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‘But are the beasts as wise as the men?’ said the chief.

‘They obey, as the men do. Mule, horse, elephant, or bullock, he obeys his driver, and the driver his sergeant, and the sergeant his lieutenant, and the lieutenant his captain, and the captain his major, and the major his colonel, and the colonel his brigadier commanding three regiments, and the brigadier his general, who obeys the Viceroy, who is the servant of the Empress. Thus it is done.’

‘Would it were so in Afghanistan!’ said the chief; ‘for there we obey only our own wills.’


This is from “Her Majesty’s Servants” in The Jungle Book.

It describes the march past of the British army at a review for the Amir of Afghanistan, in 1885, which Kipling had witnessed as a young reporter. The Afghan chief is amazed at the discipline than binds beasts men and officers together in a united force.