24th May 2024

How the rhino got his skin, Rudyard Kipling explains

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The rhino looks like it is wearing a coat of armour. Rudyard Kipling, in his story ‘How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin’, tells an interesting tale about how a Parsee called Pestonjee Bomonjee baked a magical cake and a rhinoceros ate it on an uninhabited Island on the Red Sea. When that happened, the rhinoceros had a smooth, even and figure-hugging skin.

Five weeks later, the rhinoceros went to the beach for bathing. He took off his skin, which he could do by unbuttoning it from underneath. While he bathed, the Parsee crammed its skin that was left on the beach with a lot of stale crumbs from left-over cakes, so that when the rhinoceros put it on he would feel terrible itchiness. So after wearing the smeared skin, the rhino rolled over the ground and rubbed himself against the tree till his skin went crumpled and the buttons came off. Since then, the rhinoceros has had wrinkly skin and a bad temper because of the itchy crumbs inside.

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