How the Camel got his Hump

My retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s Just so Story.

Really, really long ago when the world was brand new, and all the animals were working with man to help camelget it all started there was a Camel, but he didn’t want to work. He was, in the words of Kipling ‘scruciating idle, which is Kipling’s way of saying he was really, really lazy!  And he was rude it seems, because when anyone spoke to him he just said ‘Humph’, imagine ‘Humph’ and nothing more.

The horse came by on Monday ‘Hello Camel, come out and trot with us and help with the work in the brand new world’ and the camel said ‘Humph’

On Tuesday the dog came along with a stick in his mouth. ‘Hello Camel, come and play fetch with us and help with the work in the brand new world’ and the Camel said ‘Humph’

buffaloOn Wednesday the Ox came along and said ‘Hello Camel come and plough with us and help with the work in the brand new world’, and the Camel said ‘Humph’

The horse and the dog and the cow started to get very angry with the Camel, they had to work really, really hard in the brand new world and especially so without the help of the Camel. So they held a palaver, and an indaba and a punchayet and a pow wow on the edge of the desert,


and the rude, lazy Camel ‘most ‘scruciating idle’ laughed at them then he said ‘Humph’ and walked away.

All of a sudden the Djinn (who was in charge of all the deserts) arrived, in a rolling cloud of dust. Djinn has 80058_farm_dogmagic and that is why he travels like this. It’s magic see!  Djinn joined in the palaver, and indaba and punchayet and pow wow with the three.

The horse and the dog and the ox told the Djinn how the camel would not trot, nor fetch, nor plough and 80038_cart_horseonly said ‘Humph’ The Djinn agreed this was really, very bad indeed.

The Djinn rolled off in his cloud of dust and found the Camel. ‘What’s this I here of you not being willing to trot, or fetch or plough when the world is all brand new and there is lots of work to do?  (Sometimes the Djinn talked in rhyme) And the Camel said ‘Humph!’

'Because of your ‘scruciating idleness’ you have given the others lots of extra work to do in this world that is all brand new,' and the Djinn was thinking up all kinds of magics as he said this, with his chin cupped in his hand and the Camel said ‘Humph’. 'I wouldn’t keeping saying that if I were you, it could be so bad you have no clue’ said the Djinn talking in Rhyme again and the Camel said ‘Humph’ and no sooner had he said it than he saw his lovely flat back, of which he was very proud, puffing up and growing into a really, really big Humph.

‘Do you see that?’ said the Djinn, which was sort of a rhetorical question because, the Humph was huge and very plain to see. 'That is your very own Humph, with your very own self to blame. It’s Thursday and you’ve done nothing you 'scruciating idle' animal, now you must go help work in this world all brand new’

And the Camel said ‘ Humph, the Humph on my back, I can’t work with that’

‘Ha ha’ said the Djinn, ‘That Humph on your back will help you work for three days without stopping to eat or drink, because it is all stored there, so you can catch up with everyone else, so all is fair.’ Don’t ever say I don’t do anything for you!’ ‘Humph yourself, now go and join the others.'

And the camel humphed along and joined the 3 and to this day he still carries his Humph, although now we call it a hump so as not to hurt his feelings. He never caught up with the days of work he missed and he never learned good manners either, he is still rude!


And that as Rudyard Kipling would say is ‘Just so’


Djinn – Are Genies. They originated in Arab and Persian storytelling and tended to be mischievous, especially to anyone who broke an agreement with them. Bad Djinns were trapped in brass lamps and enslaved by magicians.

Palava, Indaba, Punchayet and Pow wow –a meeting or conference where sometimes idle chatter can quickly escalate to heated voicing of opinions and calls for action.

Wood You Play.