"Dray Wara
Yow Dee"

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. We have also been gateful for some comments from a correspondent in Lahore, Omer Salim-Khan Tarin (identified in the text as O.S-K.T.) 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.



[December 2nd 2007]

[Title] The meaning of the title has not been determined, but see Page 236, line 22 which may be a direct translation: ‘All three are one.’. This suggests the three, wife, husband, and lover, bound together by the wife's infidelity.

Omer Salim-Khan Tarin writes: There was supposed to be a popular love song in Pushtu with this title. Interestingly, however, there also seems to be another story behind Kipling’s choice of title, although I am not wholly convinced of this explanation. During the 19th Century Christian missionaries to the North-West Frontier (now the NWF Province of Pakistan) used to use this term in Pushtu, to refer to the Holy Trinity in their teachings, when trying to explain this doctrine to the Pathans. This was supposedly done to reconcile the triple-God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) with the Islamic concept of the Oneness (Tauheed) of Divinity. [O.S-K.T.]

[Heading] For jealousy is the rage of a man; therefore he will not fear in the day of vengeance. This is from Proverbs 6,34.(not 7 as indicated by Kipling).

[Page 231, line 1] Kabul the capital of Afghanistan.

[Page 231, lines 2-4] a pony of the rarest etc...

[Page 231, lines 2-4] thirteen three thirteen hands, three inches, the maximum height of a polo-pony, or 4 feet seven inches (1.40 metres) at the shoulder (a hand, in this context, being four inches.) If he will do all that is claimed for him he is indeed a rare and valuable animal. [Most of this page is taken up with good and plausible patter which reminds the reader that the second-hand horse-dealers of yesterday became the second-hand car dealers of today: Ed.]

[Page 231, lines 2-4] Holy Kurshed Omer Salim-Khan Tarin writes: This should be spelt Khurshid, meaning '[the] Holy or Sacred Sun'. This is actually a Persian or Dari exclamation, and is not commonly used in Pushtu by Pathans or Afghans this side of the Durand Line. It is the sort of thing you would hear from someone of Persian and Shia origin. I believe Kipling heard it in some other context and used it mistakenly. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 231, line 5] Blessed Imams Omer Salim-Khan Tarin writes: This refers to the Holy Imams of the Shiite sect of Islam. The Imams were descendants of Hassan and Hussain, the martyred grandsons of the prophet Muhammad. The use of this exclamation is a fallacy on Kipling’s part. The narrator is meant to be an Afridi Pathan; they are invariably Sunnis and would not use such an oath. However, it is not entirely impossible that Kipling heard some other Pathan (maybe a Bangash or Turi, who live near Tirah and have Shias amongst them) exclaim thus. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 231, line 7] Tirah tribal valleys near the sources of the Beas River, south-west of the Khyber Pass.

[Page 231, line 9] South of Delhi the speaker and the author seem to have known each other in Lahore and dislike Allahabad where Kipling was working, far from Lahore and the Frontier.

[Page 231, line 11] trulls sluttish women – prostitutes.

[Page 231, line 18] picket-room space to knock in a peg to tie up a horse.

[Page 232, line 2] Peshawar ancient city, garrison and capital of the North-West Frontier Province in Pakistan, which gives its name to the surrounding district.

[Page 232, line 2] Kamal the tribal chieftain also in “The Ballad of East and West” who stole the Colonel’s mare (see line 4 above)

[Page 232, line 3] Jumrud a fort about eleven miles west of Peshawar on the road to the Khyber Pass; it is pictured on the reverse of the Indian General Service Medal (1908-1935)

[Page 232, line 7] Khaiber Levies A reference to the Khyber Scouts, or Khyber Rifles, a corps of levies recruited from the tribes of this tribal agency. For a detailed history of the Scouts see Charles Chenevix Trench, The Frontier Scouts, London: Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1985. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 232, line 8] His Prophet Mohammed, (c. 570–632) the Founder of Islam.

[Page 232, line 12] the felts Blankets. Afghan horsemen believe that it is good to cover a horse with felt blankets even in the heat, since this supposedly keeps it in excellent condition, ‘melting’ the excess flesh or fat. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 232, line 16] the dun in this context, a somewhat nondescript greyish-brown or mouse-coloured horse.

[Page 232, line 17] the trick of the peg Some clever horses know how to get out of the heel-peg that they’re tied to, through a number of ruses—generally, by extending the leg so that the rope or halter attached to the peg is stretched out and relaxes when the leg is returned to a normal position. This enables the horse to then slip out of it. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 232, line 18] Pubbi (or Pabbi), a town on the Grand Trunk Road, just before Peshawar. During the 19th and early-20th centuries, it had the reputation of being the haunt of ruffians and thieves. For a later mention, see The Lotus and the Wind by John Masters’ . [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 232, line 29] sweet as the water of Sheoran I haven’t been able to identify any known place, river or anything else that resembles this word. The nearest conjuncture I can make is that Kipling may have been referrring to Shalozan, a lovely hill station in the Tirah area, where several springs and rivulets cascade down from the nearby snow-covered hills, amidst the pines and cedars. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 232, line 33] Kurdistan a mountainous region near Mount Ararat where Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Russia converge.

[Page 233, line 2] the Kashmir Serai In Lahore’s Old City, properly the ‘Sultan Serai’, where Kim and the Lama met Mahbub Ali in Kim.

[Page 233, line 3] the Amir Abdur Rahman Khan (1830-1901) Emir of Afghanistan. See “To Meet the Ameer” (Uncollected Sketches), ed. Pinney. “Her Majesty’s Servants” (The Jungle Book) “The Ballad of the King’s Mercy” and "The Ballad of the King’s Jest" and a portrait in Fido, p. 46. Rahman literally means ‘Slave or Servant of the Compassionate' – one of the Names of God. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 233, line 4] tolls in this context. charges for using a road, here levied illegally.

[Page 233, line 5] Dakka a town in Afghanistan, not far from the Khyber Pass.

[Page 233, line 6] Balkh a town in what used to be called Bactria on the northern frontier of Afghanistan.

[Page 233, line 9] Mahbub Ali the name of the horse-dealer in Kim (see line 2 above) but here apparently a writer.

[Page 233, line 11] Kohat District, town, cantonment and fort in the North-West Frontier Province.

[Page 233, line 12] Ismail-ki-Dhera The place referred to is actually Dera Ismail Khan and Kipling is using a common misnomer applied to it by early British travellers. I must stress my belief that Kipling had very little direct or first-hand exposure to the Frontier itself and depended on various sources and people for information. He betrays a lack of accurate geographical and cultural detail, time and again. Another example of this is the name that he gives in the beginning of this story, ‘Shafizullah’. There is no such name; he means either ‘Shafiullah’ or ‘Hafizullah’. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 233, line 12] Bokhariot belt made in Bokhara, then a vassal state of Russia. Mahbub Ali is wearing such a belt in the picture opposite p.33 of Kim.

[Page 233, line 16] Pakpattan A ford, or ferrying place and a town in what used to be Montgomery district in Punjab, now in the Sahiwal district of Pakistani Punjab. Sahiwal is also the name of a town, the nearby district HQ. Pakpattan is especially famous in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent as the location of the shrine of Hazrat Sheykh Farid-ud-Din Masud, "Ganj Shakkar”, a great Sufi saint venerated equally by Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. Many of the shlokas, or verses of the saint, are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred text of the Sikhs. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 233, line 18] Oho ! Such a salt tale ! “Such a spicy story !”

[Page 234, line 4] a double burden she is in foal.

[Page 234, line 9] Thana a police-station, from the Hindi – a fortified post. See “At Howli Thana” later in this volume.

[Page 234, line 9] sweeper a man of low caste.

[Page 234, line 10] lizard-men probably Sansi, eaters of lizards. See Kim, p.86.

[Page 234, line 12] blackened my face insulted me.

[Page 234, line 14] eight annas half a rupee - then probably about nine pence in pre-decimal days, about four pence Sterling now.

[Page 234, line 18] put dust on my head possibly a sign of repentance.

[Page 234, line 18] Afridi A Pathan tribe. They mostly live in the Khyber, Tirah and Darra Adam Khel areas of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 234, line 24] Allah-al-Mumit perhaps 'God the Dispenser of Justice' as the line above. [a translation would be appreciated; Ed.].

[Page 234, line 29] as a Pathan returning evil for good.

[Page 235, line 3] Pit in this context, Hell.

[Page 235, lines 4-5] folk who sell their wives and daughters…. in his opinion, which should not be taken too seriously, a really depraved people, as opposed to those in the North.

[Page 235, line 12] snow-water the melting snows in the Himalayas keep the rivers in full flow.

[Page 235, line 14] the gut of the Pass usually the narrowest part, but an unlikely place to camp,

[Page 235, line 23] the Abazai Another Pathan tribe, and also a place named after them. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 235, line 25] Ghor an ancient kingdom to the south of west Afghanistan.

[Page 235, lines 28-32] Rahman This refers to ‘Abdur Rahman Baba’, sometimes simply called ‘Rahman Baba’---along with Kushhal Khan Khattak, one of the two great classical poets of Pushtu. Rahman Baba lived in the Peshawar valley and was also respected as a notable Sufi. He wrote many verses, mostly in Rubai’ form and this is definitely a translation of one of these, though probably made by someone other than Kipling—maybe adapted and refined by him. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 236, line 2] Pindi Rawalpindi.

[Page 236, line 2] Uzbegs An elite cavalry unit of lancers in the Afghan army. Col. Warburton, in his memoirs of his service on the Frontier (pub.1900), mentions the picturesque and somewhat humorous impression made by the Uzbegs when they accompanied Amir Abdur Rahman Khan to Rawalpindi, for his meeting with the Viceroy of India in March-April 1885. Kipling covered this event for the Civil and Military Gazette. [O.S-K.T.]

See also (Uncollected Sketches, ed. Pinney. p. 96, and "Her Majesty's Servants" in The Jungle Book.

[Page 236, line 8] the Fakr to the Isha from the prayer at dawn to the prayer after sunset. Actually, Fajr. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 236, line 10] hands still upon his wrists Bisesa had her hands roughly amputated for infidelity in “Beyond the Pale.” (Plain Tales from the Hills).

[Page 236, line 13] Little Malikand Malakand, a village about 40 miles north of Peshawar.

[Page 236, line 15] Cherat Hill-station and cantonement in Peshawar District.

[Page 236, line 22] Dray wara yow dee ‘All three are one’ if that is indeed the translation as the next words seem to indicate.

[Page 236, line 26] the fuse of my matchlock a primitive firearm, fired by a lighted fuse or slow match attached to the hammer – the forerunner of the musket fired by flint and steel.

[Page 237, line 5] O woman, what is this that thou hast done ? see Genesis 3,13; God’s words to Eve after she and Adam had eaten the apple.

[Page 237, line 20] the Kabul river rises in the Hindu Kush, joins the Swat east of the city and the Indus at Attock.

[Page 237, line 29] the Devil Atala [not traced – information will be welcomed; Ed.]

[Page 238, line 4} Mahbub Ali also the name of the horse-dealer who plays an important part in Kim, and the “author” of “The Writing of Yakub Khan" in “The Smith Administration” in From Sea to Sea, vol. 2)

[Page 238, line 5] charpoy bedstead.

[Page 238, line 6] your Law the Firearms Act forbade the carrying of arms.

[Page 238, line 19] the Dora Actually ‘Darra’ or (in full) ‘Darra Adam Khel’, the pass between Peshawar and Kohat—where the Adam Khel section of the Afridi dwell. Literally 'The Doorway or Gate of the Adam Khel' (Pushtu). [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 238, line 20] the Black Water Refers generally to the Ocean but also to the Andaman Isles, the dread penal colony across the ‘Kala Pani’. [O.S-K.T.]

[Page 238, line 31] Ali Musjid a fort in the Khyber Pass.

[Page 238, line 31] Ghor Kuttri a Hindu temple in Peshawar.

[Page 239, line 13] Nowshera about twenty-five miles east of Peshawar.

[Page 240, line 1] Jamun Hobson-Jobson (p. 449) calls this a poor fruit and gives a somewhat confused account of it’s various botanical names – whether Kipling was aware of this entry is not known, (his Review of the book is printed in Pinney (ed.) Uncollected Sketches (page 158) but, in view of her behaviour , the name is well-chosen.

[Page 240, line 1] Ak known as muddar in central and western India – a useful plant of which popular rhyme says For hedges heaps of withered thorn. (See Hobson-Jobson p. 9 etc.)

[Page 240, line 22] Uttock Attock – see Note at Page 237, line 30 above.

[Page 240, line 28] Pindigheb 40 miles south of Attock.

[Page 241, line 2] Sialkot District and town about 75 miles north of Lahore.

[Page 241, line 3] the Big Road presumably the Grand Trunk Road across northern India - see Chapter 4 of Kim and, for a modern view, The Grand Trunk Road, Khyber to Calcutta by John Wiles. (Elek, 1972.)

[Page 241, line 7] Shahpur about 100 miles west of Sialkot - there are many places of this name in India and Pakistan.

[Page 241, line 9] the Salt Hills they run from Rawalpindi south-east across the Indus passing between Kohat and Bannu.

[Page 241, line 9] The Jhelum one of the five great rivers of the Punjab.

[Page 241, line 16] Alghias ! possibly Woe ! or Alas! [Information will be welcomed; Ed.]

[Page 241, line 21] as the kite flies a straight line ('as the crow flies' in the English saying.) In this context the kite is the name of a bird of prey of the genus Accipitridae.

[Page 241, line 25] Sahiwal on the River Jhelum, 120 miles west of Lahore.

[Page 241, line 26] Jhang town and District 90 miles north-east of Multan.

[Page 241, line 26] Samundri 30 miles south of Lyallpur.

[Page 241, line 26] Gugera near the River Ravi, 20 miles north-north-west of Montgomery.

[Page 241, line 28] Montgomery town and District 90 miles south-west of Lahore.

[Page 241, line 29] Okara on the River Jumma which provides irrigation-water for the east and west Jumma Canals.

[Page 241, line 31] Fazilka on the River Sutlej, 80 miles south of Lahore.

[Page 242, line 2] Rania not traced.

[Page 242. line 3] Bahadurgarh 20 miles west of Delhi.

[Page 242, line 6] Rechna between the rivers Chenab and Ravi.

[Page 242, line 7] Djinns good and bad supernatural beings in Arabian mythology also used by Kipling in the Just So Stories and elsewhere

[Page 243, line 13] Hamirpur between the rivers Sutlej and Beas.




[J H McG.]

©John McGivering 2005 All rights reserved