Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Ive seen the elephant, and Ive heard the owl, and Ive been to the other side of the mountain.
Author unknown. Seeing the elephant, though it has pre and postgold rush currency, was an immensely popular expression among the overlanders [those journeying in covered wagons to Oregon and California] connoting, in the main, experiencing hardship and difficulty and somehow surviving. Emigrant diaries and letters are filled with humorous references to that ubiquitous animal.John D. Unruh, Jr., The Plains Across: The Overland Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 184060, chapter 4, p. 443, note 22 (1979).