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First episode taken from Rover and Wizard January 25th 1964.

Along the untamed North-West Frontier of India two dauntless men were famed, even among the brave, for their bravery.

Of all the British outposts along the North-West Frontier of India in the 1930’s, there was none so smart and spotless as Fort Kanda, which stood right at the east end of the Khyber Pass. The flag that flew on the fort was always perfectly clean. The floors of the fort were scrubbed every day. There was not a single rifle in the fort with a speck of rust on it, and even the pots in the cookhouse were polished like mirrors. The man in charge of the fort was Colonel Laurie, who was a stickler for cleanliness. One day into this perfect fort strolled someone who looked like a tramp. This newcomer flopped off the back of a skinny mule, and strolled up to the sentry at the gates. He walked with his hands thrust deep into his pockets, and a battered sun-helmet stuck on the back of his head. “Hello,” he said cheerfully. “I’m Bill Samson—where’s the Colonel?” The sentry looked the ragged figure up and down. Then, with a snort, he pointed the way to the Colonel’s quarters, and the strange figure ambled into the fort. He paused a few yards away and removed one of the dirty canvas shoes which had formed his footwear. From between his first and second toes he extracted a stone and threw it carelessly away. Then he fumbled in his pocket and produced an old briar pipe, stuffing it with tobacco and lighting up, tossing the lighted match on the spotless parade ground. “Blimey!” spluttered a Cockney soldier, peeping out of the guardhouse. “The Colonel will half-murder him for that. Who is the cove, anyway?” “That’s the famous Bill Samson,” said an older soldier, who had been on the frontier for some years. “His real job is surveying the frontier and making maps of the mountains and passes, but he knows the native languages and customs so well he always gets the job of busting up any trouble among the Afghan and Pathan tribes. The natives call him the Wolf of Kabul. Bill Samson was at that moment sauntering into the office of Colonel Laurie. The Colonel gaped at the sight of his visitor. “Who are you?” he shouted. Bill Samson pretended not to hear the question. He took off his jacket and flung it over a table. Clad in shirt and shorts, he flopped down into the Colonel’s pet chair and placed his feet up on the table. He smiled in a friendly way to the indignant Colonel. “I believe you sent a message to headquarters saying that two tribes up here are getting dangerous,” he said. “Yes, I did,” the officer replied shortly. “What about it?” “I’ve been sent here to bust up those tribes,” the Wolf of Kabul returned calmly. “My name’s Bill Samson.” The Colonel could only stare. His fort was threatened by a native rising. He had asked for help, and headquarters had sent this one tramp! “Shir Muhammud and Gunga Khan have joined forces and declared a holy war. Isn‘t that right?” went on the visitor.

“Their troops are in the mountains just west of here, and they intend to wipe Fort Kanda off the map as their first move. These two chiefs have been harmless up to now because they’ve always been fighting against each other,” he continued. “Now they have joined forces and have become a danger. That’s right, isn’t it?” “It is,” was the stiff answer. “The two chiefs have sworn blood-brotherhood and are gathering their men. They are about ten thousand strong.” Colonel Laurie gave his moustache a fierce twirl. His hands were itching to take a grip on this young fellow and hurl him out of the room. But the Colonel knew something of Bill Samson’s history. Bill had not been nick-named the Wolf of Kabul for nothing. Bill was not an army man, but he was the most useful man in India to the army. Pompous officials hated him because he had no respect for their dignity. The lower ranks liked him because he openly preferred their company. Colonel Laurie swallowed hard as he gazed at this remarkable young fellow.


Just then there was a tap on the door of the outer office. A Sepoy entered one of the native soldiers of the British Army in India. “Private Chung is in trouble again, sir,” he said. “Fetch him in!” barked the Colonel, going to his desk. There entered three Sepoy’s with fixed bayonets. A native sergeant swaggered at the head of them, and the prisoner came along in the rear. Fort Kanda’s commander groaned with despair as he looked at the prisoner. Chung was the black sheep in that otherwise perfect fort. He was a squat man, almost dumpy, and had enormous shoulders and very long arms. His ugly face was broad and flat, with greasy, black hair hung over his low forehead. He was dressed in the uniform of a Sepoy private, but there was no smartness about his uniform. Chung was a mountain man from the Eastern Himalayas. “Master,” he said, his beady eyes filled with sadness. “I am full of humble sorrow. I did not mean to knock down four men. The clicky-ba merely turned in my hand, my lord!” “What is the charge, and what is a ‘clicky-ba’?” demanded the Colonel, looking at the native sergeant. “Sahib, a ‘clicky-ba’ is what this ignorant fellow calls a cricket bat,” replied the sergeant. “It was with one he did the damage which placed four men in hospital. Sahib, he is very bad.” “Read the charge,” roared the Colonel. The sergeant did so. It said that Chung was being taught the game of cricket, a sport ordered by the Colonel himself. Private Chung had been stumped, but he refused to leave the wicket. On an attempt being made to remove him, he had used the bat as a club and cracked the heads of four of the fielders. He had then wept bitterly and been easily disarmed. “Truly it is as the sergeant says,” sighed the prisoner. “It was strange what the clicky-ba did. I would like always to be armed with such a weapon. Master, will you give me a clicky-ba instead of a rifle?” “I’ll give you imprisonment for a week, and then you’ll be kicked out of the Army!” roared the Colonel. “Take him away.” “I hope sweet perfumes will always be in your nostrils,” murmured Chung humbly as he was marched out. Colonel Laurie groaned, and turning swiftly, found Bill Samson at his elbow. “I like that man Chung,” Bill said. “I want a servant like that—a born fighter. I’ll take him over to Afghanistan and end this little affair we were talking about.” “Take Chung?” howled the Colonel. “He’d knife you.” “No he wouldn’t. I know that type,” insisted the young fellow cheerfully. Then he became suddenly grave. “Listen,” he went on, “there are plenty of spies who know I’ve come up here. So I’m going right back to headquarters, and I’ll slip into native disguise. I’m going to the mountains to join Shir Muhammud, and I’ll stir up more trouble for those people than you can guess.” He tapped the surprised officer on the chest in a familiar manner. “I shall come back to your fort in a few hours. I shall be disguised as a native. I’ll insult one of your sentries, and you must lock me up in the cells with Chung. “Tonight you will allow Chung and me to escape,” he continued. “The Afghan spies will learn all about the escape, and we’ll be received with open arms by them, and I shan’t be suspected for what I am.” “You’ll get killed,” commented Colonel Laurie dryly. Bill Samson shrugged and stalked out. A few minutes later his mule was plodding away from Fort Kanda. An Afghan on a distant hill watched him through a stolen telescope, and smiled when the white man disappeared. The watcher thought that the Wolf of Kabul had gone for good!


Bill Samson returned to Fort Kanda late in the afternoon. He was disguised as a young Hillman, with a row of bristling knives in his belt. At the gates he kicked the sentry, and was arrested after a struggle and taken to the cells. They put him in the same cell as Chung. Nobody but the Colonel knew the secret of it all. The whole affair was for the purpose of fooling any spies who might be about. Before sunrise, however, the bugles were blowing the alarm. The guard over the cells had been found neatly trussed with his own turban-cloth, and Chung and the disguised Bill Samson were missing. So was a very fine cricket bat belonging to Colonel Laurie, and a silver tea-set much prized by the Colonel’s wife. The cricket bat was being twirled between the stumpy fingers of Chung as he strode happily through the hills by the side of Bill Samson. They were rapidly approaching the Afghan frontier, where a row of coloured posts marked the limits of British India. Suddenly Bill Samson halted and looked back. An army mule patrol was hot on their heels. It had been sent out by Colonel Laurie, who had decided a joke was a joke, but the theft of his wife’s tea-set was not a laughing matter. “That Colonel’s a senseless idiot,” muttered Bill Samson. Then a flash came from among the rocks on the Afghan side of the line. Bill Samson grinned. They were being watched. “This will help a lot,” he muttered, and then he turned to Chung. “You shall use clicky-ba to send away these foolish Sepoys,” he said shortly. “My lord, it will be a joy,” grinned the Hillman cheerfully. He dropped out of sight among the rocks as the Britisher hurried on to the Frontier. The patrol, which was under the same native sergeant as had accused Chung before the Colonel, charged down towards the boundary. Then, with a terrible yell, Chung sprang out of his ambush. The brightly-varnished cricket bat rose and fell with a dull thud on the man’s head, sending him sprawling. Another man went down with a back sweep. Chung crooned a little song as he aimed mighty swipes, but he was careful to use only a part of his enormous strength. He did not want to kill the soldiers. The sight of his old enemy, the sergeant, angered him a little, however. The native advanced on him with fixed bayonet, but a single sweep of clicky-ba knocked the weapon out of the sergeant’s hands. The man turned to jump clear. But Chung scored a boundary hit on the seat of his attacker’s military shorts, lifting him a yard into the air. The rout of that native patrol was terrible. Although the men would have faced Afghan knives, a cricket bat was very different, and Chung was an expert in the use of it. The retreat to Fort Kanda was a disgrace, and Bill Samson grinned when he thought of what Colonel Laurie would say. Chung came racing through the rocks, bending low to escape the bullets sent after him by the injured sergeant. He reached his master and stood before him very humbly, leaning on the handle of the bat. “My lord, I am full of sorrow. Truly, I did not intend to make it unpleasant for the sergeant to sit down. I swear that clicky-ba turned in my hand and did this evil thing.” “Call me not lord,” said Bill Samson. “I am Ali. Remember, my real name means death to us both.”



They crossed the boundary line and soon they were climbing a narrow pass leading to the desert and the town of Kohi, which was the headquarters of the rebellious chiefs. As they rounded a large rock, halfway up the pass, a number of wild hillmen rose silently on either side of them and menaced them with rifles. They were the Afghans whom Bill Samson had noticed when Chung was fighting the patrol. “Where do you go?” they asked. “To Kohi and the noble Shir Muhammud,” the disguised Bill Samson replied. “We would fight in his holy war, for—by Allah—we hate these British dogs. We have just escaped from the prison of Fort Kanda. “It is true that two men were imprisoned there and escaped,” nodded the Afghan leader. What proof have you that you are these ones?” Bill Samson laughed as he emptied the contents of a sack on the ground. Our rolled the silver tea-set of the Colonel’s wife. He had bagged it for a tight corner like this. “Of a truth you are the ones we expected,” nodded the leader. “But what is it your brother carries? Is it that with which he scattered the soldiers?” “Ho, indeed it was with this,” boomed Chung, whirling the cricket bat. “I have cracked many skulls with clicky-ba. Aie! When clicky-ba is in my hand I like to fight—and to slay.” “You are a great man,” said the Afghan, and Chung swelled with pride. “It is so,” he beamed, tossing the greasy fringe of hair out of his eyes. “At Fort Kanda I killed four men with as many strokes.” “Oh, Chung, you are a very great truth-twister!” whispered Bill Samson in his ear. Then he looked round at the murderous hillmen who surrounded them, and drew a long knife from his belt. “My brother is but a boaster—I am a fighter,” he said. “Who will test me?” Although Afghans are brave and very proud, not one man moved forward to fight Bill. There was something in the blue eyes of the Wolf of Kabul that made the wild hillmen mutter and turn away. “You are sleepy dogs,” Bill Samson laughed carelessly and tossed the knife so that it stuck deep into the broad face of clicky-ba. “Where is Shir Muhammud?” he demanded. “I go to join him. I do not care for that fox Gunga Khan—I would as soon fight him as fight the British.” The Afghans muttered in their beards, for they were all Gunga Khan’s men and hated Shir Muhammud like poison. The fact that they took it quietly and helped the pair on their way to Kohi had showed the danger that lurked at the gates of Fort Kanda. The rival chiefs had joined together in a holy war, forgetting their enmity for the time being. When they entered the little hill town of Kohi at sundown, they found it packed with thousands of armed warriors, all sworn to friendship in their holy war against the British. It was the hour of prayer, and a mullah, standing on the high tower of the mosque, preached war on Fort Kanda, and then the conquest of India. Ten thousand men flung back their heads at the call from the mullah, and howled like wolves, the lust for battle burning in their eyes. Bill Samson made his way through the wild hillmen quite cheerfully, laughing at the very idea of danger—even asking for trouble by the insulting words which he showered on the followers of Gunga Khan. So he came to the open courtyard where Shir Muhammud squatted on a pile of carpets and stroked his long beard. From time to time the great chief looked round suspiciously at his old rival, who occupied another divan by his side. The two chiefs had a violent hatred for each other, and for ten years they had fought each other, until they had joined their forces to sweep the British off the frontier. They could not, however, completely forget the past. Bill Samson caused some more ill-feeling when he marched in and emptied the silver tea-set at the feet of Shir Muhammud. “I took them from Fort Kanda as a present for you, lord,” he said gaily. “By Allah, I will fight for you—I and my brother. We are your men.” And he turned his back on Gunga Khan with such open disgust that the Afghan paled with rage. Shir Muhammud stroked his beard and chuckled. “Stand beside me,” he said. “I give you my blessing.” There was a gasp of rage from the rival chief seated on the other divan. The Wolf of Kabul had managed to make nearly five thousand enemies—the followers of Gunga Khan!



It seemed as if Bill Samson had acted like a madman in making an enemy of Gunga Khan, the other chieftain. Even Shir Muhammud advised him in a whisper to keep to the palace and not leave it until they marched on Fort Kanda. As for Gunga Khan, he was so angry that he quarreled with Shir Muhammud and then swept away with his followers to another part of the town Shir Muhammud went away with his chieftains, and Bill Samson and Chung were left alone. “Do you fear a knife in your body?” Bill asked. “My lord,” smiled the hillman, “it would be a strange knife that would pass beyond click-ba. Whom do we go to kill?” “Ourselves perhaps,” laughed the young fellow, stepping boldly into the street. Kohi was a town of winding alleys sheltered by high, white walls. There were no lights and they stumbled over holes cut in the ground to serve as drains. Soon they reached a narrow street leading to the bazaar, in which many fierce hillmen chanted songs of battle. Bill Samson promptly broke in with a famous hill tune, which was the battle song of Shir Muhammud. He was still singing when the fun began. A party of Gunga Khan’s followers, forgetting the vows of peace laid down by the priests, took their knives and silently drifted out of the bazaar. It was time the insolent stranger was put out of the way. Coming round a bend leading into a dark square, Bill Samson and Chung walked right into them. “Go with Allah!” Bill called boldly. A hugh bearded hillman seized him by the front of his robe, however. “Dog,” he hissed, “we have had too much of your insolence. Tonight you praise Gunga Khan, or you die. Say this— ‘Gunga Khan, lord of the hills, greatest of chiefs.’ Now, hasten, for my knife thirsts for thy blood.” He held the long blade to Bill Samson’s throat, yet the reply was a short laugh. “Gunga Khan, the old hill fox in his burrow!” said the young fellow. His fist shot up at the same time, catching the giant on the beard and cracking his jaw. He snatched the deadly knife from the hillman’s hand, and drew another from his sash. Bill Samson crouched and faced the howling pack, his lips drawn back from his even, white teeth. With howls of rage, Gunga Khan’s followers closed in, but two of them were down before they knew what had hit them. They lay senseless on the ground with crushed skulls. The terrible Chung and his cricket bat were in action. Even Bill Samson was scared, and kept a wary eye on the man. Chung was just as likely to hit him as the Afghans. The knives Bill himself held were red to the hilts. Not for nothing was Bill Samson known as the Wolf of Kabul, and his gleaming knives as his fangs. Finally the Afghans turned and fled, terror-stricken, clicky-ba chopping down any who were a little late in turning. Even then the hillman was not satisfied, and made to go after them, roaring like a mad beast. Bill Samson caught him by the arm and heaved him back, knocking some of the fight out of him. “My lord,” said Chung, looking at the heaps of dead and dying, “this is a very terrible thing. I am all sadness. Truly clicky-ba turned in my hand, and I knew not what it did. I swear I did not intend to kill. My lord, I killed at least fifteen, and I am humbly sorry!” But the mad look came back as he shook the hair from his eyes and glared round. Just then two parties of Afghans burst into the square from either side, and another terrible fight began. The Britisher and his servant had landed in Gunga Khan’s section of Kohi. As a result, there was nobody to help them, although Bill Samson roared the battle-cry of Shir Muhammud from time to time. He had come down to try to stage a fight like this, but he had thought he was nearer to Shir Muhammud’s camp. Since this part of his plan had gone wrong, it would likely mean death to Bill Samson and Chung. A fierce band of screaming men surged round them. Chung was bleeding from many wounds, but this just made him fight all the harder. The Britisher had lost a dagger, thrust deeply into the throat of one of the attackers. For the first time he drew a revolver from his sash and dropped six men with as many shots. He clubbed the gun and crashed it down on the hard heads of the Afghans, while clicky-ba hit anything and everything. Of course, that great defence could not last, for more and more of Gunga Khan’s men were arriving. A terrible sweep from a heavy scimitar crashed through Bill Samson’s guard, and the broad of the blade landed on his head, sending him senseless to the ground. Immediately Chung jumped across his master’s body, his screams and wolf-like howls striking terror into the hearts of the fearless Afghans. They got him at last, however, with a huge sheet which they flung over Chung and clicky-ba. Twelve men struggled to hold him down, but it took them all their time, such was his terrible strength. Then above the din called a commanding voice— “Kill them not! Gunga Khan has ways of his own to punish those who insult him and break the laws of the mullahs.”



Bill Samson was carried, limp and senseless, in the arms of a single hillman. It was startling to think that this young fellow, so slight in build, had killed ten men and wounded a dozen more. As for Chung, they put ropes on him and dragged him along like a mad bull. He still roared defiantly and fought to free himself. One of Gunga Khan’s men had gone ahead to warn his master. The chieftain rubbed his hands with glee when he heard that the stranger who had openly insulted him in the presence of Shir Muhammud had been caught. So Bill Samson and Chung were dragged along to a small mosque which belonged to a sect that was the most fanatical in all Afghanistan. They flung the Britisher down on the flagstones inside the mosque, and tied Chung to a pillar for safety. An old mullah with a long white beard stared at them coldly. Bill Samson wore the yellow turban of the Sunni sect, the rivals of the mullahs of the mosque. Then Gunga Khan appeared, and immediately he said that these men, followers of Shir Muhammud had broken the peace between the two tribes. “These men have broken the law, and I ask for death—by the stake!” he demanded. “It is just,” nodded the high priest, who saw Gunga Khan’s keeper of the keys shaking a bag of gold. “Kill them as you will, Gunga Khan.” The Afghan clapped his hands, and men came in, dragging a hugh block of wood, with a huge, sharp spike about two feet long sticking up in the middle. There were ugly red stains round this iron spike—signs that many had died on this terrible stake. At a signal from Gunga Khan, four big natives, naked to the waist, grabbed Bill Samson by the wrists and ankles. They swung him spreadeagled over that dreadful spike. When the moment came, they would bring him down with such force that the point would drive into his back and through his chest. He would lie there squirming like a speared beetle until death claimed him. Already Gunga Khan had lifted his hand. Suddenly Chung, with a terrible yell, broke the ropes which held him to the pillar as if they were threads. He caught one of his attackers by the ear, between thumb and forefinger, tearing away the organ with hardly an effort. Another man he seized by the beard, and, exerting his enormous strength, swung him off his feet and flung him like a stone at the nearest Afghan. The executioners dropped Bill Samson, clear of the spike, and ran for their lives, but even their speed did not save them. Chung heaved up the spiked block and flung it after them, crushing two beneath that great weight. Another jump, and, with a howl of triumph, he had snatched clicky-ba from one of his previous captors. Chung sent men spinning to the floor with crushed skulls. Stooping swiftly, Chung swung his young master over his broad shoulders, and, whirling the bat in front of himself, plunged into the press. They could not stop the hillman although they tried. He brushed aside knives carelessly and plunged into an ante-room in the mosque, dropping his burden and turning to defend the door with clicky-ba. It was at that moment Bill Samson recovered and sat up, feeling very sick and giddy. But he scrambled up and looked for some sort of weapon. Piled in a corner were a number of cases. One was partly opened, and he saw the squat barrel of a machine-gun. Gunga Khan had been storing arms in the mosque—arms that had been smuggled into the country. “Keep them out, Chung!” yelled Bill Samson as he began to set up one of the weapons. The Afghans urged on by Gunga Khan, rushed forward. They were met by red-hot lead, a spitting hailstorm of death. Those in front tried to get back, but were pushed forward by their comrades behind. They became a human shield through which heavy, steel-coated bullets tore, inflicting hideous wounds and death on the other attackers. “I can hold them!” laughed Bill Samson. He, too, had got the lust for battle. “Chung, you will do as I say. Leave the mosque by the back door and run to Shir Muhammud. Tell him how we were attacked by the men of Gunga Khan and sentenced to death without trial. Tell him that I beg help!” “My lord, I obey; but if you are dead when I come back, I will kill every man in Kohi!” Chung promised. He vanished swiftly. The door his master had pointed out was securely locked. So he dragged the iron grid from a window, flung it at the crowd going down before the machine-gun, and dropped out into the lane.



Meantime Bill Samson had cleared the courtyard, and contented himself with sharp-shooting. The Afghans had gone to cover and were bringing their own rifles into play. Of course, he would not be able to keep them at bay for ever, and it was touch and go if the other chieftain would come to help him, in view of the truce with Gunga Khan. But he had judged his men well, and, when Shir Muhammud heard the wild story from the lips of the still wilder hillman, he fairly flamed with rage. He remembered the silver tea-set presented to him. “By Allah, that fox Gunga Khan has gone too far!” he roared. “No man of mine shall die at the stake.” So presently it came about that several thousand screaming natives swept down on the mosque, waving guns and knives, and shouting insults against Gunga Khan. Promptly the Afghan chief turned out his men. A terrible fight between the two tribes began in the narrow streets. Bill Samson found himself alone in the mosque, and he chuckled as he heard the uproar. His mission to Kohi was at an end. Ten minutes he waited, and then became very anxious, wondering what had happened to Chung. He owed his life to the heroic Himalayan. He found a rifle amongst the cases of arms and went out to look for him. A squat figure loomed and stood panting by his side. “Master,” said Chung very sorrowfully. “I am humble. I ask your forgiveness, for truly I knew not what happened. There was a fight, and clicky-ba moved in my hand and killed many men on the way here. My lord, is it a very terrible thing to kill men.” Bill Samson laughed as he patted his servant on his broad shoulders. “No,” he answered. “We will find two fast mules and hasten over the frontier. My work is done.” A little later, from the head of the track to Fort Kanda, they looked down on Kohi, lit up by the flames of many fires. The roar of battle floated up to them. Shir Muhammud and Gunga Khan were at each other’s throats. And the men they were fighting about was the one they should have fought against—Bill Samson, the Wolf of Kabul!

When the troops at Fort Kanda were parading in the early morning, Bill Samson and Chung sauntered through the gates looking like tramps in their bloodstained, torn, and dirty robes. It took Colonel Laurie some minutes to recognise Bill Samson. “Confound you!” he roared. “What d’you mean by stealing my wife’s tea-set and treating the patrol like that?” Bill Samson spat deliberately on the spotless parade ground and his blue eyes flickered slightly. “Send a chit down to Nushki for your tea-set,” he said. “You’ll get a new one there. It helped to stop a frontier rising. Gunga Khan and Shir Muhammud have started a feud which will last for a hundred years!” “But—but—” choked Colonel Laurie. “Mean to say Fort Kanda isn’t in danger any longer?” “Not a bit,” said Bill Samson. “Cheerio!” And he sauntered out with Chung at his heels. The Wolf of Kabul had done his work with enormous success.


The Wolf of Kabul 8 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1074 – 1081

The Wolf of Kabul 10 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1330 – 1339

The Wolf of Kabul 7 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1543 - 1549

The Wolf of Kabul 5 episodes appeared in Rover and Wizard issues January 25th 1964February 22nd 1964

The Wolf of Kabul 13 episodes appeared in Rover and Wizard issues May 23rd 1964August 15th 1964

The Wolf of Kabul 11 episodes appeared in Rover and Wizard issues June 17th 1972August 26th 1972


© D. C. Thomson & Co Ltd 

Vic Whittle 2005