George Orwell Shooting An Elephant And Other Essays

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He was lying on his belly with arms crucified and head sharply twisted to one side.

His face was coated with mud, the eyes wide open, the teeth bared and grinning with an expression of unendurable agony.

Various Burmans stopped me on the way and told me about the elephant’s doings.

It was not, of course, a wild elephant, but a tame one which had gone “must.” It had been chained up, as tame elephants always are when their attack of “must” is due, but on the previous night it had broken its chain and escaped.

There was a loud, scandalized cry of “Go away, child! ” and an old woman with a switch in her hand came round the corner of a hut, violently shooing away a crowd of naked children.

Some more women followed, clicking their tongues and exclaiming; evidently there was something that the children ought not to have seen.

Some of the people said that the elephant had gone in one direction, some said that he had gone in another, some professed not even to have heard of any elephant.

I had almost made up my mind that the whole story was a pack of lies, when we heard yells a little distance away.

As a police officer I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so.

When a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter. In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves. There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans. For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better.

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