(July 6th to 12th)

Format: Triple

He obtained great insight into the ways and thefts of saises—enough, he says, to have summarily convicted half the population of the Punjab if he had been on business. He became one of the leading players at knuckle-bones, which all jhampánis and many saises play while they are waiting outside the Government House or the Gaiety Theatre of nights ; he learned to smoke tobacco that was three-fourths cowdung…


This is from “Miss Youghal’s Sais” in Plain Tales from the Hills.

Strickland, the policemen who is master of many disguises, with an unrivalled knowledge of native ways, loves Miss Youghal but is disapproved of by her parents. Knowing that she is vulnerable when out riding, he disguises himself as a sais (groom) to protect her. Later, when an elderly general flirts with the girl, Strickland listens for a while, and then jumps out and threatens in fluent English to throw the general over the cliff. The general is amused and impressed, and puts in a good word for Strickland with her parents. He is accepted, and the story ends happily.

There starts a caravan from Peshawar to Kabul in twenty days, Huzrut,’ said the Eusufzai trader. ‘My camels go therewith. Do thou also go and bring us good luck.’

‘I will go even now!’ shouted the priest. ‘I will depart upon my winged camels, and be at Peshawar in a day! Ho! Hazar Mir Khan,’ he yelled to his servant, ‘drive out the camels, but let me first mount my own.’


This is from “The Man who Would be King” in Wee Willie Winkie and other stories.

Two adventurers, Daniel Dravot and Peachey Carnehan, are off to the high mountains of Afghanistan to make themselves kings. Here they are just setting off from Lahore, in native dress, disguised in as a priest and his servant. Later they do indeed make themselves kings for a time, but the adventure ends in tragedy when they are found to be men, not gods.

“A little dye-stuff and three yards of cloth to help out a jest. Is it much to ask?”

“Who is she? Thou art full young, as Sahibs go, for this devilry.”

“Oh, she? She is the daughter of a certain schoolmaster of a regiment in the cantonments. He has beaten me twice because I went over their wall in these clothes. Now I would go as a gardener’s boy. Old men are very jealous.”


This is from Kim. In his school holidays from St Xavier’s Kim is playing truant, leaving his European clothes behind, and planning to take to the road in the guise of a native boy. Here, pretending he needs to evade the father of a girl-friend, he has persuaded a dancing girl in a disreputable quarter of the city to dye him dark, and make him a turban.