(Ed. note: Rudyard Kipling submitted these "Just Not So Stories" to his editor in 1895. They were rejected. Following his editor's suggestion, he reworked them into a book called "Just So Stories" which was finally published in 1902. We were fortunate enough to find these drafts among his papers.)
(Disclaimer: OK, I admit it; These are from my book, "Fishducky's Fables" and I've run some of these before, but, hey, I'm 82. You can't expect me to run a new post five times a week. At least I've reworked them and the cartoons are all new!!)
... (AND THE BABOON, ITS RED BUTT)
Many years ago the leopard was a solid creamy white, with no spots. The baboon’s butt was the same color as the rest of its body. Not so, today. They were also very close companions. Now, a leopard will try to eat any baboon he sees. Let me tell you why, so this doesn’t happen between you and your friends. (It is very bad manners to eat your friends!)
Lenny Leopard received a gift from across the sea for his birthday. His aunt Lola in Wichita had FedExed him a set of oil paints. He invited his best friend, Bobby Baboon, to come and paint with him and his brothers and cousins. His brothers were Leon, Lionel, Lloyd and Lance. His cousins were Luke, Larry, Leroy, Lester and Lyle, who you might remember was married for a short time to Julia Roberts, a jaguar. (There are many laws of the jungle. One of them is that an animal’s first name must start with the same first letter as its breed. I have no idea why.)
None of them had ever seen oil paints--or paints of any kind before. They were excited and couldn’t wait to play with them. Aunt Lola, being senile, had neglected to send paper or empty canvases to paint on, so they started to paint each other, as young males of any breed are prone to do. Actually, Bobby started it by flicking paint all over the cubs, until they were covered with multicolored spots. During the inevitable fight that followed, Bobby Baboon was pushed or fell (nobody will admit what really happened) into the bright red paint, landing on his seat.
The cubs knew their moms would be very angry at them, but they had to go home and try to get the paint off. After their mothers had finished roaring at them, they tried to wash off the spots. This was oil paint and it had dried, and no matter how rough their mother’s tongues were, or how many Brillo Pads they used, they could not get it all off. They were left with brown spots where the painted spots were. One cub, who had always been tough and quite the renegade, was completely covered in black paint and yet refused to let his mother clean him. Bobby’s butt stayed bright red because no one, not even his mother, would try to clean it off over his objections. He eventually left his family and went off to the United States to form a new club called “The Black Panthers”. He did not call it "The Black Baboons" because he did not want to be easily identified.
Mother Nature must have thought that either this was very funny, or that they looked better that way, because when they got older, all their children, their children’s children and even their children’s children’s children were born with brown spots. What about Bobby Baboon’s descendants, you ask? They all have bright red butts, but it turns out the lady baboons like them that way; the brighter, the better. They think it’s sexy, which really makes the leopards angry!!
Have a happy & thoughtful Memorial Day!!