Monday, 4 February 2008

Kipling bits and pieces

One of the books of short stories that I'm dipping in and out of at the moment is Animal Stories by Rudyard Kipling. I think most of the tales are from his 'Just So' collection but not all. The first thing you see when you open the book is this lovely little poem:

The Camel’s Hump

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—
Cameelious hump—
The hump that is black and blue!

We climb out of bed with a frouzly 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—
Cameelious 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—
Cameelious hump—
Kiddies and grown-ups too!

The moral of the story? Get thee to the garden. It works for me. :-)

I haven't read all of the stories yet but one that I particularly enjoyed was The Cat that Walked Alone. It's written as a bit of a fable, imo, kind of 'Adam and Eve' stuff with 'man' discovering 'woman', whereupon she sets about domesticating him.

She picked out a nice dry Cave, instead of a heap of wet leaves, to lie down in; and she strewed clean sand on the floor; and she lit a nice fire of wood at the back of the Cave; and she hung a dried wild-horse skin, tail-down, across the opening of the Cave; and she said, ‘Wipe your feet, dear, when you come in, and now we’ll keep house.'

She then sets about domesticating the dog, the horse and the cow. What happens when she tries it with the cat is the subject of the tale. All owners of cats will sympathize! It's available to read online here.


Jeane said...

Kipling is wonderful! I love his Just So Stories; my favorite was always How the Leopard Got His Spots.

DesLily said...

you made me think of Jungle book (the movie) the tiger in that movie ... his real name was Kirby and he was part of Tippi Hedren's animals back when I lived in CA. I believe he's not with us anymore, but his trainer Rick still works with big cats.

sheesh.. and all you said was Rudyard Kipling and I had a flood of memories lol..

Cath said...

Hi Jeane. I read the Just So stories when I was a child but that was so long ago ;-) I can hardly remember anything about them. How the Leopard Got His Spots isn't in the book but it's on that site so I'll read that soon.

Pat, I bought the movie at Christmas funnily enough but haven't watched it yet. 'Re'watched it I mean, saw it several times when I was younger. I love your memories. :-)