Somewhere in India since the ancient times There were wild grey elephants of tremendous size. They rambled in the jungle here and there at random, And somehow one of them was white among them. It was known for its wisdom, noble birth and breed, Had a friendly look and gentle spirit. Being white it was "a rare bird" indeed In the herd among its swarthy kindred. Once the Indian ruler - how could I expect? - Gave me the white elephant out of respect. "What do I need it for? - I asked him humbly, "It has a heart of gold", - he answered calmly. Then it made a curtsy and I made a bow, And the speech I made was soft, not vicious, Now I knew the elephant was actually a cow, Or, in other words, it was a female specious. Sitting on the elephant I really looked grand, I would roam around the Indian fairyland. We’d ramble here and there and everywhere, And every inconvenience we’d share. We would go and sing our serenades of love, Ladies would jump off their beds like crazy, I should say, the elephant was talented enough, And his music gift was just amazing. You have seen a world map or an atlas, haven’t you? And you know in India there’s a river, too. My elephant and I would feed on mangoes And somehow we were lost around the Ganges. I would dash around restlessly for days on end Having undermined my flesh and spirit. Later on they told me: "Your white elephant Had encountered a herd of its white kindred". I was angry and upset at first but then I received an elephant from India again: As an ornament of cane in all its finery: Nice white elephant but made of ivory. Having seven elephants at home is good, They allegedly protect us from misfortune. I would rather have them wonder in the wood, And I wish they wouldn’t bring me fortune.
© Alec Vagapov. Translation, 1998