The story is about a police officer in the British colony Burma. One day an elephant breaks loose in the village and threatens the villagers and the properties. The Mahout gets lost and is 12 hours away.
The police officer goes to the neighborhood where the elephant last was seen. He finds the elephant. However, he does not want to inflict damage on it. There is a whole crowd of citizens from the city around him, and he ends up shooting the elephant.
The main character in the story is a sub-divisional police officer in the town Burma. He is from the British imperia, even though he despises the British imperial project in Burma.
His job as a police officer is to oppress the Burmese and make them feel like they have no authority. But it´s hard for him to get respect from the locals.