Welcome to Part Six of our new series Tales for Our Time. This first tale is an audio serialization of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1897 novel The Tragedy of the Korosko. Our band of western tourists has fallen into the hands of the Mahdists. But the Frenchman among them tries to point out that their quarrel is with England, not with him and his countrymen:
"But this is absurd," cried the Frenchman excitedly; "why should these people wish any harm to me? I have never injured them. On the other hand, I have always been their friend. If I could but speak to them, I would make them comprehend. Hola, dragoman, Mansoor!"
The excited gestures of Monsieur Fardet drew the sinister eyes of the Baggara chief upon him. Again he asked a curt question, and Mansoor, kneeling in front of him, answered it.
"Tell him that I am a Frenchman, dragoman. Tell him that I am a friend of the Khalifa. Tell him that my countrymen have never had any quarrel with him, but that his enemies are also ours."
"The chief asks what religion you call your own," said Mansoor. "The Khalifa, he says, has no necessity for any friendship from those who are infidels and unbelievers."
"Tell him that in France we look upon all religions as good."
"The chief says that none but a blaspheming dog and the son of a dog would say that all religions are one as good as the other. He says that if you are indeed the friend of the Khalifa, you will accept the Koran and become a true believer upon the spot."
You can hear Part Six of our serialization of The Tragedy of the Korosko simply by clicking here and logging-in. All previous episodes can be found here down the page and in reverse order. I was very heartened during our Q&A session earlier today by all the hearty endorsements for our new audio adventures.
By the way, we'll schedule another Q&A session shortly, but do let us know the medium you'd like the next one conducted in - print, audio, video: we're trying to keep things varied around here. Oh, and I'll be on the TV again this Friday. More details on that tomorrow.
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