"Just So Stories" Reader's Guide

Page 6


The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.

A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.

Borrow trouble for yourself, if that’s your nature, but don’t lend it to your neighbours.

We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.

Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.

Don’t be angry after you’ve been afraid. That’s the worst kind of cowardice.

There is no sin so great as ignorance.

Everyone is more or less mad on one point.

More men are killed by overwork than the importance of the world justifies.

Too much work and too much energy kill a man just as effectively as too much assorted vice or too much drink.

When a man does good work out of all proportion to his pay, in seven cases out of nine there is a woman at the back of the virtue.  The two exceptions must have suffered from sunstroke.

Many wear the robes, but few walk the Way.

All sensible men are of the same religion.

Every man is entitled to his own religious opinions; but no man – has a right to thrust these down other men’s throats.

Never look backwards, or you’ll fall down the stairs.

Follow the dream, and always the dream, and only the dream.

I am, by calling, a dealer in words; and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.


While we could easily fill our entire guide with titles of Rudyard Kipling’s works, here are some highlights, suggested readings for your next step in Kipling appreciation.


The Light That Failed
Captain’s Courageous


Plain Tales from the Hills
The Phantom Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales
Wee Willie Winkie and Other Child Stories
The Jungle Book
The Second Jungle Book
From Sea to Sea and Other Sketches


A Song in Storm
Big Steamers
Gunga Din
Hymn Before Action
If –
Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer
The Absent-Minded Beggar
The Ballad of Est and West
The Last of the Light Brigade
The Overland Mail
The White Man’s Burden


Many of the tales in Just So Stories contain terms which may be unfamiliar to the average Idaho reader. While they may have been familiar to the well-traveled Kipling children, they were probably equally exotic to the books original readers.  As you read, a little background might be helpful.

Baviaan – a Dutch term for baboon

Djinn – supernatural creatures in Islamic mythology. They are not purely spiritual beings but also physical in nature and therefore able to interact in a tactile way with people and objects. They can be good, evil or neutral and possess free well much like human beings. The term may also be written as jinn, jinni, djinni, or genie.

Dravidian – someone who speaks one of the Dravidian languages. There are 200 million native speakers found in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Eland  – an eland antelope.

Fever Tree – a thorny tree by the scientific name of Acacia xanthophloea which grows in marshy places .At one time, it was believed to carry malaria.

High Veldt – an extensive treeless grassland in southern Africa

Khama’s Country – Botswana in southern Africa has spent much of its history ruled by the royal Khama line. During Kipling’s time it was a British protectorate known as Bechuanaland.

Kolokolo Bird – this is probably a bird that Kipling referred to by its sound rather than a specific species.

Limpopo River – a major river that drains much of eastern Botswana, northern South Africa, southern Zimbabwe, and western Mozambique.

Parsee – a term used to describe a follower of the Zoroaster faith in India. Originally the religion came from Persia.

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