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How the Camel Got His Hump

Now this is the next tale, and it tells how leave him alone, and you must work double-
the Camel got his big hump time to make up for it.
In the beginning of years, when the world That made the Three very angry (with the
was so new and all, and the Animals were just world so new-and-all), and they held a pala-
beginning to work for Man, there was a Camel, ver, and an indaba , and a punchayet , and a
and he lived in the middle of a Howling Desert pow-wow on the edge of the Desert; and the
because he did not want to work; and besides, he Camel came chewing on milkweed most scru-
was a Howler himself. So he ate sticks and thorns ciating idle, and laughed at them. Then he said
and tamarisks and milkweed and prickles, most Humph! and went away again.
scruciating idle; and when anybody spoke to him Presently there came along the Djinn in
he said Humph! Just Humph! and no more. charge of All Deserts, rolling in a cloud of dust
Presently the Horse came to him on Mon- (Djinns always travel that way because it is
day morning, with a saddle on his back and a bit Magic), and he stopped to palaver and pow-pow
in his mouth, and said, Camel, O Camel, come with the Three.
out and trot like the rest of us. Djinn of All Deserts, said the Horse, is it
Humph! said the Camel; and the Horse right for any one to be idle, with the world so
went away and told the Man. new-and-all?
Presently the Dog came to him, with a stick Certainly not, said the Djinn.
in his mouth, and said, Camel, O Camel, come Well, said the Horse, theres a thing in
and fetch and carry like the rest of us. the middle of your Howling Desert (and hes a
Humph! said the Camel; and the Dog Howler himself ) with a long neck and long legs,
went away and told the Man. and he hasnt done a stroke of work since Mon-
Presently the Ox came to him, with the day morning. He wont trot.
yoke on his neck and said, Camel, O Camel, Whew! said the Djinn, whistling, thats
come and plough like the rest of us. my Camel, for all the gold in Arabia! What does
Humph! said the Camel; and the Ox went he say about it?
away and told the Man. He says Humph! said the Dog; and he
At the end of the day the Man called wont fetch and carry.
the Horse and the Dog and the Ox together, Does he say anything else?
and said, Three, O Three, Im very sorry for Only Humph!; and he wont plough,
you (with the world so new-and-all); but that said the Ox.
Humph-thing in the Desert cant work, or he Very good, said the Djinn. Ill humph
would have been here by now, so I am going to him if you will kindly wait a minute.

Created for Lit2Go on the web at fcit.usf.edu


How the Camel Got His Hump Rudyard Kipling

The Djinn rolled himself up in his dust- Humph! said the Camel.
cloak, and took a bearing across the desert, and I shouldnt say that again if I were you,
found the Camel most scruciatingly idle, look- said the Djinn; you might say it once too often.
ing at his own reflection in a pool of water. Bubbles, I want you to work.
My long and bubbling friend, said the And the Camel said Humph! again; but no
Djinn, whats this I hear of your doing no work, sooner had he said it than he saw his back, that
with the world so new-and-all? he was so proud of, puffing up and puffing up
Humph! said the Camel. into a great big lolloping humph.
The Djinn sat down, with his chin in his Do you see that? said the Djinn. Thats
hand, and began to think a Great Magic, while your very own humph that youve brought upon
the Camel looked at his own reflection in the your very own self by not working. To-day is
pool of water. Thursday, and youve done no work since Mon-
Youve given the Three extra work ever since day, when the work began. Now you are going
Monday morning, all on account of your scru- to work.
ciating idleness, said the Djinn; and he went on How can I, said the Camel, with this
thinking Magics, with his chin in his hand. humph on my back?
Thats 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 dont 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.

Created for Lit2Go on the web at fcit.usf.edu