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* ''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''
* ''The Tabu Tale''

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* ''How the Whale Got His Throat''
Throat'': Once, the whale was a great and greedy predator, who devoured all of the other fishes in the sea. A small 'stute fish suggests he try eating man, and the whale swallowed a cast-away sailor. But the sailor torments his stomach so much that the whale spits him out again - but not before the sailor uses his suspenders to wedge a grating in the whale's throat, making him only able to eat tiny things from that day on.
* ''How the Camel Got His Hump''
Hump'': On the first three days of the world, the camel refuses to do any work, instead rudely muttering "Humph!" when asked. For this, a djinn punishes him by making an ugly great hump of fat grow on his back, and declaring that he can now go for three days without any food. But he has never caught up on the work he skipped, and he is still lazy as ever, so he never will -- and now he's spiteful to boot.
* ''How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin''
Skin'': When a rude rhino comes out of the desert and steals the cake of a beach-dwelling Parsee, the Parsee gets his revenge by waiting until the rhino comes to the beach to bathe and filling his skin - for he can take it off like an overcoat - with stale cake crumbs. The resultant itching makes the rhino rub and scratch until he stretches out his skin into its modern ugly, lumpy, wrinkly form, but because he rubbed off the buttons and still hasn't gotten the crumbs out, he's in a perpetual bad mood.
* ''How the Leopard Got His Spots''
Spots'': The giraffe and the zebra and various other animals flee the sandy yellowish brownish High Veldt into the shifting light of the jungle, where they develop new camouflage, in order to escape the hunting Ethiopian and his leopard companion. After following them to the jungle, and seeing how well it works, the Ethiopian turns himself black and then paints the leopard with black spots, so they can stalk and hunt the creatures once again.
* ''The Elephant's Child''
Child'': A young and curious elephant asks all of his family and adopted relatives lots of questions, which they never answer but instead simply spank him for. He ultimately goes to see a crocodile, but is nearly eaten; although he escapes with the aid of a rock python, his nose is stretched out into a trunk, which he finds most useful. After he pays his tormentors back in kind, the other elephants get their noses stretched out too, and so all elephants have trunks.
* ''The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo''
Kangaroo'': The arrogant and shameless kangaroo accosts the three gods of Australia, one by one, demanding they make him unique amongst the animals. Whilst the little god Nqa and the big god Nqing simply shout at him to go away, the big god Nqong instead has the dingo chase the kangaroo all around Australia, until the kangaroo is forced to learn to hop to try and get away from him.
* ''The Beginning of the Armadillos''
Armadillos'': Two friends in the jungle, a hedgehog and a tortoise, use their wits and their friendship to outwit a naive jaguar cub. But when they overhear his mother teach him a simple rhyme to help tell them apart, they begin teaching each other their special tricks - swimming for the hedgehog and curling up for the tortoise - and they change into a pair of entirely new creatures, which the mother jaguar names "armadillos", for lack of a proper name.
* ''How the First Letter Was Written''
Written'': The first of three stories involving a prehistoric family. In this story, father Tegumai and daughter Taffy are out on a fishing trip when Tegumai breaks his spear. Wanting to help, Taffy draws a crude picture and gives it to a passing stranger, so that he will go and ask the family's matriarch, Teshumai, for Tegumai's spare spear. Though initially misunderstood, this becomes the foundation for how writing will be made.
* ''How the Alphabet Was Made''
Made'': A direct sequel to ''How The First Letter Was Written''. A week after the incident with the stranger and Taffy's primitive letter, Taffy and Tegumai discuss the idea of writing, and come up with the English alphabet as we know it today.
* ''The Crab That Played with the Sea''
Sea'': At the dawn of the world, as the Eldest Magician creates all animals and begins directing them to listen to Man, the first crab sneaks away into the ocean, so he goes without being tamed. When Man complains to the Eldest Magician about how the sea comes in and goes out once a day, making his hut by the river miserable, the Man and the Magician seek to learn why the sea is playing this unwanted play, and ultimately find the cause is the first crab. The crab tries to defy the Eldest Magician, but he is defeated when the Eldest Magician makes his shell fall off. Taking pity on him, the Eldest Magician gives the crab his shell back for 11 months of the year, and the ability to live on land or in water, and his claws, but makes crabs small and tiny. He also punishes Man for being lazy, and charges the Old Fisherman in the Moon with moving the sea twice a day.
* ''The Cat That Walked by Himself''
Himself'': In the prehistoric time, Woman tames Man and Dog and Horse and Cow, but the Cat refuses to be tamed. Though he tricks his way into being allowed to enter the cave and gain milk through a bargain with Woman, Man and Dog both place further demands on the Cat for the toleration of his presence - and whilst Cat agrees, he also insolently asserts his independence both times, and for that both Man and Dog vow to punish him by throwing things at him or chasing him.
* ''The Butterfly That Stamped''
Stamped'': Suleiman-bin-Daoud, a man who is gentle and humble despite being a great emperor with powerful magic at his command, is tormented by the incessant fighting of his 999 subordinate wives. When he overhears an argument between a butterfly and his wife, he offers to stand up for the butterfly -- but his chief wife, Queen Balkis, takes the side of the butterfly's wife, using the argument as a proxy to make Suleiman-bin-Daoud perform a great magic on the palace, which frightens all of the other wives into behaving themselves from that day on. This story also contains a smaller story, in which Suleiman-bin-Daoud tries to boast about his wealth by feeding all of the animals of the world, only for an enormous sea monster named Small Porgies to appear and eat the entire feast -- and then admits that not only was that not enough food for him, but he has 29,999 brothers, all much bigger.
* ''The Tabu Tale''
Tale'': This story is actually not found in the original British printing, but was published in the United States in the Scribner edition in 1903. The third of the stories of Tegumai's family, it revolves around Taffy growing up and being taught the proper tabus of the tribe, so she no longer scares away the game when her father is out hunting.

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* MixAndMatchCritter: The first Armadillos were created when a hedgehog and a tortoise chose to swap their respective defense mechanisms. The result: armor-plated animals that can curl up into a ball.

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* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Old Man Kangaroo wants to be very thoroughly run after and different from all the other animals. He gets his wish when Nqong sends Dingo to chase him for miles on end, which changes his legs and his gait to the way they are today. When Nqong points out that what he did fulfilled the wish Kangaroo made, Kangaroo says that he thought it would be accomplished differently.


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* HaughtyHmph: "How the Camel Got His Hump" tells how the Camel's verbal "Humph!" was turned into a physical hump by the magical intervention of a Djinn.


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* InconvenientItch: {{Invoked|Trope}} by the Parsee in "How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin". He strews cake crumbs in the Rhino's skin while the Rhino is doing something else. When the Rhino puts it back on, he feels the cake crumbs rubbing irritatingly against him all the time, and no matter how much he rubs on things, he can't get rid of the feeling.

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* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: The Bi-Colored-Python-Rock-Snake has as much patience for the Elephant's Child as everyone else and spanks him for his questions. However, the snake also saves him from the Crocodile, and gives him advice on how his new trunk could be useful, up to and including getting back at everyone who ever spanked him.


* CatsAreMean: Seems to be Kipling's attitude in ''The Cat Who Walked By Himself,'' though the Cat doesn't come across as particularly mean, just aloof and unwilling to be anyone's servant. This doesn't stop Kipling from ending the story with a poem about how dogs are so much better than cats because dogs are loyal and do what they're told while cats "only pretend" to love you since they aren't obedient and don't stay by your side 24/7.



* DisproportionateRetribution: In ''The Cat That Walked by Himself'', the Cat agrees to the terms of Man and Dog, but they still vow that they and their descendants will torment the Cat for always and always just because he spoke out of turn.

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* DisproportionateRetribution: In ''The Cat That Walked by Himself'', the Cat agrees to the terms of Man and Dog, but they still vow that they and their descendants will torment the Cat for always and always just because he spoke out of turn. Earlier on in the story, the Dog immediately renounces his friendship with the Cat just because the Cat doesn't want to come with him to the cave.


* LamarckWasRight: All of the origin stories strongly resemble Lamarckian evolution, but then so do many of the folk tales which inspired Kipling. Most of the stories can be summed up as, "at some point in history a creature did something that caused it to change, and this is why nowadays all creatures of this type have this same trait". One exception is ''How the Camel Got His Hump'', where the hump is given by a djinn as a punishment for being lazy and missing three days of work at the start of Creation.

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* LamarckWasRight: All of the origin stories strongly resemble Lamarckian evolution, but then so do many of the folk tales which inspired Kipling. Most of the stories can be summed up as, "at some point in history a creature did something that caused it to change, and this is why nowadays all creatures of this type have this same trait". One exception is ''How the Camel Got His Hump'', where the hump is given by a djinn as a punishment for being lazy and missing three days of work at the start of Creation.Creation, another is ''The Crab that Played with the Sea'', where Pau Amma gets the scissors as a gift from the little girl-daughter.



** "How the Leopard Got His Spots" is inspired by a quotation from [[Literature/TheBible The Book of Jeremiah]] (13:23). Kipling lampshades it:

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** "How ''How the Leopard Got His Spots" Spots'' is inspired by a quotation verse from [[Literature/TheBible The Book of Jeremiah]] (13:23). Kipling lampshades it:


--> "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 "

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--> "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?"


** "How the Leopard Got His Spots" is inspired by a quotation from [[Literature/TheBible The Book of Jeremiah]]:
--> "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?"

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** "How the Leopard Got His Spots" is inspired by a quotation from [[Literature/TheBible The Book of Jeremiah]]:
Jeremiah]] (13:23). Kipling lampshades it:
--> "Can "Oh, now and then you will hear grown-ups say, 'Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard Leopard his spots?"spots?' I don't think even grown-ups would "


* CorporalPunishment: The way that the Elephant Child's "'satiable curiosity" is handled.

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* CorporalPunishment: The way that the Elephant Child's "'satiable curiosity" curtiosity" (sic!) is handled.

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** Also Tegumai and Teshumai and, by all appearances, the Man and the Woman in ''The Cat That Walked By Himself'', although in both cases the wife seems to be the dominating partner.


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** Also Tegumai and the Man from ''The Cat That Walked By Himself''.


* FantasticNamingConvention: In the two Neolithic tales the three names given all conform to the same pattern: A word consisting of three syllables, [[AlliterativeFamily beginning with "T-"]] and ending with "-mai" and a polysyllabic second word, all [[MeaningfulName descriptive of the bearer's character]]:

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* FantasticNamingConvention: In the two three Neolithic tales the three names given all conform to the same pattern: A word consisting of three syllables, [[AlliterativeFamily beginning with "T-"]] and ending with "-mai" and a polysyllabic second word, all [[MeaningfulName descriptive of the bearer's character]]:



* ShoutOut: In the explanations to the illustrations, the name of the Parsee in ''How the Rhinocerus Got His Skin'' is given as Pestonjee Bomonjee. That was the name on an artist who had been one of Kipling's father's students.

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* ShoutOut: Since most of the stories were originally made up for Kipling's children, there are a number of these. In particular Taffy is a portrait of Josephine ("Effie") and the poem ''Merrow Down'', while on the surface about Taffy and her father, mourns Effie's death by pneumonia at age six. Kipling's surviving daughter Elsie (who used to be nicknamed "Elsie Why") said that ''The Elephant's Child'' was "her" story. Many scholars see ''The Cat That Walked By Himself'' as a satirical portrait of the the early days of Rudyard Kipling's marriage, with the Woman standing in for Carrie Kipling and either the Man or the Cat serving as an AuthorAvatar.
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In the explanations to the illustrations, the name of the Parsee in ''How the Rhinocerus Got His Skin'' is given as Pestonjee Bomonjee. That was the name on an artist who had been one of Kipling's father's students.


* LamarckWasRight: All of the origin stories are heavily inspired by Lamarckian evolution. Most of the stories can be summed up as, "at some point in history a creature did something that caused it to change, and this is why nowadays all creatures of this type have this same trait". One exception is ''How the Camel Got His Hump'', where the hump is given by a djinn as a sort of punishment for being lazy and missing three days of work at the start of Creation.

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* LamarckWasRight: All of the origin stories are heavily inspired by strongly resemble Lamarckian evolution.evolution, but then so do many of the folk tales which inspired Kipling. Most of the stories can be summed up as, "at some point in history a creature did something that caused it to change, and this is why nowadays all creatures of this type have this same trait". One exception is ''How the Camel Got His Hump'', where the hump is given by a djinn as a sort of punishment for being lazy and missing three days of work at the start of Creation.

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* FantasticNamingConvention: In the two Neolithic tales the three names given all conform to the same pattern: A word consisting of three syllables, [[AlliterativeFamily beginning with "T-"]] and ending with "-mai" and a polysyllabic second word, all [[MeaningfulName descriptive of the bearer's character]]:
-->"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-whithout-any-manners-who-ought-to-be-spanked'; but I'm going to call her Taffy."


-->...So, ''have'' you [[RunningGag forgotten the suspenders]]?

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-->...So, [[TheStinger So]], ''have'' you [[RunningGag forgotten forgotten]] [[OverlyLongGag the suspenders]]?


* ExtremeOmnivore: Small Porgies. He eats up all the kinds of food that would feed all the other animals on earth[[hottip:*: That's already a pretty huge range of foods, what with insects, krill, meat, grass, hay, bark, grains, fish, blood, fecal matter, milk, carrion, nectar and all the other things that all the animals on earth would eat]], plus the packaging with no ill effects. His ability to eat anything is probably necessitated by the fact he has close to thirty-thousand brothers and that a single member of his species is large enough to out-eat the rest of the animal kingdom combined.

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* ExtremeOmnivore: Small Porgies. He eats up all the kinds of food that would feed all the other animals on earth[[hottip:*: That's earth[[note]]That's already a pretty huge range of foods, what with insects, krill, meat, grass, hay, bark, grains, fish, blood, fecal matter, milk, carrion, nectar and all the other things that all the animals on earth would eat]], eat[[/note]], plus the packaging with no ill effects. His ability to eat anything is probably necessitated by the fact he has close to thirty-thousand brothers and that a single member of his species is large enough to out-eat the rest of the animal kingdom combined.

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