Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just So Stories (published in 1902) - A collection of children's stories by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling, a Nobel laureate was born in India to a vivacious Alice Kipling and sculptor Painter, John Kipling. His works range from poems, to children's books. Rudyard was a English language writer whose prose is peppered with colloquial usage and languages mainly from India which opens a window to the prevailing culture and customs of the time. His children's stories are the most endured classics of the time and his short stories are the most sought after. Many of his works were deemed to be controversial over a period of time. Rudyard Kipling was the product of an imperial India where imperialism under Queen Victoria was at its heights. His poems like White Mans Burden are often sited as a clarion call for the imperialist and has been criticized by subsequent humanists. But as an youngest Nobel Prize recipient for English Language, the place for Kipling in human history cannot be discounted and his prose and poems enthuse millions even today.
Just so stories are a series of “how did it happen stories” designed for children. But adults also enjoy them a great deal because of the interplay of philosophical and religious ideologies. The various stories take their content heavily from Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic traditions and transcend the barriers of culture, color and continents. Another thing about Rudyard Kipling's stories is the language which is refreshing as new rain, it is polite and peppered with witticism and takes us to those days where chivalry and long poetry ruled roost.

The stories include:

How the Whale Got His Throat: Did you know that the whales mouth is criss-crossed by a raft to prevent it from feeding on large animals. This is done as a punishment for its greediness in eating all the animals at sea. So the poor whale can eat only shoals of small fish.

How the Camel Got His Hump: This story tells how the Camel was punished for it laziness with a hump which in-turn helps it to work uninterrupted for 3 days with out food or water.

How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin: The folds of the Rhinoceros is because of the cake crumbs and raisins between its hide put their by a magical Parsee, as a punishment for eating his cake.

How the Leopard Got His Spots: This story tells how the leopard and the Ethiopian painted themselves up all spotty and black to help themselves hunt animals in a shadowy, patchy, dark jungle.

The Elephant's Child: A great account of a curious elephant who got its nose pulled by a crocodile in to a trunk

The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo: This tells us about the Kangaroo who is chased by a Dingo around the world for daring to ask big God Nqa to make him different. All the running made his leg strong and muscular and thus made him different.

The Beginning of the Armadillos: Whats an Armadillo?, Just a Hedgehog and Turtle transforming together to escape from an unfriendly Jaguar. Only Kipling has such imagination!!!!

How the First Letter was Written: According to this, the first letter was written by a little girl Taffy, to her mother to get her fathers spear. This delightful story is about the case of bad artistry all gone wrong causing a wonderful change.

How the Alphabet was Made: So Taffy, causes an unfortunate accident because of her bad drawing in the earlier story and therefore tries to invent alphabets to get her ideas across. So “A” is an inverted craw-fish trying to say AH!!!! delightful concept. Loved this story

The Crab that Played with the Sea: This story is about the crab who interferes with the “play” of the universe and is punished for it. It also tells how it got its pincers, Shell and sideways gait.

The Cat that Walked by Himself: This tale tells the independent nature of the cat who in-spite being domesticated “walks every where and comes anytime”.

The Butterfly that Stamped: This story tells the how the beautiful Queen Balkis helps emperor Suleiman bin Daoud to control his nine hundred and ninety nine wives.

These charming tales will be an splendid antidote for the boredom afflicting your house. Join the family, switch off the TV and read aloud this mystical tales of the world.

Just So Stories (published in 1902) - A collection of children's stories by Rudyard Kipling

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