Just So Stories
'Just So Stories' Summary
The Just So Stories began as bedtime stories told by Kipling to his daughter "Effie" (Josephine, Kipling's firstborn); when the first three were published in a children's magazine, a year before her death, Kipling explained: "in the evening there were stories meant to put Effie to sleep, and you were not allowed to alter those by one single little word. They had to be told just so; or Effie would wake up and put back the missing sentence. So at last they came to be like charms, all three of them – the whale tale, the camel tale, and the rhinoceros tale."
Nine of the thirteen Just So Stories tell how particular animals were modified from their original forms to their current forms by the acts of human beings or magical beings. For example, the Whale has a tiny throat because he swallowed a mariner, who tied a raft inside to block the whale from swallowing other men. The Camel has a hump given to him by a djinn as punishment for the camel's refusing to work (the hump allows the camel to work longer between times of eating). The Leopard's spots were painted by an Ethiopian (after the Ethiopian painted himself black). The Kangaroo gets its powerful hind legs, long tail and hopping gait after being chased all day by a dingo, sent by a minor god responding to the Kangaroo's request to be made different from all other animals.
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