Morrowbie Jukes’s strange ride occurs when he is weakened by a fever. Baying dogs disturb his sleep. He kills one of them and displays its body, hoping to deter the other dogs from their baying. Instead, they devour the body “and, as it seemed to me, sang their hymns of thanksgiving afterwards with renewed energy.” Morrowbie tries to shoot the loudest of the dogs, but the lightheadedness that accompanies his fever makes him miss the offending dog even though he unloads both barrels of his shotgun in its direction.
Finally, Morrowbie decides to go after the dog with his boar spear. He has his pony, Pornic, saddled and sets out. The pony runs at breakneck speed in a straight line, galloping past the baying dog and running for several miles beyond it. Suddenly Morrowbie sees the waters of the river Sutlej before him; then his pony stumbles and the two roll down a slope. Morrowbie loses consciousness.
When he awakes, he is inside a horseshoe-shaped crater, three sides of which are enclosed by high slopes slanting at about sixty-five degrees. The river provides the remaining boundary. Morrowbie tries to ride out of the crater, but he cannot conquer its steep slopes. Then he hears a gunshot from across the river, and a bullet lands close to Pornic’s head.
Some time passes before Morrowbie becomes aware that other people inhabit this wilderness. Slowly, about sixty-five people emerge from badger holes that Morrowbie thought were untenanted. Among them is Gunga Dass, a Brahman and a former telegraph master, whom Morrowbie once knew. Gunga Dass cries, “Sahib! Sahib!” Morrowbie recognizes him only by a scar on his cheek for which Morrowbie was apparently responsible. Gunga Dass commences to tell Morrowbie about this city of the living dead on which he has stumbled.
(The entire section is 742 words.)