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A collection of the well-known stories, including "How the Whale Got His Throat," "The Elephant's Child," and "The Butterfly that Stamped."
"They sing in my head even now . . . What a wonderful storyteller/poet he was." —Michael Morpurgo, author, War Horse
"The Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling have always held a fascination for me, and doubtless sparked off my love of India." —HRH The Prince of Wales
In the sea, once upon a time, O my Best Beloved, there was a Whale,, and he ate fishes. He ate the starfish and the garfish, and the crab and the dab, and the plaice and the dace, and the skate and his mate, and the mackereel and the pickereel, and the really truly twirly-whirly eel. All the fishes he could find in all the sea he ate with his mouth — so! Till at last there was only one small fish left in all the sea, and he was a small 'Stute Fish, and he swam a little behind the Whale's right ear, so as to be out of harm's way. Then the Whale stood up on his tail and said, I'm hungry." And the small 'Stute Fish said in a small 'stute voice, "Noble and generous Cetacean, have you ever tasted Man?"
'No, said the Whale. "What is it like?"
"Nice," said the small 'Stute Fish. "Nice but nubbly."
"Then fetch me some, said the Whale, and he made the sea froth up with his tail.
"One at a time is enough,"' said the 'Stute Fish. "If you swim to latitude Fifty North, longitude Forty West (that is Magic), you will find, sitting on a raft, in the middle of the sea, with nothing on but a pair of blue canvas breeches, a pair of suspenders (you must not forget the suspenders, Best Beloved), and a jackknife, one shipwrecked Mariner, who, it is only fair to tell you, is a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity."
So the Whale swam and swam to latitude Fifty North, longitude Forty West, as fast as he could swim, and on a raft, in the middle of the sea, with nothing to wear except a pair of blue canvas breeches, a pair of suspenders (you mustparticularly remember the suspenders Best Beloved), and a jackknife, he found one single, solitary shipwrecked Mariner, trailing his toes in the water. (He had his Mummy's leave to paddle, or else he would never have done it) because he was a man of infinite -resource- and-sagacity.)
Then the Whale opened his mouth back and back and back till it nearly touched his tail, and he swallowed the shipwrecked Mariner, and the raft he was sitting on, and his blue canvas breeches, and the suspenders (which you must not forget), and the jackknife —He swallowed them all down into his warm, dark, inside cupboards, and then he smacked his lips — so, and turned round three times on his tail.
But as soon as the Mariner, who was a man of infinite -resource- and- sagacity, found himself truly inside the Whale's warm, dark, inside cupboards, he stumpedand he jumped and he thumped and he bumped, and he pranced and he danced, and he banged and he clanged, and he hit and he bit, and he leaped and he creeped, and he prowled and he howled, and he hopped and he dropped, and he cried and he sighed, and he crawled and he bawled) and he stepped and he lepped, and he danced hornpipes where he shouldn't, and the Whale felt most unhappy indeed. (Have you forgotten the suspenders?)
So he said to the 'Stute Fish, This man is very nubbly, and besides he is making me hiccough. What shall I do? "
"Tell him to come out," said the 'Stute Fish.
So the Whale called down his own throat to the shipwrecked Mariner, "Come out and behave yourself. I've got the hiccoughs."
"Nay, nay!" said the Mariner. "Not so, but far otherwise. Take me to my natal-shore and the white-cliffs-of-Albion, and I'll think about it." And he began to dance more than ever.
"You had better take him home," said the 'Stute Fish to the Whale. "I ought to have warned you that he is a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity."
So the Whale swam and swam and swam, with both flippers and his tail, as hard as he could for the hiccoughs; and at last he saw the Mariner's natal-shore and the white - cliffs - of-Albion, and he rushed halfway up the beach, and opened his mouth wide and wide and wide, and said, "Change here for Winchester, Ashuelot, Nashua,) Keene.) and stations on the Fitchburg Road"; and just as he said "Fitch" the Mariner walked out of his mouth. But while the Whale had been swimming, the Mariner, who was indeed a person of infinite-resource- and- sagacity, had taken his jackknife and cut up the raft into a little square grating all running crisscross, and he had tied it firm with his suspenders (now you know why you were not to forget the suspenders!), and he dragged that grating good and tight into the Whale's throat, and there it stuck! Then he recited the following Sloka, which, as you have not heard it, I will now proceed to relate —
By means of a grating I have stopped your ating.
For the Mariner he was also an Hi-ber-ni-an. And he stepped out on the shingle, and went home to his Mother, who had given him leave to trail his toes in the water; and he married and lived happily ever afterward. So did the Whale. But from that day on, the grating in his throat, which he could neither cough up nor swallow down, prevented him eating anything except very, very small fish; and that is the reason why whales nowadays never eat men or boys or little girls.
The small 'Stute Fish went and hid himself in the mud under the Doorsills of the Equator. He was afraid that the Whale might be angry with him.
The Sailor took the jackknife home. He was wearing the blue canvas breeches when he walked out on the shingle. The suspenders were left behind, you see, to tie the grating with; and that is the end of that tale.
Posted May 11, 2001
Let me make it clear that I am reviewing the Signet Classics version of Just So Stories. The reason I say that is because the original versions of these stories contain material that would be offensive to most people today, but the worst of that has been removed from this edition. The other advantage of this version is that it contains Kipling's own illustrations and his captions for those illustrations. Finally, this version is also very inexpensive. These stories were told to Kipling in their original form when he was a child by his Indian nursemaids. They are drawn from many non-Western sources, and provide good contrasts with European fairy tales. In most cases, the stories are about animals or early human beings and their development into their modern form or capabilities. But they are really satires on human weaknesses, with the moral showing how overcoming a weakness will usually create a strength. Here are the stories and their morals: How the Whale Got His Throat -- If you get too greedy, you will bite off more than you can chew. By taking on less at a time, you can absorb more in total. How the Camel Got His Hump -- If you are lazy and procrastinate, you will just have to do without in the future and be less attractive in order to make up for it. Having resources for times of scarcity is always helpful. How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin -- Being too aggressive will cause you to experience retribution from those you harm. With more flexibility, you can be more agile. How the Leopard Got His Spots -- You have a better chance of success if you blend in, rather than trying to stand out individually too much. The Elephant's Child -- If you are too nosy, you can get into mischief. Having a keen nose can help you sniff out and execute more opportunities. The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo -- Be careful what you wish for, you may get it. Being boundless gives you the chance to explore more. The Beginning of the Armadillo -- Versatility is more valuable than knowing just one way to handle a situation. How the First Letter Was Written -- Miscommunication is easier to accomplish than correct communication. Double-check to be sure the message is understood. How the Alphabet Was Made -- Choose combinations of communication that are unambiguous, or you will find yourself confusing everyone. This story is a brilliant essay on how one might go about inventing written language. The Crab that Played with the Sea -- Consider the consequences of your actions before you act, or you may see the actions rebound against you. The Cat that Walked by Himself -- The benefits of helping others greatly improve one's own life. The Butterfly that Stamped -- Actions taken for the right reason have just consequences while actions taken for pride tend to boomerang against us. Each story contains a prose tale, followed by a brief poem. The illustrations are explained in the caption at the end. The style of the stories includes lots of funny repetition, especially in the names of rivers and the features of the animals being described. With each re
9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 19, 2002
I grew up with my Mom reading the Just So Stories to me. They were clever and I enjoyed them thoroughly. I don't think I can ever forget the way my Mom used to read The Elephant's Child to me. She'd would always use funny voices. I highly recommend this book. I garantee full enjoyment for the whole family!
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 16, 2012
Just So Storied are some of Kipling's best for small and even not-so-small children. However, this version seems to be a badly scanned and OCR'd example. The table of contents does not link properly, thete are typographical errors, pictures do not fully display, switching between portrait and landscape mode does not work.
All that said, the stories are still readable and delightful.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 6, 2011
The Just So Stories are a collection of short 'Creation stories'. How the camel got his hump, How the leopard got his spots, etc. They are meant to be read aloud and the audio version is fantastic.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2011
Posted January 2, 2012
Posted May 11, 2010
In this collection of well-known stories including "The Butterfly that Stamped," "How the Whale Got his Throat," and "The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo," we learn how the camel got his hump, how the leopard got his spots, and how the elephant got his trunk. These are questions that children have asked for centuries around the world, but it took Nobel Prize winning English author Rudyard Kipling to give them answers in these lively, hilarious stories that are drawn from the oral storytelling traditions of India and Africa and filled with mischievously clever animals and people.
They have entertained young and old alike for over one hundred years with their intertwined little pearls of wisdom about the pitfalls of arrogance and pride and the importance of curiosity, imagination, and inventiveness. We have previously read and enjoyed Kipling's The Jungle Books ("Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is one of my favorite stories of all time), and the Just So Stories are a worthy and delightful follow up. It is important, of course, to remember that these stories are just myths or legends and told with a dose of tongue in cheek humor.
In fact, there will be a few inside jokes that only adults will understand--nothing risque or inappropriate, just some plays on words that may be over the heads of some children. However, when we explained them to Jeremy, age twelve, he found them funny. In Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Nathaniel Bluedorn noted, "This story of how the leopard got his spots, how the elephant stretched his nose, et cetera. These stories are told in easy flowing language."
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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Posted October 2, 2012
I looked at how the rhino got its skin and the title creeps me out im never gonna read it again also i wish you could give this a zero star
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 12, 2012
I was surprised to find the N word used. I guess my folks changed the stories when I was little, because I wasnt expecting it. Beware when you are reading to your kids.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2012
Posted December 4, 2011
Posted November 1, 2011
The begining of the armadillos is probably my favorite especially when painted jaguar was confused about which one was tortoise and which was a hedgehogWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.