In a brief series of columns, Mr. Simple visits with General Sir Frederick Nidgett, who after an illustrious civil service career has been dispatched to darkest Araby to engage the might of the Empire with the Imam of Todi, whose effective armed forces consist of 35 Syrian-trained (in those days it meant ludicriously badly trained) Todi Scouts, equipped with muzzle-loading arquebuses. Todi is situated on the other side of the Great Jebel Snakhbar, a desert of formidable proportions riddled with savages.
Nidgett of Arabia
I have just seen a copy of a leaflet prepared by Capt. J.Birdbath, of the Psychological Warfare Branch of Gen. Nidgett's headquarters. Seven million copies have already been dropped on the territory of the Imam of Todi.
Capt. Birdbath, a noted lecturer and Arabist in civil life, believes he has found the answer to criticisms that our propaganda is out of date and that we have lost touch with the Arabs of today.
A rough translation reads:
"Sons of the Desert! Hearken to the voice of Gen. Sir Frederick Nidgett, G.C.V.O., T.D. Terror of the Universe, before whom the waves of the sea retire and the stars of heaven bow down! Though he come with an irresistible host, attended by powerful dijinns, Nidgett is your friend!
The accursed Imam of Todi, grown old in evil, has betrayed you, and is even now preparing to hand over his dominions to the demons of Iblis, in return for a futher supply of houris and false oil-share certificates.
Drive out the infidel Imam and welcome Nidgett with wine and corn, with ivory and ebony and cedarwood, with gold and porphyry and with feasting and dancing and joyful shouts. And remember to hand in your flintlocks to the nearest Field Security Section.
Fear not the magic birds which bring these messages. Like the giant Roc of Socotra, which carried Sinbad of old, they are now in the service of the wise enchanter Nidgett. If you heed his words, they will do you no manner of harm. Tremble and obey."
* ~ * ~ *
In a later colum, Mr. Simple happily reports that the Imam had fled to the Jebel Snakhbar during the night and taken refuge in the remote fastnesses of the Bojd.
Gen. Nidgett declared "Operation Backache" a "Cracking good show!"