How the Rhinoceros Got his Skin.
This is the story of how the Rhinoceros got his skin, and it happened Just So.
Long ago in the High and Far Off times.
There was an uninhabited Island on the shores of the Red Sea.
and on this uninhabited Island there lived a Parsee called Pestonjee Bomonjee.
He lived all by himself with nothing but his hat, his knife
and his cooking stove of the kind you must particularly never touch.
One day he took flour, and water and currants and plums and sugar
and made himself a cake.
The Parsee always made cakes for breakfast, dinner, tea and supper.
But this was the most superior cake he had ever made.
It was two feet across and three fee thick.
and he baked it and baked it and baked it till it was all done golden brown.
and smelt most sentimental.
He was just about to eat it when there came down to the beach
from the altogether uninhabited interior a most ill-mannered Rhinoceros
named Strorks. So called because he breathed through his mouth instead of his nose.
He looked very like all Rhinoceroses do today with a horn on his nose and two piggy eyes.
But his skin fitted him smooth and tight without a wrinkle or a fold, and he was
very proud of it.
All the same he had no manners then and he has no manners now, and he never
will have any manners.
Without so much as a Good Afternoon he lumbered up to Pestonjee Bomonjee
with his beady piggy eye fixed on that beautiful cake.
Then that angry Rhinoceros snorted "Strorks" through his mouth so the Parsee left that cake immediately and at once and climbed safely to the top of a tall palm tree.
After greedily gobbling it up the Rhinoceros when back to the altogether uninhabited interior
without so much as a Thank you Very Much.
Then the Parsee came down from his Palm Tree and as the rays of the sun reflected
from his hat in more than oriental splendour he cooked up a magic aimed at that ill-mannered,
greedy Rhinoceros. and the magic said:-
"Them that takes cakes, which the Parsee man bakes, makes dreadful mistakes.
and there was to be a great deal of trouble to come from that magic- for that ill-mannered, bad tempered
There was a heat wave on that uninhabited Island on the shores of the Red Sea.
and everybody got very, very , very , warm.
The Parsee took of his hat.
But the Rhinoceros took off his skin.
In those days it buttoned down the front, with three buttons, like a macintosh.
He left his skin under a shady tree, and still full of the Parsee's cake he waddled off down the beach to go for a swim.
Presently, Pestonjee Bomonjee came by. and he found the skin and he smiled, and smiled and smiled.
and he rubbed his hands with Glee and danced and danced and danced.
He danced all the way back to his cooking stove of the sort you must particularly never touch…
and he filled his hat with cake crumbs. For remember the Parsee never ate anything but cake
and he never ever sweep away the crumbs.
Then he danced all the way back to the Rhinoceros's skin.
and he took that skin and he shook that skin and he scrubbed that skin and he rubbed that skin
just as full of old dry stale stickly tickle cake crumbs, and some burnt currants, as ever it could possibly hold.
then he climbed up to the top of a tree and waited for the Rhinoceros to come out of the water…
and put on his skin… and the Rhinoceros did.
He buttoned it up with the three buttons… and it tickled like cake-crumbs in bed. Then he scratched a little,
but that only made it worse. Then he scratched a lot, but that only made it a lot worse.
Then he lay down on the sand and rolled and rolled and rolled. and the cake crumbs tickled him
worse and worse and worse.
Then he rubbed and rubbed and rubbed against the spiky bark of a Palm Tree.
He rubbed so hard that he rubbed his skin into a great fold over his shoulders and another fold formed
underneath him where his buttons used to be, For he had rubbed his buttons clean away.
and his Temper got worse and worse and worse. and his skin got more and more crinkly for the cake crumbs were trapped inside for ever and ever… and MY how they tickled.
Then Pestonjee Bomonjee came down from the Palm Tree wearing his hat from which the rays of the sun were reflected in more than oriental splendour.
He smiled at the bad tempered Rhinoceros 'cos he knew his magic had worked… and it served that GRumpy Rhinoceros right.
and he went back home to make more cakes on his cooking stove of the kind that you must particularly never touch…
and the ill-mannered bad-tempered, greedy Rhinoceros went back to the altogether uninhabited interior.
Very angry and very scratchy indeed.
and ever since that day every Rhinoceros you will ever see, besides those you won't.
Have great folds of wrinkly, crinkly skin and a very bad temper. Exactly like Strorks, the first Rhinceros in the world.