There is a story, perhaps a myth, about the king of Siam (modern day Thailand) who would give a white elephant to those in his kingdom who displeased him. Not wanting to upset the king, everyone accepted this gift. Plus, it was such an honour to own such a rare animal and it signified that you had made it. It was the Ferrari 250 GTO of its day (look it up, super rare and expensive).
In doing so, it was the king’s hope that the cost of looking after the elephant would financially ruin the person and free the king of their presence. Pretty sneaky.
Then there is the time that the king of Siam offered two elephants to President Abraham Lincoln in the early 1860’s, because America had none, and obviously need some.
The catch was that Siam didn’t have the means to transport them there, so President Lincoln needed to send a ship full of hay and other food that the elephants could eat. Also, fresh water – tanks of it. Plus, special berths so that the elephants could stand up and lie down. Also, they wanted to do it a few times so it would be more than one trip. Once in America, they had to make sure the elephants kept warm and then they should just let them run around the country for a bit to multiply.
President Lincoln said no. Respectfully so. With wisdom. Essentially he said, “Nah, we don’t need ‘em. We have other machinery that we use.”
I don’t know what the political fall out from that was, but that’s probably the reason there are no elephants in North America. Also, it’s way too cold in America for elephants. They would have died pretty quickly. In saying no, it saved America a lot of time, money and hassle.
Sometimes it’s important to say no when someone tries to give you something.