How the Camel got His Hump and PLATO: THE STORY OF A CAT
How the Camel got His Hump by Rudyard Kipling
1. In the beginning of years, when the world was new, and the Animals were just beginning to work for Man, there was a Camel, and he lived in the middle of a Howling Desert because he did not want to work. He was terribly idle, and when anybody spoke to him, he just said, "Humph!" and no more.
2. Presently, the Horse came to him, with a saddle on his back and a bit in his mouth, and said, "Camel, come out and trot like the rest of us."
3. "Humph!" said the Camel, and the Horse went away and told the Man.
4. Presently, the Dog came to him, with a stick in his mouth, and said, "Camel, come and fetch and carry like the rest of us."
5. "Humph!" said the Camel; and the Dog went away and told the Man.
6. Presently, the Ox came to him, with the yoke on his neck, and said, "Camel, come and plow like the rest of us."
7. "Humph!" said the Camel, and the Ox went away and told the Man.
8. At the end of the day, the Man called the Horse and the Dog and the Ox together and said, "That 'Humph'-thing in the desert can't work, or he would have been here by now, so I am going to leave him alone, and you must work double-time to make up for it."
9. That made the Three very angry, and they held a pow-wow on the edge of the desert, and the camel came chewing on milkweed and laughed at them. Then he said, "Humph!, and went away again.
10. Presently, there came along the Djinn (a magical creature) in charge of the deserts, rolling in a cloud of dust (Djinns always travel that way because it is magic), and he stopped to pow-pow with the Three.
11. "Djinn of All Deserts," said the Horse, "is it right for anyone to be idle, with the world so new?"
12. "Certainly not," said the Djinn.
13. "Well," said the Horse, "there's a thing in the middle of your Howling Desert with a long neck and long legs, and he hasn't done a stroke of work. He won't trot."
14. "Whew!" said the Djinn, whistling, "That's my Camel, for all the gold in Arabia! What does he say about it?"
15. "He says 'Humph!'" said the Dog, "and he won't fetch and carry."
16. "Does he say anything else?"
17. He only says, 'Humph!' And he won't plow," said the Ox.
18. "Very good," said the Djinn. "I'll humph him if you will kindly wait a minute."
19. The Djinn rolled himself up in his dust-cloak, and took a bearing across the desert and found the Camel, looking at his own reflection in a pool of water.
20. "My long and bubbling friend," said the Djinn, "what's this I hear of your doing no work, with the world so new?"
21. "Humph!" said the Camel.
22. The Djinn sat down, with his chin in his hand, and began to think a great magic, while the Camel looked at his own reflection in the pool of water.
23. "You've given the other Three extra work, all on account of your terrible idleness," said the Djinn, and he went on thinking magic, with his chin in his hand.
24. "Humph!" said the Camel.
25. "I shouldn't say that again if I were you," said the Djinn; "you might say it once too often. Bubbles, I want you to work."
26. And the Camel said, "Humph!" again, but no sooner had he said it than he saw his back, that he was so proud of, puffing up and puffing up into a great big lolloping humph.
27. "Do you see that?" said the Djinn. "That's your very own humph that you've brought upon your very own self by not working. Now you are going to work."
28. "How can I," said the Camel, "with this humph on my back?"
29. "That's made a-purpose," said the Djinn, "all because you missed three days of work. You will be able to work now for three days without eating because you can live on your humph, and don't you ever say I never did anything for you. Come out of the Desert and go to the Three, and behave. Humph yourself!"
30. And the Camel humphed himself, humph and all, and went away to join the Three. And from that day to this, the camel always wears a humph (we call it 'hump' now, not to hurt his feelings); but he has never yet caught up with the three days that he missed at the beginning of the world, and he has never yet learned how to behave.
PLATO: THE STORY OF A CAT by A. S. Downs
1. One-day last summer, a large, handsome, black cat walked gravely up one side of Main Street. He crossed, went half-way down the other, and stopped at our house. He came up the steps and paused by an open window.
2. We saw him and spoke to him, but he took no notice. He put his paws on the sill and looked around the room as if wondering if it would suit him. After thinking a minute, he came in, and from that hour took his place as an important member of the family.
3. At Christmas, we gave Plato a sweet little basket, with soft cushions, to be his own bed. When we put it before him, he showed neither surprise nor curiosity. He looked at it proudly, as if such a bed should have been given to him long ago. He stepped in carefully and curled himself gracefully upon the soft cushions.
4. It was soon seen that Plato was very fond of his basket and was reluctant to share it. When little Bessie put her doll in, he looked so stern and walked so fiercely toward them that Dolly's heart sank within her, and Bessie said, "Please excuse us, Plato." If balls and toys were carelessly dropped there, he would push them out without delay, and if visitors took up the basket to examine it, he would watch them intently, as if to say, "You're not going anywhere with my basket. I've got my eye on you."
5. One cold afternoon, he was noticed walking up the avenue with a miserable, little, yellow kitten dragging herself after him. She was so thin you could count her bones.
6. Upon one of the shed doors was an old-fashioned latch, which by jumping, Plato could reach and lift with his paw. Having opened the door, he pushed his poor, yellow straggler in and followed himself. She lay down at once on the floor, and Plato began washing her with his rough tongue while we brought her a saucer of milk. While she ate, Plato rested, looking as pleased as if he were her mother at her enjoyment. The lunch finished, the washing was resumed, and she soon looked more respectable.
7. But Plato was not finished. He looked at the door leading to the parlor, then at her, finally bent down tenderly to her little torn ears, as if whispering, but she would not move. So, taking her by the back of the neck, he carried her through the house and dropped her close to his cherished basket.
8. Then he appeared a little uncertain about what to do. The basket was nice and warm; he was tired and cold; it had been a present to him; the street wanderer was dirty still, and the rug would be a softer bed than she had ever known. Were these his thoughts, and was it selfishness he conquered when at last he lifted the shivering homeless creature into his own beautiful nest?