"The Enemies to
Each Other"

Notes on the text




[Nov 27 2002]


[Page 1, Title] The Enemies to Each Other. The title echoes the Koran, Surahs II, VII and XX.

[Page 1, Title] (With apologies … Mirza Mirkhond). Mirza Mirkhond (1433-98) of Herat in Afghanistan, a Persian historian. The story’s language, with its elaborate metaphors and explanatory brackets, parodies the over-literal translation of Mirkhond’s Rauzat-us-Safa by E. Rehatsek [Bombay: Oriental Translation Fund, Royal Asiatic Society, 1891, 4 vols.], of which there is a set in Kipling’s study. The first five paragraphs of the story summarize Mirkhond’s account of the Creation (Part 1, vol. 1, 41ff), with certain alterations.

[Page 3, line 1] God knows best the true state of the case In Mirkhond (41), ‘He [i.e. God] knows best the true state of the case’ – but see also headnote.

[Page 3, line 2] Abu Ali Jafir Bin Yakub-ul-isfahani (897-967), Persian writer, described by Mirkhond (40) as translator of ‘the books of Adam’.

[Page 3, line 7] Jibrail Gabriel, the messenger of God. In Genesis, 2, 7 it is the Lord himself who ‘formed man of the dust of the ground’, while in the Koran, Surah XV, God makes him of mud or clay.

[Page 4, line 1] Vestibule In Mirkhond, the angels address ‘the Vestibule of [the Lord of] glory’.

[Page 4, line 7] Azrael The Islamic Angel of Death.

[Page 4, line 25] But in his haste … This and the next sentence are not in Genesis, the Koran or Mirkhond.

[Page 5, line 10] Eblis the Accursed. In the Koran, Surah II, Eblis (or Iblis) is the angel who refuses to bow to Adam and is cast out of heaven for the sin of pride. See also Lucifer in Isaiah 14, 12ff.

[Page 5, line 32] ‘My Compassion exceedeth My Wrath’. In Mirkhond (44) this reads] ‘”My compassion preceded My wrath,” because Adam became the recipient of favour and grace before he had adored God, and was afflicted with the pain of exclusion only after he had committed sin.’ The manuscript ends here.

[Page 6, line 6] Garden of the Tree. See Genesis, 2, 16-17] ‘And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayst freely eat; But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it…’ From this point, Kipling alters the story, making Adam’s sin his desire for a wife, whereas in Genesis, the Koran and Mirkhond, God decides to grant him one; the sin to which the serpent, Satan or Eblis tempts the couple is to eat of the forbidden fruit.

[Page 6, line 23] the Peacock. The Peacock’s refusal to smuggle Eblis into Eden, referring him to the serpent instead, comes from Mirkhond. The Peacock’s subsequent activities, like all the events in the story following the expulsion from Eden, appear to be Kipling’s invention.

[Page 10, line 17] the Mole. The Mole does not appear in Genesis, the Koran or Mirkhond.

[Page 12, line 7] Habil and Quabil and their sisters Labuda and Aqlemia. The sons of Adam are called Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, 1-2. In Mirkhond they are Habil and Quabil, and each has a twin sister: Aqlemia and Labuda respectively.

[Page 14, line 20] Serendib was an old name for Sri Lanka (Ceylon).


[L. L.]