A Just-So Story

A just-so story describes an unverifiable narrative explanation for a cultural practice, a biological trait, or behavior of humans or other animals. The Just So stories have a typical theme of a particular animal being modified from an original form to its current form by the acts of man, or some magical being. Just-so stories are often found in folklore and mythology.

The term was first used in 1902 in Rudyard Kipling’s Just-So Stories which contained fictional and deliberately fanciful tales for children, in which the stories pretend to explain animal characteristics, such as the origin of the spots on the leopard. In The Jungle Book II Mowgli learned how the tiger got his stripes. In Just So Stories the whale has a tiny throat from a swallowed mariner who tied a raft in his throat to block the whale from swallowing others.  Other stories included How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin, How the Leopard Got His Spots, The Elephant’s Child and The Beginning of the Armadillos.

Tomorrow, a Porquoi story    Rita Bay

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