The Doll
Night Gallery

An answer to Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King (dir. John Huston). The retired colonel has re-enlisted to support his ward, a niece, on the meager salary of an officer serving in a “godforsaken little camelhole” near Hyderabad. The little girl has no toys or playmates, her only inheritance is a large house very expensive to maintain. The doll is sent in the mail, not from the colonel and not to the girl, who nevertheless grows very fond of it. Another is later given her to take its place, and is torn to bits. The girl, sobbing, says the first doll didn’t like it.

The colonel returns on indeterminate leave, he’s visited by the brother of an executed rebel leader. The doll cannot be destroyed or given away, its bite is fatal (it has blue eyes ringed with dark lashes, blonde hair and a toothy grin, representing a girl). The colonel marches upstairs. “Indestructible, are you? Spawn of hell! Let’s see how indestructible you are.”

The doll bites him on the arm, and is cast in the fire. The late colonel’s visitor receives a package. “You sent him a doll, he reciprocates.” A likeness of the colonel in red uniform, its eyes and mouth open.