This happened thousands of years ago. Life was hard as people had to do all the work by themselves. A large number of people were nomads – they would travel from one place to another in search of food and shelter.

While travelling one day, a man arrived at the edge of a desert. He was walking in the sands, when suddenly, he came across a frightening creature – it had extremely long, thin legs, a giant hump and a long neck. It was this neck that he extended towards the man, who, scared out of his wits, ran away from the spot.

The following day, he met the creature again. It was standing near a lake, drinking water. This time, the man was fascinated at what he saw – the creature putting its long neck into the lake and drinking water continuously.

Then suddenly, aware it was being watched, the giant creature looked up and stared straight into the eyes of the man standing across. But this time, an expanse of water separated the two, and the man did not run away. He stood and watched the animal, which made no effort to come closer.

The Desert Creature
The Desert Creature [Illustration by Shinod AP]
In the following weeks, the man saw more such creatures, again and again. It seemed they were all over the desert, aimlessly walking about for miles on end. The man began to observe the creatures very closely. He saw that they were vegetarian. Moreover, despite their huge size, they were remarkably meek and gentle.

And what stamina the creatures had! They could walk the entire length of the desert without being exhausted.

Observing them the man thought – “What if I tame this creature and make it ferry all my stuff? I could then make the desert my home.”

So, one day, while one of the creatures was dozing, the man went up to it and put a bridle in its mouth. Then he rode around in it, after placing an enormous amount of load on its back. After a little more time, the man even allowed his child to ride the creature all on his own.

With that, the taming of the camel was complete (for that was who the creature was). And ever since that day, the camel has faithfully lived up to its title of ‘Ship of the Desert’.