"The Sending
of Dana Da"

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Soldiers Three and Other Stories, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.



[November 20 2013]

[Heading] Perhaps a real proverb, or maybe one of Kiplings: the chamar is translated in some editions as a low-caste man – one of the leather-sellers and shoemakers, regarded, with all handlers of hides, as low-caste.

[Page 307, line 2] a new Heaven and a new Earth Revelation 21 1: ...And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.

[Page 307, line 7] There are more things…. an intentional misquotation from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act 1, scene 5 '… more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

[Page 307, line 12] air-line postal service a joke which came true. See “As Easy as A.B.C.” (A Diversity of Creatures) and “With the Night Mail” (Actions and Reactions). Two very early essays in science fiction – see also “A Master of our Art” by Fred Lerner.

[Page 307, line 10] the Religion
this seems to be Theosophy, of a kind which became a craze in the 1880s and is satirised in A Fallen Idol (1886) by F, Anstey, the pseudonym of Thomas Anstey Guthrie (1856–1934) Dating back to 10 B.C. or thereabouts, it is an amalgam of many lines of thought and owes something to Annie Besant (1847-1933) and Helena Petrovna Hahn-Hahn Blavatsky (1831-1891).

Madam Blavatsky, a convicted impostor, was indeed considered by many scholars to be a fraud , a view shared by Kipling’s father. (Something of Myself, p. 58) [See Time Was by W. Graham Robertson (Hamish Hamilton, 1955) p. 19, who described her as: 'an enormous woman who filled and overflowed an enormous chair, a large flat face, thick features and coarse-skinned and – horrible eyes...'] G.K.Chesterton, in his Autobiography (Hutchinson, ed. 1969) described her as: 'a coarse, witty, vigorous, scandalous old scallywag' (page 149).

[Page 307, line 19] Freemasonry an important world-wide and powerful association, said to date back to the masons who worked on King Solomon’s temple – a British Grand Lodge was founded in 1717. Kipling was himself a mason and wrote much prose and verse thereon.

Latter-day Rosicrucians probably an unlikely and jesting fusion of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints (also known as Mormons) and a secret society believed to have been founded by one Christian Rosencreutz in 1484. See also the notes to the Heading of “Consequences” (Plain Tales from the Hills).

[Page 308, line 1] Vedas the most sacred of the Hindu Scriptures, some dating back to 2000 years B.C. See Hobson-Jobson, page 961.

[Page 308, line 4] Zend Avesta the common name of the ancient dialect of Persian in which are written the Sacred Books of the Parsees – see Hobson-Jobson,

[Page 308, lines 5-9] White, Gray (sic) and Black magic etc various forms of benevolent and other magic.

Voodoo magic beliefs and practices of African origin also followed in the West Indies.

Oboe usually obeah or obi; a type of witchcraft in the West Indies.

[Page 308, line 12] the birth of the Sea an echo of Genesis 1,10: And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas.

[Page 308, line 19] Dana Charles Anderson Dana (1819 -1897) editor and proprietor of various American newspapers.

[Page 308, line 20] Bhil a member of an aboriginal tribe from the Vindhya mountains in Central India; See “The Tomb of his Ancestors” (The Day’s Work).

Da Burmese for a heavy knife.

[Page 308, line 21] Bengali a native of Bengal and the language spoken there.

[Page 308, lines 22-26] Lap or Finnish etc a list of various nationalities to emphasise the point the writer is establishing.

[Page 308, line 31] Old Man of the Mountains Hassan-ben-Sabah (1054-1124) founder of the sect of the Assassins. [Harmsworth]

[Page 309, line 12] Things in Heaven…. see the note to Page 307, line 7 above.

[Page 309, line 25] the Simla Creed not traced –but presumably Theosophy; see the note above on Page 307, line 10.

[Page 310, line 18] chamars see the note above on the Heading.

[Page 312, line 4] ‘fifth-rounder’ Susie Paskins writes: this is a satirical reference to Madame Blavatsky's extremely complicated cosmological theories. The fifth round is (basically) a stage in cosmic evolution. The letter in the story is again a satirical reference, this time to the Mahatma letters, said to have been sent from the Mahatmas in Tibet to the theosophist A. P. Sinnett (whom of course Kipling knew!). [S.P.]

[Page 312. line 5] Slade Henry Slade (1832 to c. 1905) another fraudulent medium.

[Page 312, line 6] Houdin Jean Eugène Robert Houdin (1805-1871) the famous French “magician”, the father of modern conjuring. He should not be confused with Harry Houdini, the stage name of Ehrich Weiss, (1874-1926) the American conjuror and illusionist who, incidentally, investigated and condemned spiritualism. [Harmsworth].

[Page 313, line 22] sederunt a sitting of an ecclesiastical or other body – also of the company over wine at table after dinner.

[Page 314, line 14] Round Robin a petition or other communication with the signatures in a circle so that it is impossible to identify the leader.

[Page 314, line 20] Ra the Sun-God in Egyptian mythology.

Toth probably Thoth, the equivalent of Hermes, the Greek messenger of the gods.

Tum usually Atum (ORG) but not traced - unless he is Ammon, the ram-headed Egyptian god.

[Page 315, line 23] Ulster in this context a long loose overcoat made from a cloth manufactured in Northern Island.

[Page 315, line 27] mackintosh a raincoat made of waterproof cloth patented in 1823 by Charles Macintosh (1766-1843)

[Page 316, line 12] Sennacherib King of Assyria who ascended the throne in 705 B.C., following the assassination of his father and was himself assassinated in 680 or thereabouts. See 2 Chronicles, 32. It is not clear why he is included here, unless Kipling considered he possessed a name to conjure with !

[Page 316, line 14] the Ancient Mariner he shot the albatross but survived – see “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834).

[Page 317, line 1] pale see the Note to “Beyond the Pale” (Plain Tales from the Hills) at the top of page 171.

[Page 317, line 11] Mizraim Not identified

Memphis in this context, the ancient capital of Egypt.

Commination of Jugana a threatening of punishment.

[Page 317, line 14] papal excommunication an ecclesiastical punishment issued by the Pope excluding the offender from the rites of the church.

billet-doux a love-letter; from the French.

[Page 318, line 8] pentacles Figures used as symbols.

[Page 318, line 9] pentagrams Five-pointed stars used as defences against witches (Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable} )

crux ansata the tau cross in the shape of the Greek letter “T” – the cross of St Anthony.

[Page 318, line 10] swastikas signs of good fortune – see Kipling and the Swastika by Michael Smith.

Triple Tau a sacred symbol also used in Freemasonry.

[Page 318, line 23] “kittened to prove the power of Dana Da” probably an echo of Butcher’d to make a Roman holiday, from "Childe Harold" IV cxli, by Lord Byron (1788-1824).

[Page 319, lines 9-10] Psychic Current...Dual Identity...Percipient Activity ORG believes these expressions to have been fashionable in so-called magic circles in India in the 1870s

[Page 319, line 12] Developing Fluid Lycett (page 156) refers to Alex Hill, whose hobby of photography intrigued Kipling:

From now on Rudyard’s writings were peppered with references to this newish phenomenon... “The Sending of Dana Da” contained an elaborate metaphor about the developing fluid needed to interpret the mumbo-jumbo of spirits on the astral plain.
[Page 319, line 15] Glück Christoph Willibald Glück (1714-1787) German composer.

Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827.) German composer – the dominant influence in nineteenth-century music.

[Page 319, line 16] finger-bowls small glass or silver basins used for rinsing the fingers when the fruit course is served at dinner.

clock-shades glass domes covering clocks - usually on the mantelpiece. These and finger-bowls will emit musical notes if struck gently – see the >Note to Page 127, line 16 earlier in this volume.

[Page 319, line 24] godown in this context a domestic outbuilding used as a store.

[Page 320, line 7] Bunnia a trader, merchant or perhaps shopkeeper,

[Page 320, line 10] thought-reading man a music-hall turn where actors - one in the auditorium who passes coded information to the other on the stage - are apparently able to identify objects belonging to a member of the audience who is himself sometimes a plant.


[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2005 All rights reserved