This is the beginning of a wonderful tail of a man and a dog, with Rory Stewart being unable to resist the dog offered to him on his hike across Afghanistan.  Despite his misgivings. Here he tries to walk away from the gift, before giving in and naming him Babur, meaning ‘tiger’, but also the name of a ruler who did the same walk about a thousand years earlier. 

‘And he’s missing his teeth,’ I added.

‘That’s not from age – that’s because Hussein knocked them out with a stone.’

‘Look,’ I said, ‘he’s a lovely dog, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to walk with me to Kabul. It’s seven hundred kilometres from here and there’s a lot of snow and we have to do thirty-five kilometres a day.  Look at how stiff he is.’

‘Nonsense,’ said Dr Habibullah. ‘We know these dogs – he’s not old, it’s just a cold morning. He comes from a very famous line of dogs … all raised here. He’s one of the biggest dogs in the province.  You’re very lucky they’re offering him.  He’s killed many wolves.’  I didn’t ask whether that was before or after he lost his teeth.


Source: Rory Stewart, The Places in Between (London: Picador, 2014), p. 152

Photo credit: peri_priatna at pixabay


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