Interview about Elephants, October 30, 1923


Jane Addams Has Some Dandy New Elephant Stories



CHICAGO, Oct. 30. -- Now that her unpacking is all done, Miss Jane Addams, of Hull House, found time to tell interviewers one or two of the things she saw on her trip around the world.

With a perfectly straight face, the noted social service worker told how she chanced upon an elephant in Kandy, Ceylon, which was so old that the other 19 elephants of the herd had to bathe him every day.

"The elephant," she said, "was too old to walk. Every day, however, the others of the herd gently pushed and carried him to a nearby river, where he was rolled on his side. They then washed him by spraying water upon him from their trunks."

Miss Addams didn't say so, but naturally the elephants wouldn't leave the job half done. It's a dyed-in-the-wool cinch that they must all have pitched in after and gave the old lad a manicure.

Then Miss Addams unsmilingly told of another elephant in Saigon, Indo-China, who did the family marketing.

"If a visitor gave him a coin," she said, "he [picked] it up and handed it to a woman who kept a fruit stand near the zoo. She'd give him sugar cane for a copper and bananas and [coconuts] for silver."

In [Jaipur], she said, there is a native Indian prince who had hand-painted elephants. He keeps them gaudy in the gayest colors. Life for the prince is just one round after another of having the decorators come in and kalsomine the elephants.

Miss Addams wouldn't fool you.

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