submitted: David Fleming, Kent, UK

Materials: a roll of wallpaper with the word CAMELEPHANTELOPELICANARY written on it. (Optional) An acetate of a camel onto which can be overlaid big ears, thin legs, a bill and a beak

Story: Once there was a camel called Brian. (unroll wallpaper to read CAMEL). He was perfectly made for the desert where he lived. he had wide feet so that he didn’t sink in the sand. He could close his nostrils in sand storms, he could store water for days in his hump. But he was not happy. You see he was bothered by flies all the time. they flew in his eyes and ears and really got on his nerves. He said "If only I had big ears like the elephant. Then I could flick the flies away." So he began to exercise his ears. He would wiggle them, and tread on them to stretch them, until at last his ears grew and grew (SHOW ACETATE WITH BIG EARS). The other cameps thought he looked ridiculous, but he did not care. He had no more flies buzzing round. His friends said "We can’t call you a camel any more. We will call you a (UNROLL WALLPAPER) CAMELEPHANT…..
((You can see the way the story is going. He wishes he could run fast…. catch fish …. sing prettily …. until he realises that he keeps tripping over his ears, stumbling on his thin legs, dragging his bill etc, and realises he was much happier as a camel))
Application: Don’t spend your life wishing you were something else. God gives us all unique gifts and abilities. Use them.

Suggested Song: If I were a butterfly.


Posted August 29, 2010 by dgbmcc in General


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  1. I was researching the quote on the cover of Philip Hobsbaum’s book of poetry ‘Women and Animals’ and came across the “Camelephantelopelicanary” and wondered if you were familiar with the late poets work?

    • Thanks – I was not aware of Philip Hobsbaum’s poem – which must be the inspiration behind the Talk – or perhaps he had heard the talk and put the fictitious animal into verse…

  2. When I first heard the talk back in the 1950’s it was introduced as an ancient tale, and I have been telling oit ever since. Philip Hobsbaun probably heard the tale and it inspired him.

  3. U only told us camelephant,when are u completing it?

  4. A retired minister at our church in Broughty Ferry brought us the tale. I have been trying to find the original author and story / poem. Is it one from Philip Hobsbaum’s book Women and Animals? I’ve written the story for our children at Craft Club to illustrate.

  5. Enquiries have not unearthed an originator of the story. I heard it first in the fifties from a visiting preacher at a church in Cardiff, who had heard the story in the 1920s, and he believed it was a Nonsense Story from the 1800s.This indictaes that the story therefore predates Philip Hobsbaum’s book of poetry ‘Women and Animals’.

    I noticed that: also indicates that it is at least 1920s. This site has a link to ‘Talks2Children’; a site with an animated verion called Boris, and a link to my site dales-tales.

    I have been telling the story for over 50 years and looked for a book but nothing was available hence my book ‘Clive the Magic Camel – at the Zoo’, with another ‘Clive the Magic Camel’ tale to be published.

    Hope this helps

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