paperback Editions

He persuades protagonist to increase reward up to In time, the newspapers and people lose interest in the pursuit. They start making fun of the authorities involved and their wild claims of success. Nevertheless, the man keeps his faith in Blunt and his men. Half of this amount would go to his men. The man foolishly agrees to the enormous amount. Blunt first telegraphs to wives of the two prime suspects. However, the women answer that those robbers were long dead. Next, Blunt arranges a secret meeting with all top thugs for negotiations.

In the end, he recovers the dead body of the elephant. Thus the detectives become rich and famous again. News agencies and people are flattered by their success.

Messent, Peter [WorldCat Identities]

On the other hand, the protagonist loses all his fortune and also the job. Nevertheless, the dumb man remains a great admirer of Blunt and his methods. It turns out, from reading 'The Stolen White Elephant', the first story in this collection, that the detective story had barely been invented before it was being mocked.


  • Study Guides on Works by Mark Twain?
  • Die vielen Leben der Paula Fox (German Edition).
  • Study Guides on Works by Mark Twain.
  • THE STOLEN WHITE ELEPHANT.
  • Reading the omniscient hero of the story unfailingly direct his detectives in all the wrong directions, I immediately assumed that Twain was sending up Sherlock Holmes, only to discover that the story was written five years before Sherlock first appeared in print. So Twain, it seems, had established all the main tropes of satiri It turns out, from reading 'The Stolen White Elephant', the first story in this collection, that the detective story had barely been invented before it was being mocked.

    So Twain, it seems, had established all the main tropes of satirising detective fiction before detective fiction had even acquired its most iconic character! If that is not the ultimate feat of literary detection, I don't know what is! Apart from that, the stories illustrate how tastes change over the years.

    The last story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Talaveras County, was the story that made Twain's name but reading it now, while it's easy to appreciate the facility with which Twain reproduces the dialect of the place, the story itself appears a simply shaggy frog story, scarce deserving its reputation as the quintessential Twain story. Jul 27, Daria rated it really liked it Shelves: read-shelf , funny-shelf. It was funny and I really enjoined it.

    Mark Twain

    I liked that the action starts from the beginning of the book so like this is more intriguing so I can read it easier. I didn't see white elephants yet but I plan to do it if they really exist. I liked how the book started again I know I repeat this again and I'm sorry, but that's the truth And I liked it was a bit funny, a bit interesting, a bit classic, etc. Honestly, my teacher told me that I have to read it and other books as well, sure and I usuall It was funny and I really enjoined it. Gruesser, J. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

    Accessed November 10, Share x. Buy This Book. Chapter DOI There is a sympathy that will make me conscious of him. I shall see him tremble. I shall feel myself shudder, suddenly and unawares. Very Good in boards. Used - Good. Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside.