(September 13th to 26th)

Format: Triple

‘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.

A little Indian boy, who had been brought before the magistrates after his small blind sister’s body had been found in a well, is telling the the tale of how he and his sister had been orphaned at a time of famine and smallpox, and how he had killed her rather than see her die of hunger.

‘Be quick’, said Athira; and Suket Singh was quick; but Athira was quick no longer. Then he lit the pile at the four corners and climbed upon it, reloading the gun.
The little flames began to peer up between the big logs atop of the brushwood. ‘The Government should teach us to pull the triggers with our toes,’ said Suket Singh grimly to the moon. That was the last public observation of Sepoy Suket Singh.


This is from “Through the Fire” in Life’s Handicap.

A young Indian soldier leaves his wife to take up with the young wife of a brutal charcoal burner. But the husband has a curse put on her, and she starts to wither away. Rather than die from the curse, or leave each other, the couple have decided to die together.

…an instant later, by the tone of Spurstow’s voice calling upon them to enter, the men knew what had happened. There was no need to wake him.
The punkah was still being pulled over the bed, but Hummil had departed this life at least three hours.
The body lay on its back, hands clinched by the side…In the staring eyes was written terror beyond the expression of any pen…’


This is from “At the End of the Passage” in Life’s Handicap.

A young engineer in a remote station in the hot weather, over-worked and over-wrought, has been tortured by terrible dreams, so terrible that he is afraid to fall asleep. His friends find him dead in his bed, of fear….