Kipling's drawing of the Parsee beginning to eat his cake.
Just So Stories (1902) by Rudyard Kipling (download the History feature in Spotlight 1/2011) were written to be listened to, in the great old tradition of storytelling. Kipling addressed these exuberant and playful, but also satirical, tales to "O my Best Beloved". He remembered them being told to him by his Indian nursemaids, recounting how the world began and developed in the "High and Far-off Times".
"The Elephant's Child", for example, explains how the Elephant got his trunk: Full of "satiable curtiosity" (Kipling imitates how a child might misrepresent the phrase "insatiable curiosity"), the Elephant's child drives his family mad wondering what the Crocodile has for dinner. They spank him and send him to "the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo river, all set about with fever-trees, to find out". He does, and gets a nice new nose to match his new knowledge.
In "The Beginning of the Armadillos", Stickly-Prickly Hedgehog and Slow-and-Solid Tortoise pit their wits against Painted Jaguar and trick him out of supper.
And then there's the story of "The Cat That Walked by Himself" in the Wet Wild Woods, and who learns the benefits of helping others. Listen to the beginning of that story as narrated by Michael Ducarel:
Let's look at the adjectives that lend these stories much of their charm, focusing on the order of descriptive words.
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