Film ID:
NEFA 20688



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An animation by South Shields-born Sheila Graber based upon a story by Rudyard Kipling from the Just So Stories for Little Children series. This film explains how the lazy camel gained his hump.

The film begins with each of the animals featured in Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories appearing on the screen within coloured boxes.

Title: Just So Stories

The first title appears; the whale, kangaroo and elephant appear at the bottom of the screen and look up at the words. The letter ‘s’ at the end of ‘Stories’ is missing an the elephant reaches up and uses his trunk to finish the word before falling flat on his face

Title: By Rudyard Kipling

The rhino, leopard and camel look down as the cat walks across he words.

All the animals appear again on the screen. Suddenly, they all disappear except the camel who is sitting relaxing.

The film fades to show an image of the earth from space. The image changes again to show sand dunes in a ‘sandy desert’. The dunes separate revealing a camel standing beside a watering hole. The animal looks down on a prickly acacia plant beside the water and takes a bite, admiring its reflection in the water. He looks up and admires his ‘smooth flat back’.

A man, dressed as an ancient Egyptian with dark hair and wearing a loincloth, kneels on the ground working on a wheel with a hammer. He places the wheel onto a wagon that is laid on its side. A horse appears attached to the wagon and begins to pull a load of stones across the screen, its reins being held by the man. They come to a stop and his stones are emptied out onto the ground.

The camel faces the horse and from it’s mouth ‘Humph’ appears as a speech bubble. The man begins to move the stone to construct a wall. A dog appears wagging its tail. It happily picks up a stone and places it in the wall before rushing over to pick up another stone. The camel again responds with another ‘Humph’.

The man shapes a piece of wood to make a plough. It is attached to an ox and together they plough the earth. Once again, the camel looks down his nose at the scene with a ‘Humph’ appearing again inside a speech bubble.

The bubble transforms into the face of the man followed by the horse, dog and ox. Standing beside his animals, he thanks them for working so hard. Angrily they look toward the camel who stands nonchalantly in the distance beside the watering hole. On being informed that they will need to work ‘double time to make up for his idleness’, the animals' eyes bulge with shock and disappointment. All three animals turn their heads and again look angrily at the camel who is eating from a bush.

The film cuts to show the man and the animals working together collect water from a river or water source using a Shadoof or counterpoise lift. In the field, the man works the ox and horse to plough the earth while the dog fills an irrigation system with water from the shadoof. As they work, the animals begin to slow as they become tirer.They stop and look across angrily at the camel who smiles nonchalantly back at them with a ‘Humph’.

Laying on the ground, the animals hold a ‘pow-wow’ as the camel laughs at them again with another ‘humph’ while chewing vegetation. The dog speaks with the horse and camel. They turn and watch as the ‘Djinn of All Deserts’ appears like a whirlwind out of the desert and comes to stop besides the dog. The djinn has no legs and is wearing a jewelled keffiyeh or traditional Middle Eastern headdress fashioned from a square scarf. He is also holding a large fan.

The film shows the animals speaking with the djinn about the lazy camel and the djinn listening carefully. Once again the camel does nothing more than reply with another ‘Humph’ appearing again inside a bubble that fills the screen.

Responding to the animals concerns, the djinn spins on the spot before moving off toward the camel. As always, the camel stands beside the watering hole chewing the cud and looking at his reflection in the water. The djinn appears beside him and begins to speak with the camel. As before, he replies with a ‘Humph’. The djinn holds up his fan still talking with the camel. His eyes look towards the horse, ox and dog who are laying on the ground. The camel turns its head and again replies ‘Humph’. Rubbing his chin, the djinn gives his last warning to the camel. Chewing some vegetation the word ‘Humph’ appears from the camel’s mouth and moves across the screen inside a bubble and lands on the djinns fan.

The djinn spins the bubble on the fan like a top and ‘begins to work a great magic’. The image changes to black and white and various designs appear around the bubble. Inside the letters are replaced with  images of a cactus, a vine of red grapes and in the centre water. The image begins to transform into the outline of the camel, now with a hump on its back.

The colour returns and he camel looks onto it’s back and gasps to see the hump there. The djinn looks toward the camel and holds up his fan. The word ‘hump’ appearing within it. The djinn disappears, and the word appears within the hump of the camel.

The camel speaks and the djinn replies and the image becomes a view of a crosssection through the hump on the camel’s back. A cactus can be seen on the left, berries fill the right side of the hump on the right and in the middle a pool of water. The image of the cactus transforms into that of the horse. Sand fills the bottom quarter of the middle hump and the dog appears holding a stone in its mouth. He drops it onto the camel’s head. Finally, the ox appears in the third compartment.

The man rides the camel sitting on the hump. He tries to stop to pick milkweed, but the man moves him on. The image of the djinn's face changes to show the dog now riding on the back of the camel. They pass the man leaning against a palm tree and the ox and horse laying on the ground. They carry on into the desert and pass the djinn who is spinning there. As the djinn spins away, the camel kneels beside a watering hole and the dog slides off into the water.

The film ends with the camel appearing alongside a montage of other Just So Stories animals.

End Credit: Music by Brenda Orwin

End Credit: Narrated by Sylvia Welsh

End Credit: Animated and Directed by Sheila Graber

End Credit: Co-produced with Marble Arch Films. Interama. Strengholt Televideo Int. BV.