The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
When "Abdul" Went Magnune
When "Abdul" Went Magnune.
"Camel broken loose, Corporal, gone for the lick of his life towards the Wadi."
The picquet panted out his news, and stood waiting for orders He had raced the whole length of the line to tell me.
"Which one is it?" I snapped out. "'Abdul,'" was the reply; and I groaned in spirit. You see, "Abdul" was my own camel, and I knew we were in for trouble.
The night was dark, and our chances of roping in "Abdul" were about as good as those of a chap who tries to ring in a tale on our Q.M.
I ordered Tom to stav in the lines, then roused the other picquets, and iggried them off after "Abdul." One, an ex-jockey, vaulted half naked on to his camel behind the hump, and vanished in the darkness; the other saddled up, and followed him.
Presently I heard ructions amongst the bivvies, and then an angry roar from the O.C. No, I won't repeat all his words, some readers have delicate ears. The following is an expurgated version.
"Corporal Tibbin, what do you mean by allowing a camel to run wild? The brute has wrecked my bivvy, and furthermore, he bit me!"
I tried to pour oil, not on the O.C's wounded arm, but on his wounded amor propre. A camel to bite a Colonel! I trembled for myself, no less than for "Abdul."
Dismissed, I waited anxiously for more trouble. It came in the shape of old magnune "Abdul" himself. He charged like a whirlwind, and afterwards, the W.O., who had appeared on the scene at an inopportune moment, sat on the sand, a bit dazed. He gathered his wits and— I had discreetly retired.
"Abdul" hadn't though. He was having the time of his life, playing ring-a-rosy among the bivvies. The air was fairly thick with curses. The bivvies save up their wrathful tenants, and men in pyjamas or fluttering shirts, took up the hue and cry after "Abdul." That animal—may his grave be defiled—waltzed around, blew bubbles, and playfully kicked his nearest pursuer in the stomach. Then be went off at a tangent, and got into the mule lines. In two minutes "Ginger Mick." the maddest mule that ever was foaled, broke loose, and joined the dromedary. They capered and kicked for a while, knocked down half the cook-house, and hit out across the desert.
I nearly shed tears, and visions of a Court Martial menaced me.
"Hi! Corporal, here he comes," Tom shouted from the darkness, and hope timidly raised her head. But it was premature. The picquets, who had gone after "Abdul," were returning— without him.
We held a council of war, but no one had any ideas. Mohamed Ali came to the rescue.
"Gibbit gamel. Corporal," he said. "Me iggery, catch magnune."
He got the fastest came! on the line, and streaked away, yelling and flogging his mount. We played a waiting game. Just as dawn was breaking, up rides Mohamed, leading old "Abdul," who looked as if he had just returned from a week's leave in Cairo.
Mohamed, grinning like a Manx cat, related his night's adventure on the trail of "Abdul." The brute had made for Shellal, and wascaptured near Tel-el-Fara. He kicked up telephone wires, played the Devil in a Lighthorse camp, and frightened H...I out of a brace of. Tommies, who were wandering back from the canteen, pretty full. They thought he was the Bedouins' Old Nick, running amok. Mohamed would never have got him, but for "Abdul" putting his off right hoof into a jerbil burrow. We fastened him on the line, gave him some tibbin, and left him to his own conscience.
After the picquet was-relieved next day, my presence was requested at Orderly Room. But over the scene there modesty bids me throw a veil.