How the Camel got his Hump

Notes on the text

These notes draw on those written by Lisa Lewis for the OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS edition of Just So Stories (1995) with the kind permission of Oxford University Press, together with material from the Kipling Society’s ORG. The page numbers below refer to the Macmillan Uniform Edition of Just So Stories.

[Page 15, line 14] He was a Howler himself This phrase was not in the St Nicholas Magazine version, either here or at page 23, lines 3-4.

[Page 16, line 1] Djinn In Moslem demonology a spirit, lower than angels, able to appear in human and animal forms, and having supernatural power over men. From Arabic jinni.

[Page 19, line 21] indaba, and a punchayet, and a pow-wow

Indaba is a Zulu-Bantu word for an important conference held by the indunas or principal men of the Zulu-Xhosa tribes of South Africa.

A punchayet (usually spelt “panchayat”) is the basic form of administration of a village community in India. The word means “council of five,” from the Hindi panch, five. Kipling is here using the word as meaning council, committee, conference, discussion.

A pow-wow is a magic ceremonial, or conference, of native Americans. From the Algonquin word powwaw.

[Page 20, line 3] twig of acacia Presumably acacia giraffae, the camel-thorn of Africa.

[Page 20, line 15] Noah’s Ark The pointed volcano behind it resembles a capital A; this is the first appearance of the “ARK-A” phonetic rebus that signs several drawings later in the book.
One of Kipling’s early projects for St Nicholas Magazine [Pinney ed., Letters, vol. ii p. 62, letter to Mrs Mary Mapes Dodge of 15 Oct. 1892] was a story about a little boy who tried to make a Noah’s Ark on an Indian pond, but could not control the animals and achieved nothing but a spanking. It was never published.

In a further letter to Mrs Dodge (see headnote), he suggested the title “Noah’s Ark Tales” for a book of animal fables, including this one and some material used in The Jungle Book. At 18 months Josephine Kipling was given a Noah’s Ark which became a favourite toy [letter to Louisa Baldwin, 15 June 1894; ibid, p. 130].

[Page 23, line 21] ‘My long and bubbling friend’ This phrase is not in the St Nicholas Magazine version, and nor is ‘Bubbles, I want you to work’ [Page 24, line 3].

[Page 25] “The Camel’s Hump is an ugly lump…” These verses have been listed in other contexts in Stewart’s bibliography as “The Hump” and “The Camel’s Hump.” They are included in the Definitive Edition of the Verse, under the general heading ‘Just So Verses’, but without an individual title.

©Lisa Lewis 2005 All rights reserved