September 14, 2012

The Grave of the Hundred Head | “They Kill Four Of Ours, You Kill 400 Of Theirs”

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun,
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

A Snider squibbed in the jungle,
Somebody laughed and fled,
And the men of the First Shikaris
Picked up their Subaltern dead,
With a big blue mark in his forehead
And the back blown out of his head.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Jemadar Hira Lal,
Took command of the party,
Twenty rifles in all,
Marched them down to the river
As the day was beginning to fall.

They buried the boy by the river,
A blanket over his face--
They wept for their dead Lieutenant,
The men of an alien race--
They made a samadh in his honor,
A mark for his resting-place.

For they swore by the Holy Water,
They swore by the salt they ate,
That the soul of Lieutenant Eshmitt Sahib
Should go to his God in state;
With fifty file of Burman
To open him Heaven's gate.

The men of the First Shikaris
Marched till the break of day,
Till they came to the rebel village,
The village of Pabengmay--
A jingal covered the clearing,
Calthrops hampered the way.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Bidding them load with ball,
Halted a dozen rifles
Under the village wall;
Sent out a flanking-party
With Jemadar Hira Lal.

The men of the First Shikaris
Shouted and smote and slew,
Turning the grinning jingal
On to the howling crew.
The Jemadar's flanking-party
Butchered the folk who flew.

Long was the morn of slaughter,
Long was the list of slain,
Five score heads were taken,
Five score heads and twain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
Went back to their grave again,

Each man bearing a basket
Red as his palms that day,
Red as the blazing village--
The village of Pabengmay,
And the "drip-drip-drip" from the baskets
Reddened the grass by the way.

They made a pile of their trophies
High as a tall man's chin,
Head upon head distorted,
Set in a sightless grin,
Anger and pain and terror
Stamped on the smoke-scorched skin.

Subadar Prag Tewarri
Put the head of the Boh
On the top of the mound of triumph,
The head of his son below,
With the sword and the peacock-banner
That the world might behold and know.

Thus the samadh was perfect,
Thus was the lesson plain
Of the wrath of the First Shikaris--
The price of a white man slain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
Went back into camp again.

Then a silence came to the river,
A hush fell over the shore,
And Bohs that were brave departed,
And Sniders squibbed no more;
For the Burmans said
That a kullah's head
Must be paid for with heads five score.

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun,
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

--- Rudyard Kipling

“They Kill Four Of Ours, You Kill 400 Of Theirs”

Posted by Vanderleun at September 14, 2012 12:02 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Screw that, add a couple more zeros…then bomb Mecca for good measure.

You smell that? There’s nothing like the smell of an embassy attack to bury a wimp of a president. Barry meet Jimmy. Jimmy, Barry…

"Willie the Wimp was buried today,
They laid him to rest in a special way.
Sent him off in the finest style
That casket-mobile really drove 'em wild
Southside Chicago will think of him often
Talkin' 'bout Willie the Wimp and his Cadillac coffin,
Willie the Wimp and his Cadillac coffin"


Posted by: tim at September 14, 2012 1:08 PM

History doesn't repeat, but it does rhyme

For the Manifest Incompetents in the WH and our sorry-sack-o-shit State Department, a brief Latin recommendation ...

Oderint dum metuant

Posted by: OhioDude at September 14, 2012 1:23 PM

Witness the tough resolve of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell holding President Katrina to account for flouting the laws, ignoring subpoenas, making illegal appointments, and golfing while diplomats and Marines are killed.

Let's keep fantasizing about how an effective pro-American POTUS would behave because that feels better than you know, doing anything. Code Pink is more effective than all of the GOP "leaders" combined. That is an unpardonable indictment. How bad can things really be if the GOP has NO response?

Posted by: Scott M at September 14, 2012 1:36 PM

Amen, Scott. These barbarians know they can defy and humiliate us, and we will do nothing except perhaps send in a few soldiers for them to use as target practice. They could care less if we kill a few of the hapless here and there. Demographics are on their side. They may be savages, but we are no longer civilized men. Civilized, decent men would be outraged as we were for about fifteen minutes after 9/11/01. This 9/11 hardly raises a whimper.

We have abandoned Western Civilization, and with it, the high ground. Technology might hold them off for a little while, but if we don't have a solid place to take a stand and defend, we will lose in the long run.

Posted by: mushroom at September 14, 2012 2:18 PM

Ripley: “I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

If we had nuked Mecca and Medina on 9/12/2001, we wouldn't have had this problem.

Posted by: Fat Man at September 14, 2012 3:09 PM

Nuking Tehran on 11/4/1979 might have changed things.

Posted by: David McKinnis at September 14, 2012 4:19 PM

"Out of that entire company a single Syrian soldier returned to report, 'There's a second Israili in that trench.'"

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at September 14, 2012 5:04 PM

They kill four of ours, we kill 400 of theirs. That's a policy the Islamists understand. And, in retrospect, should have been our policy since 9/12/2001.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at September 14, 2012 7:14 PM

Kipling and Churchill were the last two men who had the slightest clue of the true nature of men.

Posted by: Fat Man at September 14, 2012 8:57 PM

I like 40,000 better.

Posted by: glenn at September 14, 2012 9:47 PM

We are going to have a nuclear war with Islam, if we don't surrender before that. The only question is who gets the first shot. Deport Islam and then nuke Islam. By their own words we are not worthy of hosting Muslims, so send them away. Every Muslim we allow to remain is a potential suicide bomber or intelligence operative giving aid to our enemy. If the "good" Muslims were going to help us you wouldn't have to look very hard to see examples of them helping the US. I'd say 11 years is enough time to wait for the spontaneous eruption of pro-American Muslim support. 1 billion Muslims do little to help, they have chosen. The responsibility is theirs for their fate.

Fuck their moon idol and their ass-wiping hands. Fuck Clinton & Bush for letting this problem remain and soldiers die while missiles are parked. A couple of hours of dense procedures under the Dakota and Montana plains among a few missile crews and none of this chaos would be necessary.

Posted by: Scott M at September 15, 2012 2:29 AM

The ironic thing is that Subadar Prag Tewarri's approach saves lives in the long run. Ours, anyways. I don't care about the other guys.

Posted by: butch at September 15, 2012 9:44 AM

I'm with Glenn on this one. 10 thousand of theirs for every one of ours. Better yet: one country of theirs for every citizen of ours.

Posted by: Ogrrre at September 15, 2012 11:02 AM

A hundred to one? Not a bad blood price in the usual case, but for American lives, I'd suggest leveling the offending city as well.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at September 15, 2012 1:31 PM

Speaking of Bush, where the Hell is he? Comfortably being quiet? Maybe things aren't as bad as we imagine?

If skepticism is good when considering our opponents, it's even more necessary when considering our "friends."

I'm just askin' . . .

Posted by: Joan of Argghh at September 16, 2012 9:46 AM

That tactic of revenge killing worked really well for the SS in WW II, didn't it?

I found this at

"In retaliation for the assassination of Heydrich, Kurt Daluege ordered the destruction of the village of Lidice. The village was razed to the ground and its 173 male inhabitants were murdered. The 198 women were sent to a Concentration Camp in Ravensbueck. Another 256 Czechs were condemned to death for aiding the assassination plot. Thousands of Czech people were also deported to other concentration camps in Austria and Germany as a result of Heydrich's death."

As I recall this event galvanized the Czech Resistance.

Posted by: Lorne at September 17, 2012 9:15 AM

I'm well aware of the record of Nazi reprisals. I am also well aware that the Czech Resistance failed, alas, to liberate their country.

Posted by: vanderleun at September 17, 2012 9:34 AM

Ditto France.

Posted by: vanderleun at September 17, 2012 9:36 AM

That is a great poem, Gerard. It's beautiful thing to recite. I think it ranks up there with "Gunga Din", easily. Of course, Gunga Din is a tad more acceptable to today's palate.

I doubt that you'll see a movie made Subadar's exploits anytime soon. I'd say it's about as likely as seeing a remake of the film "Zulu"

Posted by: Callmelennie at September 17, 2012 6:27 PM

It is a great poem, and a result that I'd like to see more of these days. But with our current government, not a chance.

BTW, Subadar and Jemadar were military ranks, roughly equivalent to Sergeant and Corporal, back in the old British Indian Army. Hence the Subadar taking over when the (British) Lieutenant was killed. As he should have.

Posted by: waltj at September 18, 2012 8:36 AM