The Elephant of Catania
Every city has its emblem. Catania has an elephant:
And the elephant stands proudly in the center of the central square of the city, the Piazza Duomo,
and he looks very fine indeed!
Now, I say “he”, because if you go round the back, you will see that it is very obviously a “he”.
But those who know about elephants as a breed will tell you that this is anatomically incorrect because a male elephant does not have testicles on the outside; he modestly carries them internally.
So what happened to the Elephant of Catania?
Well there are two stories.
1. When the elephant was erected, the men of Catania were very distressed because the gender of their city mascot was unclear and had the “missing” element added on.
2. The memory of the artist, having returned from viewing an African elephant, proved not to be accurate and he invented what he knew must be there.
Either way, Catania’s elephant is very special and may be the only mammal on earth with a spare set of testicles, assuming that the original set are present internally.
In recognition of this special status, my informant, Snr Guiseppe Svengali BSc (Catania), tells me that every July the students rally round and ceremoniously wash the external extras.
Now you know about The Elephant of Catania.
And I hope you will thank me for avoiding all the many jokes like “Is this a load of…” and “Maybe this is the reason a male elephant is called a…”