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How the Camel Got His Hump Lesson Plans

"How the Camel Got His Hump" from Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling describes the humorous story of how the lazy Camel gains his hump. This is a perfect story for teaching a lesson about working hard and helping others.

Student Activities for How the Camel Got His Hump

Essential Questions for "How the Camel Got His Hump"

  1. Is it okay to let other people do your work?
  2. Is it okay to be lazy?
  3. What lesson is the story teaching us?
  4. What is a fable?

A Quick Synopsis of "How the Camel Got His Hump" (Contains Spoilers)

In the beginning of time, when the world is new, there is a Camel. The Camel is very lazy and he sits in the middle of the Howling Dessert, eating prickles and milkweeds. When anyone speaks to the Camel he responds with, “Humph”.

On Monday, the Horse comes and asks the Camel to help trot. The Camel replies, “Humph”. The Horse goes away and tells the Man. On Tuesday, the Dog comes and asks the Camel to help fetch and carry. The Camel responds, “Humph”. The Dog goes away and tells the Man. On Wednesday, the Ox comes and asks the Camel to help plough. The Camel states, “Humph”. The Ox goes away and tells the Man. At the end of the day, the Man calls the Three animals together. The Man says that since the Camel will not work, they will have to do extra work to make up for him. This makes the Three very angry, and they talk and complain about the Camel.

In rolls a Djinn, the man in charge of All Deserts, and he confers with the Three. They ask if it is alright for someone to be so lazy and not work. The Djinn, of course, says it is not.

The Djinn heads to the middle of the desert where the Camel is ogling his reflection. The Djinn asks the Camel why he is not doing any work and the Camel responds, “Humph”. The Djinn tells the Camel that since he has chosen not to work, he has given the Three extra work. The Camel says, “Humph”. The Djinn warns the Camel that if he says ‘humph’ again, something bad may happen. As soon as the Camel responds with “humph” again, and a huge hump grows on the back of the Camel!

The Djinn tells the Camel that is his very own hump, brought on by his selfishness and lack of activity. The Djinn says the Camel has to work, and the Camel asks how can he work with a giant hump on his back. The Djinn explains that the hump will hold enough fuel for him to be able to work for three days without eating.

The Camel goes to join the Three, and from that day always has a hump. The Camel has yet to catch up with the work he missed in the beginning of time, and he has not yet learned how to behave.

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Image Attributions
  • DSCN1302 • Iwan Gabovitch • License Attribution (
  • Grazing camel • Daisyree Bakker • License Attribution (
  • n120_w1150 • BioDivLibrary • License Attribution (
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