How the Camel Got His Hump: Summary and Analysis

This is a fictional story by Rudyard Kipling. It tells the story of how the camel got its hump. The story has an interesting turn with the arrival of the genie. The readers learn about the utility of the hump and the reason behind it. 

How the Camel Got His Hump Summary

How the Camel Got His Hump is an imaginary story by Rudyard Kipling. The fable tells the tale of a lazy camel who did not work and only said ‘Humph!’ to everyone who asked him to work. The story is from the time the world has just started to use animals for their work. The horse, ox, and dog worked all day and the camel just did not listen to them. Except the lazy camel, everyone was working in the middle of the Howling Desert. The camel ate sticks, prickles, and thorns and showed no interest in working. When the other animals asked him to work, his response was ‘Humph!’

On a Monday morning, a horse with a saddle on his back, approached the camel and asked him to join the rest of them at work. The lazy camel only said ‘Humph!’ The horse told the man the same. Some time later, the dog visited the camel and asked him to work and the camel replied with ‘Humph!’ An ox also came and asked him to work. The camel replied him with ‘Humph!’ again.

The horse, ox, and the dog were summoned by the man. He inquired about their work and about the camel. They responded that the camel did not do any work. The man heard the complaints of the lazy animal and distributed his share of work among the other animals to compensate for his work. The three animals were agitated and angry and decided to hold a Panchayat at the edge of the Desert. The Djinn of All Deserts arrived in the huge cloud of dust. The three animals complained to him about the camel. The horse explained how lazy he was and uttered only ‘Humph!’ The Djinn assured that he would set hi straight.

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The Djinn saw that the camel was sitting in the desert and was staring at his reflection in the pond. He asked to camel to work and the camel said ‘Humph!’ As he said that, the Djinn punished him. Suddenly, a huge hump bulged out of the camel’s back. The camel, who was once very proud of the way he looked, now was looking strange with a hump o his back. He was shocked to see his reflection and the Djinn said that the camel was responsible for it. The Djinn asked the camel to work. The camel said that he could not do that because of the hump on his back . The Djinn said that because the camel had not worked for the previous three days, he could now work for three days without food or water. This led the camel to start working like the other animals and how the camel got his hump.

How the Camel Got His Hump Analysis

The story is a lesson to the students and tells them not to waste their time. Anyone who is lazy and does not carry out their duties, suffers at the end.

In this poetic tale, the poet expresses how terrible laziness is and what it does to one. The camel’s hump is not the most pleasant sight. The poet has associated the hump with inaction. A camel sitting idly in the desert and not doing anything other than indulging in leisurely activities. The hump symbolizes lethargy.

How the Camel Got His Hump Theme

The poet has taught everyone that from infanthood to old age, one will get a hump if they are always sitting idly.  The poem encourages action as opposed to sitting idly. The poet asks the readers to be laborious, which is the only way to get rid of the ugly humps on their backs. The process is said to be reversible and the poet brings it home and says that all actions have follow up consequences. The poet says that we need to perspire from the work-load, else no work seems to be done. Working leads Mother Nature to bestow their blessings on us. The blessings come in action of magical removal of the hump and no one has the fear of being ‘black and blue.’

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Work is the only form of redemption. This is the theme of the poem. It urges the readers to not succumb to lethargy. The poem encourages us to not be content with minimal work, and we must be able to perform more than enough. 

How the Camel Got His Hump Central Idea

How the Camel Got, His Hump is a poem by Sir Rudyard Kipling. The story talks about a lazy camel. The camel did not work and only said ‘Humph!’ to anyone who asked him to work. He did not listen to the horse, dog, an ox asking him to work. All of them worked double time because of this. So, they decided to complain to the Djinn of All Deserts about the camel. The camel did not listen to the Djinn as well and was punished with a hump. Now, with the hump, the camel can work for three days without eating or drinking.

How the Camel Got His Hump Figures of Speech

The poet has used several personifications in the poem. He has compared the camel to men and personified it. The poet has used repetitive sounds of ‘to-oo-oo’ and ‘do-oo-oo’ which has a dragging sense, and the poet successfully shakes up the readers into important work and activity. The poet has also used symbolism, and associated black with shame and blue with pain. The poet has used and spread humor throughout the poem. The poem has an ironic tone. The poet has used ‘we’ in the poem and included the readers in his perspective. With that, he has included the readers of the cause of which he is condemning his readers.

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