Mohammed-Fripouille (Maupassant)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A group of soldiers captured a tribe of Arabs in retaliation for the murder of an English traveler, using a cruel method to bind and transport them back to their base.

One evening, a captain and his friend were enjoying coffee on the rooftop of the captain's house in Algiers. The friend asked the captain to share a story from his life in the South. The captain, a former spahi and a soldier of fortune, agreed and began to recount a tale from his early days in Algeria.

Captain Marret — narrator; an experienced officer in the African army; adventurous, knowledgeable.

At that time, the captain was a young spahi stationed at Boghar. When news arrived that the Ould-Berghi tribe had murdered an English traveler, the commanding officer hesitated to send out an expedition. However, a sergeant named Mohammed-Fripouille offered to punish the tribe with just six men. The officer agreed, and Mohammed chose the captain as one of his men.

Mohammed-Fripouille — Turkish sergeant; cunning, cruel, and strong; skilled horseman and fighter.

The group set out the next morning, and after a long day of travel, they found the tribe's encampment. They charged into the camp, capturing around fifty prisoners. Mohammed then bound the prisoners together in a unique way, creating a "chain" of captives. If one tried to escape, they would strangle themselves and their neighbors.

That’s the Arab chain.

As the group prepared to return to Boghar, they were attacked by the women of the tribe. Mohammed ordered his men to fight back, and he single-handedly drove off the attackers. The group then began their journey back to Boghar, leading their chain of prisoners. Along the way, they had to frequently undo the knots to prevent the captives from being strangled.

The captain and his men eventually arrived at Boghar with their prisoners, having lost only six during the journey. The captain's friend listened to the story in silence, reflecting on the strange and brutal events that had taken place in the desert.