Then a pile of heads he laid

(notes edited by John McGivering)


These lines are the heading to “His Chance in Life” in Plain Tales from the Hills (1888). Collected in Songs from Books (1912) and later collections as a chapter heading.

Notes on the Text

Kafir One of the ‘Kafir’ people of the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan. See our notes on “The Man who Would be King”. See also A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby.

The Oxus the great river in Central Asia, also known as the Amu Darya, running from Lake Victoria in the Pamir highlands to the Sea of Aral, and forming the boundary between Turkestan and Afghanistan for some 700 miles.


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