THE LEGEND OF
THE FIRST CAM-U-EL
(An Arabian Apologue)
by
Arthur Guiterman
 Across the sands of Syria, 
Or, possibly, Algeria, 
Or some benighted neighborhood of barrenness and drouth, 
There came the prophet Sam-u-el 
Upon the only cam-u-el
A bumpy, grumpy quadruped of discontented mouth. 
The atmosphere was glutinous; 
The cam-u-el was mutinous; 
He dumped the pack from off his back; with horrid grunts and squeals 
He made the desert hideous; 
With strategy perfidious 
He tied his neck in curlicues, he kicked his paddy heels.

Then quoth the gentle Sam-u-el, 
"You rogue, I ought to lam you well! 
Though zealously I've shielded you from every grief and woe, 
It seems, to voice a platitude, 
You haven't any gratitude. 
I'd like to hear what cause you have for doing thus and so!"

To him replied the cam-u-el, 
"I beg your pardon, Sam-u-el. 
I know that I'm a reprobate, I know that I'm a freak; 
But, oh! this utter loneliness! 
My too-distinguished onliness! 
Were there but other cam-u-els I wouldn't be Unique."

The prophet beamed beguilingly. 
"Aha," he answered, smilingly, 
"You feel the need of company? I clearly understand. 
We'll speedily create for you
The corresponding mate for you -- 
Ho! presto, change-o, dinglebat!"... he waved a potent hand,

And, lo! from out vacuity 
A second incongruity, 
To wit, a lady cam-u-el was born through magic art. 
Her structure anatomical, 
Her form and face were comical; 
She was, in short, a cam-u-el, the other's counterpart.

As Spaniards gaze on Aragon, 
Upon that female paragon 
So gazed the prophet's cam-u-el, that primal desert ship. 
A connoisseur meticulous, 
He found her that ridiculous 
He grinned from ear to auricle until he split his lip!

Because of his temerity 
That cam-u-el's posterity 
Must wear divided upper lips through all their solemn lives! 
A prodigy astonishing 
Reproachfully admonishing 
Those wicked, heartless married men who ridicule their wives.  
The end