The story of the white elephant

‘Don’t even THINK about it!!’ That was my mum’s standard response when, a long while back, she’d tell me a seemingly innocent tale about a friend and I’d retort, with true news hack fervour, ‘What a GREAT story!!!’ (It’s OK. Off-the-record is a term I’m well-versed in).

I still feel a fizz of excitement when I hear about a cracking story, even though these days it’s more likely to be about colour than something salacious,

Yesterday, a friend of a friend sat making origami elephants for our kids and told me that the origins of the term ‘white elephant’ came from ancient Thailand (then Siam).

It was an honour to be given a white elephant but these sacred animals couldn’t be put to work so ended up costing the recipient a fortune to keep – not such a great gift after all.

This friend also revealed that while the rest of us spend our daily tube journeys trying to beat our PB on 2048, he makes an origami white elephant before putting a pound coin in it and giving it to a homeless person. Every day.

So the white elephant is reincarnated as the useful gift. Love it. A joyous and bountiful colour tale. 

Martha, The Colour File x

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