(notes by John McGivering)
This is a simple legend (quite as truthful as the rest),The Theme
Of some marvellous disclosures in a female horse's nest.
Kipling hit upon the notion of writing a series of comic verses for the Pioneer, the journal which had published most of his miscellaneous poetry of the previous winter and spring ...The six poems have little merit – only two achieved even the small dignity of republication in Departmental Ditties - but they represent Kipling’s first attempt at writing a group of pieces bound together by simialarities of length or style.Charles Carrington (p. 78.) explains how Departmental Ditties came to be published, and quotes from "My First Book" which contained his "Bungalow Ballads", some of which were later published as Departmental Ditties:
There is always an undercurrent of song, a little bitter for the most part, running through the Indian papers. Sometimes a man in Bangalore would be moved to song, and a man on the Bombay side would answer him, and a man in Bengal would echo back, till we would all be crowing together like cocks before daybreak.