The Camel’s Hump
is an ugly lump…

(notes by Philip Holberton)


First published in Just So Stories for little children, following “How the Camel Got his Hump”. Listed in ORG as No. 790.

Also collected in:

  • Inclusive verse (1919)
  • Definitive Verse (1940)
  • The Sussex Edition vol xiii and xxxiv (1939)
  • The Burwash Edition vol xii and xxvii (1941)
  • The Cambridge Edition (2013) Ed. Pinney, p. 890

The poem

This poem, like the story, is a cautionary tale about what happens if “we haven’t enough to do”.

Notes on the Text

[Verse 2] cameelious Kipling’s made-up word, clearly meaning “like a camel”

[Verse 3] describes the symptoms of getting the hump.

frouzly  A made-up word, combining “frowzy” and “frizzly. [‘DH.]

[Verse 4] There ought to be a corner for me being made to stand in the corner of a room, facing the walls, used to be a punishment at Nursery School. Kipling suggests it should be used on grumpy grown-ups too.

[Verse 5]  frowst  To take pleasure in stayong in a warm close fuggy atmosphere. [OED]

[Verse 6] the Djinn of the Garden a reference back to the story, where the “Djinn in charge of all Deserts” gave the Camel his hump.

In many of his Just So Stories Kipling transposing the wonderful Before Times world of the stories to the lives of children in the present. [D.H.]

©Philip Holberton 2017 All rights reserved