Garm – a Hostage

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Actions and Reactions, as published and frequently reprinted between 1907 and 1950.


[Page 55, line 2] Mian Mir Mian Mir appears in several of Kipling’s stories. Its name was changed to ‘Lahore Cantonment’ (pronounced cantoonment) in 1905-6. [See ORG Volume 1 p. 153.]

[Page 55, line 3] amateur theatricals see “The God from the Machine” mentioned in the headnote.

[Page 55, line 9] the pole the narrator is in a carriage drawn by two horses harnessed to a central pole. The incident is mentioned by Andrew Lycett (p. 126).

[Page 55, line 24] bull-terriers big short-haired dogs of great courage and affection. [See Collected Dog Stories with illustrations by G.L. Stampa.]

[Page 56, line 5] Vixen she appears in several other Kipling stories as the narrator’s much loved companion. Fox-terriers withstand the heat of the Indian ‘Plains’ better than many breeds. [See Beast and Man in India by Lockwood Kipling, Chapter 11.]

[Page 56, line 11] Stanley this is Private Stanley Ortheris who also appears in the stories of the ‘Soldiers Three’ mentioned in the headnote..

[Page 57, line 5] canteen-paper cheap writing-paper sold in the canteen, the soldiers’ dining hall.

[Page 57, line 23] vagrants homeless people without regular work, tramps or hoboes.

[Page 57, line 33 and overleaf] tearing out his heart See “The Power of the Dog” following this story.

Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

[Page 59, line 15] like a rabbit a rabbit is usually picked up in undignified fashion by one hand on the scruff of the neck and the other under the hind-quarters.

[Page 60, line 6] pariah-dogs ownerless curs that scavenge for food and will attack dogs owned by Europeans. [See Beast and Man in India by Lockwood Kipling, Chapter 11.]

[Page 60, line 24] Garm The word means ‘warm’ in Hindi. In Norse mythology ‘Garm’ is the dog that guards the entrance to Helheim, like the hound ‘Cerberus’, which guards the gates of hell in Greek mythology. [See the notes to “Sleipner, late Thurinda” in Abaft the Funnel]

[Page 61, line 25] long days in my office As a young journalist Kipling commonly worked a ten to fifteen-hour day. [See Something of Myself p. 41.]

[Page 62, line 3] the cloth usually with a capital “C” to signify the clergy, but in this context, army uniform.

[Page 63, line 4] an Irish soldier and a great friend of the dog’s master from the dialect reproduced below, this is Terence Mulvaney, who with Jock Learoyd, makes up Kipling’s celebrated ‘Soldiers Three’.

[Page 63, line 1] dog-cart a two-wheeled horse-drawn trap, with seats and a compartment for dogs.

[Page 63, line 31] Ye know his fits ? See “The Madness of Private Ortheris” in Plain Tales from the Hills.

[Page 64, line 25] Umballa railway junction and garrison about 150 miles from Lahore.

[Page 64, line 28] Kasauli … Subathoo … Dugshai (usually ‘Dagshai’). These are hill-stations not far from Simla.

[Page 65, line 26] retriever Another breed illustrated in Collected Dog Stories.

[Page 66, line 3] ekka a horse-drawn conveyance of uncomfortable and primitive design.

[Page 66, line 15] Stanley It is, in fact, unlikely that an officer would refer to a private soldier by his Christian name; in the other soldier stories the narrator usually addresses them by their surnames.

[Page 66, line 29] pi-dog an abbreviation for pariah-dog.

[Page 67, line 9] fubsy fat and squat (ORG) A frowzy old woman (Partridge).

[Page 68, line 18] no face In this context, to lose esteem in the opinion of others, a serious matter in Asian countries.(Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable)

[Page 68, line 19] punniar – kooter Literally, a spaniel or cheese-dog (ORG) but sometimes Chaplus, a flatterer. [Beast and Man in India, Ch. 11, has punyár.]

[Page 71, line 27] punkahs the hand-powered apparatus used before the availability of the electric fan.

[Page 74, line 15] spiked collar a dog would make a tasty meal for a leopard, hence the use of a spiked collar as protection against an attack.

[Page 74, line 30] bullock-trunk a case made for transport by bullock-cart.

[Page 75, line 13] dâks Here, as Kipling explains, a ‘two-horse travelling carriage’, but this is a word of many meanings and spellings – see Hobson-Jobson p. 299, where it is spelt Dawk.

[Page 75, line 15] Kalka the first staging-point on the climb to Simla (Simla, The summer capital of British India, by Rajah Bhasin, Penguin Books India 1992, p.144.)

[Page 75, line 19] the railway First considered by the British as early as 1834, but shelved for many years. the Kalka-Simla Railway was opened in 1903. (Simla, The summer capital of British India by Rajah Bhasin, Penguin Books India 1992, p. 83)

[Page 75, line 25] a river the Ghaggar, with a ford and elephants. See “In Flood-Time” (Soldiers Three) and (Simla, The summer capital of British India by Rajah Bhasin, Penguin Books India 1992, p. 144)

[Page 76, line 1] curricle a light horse-drawn two-wheeled vehicle.
half-broken partially trained.

[Page 76, line 3] a railroad to Simla this is American usage – the British usually call it a ‘railway’.

[Page 76, line 29] Solon (Solan) on the road and railway to Simla; now described as having pleasant picnic spots.

[Page 77, line 33] Beelzebub popularly known as ‘The Lord of the Flies’ and second only to Satan. See Mark 3,22, and other references in the New Testament (Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable).

[Page 78, line 11] Hosannas shouts of adoration to God: Hosanna! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Mark 11,9).

[Page 78, line 17] ulster an overcoat of cloth made in Ulster, in the north of Ireland.