UNTITLED STORY (“I emptied my revolver . . .”). Never published in Howard’s lifetime.

This untitled and unfinished story by Robert E. Howard plunges into a fierce battle scene where the narrator and his companion, Yar Ali, are surrounded and attacked by a group of Arabs. Despite being outnumbered, the pair fights back with ferocity, showcasing their warrior skills in a desperate stand. As they reach the limits of their endurance, they are suddenly rescued by a charge led by El Borak, another central character known for his formidable fighting skills.


The story opens in the midst of intense action as the narrator finds himself overwhelmed by a horde of Arab attackers after emptying his revolver. He falls to the ground but manages to grab an Arab, using him as a shield to fend off the attackers’ blows. Just as the situation seems dire, Yar Ali, an Afridi warrior, leaps into the fray with a battle cry, wielding a long knife with deadly precision. His arrival turns the tide momentarily as he forces the Arabs back, allowing the narrator to rise and arm himself with a spear.

The battle intensifies as Yar Ali and the narrator, now fighting back-to-back, confront wave after wave of Arab warriors. The narrator describes the chaotic melee, filled with a blur of stabbing, slashing, and the cries of the fallen. Despite their exhaustion and injuries, they continue to hold their ground. The turning point comes with the sudden appearance of El Borak and his riders, who charge into the battlefield, dispersing the remaining Arab forces with a volley of gunfire.

Throughout the skirmish, the courage and martial prowess of Yar Ali and the narrator are highlighted, portraying them as heroes capable of standing against overwhelming odds. The arrival of El Borak suggests a broader context of conflict and alliance, hinting at a larger narrative left unexplored in the unfinished story.


  • Narrator: Unnamed but central to the story, engaged in brutal close-quarters combat and demonstrates significant resilience and tactical thinking.
  • Yar Ali: A formidable Afridi warrior, instrumental in turning the tide of the battle with his fierce fighting skills.
  • El Borak: A legendary figure whose timely arrival with cavalry saves the day, underlining his role as a leader and a pivotal character in Howard’s universe.

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Artwork for the teaser-image: Guillaume Sorel