Hearty contrafibulations to Magdeburg!
“To possess a white elephant was regarded (and is still regarded in Thailand and Burma) as a sign that the monarch reigned with justice and power, and that the kingdom was blessed with peace and prosperity. The opulence expected of anyone who owned a beast of such stature was great. Monarchs often exemplified their possession of white elephants in their formal titles (e.g., Hsinbyushin, lit. 'Lord of the White Elephant' and the third monarch of the Konbaung dynasty).Because the animals were considered sacred and laws protected them from labor, receiving a gift of a white elephant from a monarch was simultaneously a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because the animal was sacred and a sign of the monarch's favour, and a curse because the recipient now had an expensive-to-maintain animal he could not give away and could not put to much practical use.”