How the Camel got his Hump
Kipling’s ‘Just So story from when the world was very new tells how the grumpy, idle camel turned his ‘humph’ into a ‘hump.’ The moral of the story is that not having enough to do makes people (and animals) grumpy.
As we mention in the introduction, a few of the wonderful sounding words in the story were made up by Kipling – they mean what they sound like. Listen out for Richard’s wonderful ‘humph’ sound, and for the song at the end of this story.
Read by Richard Scott. Duration 8.55. by Rudyard Kipling.
Proofread by Jana Elizabeth.
Now this is the next tale, and it tells how the camel got his big hump.
In the beginning of years, when the world was so new and all, and the animals were just beginning to work for Man, there was a camel, and he lived in the middle of a howling desert because he did not want to work; and besides, he was a howler himself. So he ate sticks and thorns and tamarisks and milkweed and prickles, most ‘scruciating idle,’ and when anybody spoke to him he said ‘Humph!’ Just ‘Humph!’ and no more.
Presently the horse came to him on Monday morning, with a saddle on his back and a bit in his mouth, and said: ‘Camel, O Camel, come out and trot like the rest of us.’
‘Humph!’ said the camel; and the horse went away and told the man.
Presently the dog came to him, with a stick in his mouth, and said: ‘Camel, O Camel, come and fetch and carry like the rest of us.’
‘Humph!’ said the camel; and the dog went away and told the man.
Presently the ox came to him, with the yoke on his neck and said: ‘Camel, O Camel, come and plough like the rest of us.’
‘Humph!’ said the camel; and the ox went away and told the man.
At the end of the day the man called the horse and the dog and the ox together, and said: ‘Three, O Three, I’m very sorry for you (with the world so new-and-all); but that Humph-thing in the desert can’t work, or he would have been here by now, so I am going to leave him alone, and you must work doubletime to make up for it.’
That made the three very angry (with the world so new-and-all), and they held a palaver, and an indaba, and a punchayet, and a pow-wow on the edge of the desert; and the camel came chewing on milkweed most ‘scruciating idle’, and laughed at them. Then he said ‘Humph!’ and went away again.
Presently there came along the Djinn in charge of all deserts, rolling in a cloud of dust (Djinns always travel that way because it is magic), and he stopped to palaver and pow-pow with the three.
‘Djinn of All Deserts,’ said the horse, ‘is it right for any one to be idle, with the world so new-and-all?’
‘Certainly not,’ said the Djinn.
‘Well,’ said the horse, ‘there’s a thing in the middle of your howling desert (and he’s a howler himself) with a long neck and long legs, and he hasn’t done a stroke of work since Monday morning. He won’t trot.’
‘Whew!’ said the Djinn, whistling, ‘that’s my camel, for all the gold in Arabia! What does he say about it?’
‘He says “Humph!” said the dog, ‘and he won’t fetch and carry.’
‘Does he say anything else?’
‘Only “Humph!”, and he won’t plough,’ said the ox.
‘Very good,’ said the Djinn. ‘I’ll humph him if you will kindly wait a minute.’
The Djinn rolled himself up in his dust-cloak, and took a bearing across the desert, and found the camel most ‘scruciatingly idle’, looking at his own reflection in a pool of water.
‘My long and bubbling friend,’ said the Djinn, ‘what’s this I hear of your doing no work, with the world so new-and-all?’
‘Humph!’ said the camel.
The Djinn sat down, with his chin in his hand, and began to think a great magic, while the camel looked at his own reflection in the pool of water.
‘You’ve given the three extra work ever since Monday morning, all on account of your ‘scruciating idleness,’ said the Djinn; and he went on thinking magic, with his chin in his hand.
‘Humph!’ said the camel.
‘I shouldn’t say that again if I were you,’ said the Djinn. ‘You might say it once too often. Bubbles, I want you to work.’
And the camel said ‘Humph!’ again; but no sooner had he said it than he saw his back, that he was so proud of, puffing up and puffing up into a great big lolloping humph.
‘Do you see that?’ said the Djinn. ‘That’s your very own humph that you’ve brought upon your very own self by not working. Today is Thursday, and you’ve done no work since Monday, when the work began. Now you are going to work.’
‘How can I?’ said the camel, ‘with this humph on my back?’
‘That’s made a-purpose,’ said the Djinn, ‘all because you missed those three days. You will be able to work now for three days without eating, because you can live on your humph; and don’t you ever say I never did anything for you. Come out of the desert and go to the three, and behave. Humph yourself!’
And the camel humphed himself, humph and all, and went away to join the three. And from that day to this the camel always wears a humph (we call it ‘hump’ now, not to hurt his feelings); but he has never yet caught up with the three days that he missed at the beginning of the world, and he has never yet learned how to behave.
THE Camel’s hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.
Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo,
If we haven’t enough to do-oo-oo,
We get the hump–
The hump that is black and blue!
We climb out of bed with a frowzly head
And a snarly-yarly voice.
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl
At our bath and our boots and our toys;
And there ought to be a corner for me
(And I know there is one for you)
When we get the hump–
The hump that is black and blue!
The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
Or frowst with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
And dig till you gently perspire;
And then you will find that the sun and the wind,
And the Djinn of the Garden too,
Have lifted the hump–
The horrible hump–
The hump that is black and blue!
I get it as well as you-oo-oo–
If I haven’t enough to do-oo-oo–
We all get hump–
Kiddies and grown-ups too!
The Camel and His Friends is one of the five chapters in The Panchatantra, a collection of beast fables that originate from India. It was originally written within 100 BC to AD 500 in Sanskrit by Arundhati Khanwalker. This fable has been translated to different languages spoken around the world, including countries as far as Asia, Indonesia, and Europe. It was translated in english by Arundhati Khanwalkar. The story is made up of six characters; the Camel, the Merchant, the Lion, the Leopard, the Fox, and the Crow. After the Camel is abandoned by the merchant, he eventually comes across the Lion, the Fox, and the Crow. The moral of this story is to not easily trust the friends around you, to “Be careful in choosing your friends”.
The Camel suffered of fatigue in the middle of the forrest and was abandoned by his tribe, which caused him to live off of grass for a long time. Eventually he came across the Lion, Leopard, Fox, and the Crow, who took the Camel in to protect him, which allowed him to live a happy life in the jungle. Once the Lion lost his ability to hunt for food to feed his friends, everybody was in need of food! As a way to appreciate how hard the Lion works hard to attain food, the fox proposed the idea of sacrificing the Camel so that they could all have a meal. This infuriated the Lion and thought the idea was absurd. Once the Leopard convinced him however, he agreed to the sacrifice and the idea was brought upon the rest of the animals. One by one, they offered themselves to the lion, but excuses were made until the Camel sacrificed himself. None of the animals objected to the Camel’s offer so the “three rouges, the false friends” killed and ate him.
This story had a basic plot structure, just like any story would. It did not use strong, unique words, only more generic ones. The author focused more on the meaning behind the words, than the words themselves. His exposition started with the Camel being overcome by fatigue and being abandoned, then to the rising action being when the Camel finally felt happy living in the jungle. The precipitating incident is when the Lion was wounded and unable to catch food for his friends, and then it transitioned to the falling action, being the sacrifice proposal from the Fox. Lastly the Resolution is that the Camel was eaten by his rescuers after accepting his offer of sacrifice. The generic structure of this story helps us focus not on the narrative characteristics and figurative language, but on the meaning behind the story.
This story specifically values loyalty, nobility, and honesty. Throughout the course of the story, the camel is constantly treated badly. He was abandoned at the beginning, “The merchant decided to leave the camel and go on his way” and then betrayed with no hesitation at the end, “And in no time he was killed by the three rouges, the false friends.” Arundhati Khanwalker tries to teach the reader a lesson through the Camel’s experiences and hardships. Also, the moral, “Be careful in choosing your friends” refers to friendship being neglected, and those who initially took the camel in betrayed him by killing and eating him. After the Lion accepted the Camel’s request for sacrifice, “Stand aside friend leopard, the king and you have close family ties. It is me whom the master shall eat.”, he called him a noble camel, which portrays how much the Lion appreciated the offer and this situation portrays the value of nobility in the story.
As this story states the hidden moral behind the story, “Be careful in choosing your friends.”, it also comes with values shown throughout the story. Being that this story is presented with a moral, it emphasizes the fact that it is focused on the meaning rather than the technique used to deliver the message; the structure is very simple and straight forward.
Gioia, Dana, and R. S. Gwynn. “Arundhati Khanwalker, “The Camel and His Friends”” The Camel and His Friends. By Arundhati Khanwalker. N.p.: Longman, 2001. N. pag. Arundhati Khanwalker, “The Camel and His Friends” Web. 29 Aug. 2014. College, Goshen. “Literary Analysis Guide | English | Goshen College.” English Literary Analysis Guide Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.