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How the Camel Got His "Humph"

Engage creative thinking skills and spark the imagination with this idea for a classroom theater production!

Grade Level: 3-6

Materials: Printable Student Handout Script 

Story Preview: At the beginning of the world, there is much work to do, and the animals are just starting to work for man. But while others carry the load, the camel refuses to help. The magical Wizard of All Deserts turns the camel's repeated, "Humph!" into a hump on his back to teach the lazy animal an important lesson.

Additional Resources

For more information about Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, check out the story collection online from Project Gutenberg. Here you can learn "How the Leopard Got His Spots" and meet "The Butterfly That Stamped." While those tales will give teachers many wonderful ideas, the original texts themselves might not be appropriate for all ages.

Roles: Narrator 1, Narrator 2, Horse, Camel, Dog, Ox, Man, Wizard

Setting: beginning of the world near and in a desert

Theme: character education


  • yoke: a bar or frame around the neck that joins animals working together conjure - to produce by magic
  • sloth: laziness

Props: none required

Follow-Up Questions:

  • Who first asked the camel to help?
  • What did the dog do for the man?
  • What did the ox ask the camel to do?
  • Why were the three animals angry with the camel? (How did the camels actions affect them?)
  • Who finally persuaded the camel to do his part? How?

Follow-Up Activity: The natural extension to this script activity is asking students to write their own "just so stories." Students might work independently or in groups to create the stories and even turn them into books with illustrations. Whether they write new versions of Kipling tales such as "How the Whale Got His Throat" and "How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin" or make up original tales, each story should attempt to explain some aspect of nature.


Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
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