(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!!)
Did you know that a long time ago zebras had no stripes? They looked like short chubby horses. After extensive research, I have discovered how they got them. Gather around me, little ones, and I will tell you what I’ve learned.
Most zebras were completely satisfied being short and totally white, although they did have to go to the dry cleaners fairly often. (They were notoriously messy eaters and the food they got on their white coats always showed.) There was one zebra, however, who was not happy with the way he looked. His name was Ziggy and he was one phat dude. He wanted to stand out in a crowd.
He tried braying loudly, but the other zebras said that made him sound like an ass. He had his ears (and other parts) pierced, but he had trouble getting the rings and other jewelry in and out, because he didn’t have opposable hooves. He tried commissioning some famous artists to paint his portrait--as they saw him--to get an idea of how he could change. He sent them each a snapshot. That didn’t work out too well. Jackson Pollock saw him as a bunch of spots and paint dribbles. Andy Warhol sent him back four pictures which were all the same, except for the colors, and one painting of a can of Campbell’s Cream of Zebra Soup--which frightened him!! Salvador Dali’s contribution looked like a bunch of limp zebra pieces which were stacked on each other every which way.
His friends came up with a plan. They contacted a famous designer's offices and told them Ziggy needed a makeover. Since they had never worked with a zebra before, they were excited and came to Africa to secretly film him for the "before" pictures. When they asked, he agreed to go to New York and bring all his clothes with him. (That part was easy, because he didn’t have any!) He tried to hold out for plaid, but in the end he agreed with the designers that he looked best in vertical black and white stripes because they made him look thinner, and he agreed. They suggested horizontal stripes on his legs for contrast. Something drastic had to be done with his mane, which had never before been professionally cut or styled. The hairdresser said it was much too long for his face and hid his beautiful eyelashes and gave him a crewcut. He told Ziggy that all he had to do was to put some butch wax on it to keep it stiff.
Ziggy was absolutely thrilled with his new look!! He wowed the people who were at his welcoming back party. In fact, so many zebras loved the way he looked that they started to copy him, but he didn’t mind, because he was first! The “Ziggy Look” became so popular that, after a while, all baby zebras were born that way.