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
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
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