Just So Stories

A poem by Rudyard Kipling


When the cabin port-holes are dark and green
Because of the seas outside;
When the ship goes wop (with a wiggle between)
And the steward falls into the soup-tureen,
And trunks begin to slide;
When Nursey lies on the floor in a heap,
And Mummy tells you to let her sleep,
And you aren't waked or washed or dressed,
Why, then you will know (if you haven't guessed)
You're "Fifty North and Forty West!"
How the Whale Got His Throat

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!
- How the Camel Got His Hump

I am the Most Wise Baviaan, saying in most wice tones,
"Let us melt into the landscape, just us two by our lones."
People have come, in a carriage, calling. But Mummy is there....
Yes, I can go if you take me, Nurse says she don't care.
Let's go up to the pig-styes and sit on the farmyard rails!
Let's say things to the bunnies, and watch 'em skitter their tails!
Let's'-oh, anything, daddy, so long as it's you and me,
And going truly exploring, and not being in till tea!
Here's your boots (I've brought 'em), and here's your cap and stick,
And here's your pipe and tobacco. Oh, come along out of it, quick!
- How the Leopard Got His Spots.

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views.
I know a person small,
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!

She sends 'em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes,
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!
- The Elephant's Child.

This is the mouth-filling song of the race that was run by a Boomer.
Run in a single burst, only event of its kind,
Started by Big God Nqong from Warrigaborrigarooma,
Old Man Kangaroo first, Yellow-Dog Dingo behind.

Kangaroo bounded away, his back-legs working like pistons,
Bounded from morning till dark, twenty-five feet at a bound.
Yellow-Dog Dingo lay like a yellow cloud in the distance,
Much too busy to bark. My! but they covered the ground!

Nobody knows where they went, or followed the track that they flew in,
For that Continent hadn't been given a name.
They ran thirty degrees from Torres Straits to Leeuwin
(Look at the Atlas), please then they ran back as they came.

S'posing you could trot from Adelaide to the Pacific
For an afternoon's run, half what these gentlemen did,
You would feel rather hot, but your legs would develop terrific,
Yes, my importunate son, you'd be a Marvellous Kid!
- The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo


I've never sailed the Amazon,
I've never reached Brazil;
But the Don and Magdalena,
They can go there when they will!

Yes, weekly from Southampton
Great steamers, white and gold,
Go rolling down to Rio
(Roll down, roll down to Rio! ).
And I'd like to roll to Rio
Some day before I'm old!

I've never seen a Jaguar,
Nor yet an Armadill,
He's dilloing in his armour,
And I s'pose I never will,

Unless I go to Rio
These wonders to behold,
Roll down, roll down to Rio,
Roll really down to Rio!
Oh, I'd love to roll to Rio
Some day before I'm old!
- The Beginning of the Armadilloes.


China-going P. & 0.'s
Pass Pau Amma's playground close,
And his Pusat Tasek lies
Near the track of most B.I.'s.
N.Y.K. and N.D.L.
Know Pau Amma's home as well
As the Fisher of the Sea knows
"Bens," M.M.'s and Rubattinos.
But (and this is rather queer)
A.T.L.'s can not come here;
0. and 0. and D.0.A.
Must go round another way.
Orient, Anchor, Bibby, Hall,
Never go that way at all.
U.C.S. would have a fit
If it found itself on it.
And if "Beavers" took their cargoes
To Penang instead of Lagos,
Or a fat Shaw-Savill bore
Passengers to Singapore,
Or a White Star were to try a
Little trip to Sourabaya,
Or a B.S.A. went on
Past Natal to Cheribon,
The great Mr. Lloyds would come
With a wire and drag them home!

. . . . .

You will know what my riddle means
When you've eaten mangosteens.
- The Crab That Played with the Sea


Pussy can sit by the fire and sing,
Pussy can climb a tree,
Or play with a silly old cork and string
To 'muse herself, not me.
But I like Binkie my dog, because
He knows how to behave;
So, Binkie's the same as the First Friend was,
And I am the Man in the Cave!

Pussy will play Man-Friday till
It's time to wet her paw
And make her walk on the window-sill
(For the footprint Crusoe saw);
Then she fluffles her tail and mews,
And scratches and won't attend.
But Binkie will play whatever I choose,
And he is my true First Friend!

Pussy will rub my knees with her head
Pretending she loves me hard;
But the very minute I go to my bed
Pussy runs out in the yard,
And there she stays till the morning-light;
So I know it is only pretend;
But Binkie, he snores at my feet all night,
And he is my Firstest Friend!
- The Cat That Walked by Himself

This Uninhabited Island
Is near Cape Gardafui;
But it's hot, too hot, off Suez
For the likes of you and me
Ever to go in a P. & 0.
To call on the Cake Parsee.
- How the Rhinoceros got His Skin

There was never a Queen like Balkis,
From here to the wide world's end;
But Balkis talked to a butterfly
As you would talk to a friend.

There was never a King like Solomon,

Not since the world began;
But Solomon talked to a butterfly
As a man would talk to a man.

She was Queen of Sabea,
And he was Asia's Lord,
But they both of 'em talked to butterflies
When they took their walks abroad!
- The Butterfly That Stamped.

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