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Just So Stories by Ruyard Kipling

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Prepared by David Reed haradda@aol.com or davidr@inconnect.com

Just So Stories

by Ruyard Kipling

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

HOW THE WHALE GOT HIS THROAT
HOW THE CAMEL GOT HIS HUMP
HOW THE RHINOCEROS GOT HIS SKIN
HOW THE LEOPARD GOT HIS SPOTS
THE ELEPHANT'S CHILD
THE SING-SONG OF OLD MAN KANGAROO
THE BEGINNING OF THE ARMADILLOS
HOW THE FIRST LETTER WAS WRITTEN
HOW THE ALPHABET WAS MADE
THE CRAB THAT PLAYED WITH THE SEA
THE CAT THAT WALKED BY HIMSELF
THE BUTTERFLY THAT STAMPED

HOW THE WHALE GOT HIS THROAT

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 jack-
knife, one ship-wrecked 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 must particularly
remember the suspenders, Best Beloved), _and_ a jack-knife, 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 jack-knife--He swallowed them all down into his warm, dark,
inside cup-boards, 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 cup-boards, he stumped and 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 half-way 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 _Fitch_burg 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 jack-knife and
cut up the raft into a little square grating all running criss-
cross, 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
Door-sills of the Equator. He was afraid that the Whale might be
angry with him.

The Sailor took the jack-knife 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.

WHEN the cabin port-holes are dark and green
Because of the seas outside;
When the ship goes _wop_ (with a wiggle between)
And the steward falls into the soup-tureen,
And the trunks begin to slide;
When Nursey lies on the floor in a heap,
And Mummy tells you to let her sleep,
And you aren't waked or washed or dressed,
Why, then you will know (if you haven't guessed)
You're 'Fifty North and Forty West!'

HOW THE CAMEL GOT HIS HUMP

NOW this is the next tale, and it tells how the Camel got his big
hump.

In the beginning of years, when the world was so new and
all, 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; and besides, he was a Howler
himself. So he ate sticks and thorns and tamarisks and milkweed
and prickles, most 'scruciating idle; and when anybody spoke to
him he said 'Humph!' Just 'Humph!' and no more.

Presently the Horse came to him on Monday morning, with a saddle
on his back and a bit in his mouth, and said, 'Camel, O Camel,
come out and trot like the rest of us.'

'Humph!' said the Camel; and the Horse went away and told the
Man.

Presently the Dog came to him, with a stick in his mouth, and
said, 'Camel, O Camel, come and fetch and carry like the rest of
us.'

'Humph!' said the Camel; and the Dog went away and told the Man.

Presently the Ox came to him, with the yoke on his neck and said,
'Camel, O Camel, come and plough like the rest of us.'

'Humph!' said the Camel; and the Ox went away and told the Man.

At the end of the day the Man called the Horse and the Dog and
the Ox together, and said, 'Three, O Three, I'm very sorry for
you (with the world so new-and-all); but 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.'

That made the Three very angry (with the world so new-and-all),
and they held a palaver, and an _indaba_, and a _punchayet_, and a
pow-wow on the edge of the Desert; and the Camel came chewing on
milkweed _most_ 'scruciating idle, and laughed at them. Then he
said 'Humph!' and went away again.

Presently there came along the Djinn in charge of All Deserts,
rolling in a cloud of dust (Djinns always travel that way because
it is Magic), and he stopped to palaver and pow-pow with the
Three.

'Djinn of All Deserts,' said the Horse, 'is it right for any one
to be idle, with the world so new-and-all?'

'Certainly not,' said the Djinn.

'Well,' said the Horse, 'there's a thing in the middle of your
Howling Desert (and he's a Howler himself) with a long neck and
long legs, and he hasn't done a stroke of work since Monday
morning. He won't trot.'

'Whew!' said the Djinn, whistling, 'that's my Camel, for all the
gold in Arabia! What does he say about it?'

'He says "Humph!"' said the Dog; 'and he won't fetch and carry.'

'Does he say anything else?'

'Only "Humph!"; and he won't plough,' said the Ox.

'Very good,' said the Djinn. 'I'll humph him if you will kindly
wait a minute.'

The Djinn rolled himself up in his dust-cloak, and took a bearing
across the desert, and found the Camel most 'scruciatingly idle,
looking at his own reflection in a pool of water.

'My long and bubbling friend,' said the Djinn, 'what's this I
hear of your doing no work, with the world so new-and-all?'

'Humph!' said the Camel.

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.

'You've given the Three extra work ever since Monday morning, all
on account of your 'scruciating idleness,' said the Djinn; and he
went on thinking Magics, with his chin in his hand.

'Humph!' said the Camel.

'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.'

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.

'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.
To-day is Thursday, and you've done no work since Monday, when
the work began. Now you are going to work.'

'How can I,' said the Camel, 'with this humph on my back?'

'That's made a-purpose,' said the Djinn, 'all because you missed
those three days. 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!'

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.

THE Camel's hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.

Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo,
If we haven't enough to do-oo-oo,
We get the hump--
Cameelious hump--
The hump that is black and blue!

We climb out of bed with a frouzly head
And a snarly-yarly voice.
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl
At our bath and our boots and our toys;

And there ought to be a corner for me
(And I know there is one for you)
When we get the hump--
Cameelious hump--
The hump that is black and blue!

The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
Or frowst with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
And dig till you gently perspire;

And then you will find that the sun and the wind.
And the Djinn of the Garden too,
Have lifted the hump--
The horrible hump--
The hump that is black and blue!

I get it as well as you-oo-oo--
If I haven't enough to do-oo-oo--
We all get hump--
Cameelious hump--
Kiddies and grown-ups too!

HOW THE RHINOCEROS GOT HIS SKIN

ONCE upon a time, on an uninhabited island on the shores of the
Red Sea, there lived a Parsee from whose hat the rays of the sun
were reflected in more-than-oriental splendour. And the Parsee
lived by the Red Sea with nothing but his hat and his knife and a
cooking-stove of the kind that you must particularly never touch.
And one day he took flour and water and currants and plums and
sugar and things, and made himself one cake which was two feet
across and three feet thick. It was indeed a Superior Comestible
(that's magic), and he put it on stove because he was allowed to
cook on the stove, and he baked it and he baked it till it was
all done brown and smelt most sentimental. But just as he was
going to eat it there came down to the beach from the Altogether
Uninhabited Interior one Rhinoceros with a horn on his nose, two
piggy eyes, and few manners. In those days the Rhinoceros's skin
fitted him quite tight. There were no wrinkles in it anywhere.
He looked exactly like a Noah's Ark Rhinoceros, but of course
much bigger. All the same, he had no manners then, and he has no
manners now, and he never will have any manners. He said, 'How!'
and the Parsee left that cake and climbed to the top of a palm
tree with nothing on but his hat, from which the rays of the sun
were always reflected in more-than-oriental splendour. And the
Rhinoceros upset the oil-stove with his nose, and the cake rolled
on the sand, and he spiked that cake on the horn of his nose, and
he ate it, and he went away, waving his tail, to the desolate and
Exclusively Uninhabited Interior which abuts on the islands of
Mazanderan, Socotra, and Promontories of the Larger Equinox.
Then the Parsee came down from his palm-tree and put the stove on
its legs and recited the following Sloka, which, as you have not
heard, I will now proceed to relate:--

Them that takes cakes
Which the Parsee-man bakes
Makes dreadful mistakes.

And there was a great deal more in that than you would think.

Because, five weeks later, there was a heat wave in the Red Sea,
and everybody took off all the clothes they had. The Parsee
took off his hat; but the Rhinoceros took off his skin and
carried it over his shoulder as he came down to the beach to
bathe. In those days it buttoned underneath with three buttons
and looked like a waterproof. He said nothing whatever about the
Parsee's cake, because he had eaten it all; and he never had any
manners, then, since, or henceforward. He waddled straight into
the water and blew bubbles through his nose, leaving his skin on
the beach.

Presently the Parsee came by and found the skin, and he smiled
one smile that ran all round his face two times. Then he danced
three times round the skin and rubbed his hands. Then he went
to his camp and filled his hat with cake-crumbs, for the Parsee
never ate anything but cake, and never swept out his camp. He
took that skin, and he shook that skin, and he scrubbed that
skin, and he rubbed that skin just as full of old, dry, stale,
tickly cake-crumbs and some burned currants as ever it could
possibly hold. Then he climbed to the top of his palm-tree and
waited for the Rhinoceros to come out of the water and put it on.

And the Rhinoceros did. He buttoned it up with the three buttons,
and it tickled like cake crumbs in bed. Then he wanted to
scratch, but that made it worse; and then he lay down on the
sands and rolled and rolled and rolled, and every time he rolled
the cake crumbs tickled him worse and worse and worse. Then he
ran to the palm-tree and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed himself
against it. He rubbed so much and so hard that he rubbed his
skin into a great fold over his shoulders, and another fold
underneath, where the buttons used to be (but he rubbed the
buttons off), and he rubbed some more folds over his legs. And
it spoiled his temper, but it didn't make the least difference to
the cake-crumbs. They were inside his skin and they tickled. So
he went home, very angry indeed and horribly scratchy; and from
that day to this every rhinoceros has great folds in his skin and
a very bad temper, all on account of the cake-crumbs inside.

But the Parsee came down from his palm-tree, wearing his hat,
from which the rays of the sun were reflected in
more-than-oriental splendour, packed up his cooking-stove, and
went away in the direction of Orotavo, Amygdala, the Upland
Meadows of Anantarivo, and the Marshes of Sonaput.

THIS Uninhabited Island
Is off Cape Gardafui,
By the Beaches of Socotra
And the Pink Arabian Sea:
But it's hot--too hot from Suez
For the likes of you and me
Ever to go
In a P. and 0.
And call on the Cake-Parsee!

HOW THE LEOPARD GOT HIS SPOTS

IN the days when everybody started fair, Best Beloved, the
Leopard lived in a place called the High Veldt. 'Member it
wasn't the Low Veldt, or the Bush Veldt, or the Sour Veldt, but
the 'sclusively bare, hot, shiny High Veldt, where there was sand
and sandy-coloured rock and 'sclusively tufts of sandy-
yellowish grass. The Giraffe and the Zebra and the Eland and
the Koodoo and the Hartebeest lived there; and they were
'sclusively sandy-yellow-brownish all over; but the Leopard, he
was the 'sclusivest sandiest-yellowish-brownest of them all--a
greyish-yellowish catty-shaped kind of beast, and he matched
the 'sclusively yellowish-greyish-brownish colour of the High
Veldt to one hair. This was very bad for the Giraffe and the
Zebra and the rest of them; for he would lie down by a
'sclusively yellowish-greyish-brownish stone or clump of grass,
and when the Giraffe or the Zebra or the Eland or the Koodoo or
the Bush-Buck or the Bonte-Buck came by he would surprise them
out of their jumpsome lives. He would indeed! And, also,
there was an Ethiopian with bows and arrows (a 'sclusively
greyish-brownish-yellowish man he was then), who lived on the
High Veldt with the Leopard; and the two used to hunt
together--the Ethiopian with his bows and arrows, and the Leopard
'sclusively with his teeth and claws--till the Giraffe and the
Eland and the Koodoo and the Quagga and all the rest of them
didn't know which way to jump, Best Beloved. They didn't indeed!

After a long time--things lived for ever so long in those
days--they learned to avoid anything that looked like a Leopard
or an Ethiopian; and bit by bit--the Giraffe began it, because
his legs were the longest--they went away from the High Veldt.
They scuttled for days and days and days till they came to a
great forest, 'sclusively full of trees and bushes and stripy,
speckly, patchy-blatchy shadows, and there they hid: and after
another long time, what with standing half in the shade and half
out of it, and what with the slippery-slidy shadows of the trees
falling on them, the Giraffe grew blotchy, and the Zebra grew
stripy, and the Eland and the Koodoo grew darker, with little
wavy grey lines on their backs like bark on a tree trunk; and
so, though you could hear them and smell them, you could very
seldom see them, and then only when you knew precisely
where to look. They had a beautiful time in the 'sclusively
speckly-spickly shadows of the forest, while the Leopard and the
Ethiopian ran about over the 'sclusively
greyish-yellowish-reddish High Veldt outside, wondering where all
their breakfasts and their dinners and their teas had gone. At
last they were so hungry that they ate rats and beetles and
rock-rabbits, the Leopard and the Ethiopian, and then they had
the Big Tummy-ache, both together; and then they met Baviaan--the
dog-headed, barking Baboon, who is Quite the Wisest Animal in All
South Africa.

Said Leopard to Baviaan (and it was a very hot day), 'Where has
all the game gone?'

And Baviaan winked. He knew.

Said the Ethiopian to Baviaan, 'Can you tell me the present
habitat of the aboriginal Fauna?' (That meant just the same
thing, but the Ethiopian always used long words. He was a
grown-up.)

And Baviaan winked. He knew.

Then said Baviaan, 'The game has gone into other spots; and my
advice to you, Leopard, is to go into other spots as soon as you
can.'

And the Ethiopian said, 'That is all very fine, but I wish to
know whither the aboriginal Fauna has migrated.'

Then said Baviaan, 'The aboriginal Fauna has joined the
aboriginal Flora because it was high time for a change; and my
advice to you, Ethiopian, is to change as soon as you can.'

That puzzled the Leopard and the Ethiopian, but they set off to
look for the aboriginal Flora, and presently, after ever so many
days, they saw a great, high, tall forest full of tree trunks all
'sclusively speckled and sprottled and spottled, dotted and
splashed and slashed and hatched and cross-hatched with shadows.
(Say that quickly aloud, and you will see how very shadowy the
forest must have been.)

'What is this,' said the Leopard, 'that is so 'sclusively dark,
and yet so full of little pieces of light?'

'I don't know, said the Ethiopian, 'but it ought to be the
aboriginal Flora. I can smell Giraffe, and I can hear Giraffe,
but I can't see Giraffe.'

'That's curious,' said the Leopard. 'I suppose it is because
we have just come in out of the sunshine. I can smell Zebra, and
I can hear Zebra, but I can't see Zebra.'

'Wait a bit, said the Ethiopian. 'It's a long time since we've
hunted 'em. Perhaps we've forgotten what they were like.'

'Fiddle!' said the Leopard. 'I remember them perfectly on the
High Veldt, especially their marrow-bones. Giraffe is about
seventeen feet high, of a 'sclusively fulvous golden-yellow from
head to heel; and Zebra is about four and a half feet high, of
a'sclusively grey-fawn colour from head to heel.'

'Umm, said the Ethiopian, looking into the speckly-spickly
shadows of the aboriginal Flora-forest. 'Then they ought to
show up in this dark place like ripe bananas in a smokehouse.'

But they didn't. The Leopard and the Ethiopian hunted all day;
and though they could smell them and hear them, they never saw
one of them.

'For goodness' sake,' said the Leopard at tea-time, 'let us wait
till it gets dark. This daylight hunting is a perfect scandal.'

So they waited till dark, and then the Leopard heard something
breathing sniffily in the starlight that fell all stripy through
the branches, and he jumped at the noise, and it smelt like
Zebra, and it felt like Zebra, and when he knocked it down it
kicked like Zebra, but he couldn't see it. So he said, 'Be
quiet, O you person without any form. I am going to sit on your
head till morning, because there is something about you that I
don't understand.'

Presently he heard a grunt and a crash and a scramble, and the
Ethiopian called out, 'I've caught a thing that I can't see. It
smells like Giraffe, and it kicks like Giraffe, but it hasn't any
form.'

'Don't you trust it,' said the Leopard. 'Sit on its head till
the morning--same as me. They haven't any form--any of 'em.'

So they sat down on them hard till bright morning-time, and then
Leopard said, 'What have you at your end of the table, Brother?'

The Ethiopian scratched his head and said, 'It ought to be
'sclusively a rich fulvous orange-tawny from head to heel, and it
ought to be Giraffe; but it is covered all over with chestnut
blotches. What have you at your end of the table, Brother?'

And the Leopard scratched his head and said, 'It ought to be
'sclusively a delicate greyish-fawn, and it ought to be Zebra;
but it is covered all over with black and purple stripes. What in
the world have you been doing to yourself, Zebra? Don't you know
that if you were on the High Veldt I could see you ten miles off?
You haven't any form.'

'Yes,' said the Zebra, 'but this isn't the High Veldt. Can't you
see?'

'I can now,' said the Leopard. 'But I couldn't all
yesterday. How is it done?'

'Let us up,' said the Zebra, 'and we will show you.

They let the Zebra and the Giraffe get up; and Zebra moved away
to some little thorn-bushes where the sunlight fell all stripy,
and Giraffe moved off to some tallish trees where the shadows
fell all blotchy.

'Now watch,' said the Zebra and the Giraffe. 'This is the way
it's done. One--two--three! And where's your breakfast?'

Leopard stared, and Ethiopian stared, but all they could see were
stripy shadows and blotched shadows in the forest, but never a
sign of Zebra and Giraffe. They had just walked off and hidden
themselves in the shadowy forest.

'Hi! Hi!' said the Ethiopian. 'That's a trick worth learning.
Take a lesson by it, Leopard. You show up in this dark place
like a bar of soap in a coal-scuttle.'

'Ho! Ho!' said the Leopard. 'Would it surprise you very much to
know that you show up in this dark place like a mustard-plaster
on a sack of coals?'

'Well, calling names won't catch dinner, said the Ethiopian.
'The long and the little of it is that we don't match our
backgrounds. I'm going to take Baviaan's advice. He told
me I ought to change; and as I've nothing to change except my
skin I'm going to change that.'

'What to?' said the Leopard, tremendously excited.

'To a nice working blackish-brownish colour, with a little purple
in it, and touches of slaty-blue. It will be the very thing for
hiding in hollows and behind trees.'

So he changed his skin then and there, and the Leopard was more
excited than ever; he had never seen a man change his skin
before.

'But what about me?' he said, when the Ethiopian had worked his
last little finger into his fine new black skin.

'You take Baviaan's advice too. He told you to go into spots.'

'So I did,' said the Leopard. I went into other spots as fast as
I could. I went into this spot with you, and a lot of good it
has done me.'

'Oh,' said the Ethiopian, 'Baviaan didn't mean spots in South
Africa. He meant spots on your skin.'

'What's the use of that?' said the Leopard.

'Think of Giraffe,' said the Ethiopian. 'Or if you prefer
stripes, think of Zebra. They find their spots and stripes give
them per-feet satisfaction.'

'Umm,' said the Leopard. 'I wouldn't look like Zebra--not for
ever so.'

'Well, make up your mind,' said the Ethiopian, 'because I'd hate
to go hunting without you, but I must if you insist on looking
like a sun-flower against a tarred fence.'

'I'll take spots, then,' said the Leopard; 'but don't make 'em
too vulgar-big. I wouldn't look like Giraffe--not for ever so.'

'I'll make 'em with the tips of my fingers,' said the Ethiopian.
'There's plenty of black left on my skin still. Stand over!'

Then the Ethiopian put his five fingers close together (there was
plenty of black left on his new skin still) and pressed them all
over the Leopard, and wherever the five fingers touched they left
five little black marks, all close together. You can see them
on any Leopard's skin you like, Best Beloved. Sometimes the
fingers slipped and the marks got a little blurred; but if you
look closely at any Leopard now you will see that there are
always five spots--off five fat black finger-tips.

'Now you are a beauty!' said the Ethiopian. 'You can lie out on
the bare ground and look like a heap of pebbles. You can lie out
on the naked rocks and look like a piece of pudding-stone. You
can lie out on a leafy branch and look like sunshine sifting
through the leaves; and you can lie right across the centre of a
path and look like nothing in particular. Think of that and
purr!'

'But if I'm all this,' said the Leopard, 'why didn't you go
spotty too?'

'Oh, plain black's best for a nigger,' said the Ethiopian. 'Now
come along and we'll see if we can't get even with Mr. One-Two-
Three-Where's-your-Breakfast!'

So they went away and lived happily ever afterward, Best Beloved.
That is all.

Oh, now and then you will hear grown-ups say, 'Can the Ethiopian
change his skin or the Leopard his spots?' I don't think even
grown-ups would keep on saying such a silly thing if the Leopard
and the Ethiopian hadn't done it once--do you? But they will
never do it again, Best Beloved. They are quite contented as
they are.

I AM the Most Wise Baviaan, saying in most wise tones,
'Let us melt into the landscape--just us two by our lones.'
People have come--in a carriage--calling. But Mummy is there....
Yes, I can go if you take me--Nurse says she don't care.
Let's go up to the pig-sties and sit on the farmyard rails!
Let's say things to the bunnies, and watch 'em skitter their tails!
Let's--oh, anything, daddy, so long as it's you and me,
And going truly exploring, and not being in till tea!
Here's your boots (I've brought 'em), and here's your cap and stick,
And here's your pipe and tobacco. Oh, come along out of it --quick.

THE ELEPHANT'S CHILD

IN the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had
no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot,
that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he couldn't
pick up things with it. But there was one Elephant--a new
Elephant--an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable
curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions. And
he lived in Africa, and he filled all Africa with his 'satiable
curtiosities. He asked his tall aunt, the Ostrich, why her
tail-feathers grew just so, and his tall aunt the Ostrich spanked
him with her hard, hard claw. He asked his tall uncle, the
Giraffe, what made his skin spotty, and his tall uncle, the
Giraffe, spanked him with his hard, hard hoof. And still he was
full of 'satiable curtiosity! He asked his broad aunt, the
Hippopotamus, why her eyes were red, and his broad aunt, the
Hippopotamus, spanked him with her broad, broad
hoof; and he asked his hairy uncle, the Baboon, why melons tasted
just so, and his hairy uncle, the Baboon, spanked him with his
hairy, hairy paw. And still he was full of 'satiable curtiosity!
He asked questions about everything that he saw, or heard, or
felt, or smelt, or touched, and all his uncles and his aunts
spanked him. And still he was full of 'satiable curtiosity!

One fine morning in the middle of the Precession of the Equinoxes
this 'satiable Elephant's Child asked a new fine question that he
had never asked before. He asked, 'What does the Crocodile have
for dinner?' Then everybody said, 'Hush!' in a loud and dretful
tone, and they spanked him immediately and directly, without
stopping, for a long time.

By and by, when that was finished, he came upon Kolokolo Bird
sitting in the middle of a wait-a-bit thorn-bush, and he said,
'My father has spanked me, and my mother has spanked me; all my
aunts and uncles have spanked me for my 'satiable curtiosity; and
still I want to know what the Crocodile has for dinner!'

Then Kolokolo Bird said, with a mournful cry, 'Go to the banks of
the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with
fever-trees, and find out.'

That very next morning, when there was nothing left of the
Equinoxes, because the Precession had preceded according to
precedent, this 'satiable Elephant's Child took a hundred pounds
of bananas (the little short red kind), and a hundred pounds of
sugar-cane (the long purple kind), and seventeen melons (the
greeny-crackly kind), and said to all his dear families,
'Goodbye. I am going to the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo
River, all set about with fever-trees, to find out what the
Crocodile has for dinner.' And they all spanked him once more
for luck, though he asked them most politely to stop.

Then he went away, a little warm, but not at all astonished,
eating melons, and throwing the rind about, because he could not
pick it up.

He went from Graham's Town to Kimberley, and from Kimberley to
Khama's Country, and from Khama's Country he went east by north,
eating melons all the time, till at last he came to the banks of
the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with
fever-trees, precisely as Kolokolo Bird had said.

Now you must know and understand, O Best Beloved, that till that
very week, and day, and hour, and minute, this 'satiable
Elephant's Child had never seen a Crocodile, and did not know
what one was like. It was all his 'satiable curtiosity.

The first thing that he found was a Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake
curled round a rock.

''Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child most politely, 'but have
you seen such a thing as a Crocodile in these promiscuous parts?'

'Have I seen a Crocodile?' said the
Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, in a voice of dretful scorn. 'What
will you ask me next?'

''Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child, 'but could you kindly
tell me what he has for dinner?'

Then the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake uncoiled himself very
quickly from the rock, and spanked the Elephant's Child with his
scalesome, flailsome tail.

'That is odd,' said the Elephant's Child, 'because my father and
my mother, and my uncle and my aunt, not to mention my other
aunt, the Hippopotamus, and my other uncle, the Baboon, have all
spanked me for my 'satiable curtiosity--and I suppose this is the
same thing.

So he said good-bye very politely to the
Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, and helped to coil him up on the
rock again, and went on, a little warm, but not at all
astonished, eating melons, and throwing the rind about, because
he could not pick it up, till he trod on what he thought was a
log of wood at the very edge of the great grey-green, greasy
Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees.

But it was really the Crocodile, O Best Beloved, and the
Crocodile winked one eye--like this!

''Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child most politely, 'but do you
happen to have seen a Crocodile in these promiscuous parts?'

Then the Crocodile winked the other eye, and lifted half his tail
out of the mud; and the Elephant's Child stepped back most
politely, because he did not wish to be spanked again.

'Come hither, Little One,' said the Crocodile. 'Why do you ask
such things?'

''Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child most politely, 'but my
father has spanked me, my mother has spanked me, not to mention
my tall aunt, the Ostrich, and my tall uncle, the Giraffe, who
can kick ever so hard, as well as my broad aunt, the
Hippopotamus, and my hairy uncle, the Baboon, and including the
Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, with the scalesome, flailsome
tail, just up the bank, who spanks harder than any of them; and
so, if it's quite all the same to you, I don't want to be spanked
any more.'

'Come hither, Little One,' said the Crocodile, 'for I am the
Crocodile,' and he wept crocodile-tears to show it was quite
true.

Then the Elephant's Child grew all breathless, and panted, and
kneeled down on the bank and said, 'You are the very person I
have been looking for all these long days. Will you please tell
me what you have for dinner?'

'Come hither, Little One,' said the Crocodile, 'and I'll
whisper.'

Then the Elephant's Child put his head down close to the
Crocodile's musky, tusky mouth, and the Crocodile caught him by
his little nose, which up to that very week, day, hour, and
minute, had been no bigger than a boot, though much more useful.

'I think, said the Crocodile--and he said it between his teeth,
like this--'I think to-day I will begin with Elephant's Child!'

At this, O Best Beloved, the Elephant's Child was much annoyed,
and he said, speaking through his nose, like this, 'Led go! You
are hurtig be!'

Then the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake scuffled down from the
bank and said, 'My young friend, if you do not now, immediately
and instantly, pull as hard as ever you can, it is my opinion
that your acquaintance in the large-pattern leather ulster' (and
by this he meant the Crocodile) 'will jerk you into yonder limpid
stream before you can say Jack Robinson.'

This is the way Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snakes always talk.

Then the Elephant's Child sat back on his little haunches, and
pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and his nose began to stretch.
And the Crocodile floundered into the water, making it all creamy
with great sweeps of his tail, and he pulled, and pulled, and
pulled.

And the Elephant's Child's nose kept on stretching; and the
Elephant's Child spread all his little four legs and pulled, and
pulled, and pulled, and his nose kept on stretching; and
the Crocodile threshed his tail like an oar, and he pulled, and
pulled, and pulled, and at each pull the Elephant's Child's nose
grew longer and longer--and it hurt him hijjus!

Then the Elephant's Child felt his legs slipping, and he said
through his nose, which was now nearly five feet long, 'This is
too butch for be!'

Then the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake came down from the bank,
and knotted himself in a double-clove-hitch round the Elephant's
Child's hind legs, and said, 'Rash and inexperienced traveller,
we will now seriously devote ourselves to a little high tension,
because if we do not, it is my impression that yonder
self-propelling man-of-war with the armour-plated upper deck'
(and by this, O Best Beloved, he meant the Crocodile), 'will
permanently vitiate your future career.

That is the way all Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snakes always talk.

So he pulled, and the Elephant's Child pulled, and the Crocodile
pulled; but the Elephant's Child and the
Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake pulled hardest; and at last the
Crocodile let go of the Elephant's Child's nose with a plop that
you could hear all up and down the Limpopo.

Then the Elephant's Child sat down most hard and sudden; but
first he was careful to say 'Thank you' to the
Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake; and next he was kind to his poor
pulled nose, and wrapped it all up in cool banana
leaves, and hung it in the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo to
cool.

'What are you doing that for?' said the
Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake.

''Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child, 'but my nose is badly out
of shape, and I am waiting for it to shrink.

'Then you will have to wait a long time, said the
Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. 'Some people do not know what is
good for them.'

The Elephant's Child sat there for three days waiting for his
nose to shrink. But it never grew any shorter, and, besides, it
made him squint. For, O Best Beloved, you will see and
understand that the Crocodile had pulled it out into a really
truly trunk same as all Elephants have to-day.

At the end of the third day a fly came and stung him on the
shoulder, and before he knew what he was doing he lifted up his
trunk and hit that fly dead with the end of it.

''Vantage number one!' said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake.
'You couldn't have done that with a mere-smear nose. Try and eat
a little now.'

Before he thought what he was doing the Elephant's Child put out
his trunk and plucked a large bundle of grass, dusted it clean
against his fore-legs, and stuffed it into his own mouth.

'Vantage number two!' said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake.
'You couldn't have done that with a mear-smear nose. Don't you
think the sun is very hot here?'

'It is,' said the Elephant's Child, and before he thought what he
was doing he schlooped up a schloop of mud from the banks of the
great grey-green, greasy Limpopo, and slapped it on his head,
where it made a cool schloopy-sloshy mud-cap all trickly behind
his ears.

'Vantage number three!' said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake.
'You couldn't have done that with a mere-smear nose. Now how do
you feel about being spanked again?'

''Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child, 'but I should not like it
at all.'

'How would you like to spank somebody?' said the Bi-
Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake.

'I should like it very much indeed,' said the Elephant's Child.

'Well,' said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, 'you will find
that new nose of yours very useful to spank people with.'

'Thank you,' said the Elephant's Child, 'I'll remember that; and
now I think I'll go home to all my dear families and try.'

So the Elephant's Child went home across Africa frisking and
whisking his trunk. When he wanted fruit to eat he pulled fruit
down from a tree, instead of waiting for it to fall as he used to
do. When he wanted grass he plucked grass up from the ground,
instead of going on his knees as he used to do. When the flies
bit him he broke off the branch of a tree and used it as
fly-whisk; and he made himself a new, cool, slushy-squshy mud-cap
whenever the sun was hot. When he felt lonely walking through
Africa he sang to himself down his trunk, and the noise was
louder than several brass bands.

He went especially out of his way to find a broad Hippopotamus
(she was no relation of his), and he spanked her very hard, to
make sure that the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake had spoken the
truth about his new trunk. The rest of the time he picked up the
melon rinds that he had dropped on his way to the
Limpopo--for he was a Tidy Pachyderm.

One dark evening he came back to all his dear families, and he
coiled up his trunk and said, 'How do you do?' They were very
glad to see him, and immediately said, 'Come here and be spanked
for your 'satiable curtiosity.'

'Pooh,' said the Elephant's Child. 'I don't think you peoples
know anything about spanking; but I do, and I'll show you.' Then
he uncurled his trunk and knocked two of his dear brothers head
over heels.

'O Bananas!' said they, 'where did you learn that trick, and what
have you done to your nose?'

'I got a new one from the Crocodile on the banks of the great
grey-green, greasy Limpopo River,' said the Elephant's Child. 'I
asked him what he had for dinner, and he gave me this to keep.'

'It looks very ugly,' said his hairy uncle, the Baboon.

'It does,' said the Elephant's Child. 'But it's very useful,' and
he picked up his hairy uncle, the Baboon, by one hairy leg, and
hove him into a hornet's nest.

Then that bad Elephant's Child spanked all his dear families for
a long time, till they were very warm and greatly astonished. He
pulled out his tall Ostrich aunt's tail-feathers; and he caught
his tall uncle, the Giraffe, by the hind-leg, and dragged him
through a thorn-bush; and he shouted at his broad aunt, the
Hippopotamus, and blew bubbles into her ear when she was sleeping
in the water after meals; but he never let any one touch Kolokolo
Bird.

At last things grew so exciting that his dear families went off
one by one in a hurry to the banks of the great grey-green,
greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to borrow
new noses from the Crocodile. When they came back nobody spanked
anybody any more; and ever since that day, O Best Beloved, all
the Elephants you will ever see, besides all those that you
won't, have trunks precisely like the trunk of the 'satiable
Elephant's Child.

I Keep six honest serving-men:
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five.
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men:
But different folk have different views:
I know a person small--
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!
She sends 'em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes--
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!

THE SING-SONG OF OLD MAN KANGAROO

NOT always was the Kangaroo as now we do behold him, but a
Different Animal with four short legs. He was grey and he was
woolly, and his pride was inordinate: he danced on an outcrop in
the middle of Australia, and he went to the Little God Nqa.

He went to Nqa at six before breakfast, saying, 'Make me
different from all other animals by five this afternoon.'

Up jumped Nqa from his seat on the sandflat and shouted, 'Go
away!'

He was grey and he was woolly, and his pride was inordinate: he
danced on a rock-ledge in the middle of Australia, and he went to
the Middle God Nquing.

He went to Nquing at eight after breakfast, saying, ' Make me
different from all other animals; make me, also, wonderfully
popular by five this afternoon.'

Up jumped Nquing from his burrow in the spinifex and shouted, 'Go
away!'

He was grey and he was woolly, and his pride was inordinate: he
danced on a sandbank in the middle of Australia, and he went to
the Big God Nqong.

He went to Nqong at ten before dinner-time, saying, 'Make me
different from all other animals; make me popular and wonderfully
run after by five this afternoon.'

Up jumped Nqong from his bath in the salt-pan and shouted, 'Yes,
I will!'

Nqong called Dingo--Yellow-Dog Dingo--always hungry, dusty in the
sunshine, and showed him Kangaroo. Nqong said, 'Dingo! Wake up,
Dingo! Do you see that gentleman dancing on an ashpit? He wants
to be popular and very truly run after. Dingo, make him SO!'

Up jumped Dingo--Yellow-Dog Dingo--and said, 'What, that
cat-rabbit?'

Off ran Dingo--Yellow-Dog Dingo--always hungry, grinning like a
coal-scuttle,--ran after Kangaroo.

Off went the proud Kangaroo on his four little legs like a bunny.

This, O Beloved of mine, ends the first part of the tale!

He ran through the desert; he ran through the mountains; he ran
through the salt-pans; he ran through the reed-beds; he ran
through the blue gums; he ran through the spinifex; he ran till
his front legs ached.

He had to!

Still ran Dingo--Yellow-Dog Dingo--always hungry, grinning like a
rat-trap, never getting nearer, never getting farther,--ran after
Kangaroo.

He had to!

Still ran Kangaroo--Old Man Kangaroo. He ran through the
ti-trees; he ran through the mulga; he ran through the long
grass; he ran through the short grass; he ran through the Tropics
of Capricorn and Cancer; he ran till his hind legs ached.

He had to!

Still ran Dingo--Yellow-Dog Dingo--hungrier and hungrier,
grinning like a horse-collar, never getting nearer, never getting
farther; and they came to the Wollgong River.

Now, there wasn't any bridge, and there wasn't any ferry-boat,
and Kangaroo didn't know how to get over; so he stood on his legs
and hopped.

He had to!

He hopped through the Flinders; he hopped through the Cinders; he
hopped through the deserts in the middle of Australia. He hopped
like a Kangaroo.

First he hopped one yard; then he hopped three yards; then he
hopped five yards; his legs growing stronger; his legs growing
longer. He hadn't any time for rest or refreshment, and he wanted
them very much.

Still ran Dingo--Yellow-Dog Dingo--very much bewildered, very
much hungry, and wondering what in the world or out of it made
Old Man Kangaroo hop.

For he hopped like a cricket; like a pea in a saucepan; or a new
rubber ball on a nursery floor.

He had to!

He tucked up his front legs; he hopped on his hind legs; he stuck
out his tail for a balance-weight behind him; and he hopped
through the Darling Downs.

He had to!

Still ran Dingo--Tired-Dog Dingo--hungrier and hungrier, very
much bewildered, and wondering when in the world or out of it
would Old Man Kangaroo stop.

Then came Nqong from his bath in the salt-pans, and said, 'It's
five o'clock.'

Down sat Dingo--Poor Dog Dingo--always hungry, dusky in the
sunshine; hung out his tongue and howled.

Down sat Kangaroo--Old Man Kangaroo--stuck out his tail like a
milking-stool behind him, and said, 'Thank goodness that's
finished!'

Then said Nqong, who is always a gentleman, 'Why aren't you
grateful to Yellow-Dog Dingo? Why don't you thank him for all he
has done for you?'

Then said Kangaroo--Tired Old Kangaroo--He's chased me out of the
homes of my childhood; he's chased me out of my regular
meal-times; he's altered my shape so I'll never get it back; and
he's played Old Scratch with my legs.'

Then said Nqong, 'Perhaps I'm mistaken, but didn't you ask me to
make you different from all other animals, as well as to make you
very truly sought after? And now it is five o'clock.'

'Yes,' said Kangaroo. 'I wish that I hadn't. I thought you would
do it by charms and incantations, but this is a practical joke.'

'Joke!' said Nqong from his bath in the blue gums. 'Say that
again and I'll whistle up Dingo and run your hind legs off.'

'No,' said the Kangaroo. 'I must apologise. Legs are legs, and
you needn't alter 'em so far as I am concerned. I only meant to
explain to Your Lordliness that I've had nothing to eat since
morning, and I'm very empty indeed.'

'Yes,' said Dingo--Yellow-Dog Dingo,--'I am just in the same
situation. I've made him different from all other animals;
but what may I have for my tea?'

Then said Nqong from his bath in the salt-pan, 'Come and ask me
about it tomorrow, because I'm going to wash.'

So they were left in the middle of Australia, Old Man Kangaroo
and Yellow-Dog Dingo, and each said, 'That's your fault.'

THIS is the mouth-filling song
Of the race that was run by a Boomer,
Run in a single burst--only event of its kind--
Started by big God Nqong from Warrigaborrigarooma,
Old Man Kangaroo first: Yellow-Dog Dingo behind.

Kangaroo bounded away,
His back-legs working like pistons--
Bounded from morning till dark,
Twenty-five feet to a bound.
Yellow-Dog Dingo lay
Like a yellow cloud in the distance--
Much too busy to bark.
My! but they covered the ground!

Nobody knows where they went,
Or followed the track that they flew in,
For that Continent
Hadn't been given a name.
They ran thirty degrees,
From Torres Straits to the Leeuwin
(Look at the Atlas, please),
And they ran back as they came.

S'posing you could trot
From Adelaide to the Pacific,
For an afternoon's run
Half what these gentlemen did
You would feel rather hot,
But your legs would develop terrific--
Yes, my importunate son,
You'd be a Marvellous Kid!

THE BEGINNING OF THE ARMADILLOS

THIS, O Best Beloved, is another story of the High and
Far-Off Times. In the very middle of those times was a Stickly-
Prickly Hedgehog, and he lived on the banks of the turbid Amazon,
eating shelly snails and things. And he had a friend, a Slow-
Solid Tortoise, who lived on the banks of the turbid Amazon,
eating green lettuces and things. And so that was all right,
Best Beloved. Do you see?

But also, and at the same time, in those High and Far-Off Times,
there was a Painted Jaguar, and he lived on the banks of the
turbid Amazon too; and he ate everything that he could catch.
When he could not catch deer or monkeys he would eat frogs and
beetles; and when he could not catch frogs and beetles he went to
his Mother Jaguar, and she told him how to eat hedgehogs and
tortoises.

She said to him ever so many times, graciously waving her tail,
'My son, when you find a Hedgehog you must drop him into the
water and then he will uncoil, and when you catch a Tortoise you
must scoop him out of his shell with your paw.' And so that was
all right, Best Beloved.

One beautiful night on the banks of the turbid Amazon, Painted
Jaguar found Stickly-Prickly Hedgehog and Slow-Solid Tortoise
sitting under the trunk of a fallen tree. They could not run
away, and so Stickly-Prickly curled himself up into a ball,
because he was a Hedgehog, and Slow-Solid Tortoise drew in his
head and feet into his shell as far as they would go, because he
was a Tortoise; and so that was all right, Best Beloved. Do you
see?

'Now attend to me,' said Painted Jaguar, 'because this is very
important. My mother said that when I meet a Hedgehog I am to
drop him into the water and then he will uncoil, and when I meet
a Tortoise I am to scoop him out of his shell with my paw. Now
which of you is Hedgehog and which is Tortoise? because, to save
my spots, I can't tell.'

'Are you sure of what your Mummy told you?' said Stickly-Prickly
Hedgehog. 'Are you quite sure? Perhaps she said that when you
uncoil a Tortoise you must shell him out the water with a scoop,
and when you paw a Hedgehog you must drop him on the shell.'

'Are you sure of what your Mummy told you?' said Slow-and-Solid
Tortoise. 'Are you quite sure? Perhaps she said that when you
water a Hedgehog you must drop him into your paw, and when you
meet a Tortoise you must shell him till he uncoils.'

'I don't think it was at all like that,' said Painted Jaguar, but
he felt a little puzzled; 'but, please, say it again more
distinctly.'

'When you scoop water with your paw you uncoil it with a
Hedgehog,' said Stickly-Prickly. 'Remember that, because it's
important.'

'But,' said the Tortoise, 'when you paw your meat you drop it
into a Tortoise with a scoop. Why can't you understand?'

'You are making my spots ache,' said Painted Jaguar; 'and
besides, I didn't want your advice at all. I only wanted to know
which of you is Hedgehog and which is Tortoise.'

'I shan't tell you,' said Stickly-Prickly. 'but you can scoop me
out of my shell if you like.'

'Aha!' said Painted Jaguar. 'Now I know you're Tortoise. You
thought I wouldn't! Now I will.' Painted Jaguar darted out his
paddy-paw just as Stickly-Prickly curled himself up, and of
course Jaguar's paddy-paw was just filled with prickles. Worse
than that, he knocked Stickly-Prickly away and away into the
woods and the bushes, where it was too dark to find him. Then he
put his paddy-paw into his mouth, and of course the prickles hurt
him worse than ever. As soon as he could speak he said, 'Now I
know he isn't Tortoise at all. But'--and then he scratched his
head with his un-prickly paw--'how do I know that this other is
Tortoise?'

'But I am Tortoise,' said Slow-and-Solid. Your mother was quite
right. She said that you were to scoop me out of my shell with
your paw. Begin.'

'You didn't say she said that a minute ago, said Painted Jaguar,
sucking the prickles out of his paddy-paw. 'You said she said
something quite different.'

'Well, suppose you say that I said that she said something quite
different, I don't see that it makes any difference; because if
she said what you said I said she said, it's just the same as if
I said what she said she said. On the other hand, if you think
she said that you were to uncoil me with a scoop, instead of
pawing me into drops with a shell, I can't help that, can I?'

'But you said you wanted to be scooped out of your shell with my
paw,' said Painted Jaguar.

'If you'll think again you'll find that I didn't say anything of
the kind. I said that your mother said that you were to scoop me
out of my shell,' said Slow-and-Solid.

'What will happen if I do?' said the Jaguar most sniffily and
most cautious.

'I don't know, because I've never been scooped out of my shell
before; but I tell you truly, if you want to see me swim away
you've only got to drop me into the water.

'I don't believe it,' said Painted Jaguar. 'You've mixed up all
the things my mother told me to do with the things that you asked
me whether I was sure that she didn't say, till I don't know
whether I'm on my head or my painted tail; and now you come and
tell me something I can understand, and it makes me more mixy
than before. My mother told me that I was to drop one of you two
into the water, and as you seem so anxious to be dropped I think
you don't want to be dropped. So jump into the turbid Amazon and
be quick about it.'

'I warn you that your Mummy won't be pleased. Don't tell her I
didn't tell you,' said Slow-Solid.

'If you say another word about what my mother said--' the Jaguar
answered, but he had not finished the sentence before
Slow-and-Solid quietly dived into the turbid Amazon, swam under
water for a long way, and came out on the bank where
Stickly-Prickly was waiting for him.

'That was a very narrow escape,' said Stickly-Prickly. 'I don't
rib Painted Jaguar. What did you tell him that you were?'

'I told him truthfully that I was a truthful Tortoise, but he
wouldn't believe it, and he made me jump into the river to see if
I was, and I was, and he is surprised. Now he's gone to tell his
Mummy. Listen to him!'

They could hear Painted Jaguar roaring up and down among the
trees and the bushes by the side of the turbid Amazon, till his
Mummy came.

'Son, son!' said his mother ever so many times, graciously waving
her tail, 'what have you been doing that you shouldn't have
done?'

'I tried to scoop something that said it wanted to be scooped out
of its shell with my paw, and my paw is full of per-ickles,' said
Painted Jaguar.

'Son, son!' said his mother ever so many times, graciously waving
her tail, 'by the prickles in your paddy-paw I see that that must
have been a Hedgehog. You should have dropped him into the water.

'I did that to the other thing; and he said he was a Tortoise,
and I didn't believe him, and it was quite true, and he has dived
under the turbid Amazon, and he won't come up again, and I
haven't anything at all to eat, and I think we had better find
lodgings somewhere else. They are too clever on the turbid Amazon
for poor me!'

'Son, son!' said his mother ever so many times, graciously waving
her tail, 'now attend to me and remember what I say. A Hedgehog
curls himself up into a ball and his prickles stick out every
which way at once. By this you may know the Hedgehog.'

'I don't like this old lady one little bit,' said
Stickly-Prickly, under the shadow of a large leaf. 'I wonder
what else she knows?'

'A Tortoise can't curl himself up,' Mother Jaguar went on, ever
so many times, graciously waving her tail. 'He only draws his
head and legs into his shell. By this you may know the tortoise.'

'I don't like this old lady at all--at all,' said Slow-and-Solid
Tortoise. 'Even Painted Jaguar can't forget those directions.
It's a great pity that you can't swim, Stickly-Prickly.'

'Don't talk to me,' said Stickly-Prickly. 'Just think how much
better it would be if you could curl up. This is a mess! Listen
to Painted Jaguar.'

Painted Jaguar was sitting on the banks of the turbid Amazon
sucking prickles out of his Paws and saying to himself--

'Can't curl, but can swim--
Slow-Solid, that's him!
Curls up, but can't swim--
Stickly-Prickly, that's him!'

'He'll never forget that this month of Sundays,' said
Stickly-Prickly. 'Hold up my chin, Slow-and-Solid. I'm going to
try to learn to swim. It may be useful.'

'Excellent!' said Slow-and-Solid; and he held up
Stickly-Prickly's chin, while Stickly-Prickly kicked in the
waters of the turbid Amazon.

'You'll make a fine swimmer yet,' said Slow-and-Solid. 'Now, if
you can unlace my back-plates a little, I'll see what I can do
towards curling up. It may be useful.'

Stickly-Prickly helped to unlace Tortoise's back-plates, so that
by twisting and straining Slow-and-Solid actually managed to curl
up a tiddy wee bit.

'Excellent!' said Stickly-Prickly; 'but I shouldn't do any more
just now. It's making you black in the face. Kindly lead me into
the water once again and I'll practice that side-stroke which you
say is so easy.' And so Stickly-Prickly practiced, and Slow-Solid
swam alongside.

'Excellent!' said Slow-and-Solid. 'A little more practice will
make you a regular whale. Now, if I may trouble you to unlace my
back and front plates two holes more, I'll try that fascinating
bend that you say is so easy. Won't Painted Jaguar be surprised!'

'Excellent!' said Stickly-Prickly, all wet from the turbid
Amazon. 'I declare, I shouldn't know you from one of my own
family. Two holes, I think, you said? A little more expression,
please, and don't grunt quite so much, or Painted Jaguar may hear
us. When you've finished, I want to try that long dive which you
say is so easy. Won't Painted Jaguar be surprised!'

And so Stickly-Prickly dived, and Slow-and-Solid dived alongside.

'Excellent!' said Slow-and-Solid. 'A leetle more attention to
holding your breath and you will be able to keep house at the
bottom of the turbid Amazon. Now I'll try that exercise of
putting my hind legs round my ears which you say is so peculiarly
comfortable. Won't Painted Jaguar be surprised!'

'Excellent!' said Stickly-Prickly. 'But it's straining your
back-plates a little. They are all overlapping now, instead of
lying side by side.'

'Oh, that's the result of exercise,' said Slow-and-Solid. 'I've
noticed that your prickles seem to be melting into one another,
and that you're growing to look rather more like a pinecone, and
less like a chestnut-burr, than you used to.'

'Am I?' said Stickly-Prickly. 'That comes from my soaking in the
water. Oh, won't Painted Jaguar be surprised!'

They went on with their exercises, each helping the other, till
morning came; and when the sun was high they rested and dried
themselves. Then they saw that they were both of them quite
different from what they had been.

'Stickly-Prickly,' said Tortoise after breakfast, 'I am not what
I was yesterday; but I think that I may yet amuse Painted Jaguar.

'That was the very thing I was thinking just now,' said Stickly-
Prickly. 'I think scales are a tremendous improvement on
prickles--to say nothing of being able to swim. Oh, won't Painted
Jaguar be surprised! Let's go and find him.'

By and by they found Painted Jaguar, still nursing his paddy-paw
that had been hurt the night before. He was so astonished that he
fell three times backward over his own painted tail without
stopping.

'Good morning!' said Stickly-Prickly. 'And how is your dear
gracious Mummy this morning?'

'She is quite well, thank you,' said Painted Jaguar; 'but you
must forgive me if I do not at this precise moment recall your
name.'

'That's unkind of you,' said Stickly-Prickly, 'seeing that this
time yesterday you tried to scoop me out of my shell with your
paw.'

'But you hadn't any shell. It was all prickles,' said Painted
Jaguar. 'I know it was. Just look at my paw!'

'You told me to drop into the turbid Amazon and be drowned,' said
Slow-Solid. 'Why are you so rude and forgetful to-day?'

'Don't you remember what your mother told you?' said Stickly-
Prickly,--

'Can't curl, but can swim--
Stickly-Prickly, that's him!
Curls up, but can't swim--
Slow-Solid, that's him!'

Then they both curled themselves up and rolled round and round
Painted Jaguar till his eyes turned truly cart-wheels in his
head.

Then he went to fetch his mother.

'Mother,' he said, 'there are two new animals in the woods to-
day, and the one that you said couldn't swim, swims, and the one
that you said couldn't curl up, curls; and they've gone shares in
their prickles, I think, because both of them are scaly all over,
instead of one being smooth and the other very prickly; and,
besides that, they are rolling round and round in circles, and I
don't feel comfy.'

'Son, son!' said Mother Jaguar ever so many times, graciously
waving her tail, 'a Hedgehog is a Hedgehog, and can't be anything
but a Hedgehog; and a Tortoise is a Tortoise, and can never be
anything else.'

'But it isn't a Hedgehog, and it isn't a Tortoise. It's a little
bit of both, and I don't know its proper name.'

'Nonsense!' said Mother Jaguar. 'Everything has its proper name.
I should call it "Armadillo" till I found out the real one. And I
should leave it alone.'

So Painted Jaguar did as he was told, especially about leaving
them alone; but the curious thing is that from that day to this,
O Best Beloved, no one on the banks of the turbid Amazon has ever
called Stickly-Prickly and Slow-Solid anything except Armadillo.
There are Hedgehogs and Tortoises in other places, of course
(there are some in my garden); but the real old and clever kind,
with their scales lying lippety-lappety one over the other, like
pine-cone scales, that lived on the banks of the turbid Amazon in
the High and Far-Off Days, are always called Armadillos, because
they were so clever.

So that; all right, Best Beloved. Do you see?

I'VE never sailed the Amazon,
I've never reached Brazil;
But the Don and Magdelana,
They can go there when they will!

Yes, weekly from Southampton,
Great steamers, white and gold,
Go rolling down to Rio
(Roll down--roll down to Rio!)
And I'd like to roll to Rio
Some day before I'm old!

I've never seen a Jaguar,
Nor yet an Armadill
O dilloing in his armour,
And I s'pose I never will,

Unless I go to Rio
These wonders to behold--
Roll down--roll down to Rio--
Roll really down to Rio!
Oh, I'd love to roll to Rio
Some day before I'm old!

HOW THE FIRST LETTER WAS WRITTEN

ONCE upon a most early time was a Neolithic man. He was not a
Jute or an Angle, or even a Dravidian, which he might well have
been, Best Beloved, but never mind why. He was a Primitive, and
he lived cavily in a Cave, and he wore very few clothes, and he
couldn't read and he couldn't write and he didn't want to, and
except when he was hungry he was quite happy. His name was
Tegumai Bopsulai, and that means, 'Man-who-does-not-put-his-foot-
forward-in-a-hurry'; but we, O Best Beloved, will call him
Tegumai, for short. And his wife's name was Teshumai Tewindrow,
and that means, 'Lady-who-asks-a-very-many-questions'; but we, O
Best Beloved, will call her Teshumai, for short. And his little
girl-daughter's name was Taffimai Metallumai, and that means,
'Small-person-without-any-manners-who-ought-to-be-spanked'; but
I'm going to call her Taffy. And she was Tegumai Bopsulai's Best
Beloved and her own Mummy's Best Beloved, and she was not spanked
half as much as was good for her; and they were all three very
happy. As soon as Taffy could run about she went everywhere with
her Daddy Tegumai, and sometimes they would not come home to the
Cave till they were hungry, and then Teshumai Tewindrow would
say, 'Where in the world have you two been to, to get so shocking
dirty? Really, my Tegumai, you're no better than my Taffy.'

Now attend and listen!

One day Tegumai Bopsulai went down through the beaver-swamp to
the Wagai river to spear carp-fish for dinner, and Taffy went
too. Tegumai's spear was made of wood with shark's teeth at the
end, and before he had caught any fish at all he accidentally
broke it clean across by jabbing it down too hard on the bottom
of the river. They were miles and miles from home (of course they
had their lunch with them in a little bag), and Tegumai had
forgotten to bring any extra spears.

'Here's a pretty kettle of fish!' said Tegumai. 'It will take me
half the day to mend this.'

'There's your big black spear at home,' said Taffy. 'Let me run
back to the Cave and ask Mummy to give it me.'

'It's too far for your little fat legs,' said Tegumai. 'Besides,
you might fall into the beaver-swamp and be drowned. We must make
the best of a bad job.' He sat down and took out a little leather
mendy-bag, full of reindeer-sinews and strips of leather, and
lumps of bee's-wax and resin, and began to mend the spear.

Taffy sat down too, with her toes in the water and her chin in
her hand, and thought very hard. Then she said--'I say, Daddy,
it's an awful nuisance that you and I don't know how to write,
isn't it? If we did we could send a message for the new spear.'

'Taffy,' said Tegumai, 'how often have I told you not to use
slang? "Awful" isn't a pretty word, but it could be a
convenience, now you mention it, if we could write home.'

Just then a Stranger-man came along the river, but he belonged to
a far tribe, the Tewaras, and he did not understand one word of
Tegumai's language. He stood on the bank and smiled at Taffy,
because he had a little girl-daughter Of his own at home. Tegumai
drew a hank of deer-sinews from his mendy-bag and began to mend
his spear.

'Come here, said Taffy. 'Do you know where my Mummy lives?' And
the Stranger-man said 'Um!' being, as you know, a Tewara.

'Silly!' said Taffy, and she stamped her foot, because she saw a
shoal of very big carp going up the river just when her Daddy
couldn't use his spear.

'Don't bother grown-ups,' said Tegumai, so busy with his
spear-mending that he did not turn round.

'I aren't, said Taffy. 'I only want him to do what I want him to
do, and he won't understand.'

'Then don't bother me, said Tegumai, and he went on pulling and
straining at the deer-sinews with his mouth full of loose ends.
The Stranger-man--a genuine Tewara he was--sat down on the grass,
and Taffy showed him what her Daddy was doing. The Stranger-man
thought, this is a very wonderful child. She stamps her foot at
me and she makes faces. She must be the daughter of that noble
Chief who is so great that he won't take any notice of me.' So he
smiled more politely than ever.

'Now,' said Taffy, 'I want you to go to my Mummy, because your
legs are longer than mine, and you won't fall into the
beaver-swamp, and ask for Daddy's other spear--the one with the
black handle that hangs over our fireplace.'

The Stranger-man (and he was a Tewara) thought, 'This is a very,
very wonderful child. She waves her arms and she shouts at me,
but I don't understand a word of what she says. But if I don't do
what she wants, I greatly fear that that haughty Chief,
Man-who-turns-his-back-on-callers, will be angry.' He got up and
twisted a big flat piece of bark off a birch-tree and gave it to
Taffy. He did this, Best Beloved, to show that his heart was as
white as the birch-bark and that he meant no harm; but Taffy
didn't quite understand.

'Oh!' said she. 'Now I see! You want my Mummy's living-address?
Of course I can't write, but I can draw pictures if I've anything
sharp to scratch with. Please lend me the shark's tooth off your
necklace.'

The Stranger-man (and he was a Tewara) didn't say anything, So
Taffy put up her little hand and pulled at the beautiful bead and
seed and shark-tooth necklace round his neck.

The Stranger-man (and he was a Tewara) thought, 'This is a very,
very, very wonderful child. The shark's tooth on my necklace is a
magic shark's tooth, and I was always told that if anybody
touched it without my leave they would immediately swell up or
burst, but this child doesn't swell up or burst, and that
important Chief, Man-who-attends-strictly-to-his-business, who
has not yet taken any notice of me at all, doesn't seem to be
afraid that she will swell up or burst. I had better be more
polite.'

So he gave Taffy the shark's tooth, and she lay down flat on her
tummy with her legs in the air, like some people on the
drawing-room floor when they want to draw pictures, and she said,
'Now I'll draw you some beautiful pictures! You can look over my
shoulder, but you mustn't joggle. First I'll draw Daddy fishing.
It isn't very like him; but Mummy will know, because I've drawn
his spear all broken. Well, now I'll draw the other spear that he
wants, the black-handled spear. It looks as if it was sticking in
Daddy's back, but that's because the shark's tooth slipped and
this piece of bark isn't big enough. That's the spear I want you
to fetch; so I'll draw a picture of me myself 'splaining to
you. My hair doesn't stand up like I've drawn, but it's easier to
draw that way. Now I'll draw you. I think you're very nice
really, but I can't make you pretty in the picture, so you
mustn't be 'fended. Are you 'fended?'

The Stranger-man (and he was a Tewara) smiled. He thought, 'There
must be a big battle going to be fought somewhere, and this
extraordinary child, who takes my magic shark's tooth but who
does not swell up or burst, is telling me to call all the great
Chief's tribe to help him. He is a great Chief, or he would have
noticed me.

'Look,' said Taffy, drawing very hard and rather scratchily, 'now
I've drawn you, and I've put the spear that Daddy wants into your
hand, just to remind you that you're to bring it. Now I'll show
you how to find my Mummy's living-address. You go along till you
come to two trees (those are trees), and then you go over a hill
(that's a hill), and then you come into a beaver-swamp all full
of beavers. I haven't put in all the beavers, because I can't
draw beavers, but I've drawn their heads, and that's all you'll
see of them when you cross the swamp. Mind you don't fall in!
Then our Cave is just beyond the beaver-swamp. It isn't as high
as the hills really, but I can't draw things very small. That's
my Mummy outside. She is beautiful. She is the most beautifullest
Mummy there ever was, but she won't be 'fended when she sees I've
drawn her so plain. She'll be pleased of me because I can draw.
Now, in case you forget, I've drawn the spear that Daddy wants
outside our Cave. It's inside really, but you show the picture to
my Mummy and she'll give it you. I've made her holding up her
hands, because I know she'll be so pleased to see you. Isn't it a
beautiful picture? And do you quite understand, or shall I
'splain again?'

The Stranger-man (and he was a Tewara) looked at the picture and
nodded very hard. He said to himself,' If I do not fetch this
great Chief's tribe to help him, he will be slain by his enemies
who are coming up on all sides with spears. Now I see why the
great Chief pretended not to notice me! He feared that his
enemies were hiding in the bushes and would see him. Therefore he
turned to me his back, and let the wise and wonderful child draw
the terrible picture showing me his difficulties. I will away and
get help for him from his tribe.' He did not even ask Taffy the
road, but raced off into the bushes like the wind, with
the birch-bark in his hand, and Taffy sat down most pleased.

Now this is the picture that Taffy had drawn for him!

'What have you been doing, Taffy?' said Tegumai. He had mended
his spear and was carefully waving it to and fro.

'It's a little berangement of my own, Daddy dear,' said Taffy.
'If you won't ask me questions, you'll know all about it in a
little time, and you'll be surprised. You don't know how
surprised you'll be, Daddy! Promise you'll be surprised.'

'Very well,' said Tegumai, and went on fishing.

The Stranger-man--did you know he was a Tewara?--hurried away
with the picture and ran for some miles, till quite by accident
he found Teshumai Tewindrow at the door of her Cave, talking to
some other Neolithic ladies who had come in to a Primitive lunch.
Taffy was very like Teshumai, especially about the upper part of
the face and the eyes, so the Stranger-man--always a pure
Tewara--smiled politely and handed Teshumai the birch-bark. He
had run hard, so that he panted, and his legs were scratched with
brambles, but he still tried to be polite.

As soon as Teshumai saw the picture she screamed like anything
and flew at the Stranger-man. The other Neolithic ladies at once
knocked him down and sat on him in a long line of six, while
Teshumai pulled his hair.

'It's as plain as the nose on this Stranger-man's face,' she
said. 'He has stuck my Tegumai all full of spears, and frightened
poor Taffy so that her hair stands all on end; and not content
with that, he brings me a horrid picture of how it was done.
Look!' She showed the picture to all the Neolithic ladies sitting
patiently on the Stranger-man. 'Here is my Tegumai with his arm
broken; here is a spear sticking into his back; here is a man
with a spear ready to throw; here is another man throwing a spear
from a Cave, and here are a whole pack of people' (they were
Taffy's beavers really, but they did look rather like people)
'coming up behind Tegumai. Isn't it shocking!'

'Most shocking!' said the Neolithic ladies, and they filled the
Stranger-man's hair with mud (at which he was surprised), and
they beat upon the Reverberating Tribal Drums, and called
together all the chiefs of the Tribe of Tegumai, with their
Hetmans and Dolmans, all Neguses, Woons, and Akhoonds of the
organisation, in addition to the Warlocks, Angekoks, Juju-men,
Bonzes, and the rest, who decided that before they chopped the
Stranger-man's head off he should instantly lead them down to the
river and show them where he had hidden poor Taffy.

By this time the Stranger-man (in spite of being a Tewara) was
really annoyed. They had filled his hair quite solid with mud;
they had rolled him up and down on knobby pebbles; they had sat
upon him in a long line of six; they had thumped him and bumped
him till he could hardly breathe; and though he did not
understand their language, he was almost sure that the names the
Neolithic ladies called him were not ladylike. However, he said
nothing till all the Tribe of Tegumai were assembled, and then he
led them back to the bank of the Wagai river, and there they
found Taffy making daisy-chains, and Tegumai carefully spearing
small carp with his mended spear.

'Well, you have been quick!' said Taffy. 'But why did you bring
so many people? Daddy dear, this is my surprise. Are you
surprised, Daddy?'

'Very,' said Tegumai; 'but it has ruined all my fishing for the
day. Why, the whole dear, kind, nice, clean, quiet Tribe is here,
Taffy.'

And so they were. First of all walked Teshumai Tewindrow and the
Neolithic ladies, tightly holding on to the Stranger-man, whose
hair was full of mud (although he was a Tewara). Behind them came
the Head Chief, the Vice-Chief, the Deputy and Assistant Chiefs
(all armed to the upper teeth), the Hetmans and Heads of
Hundreds, Platoffs with their Platoons, and Dolmans with their
Detachments; Woons, Neguses, and Akhoonds ranking in the rear
(still armed to the teeth). Behind them was the Tribe in
hierarchical order, from owners of four caves (one for each
season), a private reindeer-run, and two salmon-leaps, to feudal
and prognathous Villeins, semi-entitled to half a bearskin of
winter nights, seven yards from the fire, and adscript serfs,
holding the reversion of a scraped marrow-bone under heriot
(Aren't those beautiful words, Best Beloved?). They were all
there, prancing and shouting, and they frightened every fish for
twenty miles, and Tegumai thanked them in a fluid Neolithic
oration.

Then Teshumai Tewindrow ran down and kissed and hugged Taffy very
much indeed; but the Head Chief of the Tribe of Tegumai took
Tegumai by the top-knot feathers and shook him severely.

'Explain! Explain! Explain!' cried all the Tribe of Tegumai.

'Goodness' sakes alive!' said Tegumai. 'Let go of my top-knot.
Can't a man break his carp-spear without the whole countryside
descending on him? You're a very interfering people.'

'I don't believe you've brought my Daddy's black-handled spear
after all,' said Taffy. 'And what are you doing to my nice
Stranger-man?'

They were thumping him by twos and threes and tens till his eyes
turned round and round. He could only gasp and point at Taffy.

'Where are the bad people who speared you, my darling?' said
Teshumai Tewindrow.

'There weren't any,' said Tegumai. 'My only visitor this morning
was the poor fellow that you are trying to choke. Aren't you
well, or are you ill, O Tribe of Tegumai?'

'He came with a horrible picture,' said the Head Chief,--'a
picture that showed you were full of spears.'

'Er-um-Pr'aps I'd better 'splain that I gave him that picture,'
said Taffy, but she did not feel quite comfy.

'You!' said the Tribe of Tegumai all together.
'Small-person-with-no-manners-who-ought-to-be-spanked! You?'

'Taffy dear, I'm afraid we're in for a little trouble,' said her
Daddy, and put his arm round her, so she didn't care.

'Explain! Explain! Explain!' said the Head Chief of the Tribe of
Tegumai, and he hopped on one foot.

'I wanted the Stranger-man to fetch Daddy's spear, so I drawded
it,' said Taffy. 'There wasn't lots of spears. There was only one
spear. I drawded it three times to make sure. I couldn't help it
looking as if it stuck into Daddy's head--there wasn't room on
the birch-bark; and those things that Mummy called bad people are
my beavers. I drawded them to show him the way through the swamp;
and I drawded Mummy at the mouth of the Cave looking pleased
because he is a nice Stranger-man, and I think you are just the
stupidest people in the world,' said Taffy. 'He is a very nice
man. Why have you filled his hair with mud? Wash him!'

Nobody said anything at all for a longtime, till the Head Chief
laughed; then the Stranger-man (who was at least a Tewara)
laughed; then Tegumai laughed till he fell down flat on the bank;
then all the Tribe laughed more and worse and louder. The only
people who did not laugh were Teshumai Tewindrow and all the
Neolithic ladies. They were very polite to all their husbands,
and said 'Idiot!' ever so often.

Then the Head Chief of the Tribe of Tegumai cried and said and sang,
'O Small-person-with-out-any-manners-who-ought-to-be-spanked,
you've hit upon a great invention!'

'I didn't intend to; I only wanted Daddy's black-handled spear,'
said Taffy.

'Never mind. It is a great invention, and some day men will call
it writing. At present it is only pictures, and, as we have seen
to-day, pictures are not always properly understood. But a time
will come, O Babe of Tegumai, when we shall make letters--all
twenty-six of 'em,--and when we shall be able to read as well as
to write, and then we shall always say exactly what we mean
without any mistakes. Let the Neolithic ladies wash the mud out
of the stranger's hair.'

'I shall be glad of that,' said Taffy, 'because, after all,
though you've brought every single other spear in the Tribe of
Tegumai, you've forgotten my Daddy's black-handled spear.'

Then the Head Chief cried and said and sang, 'Taffy dear, the
next time you write a picture-letter, you'd better send a man who
can talk our language with it, to explain what it means. I don't
mind it myself, because I am a Head Chief, but it's very bad for
the rest of the Tribe of Tegumai, and, as you can see, it
surprises the stranger.'

Then they adopted the Stranger-man (a genuine Tewara of Tewar)
into the Tribe of Tegumai, because he was a gentleman and did not
make a fuss about the mud that the Neolithic ladies had put into
his hair. But from that day to this (and I suppose it is all
Taffy's fault), very few little girls have ever liked learning to
read or write. Most of them prefer to draw pictures and play
about with their Daddies--just like Taffy.

THERE runs a road by Merrow Down--
A grassy track to-day it is
An hour out of Guildford town,
Above the river Wey it is.

Here, when they heard the horse-bells ring,
The ancient Britons dressed and rode
To watch the dark Phoenicians bring
Their goods along the Western Road.

And here, or hereabouts, they met
To hold their racial talks and such--
To barter beads for Whitby jet,
And tin for gay shell torques and such.

But long and long before that time
(When bison used to roam on it)
Did Taffy and her Daddy climb
That down, and had their home on it.

Then beavers built in Broadstone brook
And made a swamp where Bramley stands:
And hears from Shere would come and look
For Taffimai where Shamley stands.

The Wey, that Taffy called Wagai,
Was more than six times bigger then;
And all the Tribe of Tegumai
They cut a noble figure then!

HOW THE ALPHABET WAS MADE

THE week after Taffimai Metallumai (we will still call her Taffy,
Best Beloved) made that little mistake about her Daddy's spear
and the Stranger-man and the picture-letter and all, she went
carp-fishing again with her Daddy. Her Mummy wanted her to stay
at home and help hang up hides to dry on the big drying-poles
outside their Neolithic Cave, but Taffy slipped away down to her
Daddy quite early, and they fished. Presently she began to
giggle, and her Daddy said, 'Don't be silly, child.'

'But wasn't it inciting!' said Taffy. 'Don't you remember how the
Head Chief puffed out his cheeks, and how funny the nice
Stranger-man looked with the mud in his hair?'

'Well do I,' said Tegumai. 'I had to pay two deerskins--soft ones
with fringes--to the Stranger-man for the things we did to him.'

'We didn't do anything,' said Taffy. 'It was Mummy and the other
Neolithic ladies--and the mud.'

'We won't talk about that,' said her Daddy, 'Let's have lunch.'

Taffy took a marrow-bone and sat mousy-quiet for ten whole
minutes, while her Daddy scratched on pieces of birch-bark with a
shark's tooth. Then she said, 'Daddy, I've thinked of a secret
surprise. You make a noise--any sort of noise.'

'Ah!' said Tegumai. 'Will that do to begin with?'

'Yes,' said Taffy. 'You look just like a carp-fish with its mouth
open. Say it again, please.'

'Ah! ah! ah!' said her Daddy. 'Don't be rude, my daughter.'

'I'm not meaning rude, really and truly,' said Taffy. 'It's part
of my secret-surprise-think. Do say ah, Daddy, and keep your
mouth open at the end, and lend me that tooth. I'm going to draw
a carp-fish's mouth wide-open.'

'What for?' said her Daddy.

'Don't you see?' said Taffy, scratching away on the bark. 'That
will be our little secret s'prise. When I draw a carp-fish with
his mouth open in the smoke at the back of our Cave--if Mummy

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