The Drums of the Fore and Aft (Unabridged)
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First published as No. 6 in the Indian Railway Library as Wee Willie Winkie and Other Child Stories in 1889 and collected in Wee Willie Winkie and Other Stories in 1895, and in numerous subsequent reprints of that collection. An untried British regiment is sent to the front in a border war, and finds itself faced by a fanatical band of Muslim fighters, powerful hairy men armed with long knives. The British are driven back and retreat in panic and confusion, but two young drummer boys, Jakin and Lew, are left stranded on the battlefield between the armies. Fortified by blind courage and canteen rum, they decide to shame their regiment into returning to the battle. They march up and down across the front to the strains of ”The British Grenadiers”. The regiment turns back and advances on the enemy, this time successfully. The boys are killed, but the battle is won.
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