Feud.--Reprisal.--The home-coming.--The dance on the hill.--The river of hate.--The soul of a Turk.--Morituri.--The jester.--The strength of the little thin thread.--Grafter and master grafter.--The logical tale of the four camels.--The two-handed sword.--Black poppies.--The perfect way.--Tao
e of Afghanistan are loyal in living, loyal also in taking life.
But there was my promise to Bibi Halima to keep Ebrahim Asif safe against her husband's claiming.
And I kept him safe, quite safe, by Allah, the holder of the balance of right. For using a short cut which I knew, having once had a blood-feud in those very hills, I appeared suddenly in front of Ebrahim Asif, covering him with my rifle.
He did not show fight, for no hillman will battle against impossible odds. Doubtless he thought me a robber; and so, obeying my command, he dropped his rifle and his cheray, and he suffered me to bind his hands behind his back with my waistband.
But when I spoke to him, when I pronounced the name of Ali-Khan and Bibi Halima, he turned as yellow as a dead man's bones. His knees shook. The fear of death came into his eyes, and also a great cunning; for these Moustaffa-Khel are gray wolves among wolves.
"Walk ahead of me, son of Shaitan and of a shejackal," I said, gently rubbing his