Camel caravan: The French don’t look a gift horse in the mouth


Bound for Paris (not the tagine pot)

Hard not to like the story about the camel that will replace the one Mali gave Francois Hollande as a gift in February. The BBC (bless its heart) reports that a Malian official has promised to replace the animal, which was handed over to Mr Hollande and subsequently given to a family in Timbuktu for safekeeping, only to become dinner.

The camel became a tagine. But the Malian sense of honour will not be content with a stew of emotions. “As soon as we heard of this, we quickly replaced it with a bigger and better-looking camel,” Reuters has quoted an unnamed Malian official to say. “The new camel will be sent to Paris. We are ashamed of what happened to the camel. It was a present that did not deserve this fate,” he added.

It’s safe to assume that camel, the gift, will have the hump now that it’s destined for the Elysee. Mr Hollande had promised to go by camel down the traffic-clogged boulevards of Paris. Very different from the Malian sands.