By LornaL

Less than the dust

The second tale from 'The mystery of the east' in Told round the fire is 'Less than the dust'. This is based on another poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Nicolson). This reads:

Less than the dust, beneath thy Chariot wheel,  
Less than the rust, that never stained thy Sword,              
Less than the trust thou hast in me, O Lord,         
Even less than these!     
Less than the weed, that grows beside thy door,        
Less than the speed of hours spent far from thee,             
Less than the need thou hast in life of me.           
Even less am I.  
Since I, O Lord, am nothing unto thee,    
See here thy Sword, I make it keen and bright,           
Love’s last reward, Death, comes to me to-night,              
Farewell, Zahir-u-din.

The 1916 silent film of the same name, starring Mary Pickford, is available on YouTube. The plot of the film is summarised on IMDb as:

'Young Hindu woman Radha, becomes best friends with Captain Raymond Townsend during his service in India, but he soon goes back to England to tend to the estate of an uncle who has just died. Then, Ramlan, the sword maker who raised Radha, is arrested for taking part in an anti-British uprising, and before he goes to jail, he decides to tell Radha the story of her birth, her real father, Captain Brooke, died of a drug overdose, and her destitute mother then entrusted her to Ramlan. After learning about her background, Radha goes to England to claim her rightful inheritance from the estate of her late grandfather, who is also Raymond's uncle. Raymond is delighted to discover that his Hindu friend is really a white woman, and after dividing the estate with Radha, he brings the fortune back together by marrying her.'

We plan to blip Lorna's version of the tale at some point. We just need some time to type up a transcript of her text.

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