This story was first published in Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888, and in successive later editions of this collection. It is the last of the forty stories in the collection. No magazine publication. It is headed by the verses ”By the Hoof of the Wild Goat”.
McIntosh Jellaludin was once a classical scholar and Fellow of an Oxford college. He has abandoned the scholarly life, gone to the bad in India, and converted to Islam; ”a tall well-built, fair man, fearfully shaken with drink, and he looked nearer fifty than thirty-five, which, he said, was his real age.” The narrator happens on him one night in the Sultan Caravanserai, drunk and helpless, helps him home to his filthy lodgings where he lives with a native woman, becomes his friend, and listens to his ramblings as he dies of pneumonia, brought on by drink. Before his death, McIntosh bequeaths the narrator the manuscript of his book, Mother Maturin, which may or may not be a masterpiece of low life in India. This was the title - and indeed the theme - of Kipling's first attempt at a novel, of which he had written over 200 pages in 1885, but never completed.