(June 7th to 13th)

Format: Triple

“Ditta Mull says, ‘Always fresh takkus and paying money to vakils and chaprassis and law-courts every five years, or else the landlord makes me go. Why do I want to go? Am I a fool? If I am a fool and do not know, after forty years, good land when I see it, let me die! But if the new bundobust says for fifteen years, that is good and wise… what profit is there in five years and fresh papers? Nothing but dikh, trouble, dikh‘… “

The Legal Member brought his hand down on the table with a crash. ‘By Jove!’ said the Legal Member, ‘I believe the boy is right. The short tenure is the weak point.’


This is from “Tods’ Amendment” in Plain Tales from the Hills.

A new law goverrning relations between landlords and their tenants in the Hill districts of Indfia, is about to be finalised. Among other things it limits tenure to five years. Tods, an eight-year old, has heard from his friends among his father’s grooms and other servants, that to the tenants, the five year clause makes no sense. Tods comes down in his drwsing gown to the dinner table where various senior men are dining with his father, and tells the Legal Member of the Viceroy’s Council about the unpopularity of the five-year clause. They decide to change the new law accordingly.

“I went forward; but I cannot say whither I went, and there was no more food for myself or the sister. And upon a hot night, she weeping and calling for food, we came to a well, and I bade her sit upon the kerb, and thrust her in, for, in truth, she could not see; and it is better to die than to starve.”


This is from “Little Tobrah” in Life’s Handicap.

Two little children, whose parents have died of smallpox, are left destitute. Their brother hs taken their only money. Here Little Tobrah tells how he had pushed his blind sister into a well rather than see her starve.

“If thou hadst spoken then, time and money and trouble to me and to others had all been spared. Baba, thou hast done a wrong greater than thy knowledge, and thou hast put me to shame, and set me out upon false words, and broken my honour. Thou hast done very wrong. But perhaps thou didst not think?”

“Nay, but I did think. Father, my honour was lost when that happened that—that happened in Juma’s presence. Now it is made whole again.”


This is from “The Son of his Father” in Land and Sea Tales.

Little Adam Strickland has been beaten by his father, a police inspector, for a trivial offence,. He tries to kill himself, not because his father has beaten him, but because the punishment took place in the presence of a woman, He has lost his honour.

But later, one of Strickland’s horses has apparently been stolen, and the groom beaten in an affray. Adam knows all along that the affray was a false story, invented by the drunken groom, but he does not reveal this until his father has made a fool of himself. Adam has his revenge, and his honour is made whole