Kim By Rudyard Kipling

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Text Scripts


Chapter 1: The Lama

Kim was a thirteen-year-old orphan who spent most of his time in the streets. Although he was dark skinned from the sun and usually spoke Hindustani, he was English. His father had been a sergeant in a regiment of the British army called the Mavericks, and his mother had been the servant of a colonel.

His father had left him three documents. Kim kept them in a little cloth bag tied to a string around his neck. Two of them showed that his father had been a member of a special club. The third was Kim’s birth certificate. When Kim’s father was drunk he often said to Kim, ‘My boy, these three documents will someday make you a man. Never lose them! A Colonel on a horse will come with a great regiment, and he will make you a better man than me! There will be nine hundred wonderful devils, whose God is a bull on a green field! Two other men will prepare the way for the colonel.’

Kim often went on missions to deliver letters or spy and when he did this he changed into the clothes of a Hindu or a Muslim. Kim knew how to travel secretly across the city of Lahore. Everywhere in Lahore people called Kim ‘Little Friend of the World’.

One day Kim was sitting on top of the giant cannon called Zam-Zammah, opposite the Lahore Museum, or Wonder House as the Indians called it. A little Muslim boy called Abdullah shouted at Kim, ‘Off! Off! Let me up!’

Kim shouted insults at the little boy.

‘Let me up!’ shouted a little Hindu boy named Chota Lai.

Kim shouted some more insults at this other friend. Then he stopped his game for a moment because he saw a very strange man. This man was almost six feet tall and dressed in red.

‘Who is that?’ Kim said to his friend.

‘Perhaps it is a man,’ said Abdullah.

‘Without a doubt,’ replied Kim. ‘But he is not like any man I have ever seen in India.’

‘A priest, perhaps,’ said Chota Lai, because the man carried a rosary. ‘Look! He is going into the Wonder House!’

The old man walked towards the boys.

‘Children, what is that big house?’ he asked in Hindustani.

‘The Wonder House!’ said Kim.

‘Ah! The Wonder House! Can anyone go in?’ asked the man.

‘Anyone can go in. It says so on the door,’ said Kim.

‘Without payment?’

‘I go in and out. I am no banker,’ laughed Kim.

‘I am an old man. I did not know,’ he said and turned towards the museum.

‘Where is your house? Have you come far?’ Kim asked.

‘Are you from China?’ asked Abdullah.

‘I come from the hills,’ he said sadly, where the air and water are fresh and cool. Have you heard of Tibet? I am not Chinese, but Tibetan. I am a lama, or as you say in India, a guru, or religious teacher.’

‘A guru from Tibet,’ said Kim. ‘I have never seen one of those.

‘We are Buddhists, I and I am going to see the Four Holy Places before I die. Now you, who are children, know as much as I know, who am old.’ He smiled at the boys.

Then the lama asked, ‘Is it true that there are many images in the Wonder House?’

‘Yes,’ answered Kim, ‘and there is a Sahib with a white beard. Come, I will show you.’

The boy and the old man went into the great building. They saw hundreds of sculptures and pictures from Buddhist temples. Then they came to one of Buddha on a lotus.

‘The Lord! The Lord! It is the Buddha himself,’ the lama said with great emotion. ‘My pilgrimage has begun well.’

‘And there is the Sahib,’ said Kim, pointing to an Englishman with a white beard.

The lama took out a piece of paper with a name on it and gave it to the Englishman.

‘Yes, that is my name. Welcome, lama from Tibet!’ said the Englishman.

The two men began to talk about Tibet and Buddhism. Kim lay down and slept for a bit. When he woke up, he heard the lama telling a story about the young Buddha.

‘You see,’ said the lama, ‘when our Lord Buddha was a young man, he was in a competition with bows and arrows. He shot his arrow farther than anybody. When the arrow finally hit the ground, water came up and became a river. Now anybody who goes in that river washes away all sin.

‘Where will you go to look for your Holy River?’ asked the Englishman.

‘First I will go to Benares and ask a Jain priest. He may be able to tell me the way,’ said the lama.

‘And how will you eat?’ asked the Englishman.

‘Before, I had a disciple, or chela as you call them here. He begged for me, but sadly he died. I must do it myself now.’

The old lama and the old Englishman talked some more, and then said goodbye. The lama walked outside and sat under Zam – Zammah in the shade. Kim followed him.

‘What are you going to do now?’ asked Kim.

‘I am going to beg. I am quite hungry,’ answered the lama. ‘How do you beg in this city? Quietly or speaking?’

‘Oh you must speak,’ answered Kim. ‘But let me go and beg for you. I know the people of this city.’ So Kim took the lama’s begging-bowl and left.

In a short time, Kim came back with some hot vegetable curry, a fried cake and some rice. Both he and the lama ate. After their meal, the lama, who was an old man, fell asleep. Kim went to his secret place and got his Hindu clothes and put them on.

Chapter 2: Mahbub Ali

The lama did not wake until the evening. He looked around and felt confused. He began to cry loudly.

‘What has happened?’ said Kim dressed in his disguise. ‘Has somebody robbed you?’

‘My new chela has gone!’

‘What kind of man was he?’ asked Kim.

‘He was a boy,’ answered the lama, and he told Kim about the Wonder House, his old chela and his journey in search of the River of the Arrow. Kim was amazed because he knew that the old man told the truth: in India a traveller never told the truth to a stranger. It was not safe.

‘But who are you?’ asked the lama.

‘Your chela,’ answered Kim, ‘and I will go with you to Benares. I have never met anybody like you before.’

‘Do you know where the river is?’ asked the lama.

‘No, I don’t,’ replied Kim, ‘but I will look for – for a bull – a red bull on a green field who will help me.’

‘So, let’s go to Benares,’ said the lama.

‘No, it’s almost night and it’s too dangerous to travel,’ said Kim. ‘I’ll take you to a place where we can sleep.

Kim guided the lama through the crowded and noisy streets. Finally they arrived at the Kashmir Serai, the place where the horse dealers I from Afghanistan came. The air was filled with sounds of people, horses and camels. They arrived at the place of Mahbub Ali, a Pashtun who dyed his beard red to hide his age. Kim had often gone on missions for him. Mahbub Ali trusted Kim because Kim lied with great skill to others, but Kim never lied to him. Mahbub sat on cushions and smoked a silver hookah.

‘A lama! A Red Lama! What are you doing in this part of the world?’ shouted Mahbub.

The lama held out his begging-bowl.

‘I do not give food to Tibetans! Go to my servants. One of them is a Buddhist. He may help you,’ shouted Mahbub.

‘Go!’ said Kim and gently pushed the lama towards Mahbub’s servants.

‘Go!’ said Mahbub Ali to Kim. ‘You too can eat with the servants.’

‘Please, my father is dead – my mother is dead – my stomach is empty,’ cried Kim in his saddest voice.

‘Go to my servants,’ replied Mahbub.

‘Oh, Mahbub Ali, don’t you recognize me?’ asked Kim in English.

The horse dealer was not at all surprised.

‘Little Friend of the World,’ he said, ‘what is this all about?’

‘Nothing. I am now that holy man’s disciple and we are going on a pilgrimage together – to Benares, he says. He is mad, and I am tired of Lahore city.’

‘Why have you come to me?’ asked Mahbub.

‘Well, I cannot travel without money of course, and so,’ said Kim with a smile, ‘I came to you.’

Mahbub Ali smiled too and thought quickly. Kim’s arrival was very fortunate because Mahbub was also a secret agent for the British. His official name was C25 IB. He collected information in the north during his travels as a horse dealer. Now he had very important information about five kings in the north who were making plans against the British. He had to send this information to a certain Englishman in Umballa to the south.

‘Well, I will give you some money,’ he said to Kim, ‘if you carry a message for me to Umballa to a British officer. You will say to him, “The white stallion is the very best”, and he will know you come from me.’

Mahbub quickly gave Kim a piece of paper and three silver rupees. That was a lot of money, and so Kim understood that this was a dangerous mission. He decided that he and the lama should begin their journey immediately.


Chapter 3: The Te-rain

It was still dark when Kim and the lama arrived at the Lahore train station. It looked like a fort. Everything was dark. Hundreds and hundreds of people lay on the ground sleeping.

‘This is the work of devils!’ said the lama, who was afraid of the big dark building.

‘This is where the te-rain comes,’ explained Kim. ‘And over there is where you buy the tickets.’

‘Here,’ said the lama and gave Kim his purse filled with rupees. Kim was amazed by his incredible simplicity and trust.

Just then the 3.25 a.m. train came in. All the people got up from the floor of the station. Women called their families together, street sellers shouted what they were selling and policemen shouted.

Kim went and bought two tickets – one to Umballa for the lama, and one to the town of Amritzar. Amritzar was the next stop on the train to Umballa, and Kim was not going to spend money for something as ridiculous as a train ticket!

Kim and the lama hesitated in front of a crowded third-class carriage.

‘Maybe we should walk,’ the lama said timidly.

A big Sikh man looked out of the carriage and said, ‘Is he afraid? Do not be afraid. I remember when I was afraid of the te-rain. Come in!’

‘I am not afraid,’ said the lama. ‘Is there room for two?’

‘There is not room for even a mouse,’ said the wife of a Hindu farmer.

‘Oh, mother of my son, we can make room,’ said her husband who wore a blue turban.

‘Come in! Come in!’ said a fat business man.

There were also a couple of soldiers and a young woman from the town of Amritzar.

Kim and the lama went in and sat on the ground.

The train started, and soon it arrived in Amritzar, where a guard came to check the tickets.

‘Get off now! Your ticket is for Amritzar,’ said the guard to Kim.

‘This holy man is like my father, my mother,’ cried Kim. ‘He will die without my help!’

But the guard took him off the train.

‘I am very poor. My father is dead – my mother is dead. If I am left here, who will look after the old man?’ cried Kim to the other passengers. ‘Is no one generous? Will no one help us?’

‘What is this?’ said the lama. ‘He is my chela. He must come with me. If it is only a question of money, I have…’

‘Be quiet,’ whispered Kim quickly to the lama. ‘Are we so rich?’

Just then the girl from Amritzar offered to pay for Kim’s ticket. Her mother, she said, was from the mountains where the lama came from.

The rest of the journey went well. They talked, joked, ate and generally enjoyed each other’s company. The wife of the Hindu farmer even offered Kim and the lama a place to sleep in Umballa. Kim, of course, accepted.

When they arrived in Umballa, Kim left the lama with the Hindu farmers, and went off to look for the bungalow of Mahbub Ali’s English officer. He had no trouble finding it. He hid behind some bushes and watched the officer on the veranda.

‘Protector of the poor!’ said Kim to get the man’s attention.

The man moved towards Kim.

‘Mahbub Ali says…’ continued Kim.

‘What does Mahbub Ali say?’

‘The white stallion is the very best,’ answered Kim.

‘Are you certain?’ asked the officer.

‘Yes,’ said Kim and threw the paper at the man’s feet. The officer quickly picked up the paper and threw a few coins towards the bushes. Kim was happy to be paid, but he was also very curious – this was becoming quite an adventure – and so he waited to see what would happen.

He saw the surprised look of the officer as he read the note, and soon an important older officer came out on the veranda. They began to talk.

‘It is not a question of weeks. It is a question of days – hours almost. I knew it would happen, but this confirms it,’ said the older officer.

‘How many soldiers will we need?’ asked Mahbub’s officer.

‘Eight thousand should be enough,’ said the older officer.

‘So it means war?’

‘No. Punishment,’ said the older officer.

‘But perhaps C25 lied,’ suggested the young officer.

‘No, his information confirms what others have said. I thought it was coming. It’s punishment – not war.’

Kim left quietly and went back to the lama. He was very proud and excited to be part of such important events.

The next day Kim and the lama began their walk across the countryside through miles and miles of vegetable gardens. They checked every stream they saw to be certain it was not the River of the Arrow. Each time they walked through a village, dogs came out and barked at them, the villagers asked them what they wanted, and the lama gave his simple and sincere answer: ‘We are looking for a river – a river that washes away all sins. Is there a river like that near here?’

Sometimes men laughed at him, but generally they listened to the lama’s story and then offered him a place in the shade, a drink of milk and a meal. The women were always kind, and the little children were like children all over the world, sometimes shy and sometimes not.

The first evening they stopped to rest in a village with mud walls and mud roofs. They met the headman and priest of the village, and they all talked as the cattle come back for the night and the women prepared the last meal of the day.

After hearing of the lama’s search for the river, the priest said, ‘Six miles to the west is the great road to Calcutta.’

‘But I want to go to Benares,’ said the lama.

‘It goes to Benares too,’ continued the priest. ‘It crosses all the rivers and streams in this part of India. You can test each stream that it crosses.’

‘Very good,’ said the lama, who was very impressed by this plan. ‘We will begin tomorrow.’

After a minute or two of silence, the lama said, ‘Do you see my chela? He too has a search. He is looking for a bull – a red bull on a green field that will someday bring him to honour. He is, I think, a kind of a spirit: he was sent to me to help me in my search. His name is Friend of all the World.’

‘A kind of a spirit?’ laughed the priest.

‘Well, no,’ replied Kim with a smile, ‘because I am hungry, and spirits don’t eat, do they? But I do know something important about the future.’

‘What is that?’ asked the headman.

‘War!’ said Kim – he remembered what the two officers had said.

‘That is easy to say,’ said a deep voice. ‘There are always wars along the border of India. I know.’

It was the voice of an old man, who had served the British Government in the days of the Mutiny.  Later the Government had rewarded him with some land near this village. He was even respected by the English officials, who often came to visit him.

‘But this will be a great war – a war of eight thousand!’ cried Kim, as the other people of the village came to listen.

‘British or Indian soldiers?’ asked the old man.

‘British soldiers,’ guessed Kim. He was beginning to enjoy his performance very much.

‘Do you know the man who gives the orders to begin a war?’ continued Kim.

‘I have seen him,’ answered the old man.

‘Would you know him again?’ asked Kim.

‘Yes, I have known him since he was just a young lieutenant,’ I said the old man.

‘Well then,’ said Kim, and he began to do a wonderful imitation of the commanding officer at the bungalow. He finished his performance by saying, ‘Not war – but punishment!’

The old man was amazed, ‘Yes, that is the great man! You really do know the future!’

Kim then listened as the old man told tales of brave young captains and the Mutiny.

Chapter 4: The Grand Trunk Road

The next morning, both Kim and the lama were ready to start. ‘It is time to travel the great road,’ said Kim.

‘The long road that crosses all the rivers of India,’ said the lama happily.

As they were leaving the village, they saw the old man again. Now he was on an old horse and carried a sword.

‘I would like to take you to the Grand Trunk Road,’ said the old man.

‘That is very kind of you,’ said the lama.

The three left on their long walk, and after many hours they arrived at the Grand Trunk Road.

‘And now we have arrived at the big road,’ said the old soldier. ‘Look, Holy Man, this is the backbone of all of India. All kinds of men move here. Look! Brahmins, bankers, barbers, shopkeepers, pilgrims – all the world coming and going – a vast river of people.’

Kim and the lama said goodbye to the old man and began their pilgrimage.

‘Now let’s walk,’ said the lama quietly.

The lama never looked up. He didn’t see the group of gypsies with their lizards and dogs, the young soldiers, the little children with their toys from religious festivals or the happy wedding party singing, shouting, dancing and laughing.

Finally, Kim could not stand the silence any longer and said, ‘This is a good land – the land of the South! The air and the water are good, aren’t they?’

‘And they are all attached to the Wheel,’ said the lama. ‘Attached from life after life. None of these people has seen the Way.’ Then he went back to his prayers.

‘We have had a long and hard walk today,’ said Kim. ‘Soon, we will come to a resting-place. Shall we stay there? Look, the sun is going down.’

‘What shall we do for food?’ asked the lama.

‘This country is full of good people. In any case,’ here Kim whispered, ‘we have money.’

The crowd became larger as they came to a resting-place. A line of stalls sold food, tobacco and firewood. There was also a police-station, water for horses and a few trees. Kim also saw a cart with a curtain. There were eight servants with it. Four of them, Kim noticed, came from the hills of the north, and four of them were from the south. Behind the curtain there was probably a wealthy old lady from the hills of the north who was going to visit family in the south.

‘We can probably get some good food and help from this group,’ thought Kim, and so he began to build his fire close to the cart.

‘Don’t come so close, beggar!’ shouted one of the servants, one of the men from the hills of the north.

‘Huh, it is only a man from the hills. Do donkeys from the hills own all of India now?’ said Kim.

The servants from the south laughed, but the man from the hills became angry. He ran towards Kim.

But when he saw the lama he stopped immediately.

‘Oh!’ cried the servant from the hills, when he saw the lama, ‘I almost committed a horrible sin!’

‘What has happened?’ shouted an old woman behind the curtain. ‘Why doesn’t someone beat that beggar and send him away?’

The servant from the hills went to the cart, and whispered something to the old lady.

‘This is going very well,’ thought Kim.

The servant came back from the old lady. Since they came from the north, they had the greatest respect for the old lama.

‘When he has eaten,’ the servant from the hills said respectfully to Kim, ‘my lady, the Sahiba, would like to have the great honour of speaking with the Holy One.’

‘After he has eaten he will sleep,’ said Kim. He did not know where his game was going, but he wanted to take advantage of it.

‘Now I will get the Holy Man his food,’ said Kim.

‘I and the other servants will take care of that – if it is permitted,’ said the servant, respectfully.

‘It is permitted,’ said Kim. ‘Holy One, these people will bring us food.’

‘The land is good. All the country of the south is good,’ said the lama quietly. He was very tired now.

‘Come here!’ said the woman behind the curtain. ‘Listen, beggar, I am an old woman, but I am not a complete fool. He is certainly a holy lama, and I respect him. But you do not come from the hills. You are just a beggar who wants to make money.’

‘Doesn’t everybody want to make money,’ replied Kim. ‘Anyway, I have heard -‘

‘What have you heard?’ asked the old woman: she was certain that Kim was going to begin another one of his amusing insults.

‘I have heard that the Rajahs of the hills in the north sometimes sell their most beautiful daughters for money in the south.’

‘Be careful, beggar!’ cried the old woman, ‘you know the punishment for saying such things – an elephant steps on you and you die!’

‘Oh, please,’ cried Kim with exaggerated terror. ‘Oh please, Eye of Beauty, Great Queen!’

‘Forty years ago, or maybe thirty years ago people called me the Eye of Beauty, but not today,’ said the old lady with a laugh. Kim soon discovered that the old lady was going on a pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya. She asked Kim and the lama to go with her. She wanted to laugh with Kim some more, and she also had important spiritual matters to talk about with the lama. This was very fortunate, and Kim was happy to accept her offer.


Chapter 5: The Red Bull

The following day the old lady’s group, which now included Kim and the lama, arrived early at the next resting-place. Kim decided to take a walk until sunset. He and the lama walked across the plain I until they came to a group of mango trees. Then, far away, Kim saw four men.

‘Soldiers. British soldiers!’ said Kim. ‘Let’s wait and see. Here, we can hide behind this tree.’

Soon, two of the four soldiers went into the group of mango trees. They were the advance-party of a regiment on the move. Each one carried long sticks with flags to mark their camp for the night. ‘Here, I imagine, will be the officers’ tents,’ said one of the soldiers and pushed a stick with a flag into the ground.

Kim stared. The two soldiers walked away into the afternoon sunshine.

‘Look, Holy One!’ shouted Kim, ‘Look! It’s my sign! The red bull on a green field! And just like my father said, two men came to prepare the way!’

He pointed to the flag. It was just an ordinary flag to mark camp for the regiment. But this regiment, called the Mavericks, had put their special sign on it: the great red bull on a background of green.

Soon there were men everywhere. They set up tents on the plain and under the mango trees. Then a group of servants came, and all around them a little town appeared as they watched!

‘Now, let’s go back to the resting-place. After we have eaten we will come again,’ said Kim.

As soon as dinner was finished, he and the lama went back to the mango trees.

‘Stay here behind this tree and I will go take a closer look in that tent,’ Kim said to the lama. He went very carefully up to a large tent. It was the tent where the officers ate their dinner. In the middle of the table was a golden bull. All the officers were standing. Each one held a glass in his hand and then said some words together. Kim did not understand that the bull was only the symbol of the regiment: he thought it was some kind of god.

After the drink, one of the men, the Reverend Arthur Bennett, decided to leave and go back to his tent to sleep. As he walked out, he fell over Kim, who was lying on his stomach.

‘Oh, a boy!’ he said and he grabbed I Kim. ‘Are you a thief? Do you know what we do to thieves?’

‘I am not a thief!’ cried Kim in English, but Bennett took him to his tent.

When they arrived in Bennett’s tent, Kim saw his chance to escape and started to run away. But Bennett grabbed him again, but this time he grabbed the little cloth bag. Its string broke and Bennett held it in his hand.

‘Oh, please give that back to me,’ cried Kim in English. ‘I did not steal! That is my charm! Oh please give it back to me.’

Bennett did not listen to Kim. Instead, he called for his colleague, Father Victor.

‘I want your advice,’ said Bennett. ‘I caught this boy. I think he is a thief, but he speaks English, which is very strange. This is his charm which he wants very much.’

‘A thief who talks English?’ said Father Victor. ‘Let’s open up his charm.’

First Father Victor saw the documents of the club. Then he saw Kim’s birth certificate. Kim’s father had written on it: ‘Look after the boy. Please look after the boy’- signing his name and the name and number of his regiment.

‘Do you know what these are?’ asked Father Victor.

‘Yes,’ said Kim. ‘They are mine and I want to go away.’

Father Victor opened up his shirt and said, ‘Look, Bennett, he is not so dark! This is the son of Kimball O’Hara, who was in this regiment! This is a miracle!’

‘Yes, maybe,’ said Kim, ‘but I am not a thief! My father told me to look for a red bull on a green field, and then nine hundred devils and a colonel will look after me. So, when I saw a room full of Sahibs praying to a bull I knew I was in the right place. The holy man agrees with me. He is outside. I am his disciple.’

‘Sahibs praying to a bull! Disciple of a holy man! Is the boy mad?’ said Bennett.

‘This is certainly O’Hara’s boy,’ said Father Victor. ‘Let’s talk to this holy man.’

Bennett and Kim went to bring back the lama, who came into the tent with dignity. The lama explained his search to the two men, and Kim explained what he had discovered to the lama: he, Kim, was actually a Sahib, and his father had been a member of this regiment. Then Father Victor explained that Kim must stay with them and go to school. This interested the lama greatly.

‘Do they give or sell learning among the Sahibs? Ask them,’ said the lama and Kim interpreted.

‘They say that you pay the teacher – but the Regiment will give that money. Why talk about this? I will escape tomorrow,’ Kim said to the lama in Hindustani. But the lama ignored Kim’s talk about escaping.

‘And if you pay more money you receive better learning?’ continued the lama. ‘Ask them how much a very good school costs.’

‘Well, the school called St Xavier’s in Lucknow costs three hundred rupees a year,’ said Father Victor.

Again Kim interpreted for the lama and said to Father Victor, ‘The lama wants you to write that name and the money on a piece of paper and give it to him.’

Father Victor did that.

The lama got up suddenly. ‘Now I am going to continue my search,’ he said, and left the tent.

Bennett said, ‘Now we will take you to the town of Sanawar, where you will live and go to school.’

‘You are not going to Sanawar. You are going to war!’ answered Kim.

‘Oh, I don’t think so. You are confused. This is an army, yes, but there is no war now,’ responded Bennett.

‘Yes, there is,’ continued Kim, because he wanted to impress these Sahibs. ‘When you arrive at Umballa you will be sent to war with eight thousand men.’

‘Incredible!’ said Father Victor.

Chapter 6: The Polo-Pony

The next day the soldiers took all the tents down, and the mavericks marched to Umballa. Kim walked with them. In the afternoon father victor rode up to him.

‘How did you know? How did you know we were going to war?’ 

Kim did not answer. He just looked mysteriously into the distance.

The next day the Mavericks left Umballa for the war. A drummer boy guarded Kim.

‘How far away am I allowed to walk?’ asked Kim, as they stood in front of the empty barracks.

‘You can walk as far as that tree down there,’ answered the drummer boy.

Kim, who was now wearing stiff army clothes, did not have the energy to run. He walked towards the tree. A servant walked by and insulted Kim in Hindustani: he did not think Kim could understand him. Kim invented a series of insults in Hindustani as an answer. The native servant was amazed.

‘And now,’ said Kim to the servant, ‘go and call me a letter- writer.’

Soon the letter-writer came – he was curious to see this strange English boy who could speak Hindustani so well. The letter he wrote for Kim finished with:

‘The clothes are very heavy and my heart is heavy too. I do not like the air and water here. Come and help me, Mahbub Ali, or send me some money because I do not have enough to pay the writer who writes this.’

When the letter-writer discovered that Mahbub Ali was Kim’s friend, he agreed to post the letter for Kim and wait for his payment.

Kim went back to the drummer boy. After lunch he was very happy when a soldier came and took him to see Father Victor.

‘I have received a letter from your friend, the lama,’ he said with amazement.

‘Where is he? Is he well? Oh! If he can write a letter, all is well,’ said Kim.

‘You are fond of him then?’ asked Father Victor.

‘Of course I am fond of him. He is fond of me,’ replied Kim.

‘He can’t write English, can he?’ asked the priest.

‘Oh no. But of course he found a letter-writer,’ answered Kim.

‘Well, he wrote me a most incredible letter from the Jain Temple of Benares where he is staying. He says that he will send you the three hundred rupees a year for you to attend St Xavier’s. This is incredible! Is this true, Kim?’

‘If he says he will give me three hundred rupees a year, then he will do it,’ answered Kim calmly.

‘Well, we were going to send you to the military orphanage, but now I will wait for three days. I really do not believe this is true. But I will wait three days,’ decided Father Victor.

Four days later, Father Victor had two more surprises. First, he received another letter from the lama with a cheque for three hundred rupees.

‘The lama, who is just a street beggar, has enough money to send a white boy to an expensive school!’ he thought. Just then the drummer boy came running to him.

‘The boy is gone,’ he cried, ‘a strange man with a red beard riding a stallion came. He hit me and then pulled that boy up. Then they rode away!’

‘What other strange people does this boy know?’ said Father Victor to no one in particular.

The man with a red beard, Mahbub Ali, rode a short distance with Kim, and said, ‘Little Friend of all the World, I cannot take you away. Everybody saw me hit that drummer boy and take you. If I don’t take you back, they will put me in jail.’

‘Please, let me escape,’ begged Kim, ‘I want to go back to my lama!’

Just then an Englishman rode up on a small polo-pony.

‘Oh, here you are! I have looked for you everywhere!’ said the Englishman. ‘What horses have you got for sale these days?’

‘I have a wonderful young horse, perfect for the delicate and difficult game of polo – there is no other horse like it,’ said Mahbub.

‘Of course, you always say that,’ said the Englishman. ‘And what on earth is this?’

‘A boy,’ said Mahbub seriously, ‘he is an orphan. His father was a soldier.’

‘Let him go then,’ said the Englishman. ‘He will certainly come back when he is hungry.’

‘Oh no,’ explained Mahbub, ‘ he is a clever little boy. He has friends. He changes his clothing and becomes, as if by magic, a little Hindu boy or a Muslim boy!’

‘Really!’ said the English man, who looked carefully at the boy. Kim became very angry: Mahbub was making fun of him.

‘They will send him to school,’ said Mahbub, ‘and put heavy boots on his feet. Then he will forget everything he knows. Now which barracks is yours?’ Kim was so angry now that he could not speak: he pointed to where Father Victor lived.

‘Well,’ continued Mahbub, ‘perhaps he will make a good soldier. He will make a good servant at least. I sent him once to deliver a message about a white stallion.’

Kim did not say a word but he thought, ‘Me just a servant! Just a common soldier! I delivered that important message to this Englishman. Now I recognise him. Was that the work of a servant? Doesn’t the Englishman recognise me? That horrible Mahbub!’

And Mahbub stared at the Englishman, who was Colonel Creighton. Colonel Creighton stared at Kim, who was silent.

‘My horse is well trained,’ said Mahbub. ‘You see it doesn’t kick!’ Mahbub, of course, was really talking about Kim. He wanted Colonel Creighton to see that Kim knew not to talk about important things – never – even if he was terribly provoked. In other words, Kim could become a great secret agent. Colonel Creighton was, after all, the head of the British spies in India.

‘Ah,’ said Colonel Creighton. ‘Who will make this boy a soldier?’

‘He says the regiment that found him and especially the priest,’ answered Mahbub.

‘There is the priest!’ shouted Kim, as Father Victor came down from his veranda.

‘Incredible, O’Hara!’ said the priest, when he saw Kim on Mahbub’s stallion. ‘How many more friends have you got?’

So, Kim went to the St Xavier’s in Lucknow. Before he went, Mahbub explained to Kim that he too could become a secret agent. Anyway, the school was not so bad as Kim had thought. The other boys there were born in India just like Kim. So, Kim studied and began to learn about making maps. This was very important if he wanted to travel and collect information for the Government as a secret agent. But after his first year of school, Kim wanted to be free again, at least for his school holidays. So, he ran off and found Mahbub. The two travelled together, but finally Mahbub took Kim up to Simla, a town in the hills.

When they arrived there, Mahbub said, ‘I have heard from Colonel Creighton. He says you have not come back to school.’

‘School in the summer?’ said Kim. ‘The holidays are mine!’

‘Perhaps,’ continued Mahbub, ‘but now Colonel Creighton says you must stay at Lurgan Sahib’s house until it is time to go back to school in Lucknow.’

‘I would prefer to stay with you,’ said Kim.

‘This is a great honour,’ said Mahbub, ‘Lurgan Sahib himself asked for you. You will go up the hill and find his house. Then you must forget that you have ever known Mahbub Ali, who sells horses to Creighton Sahib, whom you also do not know. Remember this order.’

‘Good,’ said Kim, ‘I will not forget. Who is Lurgan Sahib? Is he one of us?’

‘What talk is this of “us”, Sahib?’ Mahbub Ali, now talked to Kim as he usually talked to Europeans. ‘I am a Pashtun, you are a Sahib and a friend of a Sahib. Lurgan Sahib has a shop. You must obey him completely. Some people say that he does magic. Go up the hill and ask. The Great Game begins here and now.’


Chapter 7: Spy School

Kim began to walk up the street to look for Lurgan Sahib’s shop. He felt very important: he was now a Sahib. He saw a little Indian boy about ten years old sitting under a lamppost.

‘Where is Mr Lurgan’s shop?’ Kim asked him.

The boy took Kim to a shop with a veranda on the street. The door was open.

‘He has arrived,’ said the little boy, very quietly. Kim felt that Lurgan Sahib had sent the boy to bring him here.

Kim went into the building and saw a man with a black beard wearing a green shade over his eyes. He was sitting at a table. With incredible quickness he was putting shiny pearls on a string.

‘Seventy-nine, eighty, eighty-one,’ the man counted to himself, and then he took off his green shade and stared at Kim. The pupils of his eyes became very large and then very small, as if he controlled them. Kim had seen a magician do this in Lahore so he was not frightened.

‘Do not be afraid,’ said Lurgan Sahib suddenly.

‘Why should I be afraid?’ replied Kim.

‘You will sleep here tonight, and stay with me until it is time to go again to Lucknow. It is an order.’

‘It is an order,’ Kim repeated. ‘But where will I sleep?’

‘Here in this room,’ Lurgan Sahib pointed to the dark room behind him.

‘Fine,’ said Kim calmly. ‘Now?’

Lurgan Sahib nodded and held a lamp above his head. Kim could now see the Tibetan devil masks on the walls together with many other frightening masks, swords and knives. Kim had already seen many of these objects in the Lahore Museum. He also saw the little boy sitting under the table. He had a smile on his face.

‘I think Lurgan Sahib wants to make me afraid. And I am sure that devil boy under the table wants to see me afraid,’ he thought. ‘This place,’ he said aloud, ‘is like a Wonder House. Where is my bed? And you, little boy, stop smiling because I will beat you in the morning!’

When Kim woke up the next morning, Lurgan Sahib was looking down at him. The man offered Kim his hand.

‘Shake hands, O’Hara,’ he said.

Kim looked at him carefully. He was a Sahib because he wore Sahib clothing. But the accent of his Hindustani was perfect and his English was not at all like a Sahib.

‘I am sorry you cannot beat my boy this morning. He says he will kill you with a knife or poison. He is jealous. He has just tried to kill me with poison. You must help with the breakfast. He is almost too jealous to trust, just now.’

‘Well,’ Kim thought, ‘a Sahib from England would make a big fuss about this story of jealousy. But Lurgan Sahib said it very calmly, as calmly as Mahbub talks about his dangerous travels in Afghanistan.’

Lurgan walked to the other end of the veranda to fill up a water jar.

‘Do you want a drink?’ Lurgan asked.

Kim nodded. Lurgan Sahib, who was fifteen feet away, put his hand on the jar. In the very next moment it was next to Kim’s elbow, and it was completely full.

‘Wah!’ said Kim in complete amazement. ‘That is magic!’ Lurgan smiled – he liked the compliment.

‘Throw it back,’ Lurgan said.

‘It will break,’ said Kim.

‘Throw it back!’

Kim threw it in the direction of Lurgan. It fell on the ground and broke into fifty pieces.

‘I said it would break,’ said Kim.

‘It isn’t important,’ said Lurgan. ‘Look at the largest piece.’

The largest piece had a little water in it and sparkled in the light. Lurgan Sahib came and put his hand on the back of Kim’s neck and whispered, ‘Look! It will come together again, piece by piece. First the big piece will join itself to two other pieces on the right and the left – on the right and the left. Look!’

Lurgan held Kim very lightly and delicately, but Kim could not move at all. Now he saw one piece where there had been three small pieces. And above this large piece he could now vaguely see the shape of the entire jar, but the jar had been broken. He had seen it break into pieces on the floor.

‘Look! It is coming together again,’ said Lurgan Sahib.

Kim began to fight this illusion. Before he had thought in Hindustani, but now he began say to himself the multiplication table in English!

‘Look! It is coming together again,’ whispered Lurgan Sahib.

‘The jar was broken into many pieces,’ thought Kim in English, ‘and two times three is six, and three times three is nine and four times three is twelve…’

Kim continued repeating the multiplication table and gradually the vague shape of the jar disappeared and only the broken pieces remained.

‘Look! Is it coming together again?’ asked Lurgan Sahib.

‘No,’ answered Kim, ‘it is still broken. There are still pieces on the floor, like before. It is broken. It is still broken.’

Then Kim finally pulled away from Lurgan.

‘Was that more magic?’ asked Kim.

‘No, it was not magic,’ answered Lurgan. ‘It was a test, and, I am very happy with you. Very, very happy. You are the first to resist, the first that did not see the illusion.’

Lurgan sat down at the table. They heard the little boy crying.

‘Ah! It is you! You are so jealous. Will you try to poison me again?’ asked Lurgan.

‘Never, never! No!’ cried the boy.

‘And will you try to kill this other boy?’ asked Lurgan.

‘No, never!’ cried the boy.

‘What do you think he will do,’ Lurgan suddenly asked Kim.

‘I don’t know,’ answered Kim. ‘But why does he want to poison you?’

‘Because he likes me so much. He is jealous because he thinks I prefer you to him,’ explained Lurgan.

‘Oh, please send him away!’ cried the boy.

‘Not yet,’ said Lurgan. ‘He will go away in a little bit. But now he is at school, and you will be his teacher. Play the Game of the Jewels against him. I will keep score.’

The little boy ran and got a box filled with jewels. Lurgan took out fifteen jewels and put them on the table in front of Kim.

‘What is the game?’ asked Kim.

‘You must look at the jewels. You can even touch them if you want,’ explained the boy. ‘You can look at them as long as you want – I will only need a moment! Then you must cover them with a piece of paper, and describe them all to Lurgan Sahib.’

Kim looked carefully at the jewels, and was able to describe thirteen of them. But the little boy was much better. When his turn came, he looked for a half a minute at his jewels, and then described them all in the greatest possible detail. They played several times and each time the boy was much better than Kim.

‘Is the boy better than you?’ asked Lurgan.

‘Yes, certainly,’ said Kim.

‘Good,’ said Lurgan, ‘then he will teach you now.’

Chapter 8: Hurree Chunder Mookerjee

Kim stayed with Lurgan Sahib for ten days. He and the boy often played the Game of the Jewels, but not always with jewels. Sometimes they used other objects and other times they used photographs of people. Sometimes Kim and the boy sat in the back of the shop. They had to look carefully at every person who came in. Then at the end of the day they had to describe each person’s face, talk and actions.

Sometimes they dressed up like different kinds of Indians. The shop was full of all different kinds of clothing, and Lurgan Sahib was an expert at make-up. This, perhaps, was Kim’s favourite part: he loved dressing up like different people. One evening Kim dressed up like a beggar from Lahore. He imitated perfectly what the beggar said when he begged from an Englishman and from an Indian. Lurgan Sahib laughed loudly and told Kim to stay dressed as a Lahore beggar and to wait.

After a few minutes a big Babu came into the shop. His name was Hurree Chunder Mookerjee. Kim began his imitation of the Lahore beggar. Lurgan Sahib watched the Babu very carefully.

‘I think,’ said the Babu, ‘I am of the opinion that it is a most extraordinary and efficient performance. How soon will he be capable of making maps? Because then I will want to use him.’

‘That is what he must learn at Luck now,’ answered Lurgan.

‘Then tell him to be quick! Goodnight, Lurgan,’ said the Babu and walked out like a big, heavy cow.

Later when they were talking about the visitors to the shop, Lurgan asked Kim about the fat man.

‘Well, I see that he wants me to work for him when I finish school,’ said Kim, ‘so I suppose he is a member of the secret service too. But to look at him I do not understand how he can wear disguises and speak different languages.’

‘You will learn many things,’ answered Lurgan Sahib. ‘But there are very few men who really want to work for the secret service, to travel around India and collect information. And maybe of these few men, there are ten that I think are the best. Hurree Chunder Mookerjee is among these ten. A brave Bengali! Isn’t that incredible?’

Four days later, Kim got into a carriage to go back to school. The Babu travelled with him. Kim looked at him with amazement, ‘How can this big round man be a member of the secret service?’

Later in the journey, after a large meal, Hurree Chunder Mookerjee began to talk to Kim.

‘You know,’ he said,’ I studied at Calcutta University. Remember to study Shakespeare at school. That too can be useful. Also Frenc and Latin. Learn mathematics well and the art of measuring the land and making maps. This is most important.

‘Someday, I hope we will work together officially. Now goodbye, I have very urgent business nearby’. He got down quickly from the carriage, like a slim, silent, graceful cat.

Kim enjoyed school and he studied hard. He knew that he had to learn everything about mapmaking and describing cities. This was essential if he wanted to play the Great Game. Kim did well too, but when the holidays came, he wanted to be free again. So, colonel Creighton gave him permission to travel with Mahbub Ali.

When Kim was sixteen, Mahbub Ali thought that Kim had had enough school.

‘He has learned everything about math’s and mapmaking he needs,’ said Mahbub. ‘If he continues at school, it will only ruin him as a player in the Great Game.’

‘I agree very much too,’ added Hurree Chunder Mookerjee.

‘Well,’ said Colonel Creighton, who was not so certain, ‘perhaps he can travel with his red lama for six months. Maybe, though, Hurree can keep an eye on him, from time to time.’

So, it was decided, and a letter was sent to Kim’s headmaster. The headmaster then called for Kim.

‘Young man, you are very fortunate,’ said the headmaster. ‘Your first job is going to be mapmaking. Remember you are still young. Be careful.’

Kim was very happy. That evening he met Mahbub at the Lucknow train station. Mahbub explained everything to Kim. Kim then took the train to Benares to meet the lama at the Jain Temple.


Chapter 9: On the road Again

When Kim first saw the lama in front of the temple, he fell to the lama’s feet.

‘You paid for my school and food for three years. I have completed my studies and now I have come to you.’

‘You are no longer a child. You are now a man,’ said the lama. ‘I was right to leave you with those men with guns.’

Kim and the lama talked about their first journey together for some time. Then they decided on where to go next. The lama wanted to go north to see the kind old lady who lived near Saharunpore.

They took a train north to Delhi, and then from Delhi they took a train to Saharunpore. From there they continued their journey on foot.

They walked across the countryside talking and praying. Each evening they received hospitality in a different village. Sometimes they stopped along the roadside, and the lama pulled out his illustration of the Wheel of Life. He explained to Kim how people are born and die, and are reborn again. He showed Kim the different hells and paradises. Sometimes people stopped and threw flowers on the lama’s drawing, as a sign of respect and devotion.

One day, a servant of the old lady found them. This was not difficult – there were no other Red Lamas travelling about the countryside.

‘The old lady wants to see you again,’ said the servant. ‘She needs more charms for her grandchild – he always becomes sick after eating too many mangoes.’

‘Oh, yes,’ said the lama, ‘I remember now.’ He had forgotten their destination. ‘I often stayed with her when you were in school. She talks too much but she is a very good woman. I do not like giving charms, but, for her, I can.’

Kim, the lama and the servant then walked eleven miles to the house of the old lady.

She was very happy when she saw Kim and the lama. She talked to them from the window of her house.

‘Oh how handsome you have become,’ she said to Kim. ‘Many women must be in love with you!’

‘Oh, Maharani,’ replied Kim, ‘you are still a great beauty.’

‘Still?’ laughed the old lady, ‘maybe twenty, maybe thirty years ago!’

After dinner, the lama went off to his little room to sleep, and Kim stayed by the fire.

‘I hope,’ said the old lady, ‘tomorrow the lama will make me a charm for my grandchild. He can also give me his opinion of the drugs of my new doctor.’

‘What new doctor, Maharani?’ said Kim.

‘Oh, he is very good. He is a Bengali. His medicines are very, very good. I myself have used them.’

‘Oh, be careful,’ said Kim, a little jealous of this new doctor, ‘these travelling doctors sell coloured water and call it medicine.’

‘Really? You doubt me,’ said a deep voice from the darkness. The doctor came and sat next to Kim by the fire. They began to talk about medicine.

When they were finally alone, the doctor, who was a very large man, said to Kim, ‘Ah, don’t you recognise me?’

‘No… why should I? I mean…’ said Kim confused. ‘Oh, it’s you Hurree Babu! How did you find me?’

‘Red Lamas are not very common in this part of the world,’ explained Hurree Babu. ‘Also Mahbub told me you were coming here. I bought a box of medicine and began my journey as a “travelling doctor”. I really am a good doctor though. But there is an important mission for us, Mr O’Hara.’

‘What is it? I hoped to play the Great Game soon,’ said Kim.

‘Very soon,’ began Hurree Babu. ‘Do you remember the white stallion?’

‘Yes,’ Kim replied, ‘there were five kings who prepared a war against the British three years ago. I brought a message from Mahbub to Colonel Creighton.’

‘Exactly,’ continued Hurree Babu, ‘but there was no war in the end. Two of those five kings were paid by the British. They said they would protect the north. However, I have discovered that these two kings are now working with the Russians. In fact, a Russian and a Frenchman are now in the north making promises to the kings and making maps.’

‘I am beginning to understand,’ said Kim.

‘I am going to the north to see what these two are doing,’ said Hurree Babu. ‘I would like some assistance – I am always afraid, you know. I am a Bengali after all. You do not need to travel with me. If you are near in case of danger, that is enough. So, you must persuade your lama to continue his search for the River of the Arrow to the north.’

‘That will not be difficult,’ said Kim. ‘He comes from the hills and suffers greatly in the heat of the plains.’

The next day at noon, Hurree Babu left.

That evening Kim and the lama also left for the hills: it had not been at all difficult to persuade the lama to continue his search in his cool hills.

Chapter 10: The Hills

Kim and the lama began walking slowly north from Saharunpore. They walked through the cities of Dehradun and then, closer to the hills, the city of Mussoorie. At the beginning of their journey the lama needed Kim’s help walking. But, as they began to go upwards in the hills, the lama became stronger and stronger. For Kim, however, the walking became more and more difficult, and the winds colder and colder. The lama, who was a hillman, led Kim away from the main road along more difficult paths. The people of the hills welcomed the lama and Kim. Many of them were Buddhists and saw the lama as a very important holy man.

Gradually, Kim became stronger, and he studied more deeply the Wheel of Life with the lama. In these hills, there was very little to distract them. Occasionally, they saw a bear on a distant hill, or an eagle in the sky. One morning they even saw a snow leopard that was eating a goat. Otherwise, there was nothing. These hills under the great Himalayas were like a world of dreams.

‘Surely the Gods live here!’ said Kim, who was amazed by the great distances and silence of the place. ‘This is no place for men!’

Hurree Babu, who was carrying a blue and white umbrella, also walked up into the hills, but he stayed on the main road. Soon, he met the Russian and Frenchman. He presented himself as ‘an agent for the Rajah of Rampur’. The Russian and Frenchman were very happy because they were having trouble with their porters. They had baskets carrying mountain goat heads – they were pretending to be hunters. But, most important to them was a basket with a red cover, which carried all their maps and papers. They planned to take these precious documents down to Simla and then send them back to Russia.

Hurree Babu soon solved their problem with their porters, who were hillmen. So, the Russian and Frenchman – now with the assistance of an ‘agent of the Rajah of Rampur’ – continued their journey down to Simla. On the second day, they saw Kim and the lama studying the Wheel of Life near the road. Hurree Babu, who always thought very quickly, said, ‘Look, that is a very important local holy man, a subject of the Rajah of Rampur.’

‘What is he doing? It is very curious,’ said the Russian.

‘He is explaining the holy picture, which is made by hand,’ said Hurree Babu.

‘Tell him that I want to buy his picture,’ said the Russian.

Hurree Babu walked closer to Kim and the lama. Kim understood the situation immediately.

‘Holy One,’ said the Babu, ‘these Sahibs want to buy your drawing.’

‘No,’ replied the lama, who was also an artist.

‘He says no,’ Hurree Babu said to the Russian. The Russian became angry: he did not see the lama as an important holy man: he saw him as a dirty old man arguing about money for an old drawing. He walked up to the lama and grabbed at the drawing. The lama did not let go and the drawing ripped. The lama became angry and stood up. Then the Russian hit him on the face. The hillmen carrying the baskets were shocked. They became afraid and ran up the hill with the baskets on their backs. Kim, too, was shocked. He attacked the Russian. The two went rolling down the hill.

Again, the Babu thought very quickly. He went and pulled Kim off the Russian – Kim wanted to kill him. Then he whispered in his ear, ‘You must run up with the hillmen who have the baskets. The one with the red cover has all the important documents. Keep that one! Go!’

Kim ran off with the hillmen, who had also taken the lama with them.

The Frenchman now had his pistol in his hand, but the Babu shouted at him, ‘Do not shoot! They will come and kill us all! Why did you hit their holy man? You have done something horrible! Now we will be lucky to arrive in Simla alive!’

But, of course, the Babu was very happy that the Russian had done something so horrible: Kim now had all their secret letters and documents.

Chapter 11: The River of the Arrow

Kim, the lama and the hillmen travelled to a very small village called Shamlegh-under-the-Snow. They were treated with great respect. The leader of the village, a woman, even had her men carry the lama down to the next village. Then each village along the way was very happy to carry a lama – a lama who was searching for a Holy River – for a while until they reached the plain. There, on the plains, the last group of hillmen left the lama and Kim, and went back to the hills.

The lama looked sadly towards the Himalayas, which were his home, and said, ‘Holy hills, the Arrow of our Lord Buddha did not fall among you. And I will never breathe your cool air again before I die.’

Now Kim was all alone with the lama. He had to carry the food, the maps and papers. He had to help the old man to walk. He had to prepare the old man’s bed and to beg food for him in the morning and evening.

‘You are the best chela, even if you are a Sahib. It is strange,’ said the lama.

‘You have said,’ answered Kim, ‘that there is neither black nor white. Why talk about these things, Holy One? I am your chela, and I am tired.’

Soon Kim realised that he could not continue. He was now very ill. He sent a message to the old lady, and soon some of her servants came. They carried Kim and the lama back to the old lady’s house near Saharunpore.

When they arrived at the old lady’s house she looked down from her window and said to the lama, ‘I told you – I told you, Holy One, to keep an eye on your chela. He has become sick by running after women. Look at his eyes!’

Kim looked up at her, but he was too tired to smile.

‘Do not joke,’ said the lama, ‘We are here for important matters. I became sick spiritually in the hills – I became angry and wanted to hit a man, and he became sick in the body. It is my fault!’

Before he fell asleep, Kim asked the old lady for a box with a lock. He said that it was for some holy books. Then he put the secret maps and documents in it. After this, the old lady took control of the situation: first, she let him sleep and sleep and sleep. Then she fed him and massaged him until after many days he was able to sit up and talk.

‘Where is my Holy One?’ Kim asked.

‘Oh, listen to him! Your Holy One is well,’ she responded angrily. ‘But he is lucky! First he refused the good food that I cooked and then went walking around the fields for two nights. And then he fell into one of our streams and almost drowned – thank goodness that the doctor was there and pulled him out! – and then he says that he is now… what did he say?… yes! He is free of all sin! He has found his river! Anyway, he always keeps an eye on you.’

The old lady then told Kim that the doctor was also there. The doctor had wanted to see Kim, but the old lady had kept him away.

‘Oh, please send him to me now,’ said Kim.

The lady left Kim’s room and soon the doctor, who was, of course, Hurree Babu, came in.

‘Oh, Mr O’Hara, we are all so extremely proud of you! As soon as you are better, we will work together again,’ cried Hurree Babu.

‘The papers! The maps and books from the basket! Here is the key to the box under my bed,’ was Kim’s answer. He could no longer stand the huge responsibility of keeping them.

Hurree Babu took everything from Kim, and left for Simla to take it all to Colonel Creighton.

Kim got up and walked away from the old lady’s home. He went towards a cart on a little hill with a tree, just above the flat fields. When he arrived in front of the cart, he lay down and fell into a deep sleep.

Later that day, the lama came out to Kim. He said, ‘Wake up! Wake up! I have found it!’

‘I have slept for a hundred years,’ said Kim. ‘Where have you been, Holy One? I came out here to look for you.’

‘Listen to me!’ continued the lama. ‘My search is over. Listen to what happened. The old lady offered me food, but I did not eat. For two days and two nights l meditated. During the second night my soul left my body. It was free and went near to the Great Soul. At this point, I could see all of India – from Ceylon in the sea to the hills and my monastery in Tibet. Then I was about to enter forever the Great Soul when I heard a voice that cried, “What will happen to the boy, your chela, if you die?” I could not abandon you! So, I left the Great Soul. Then I heard a voice that said, “Look out! There is the River of the Arrow!” Then my soul was in my body again, and the doctor pulled me out of the River – it was really only a small stream.’

‘Oh, I am glad that the Babu was near,’ said Kim. ‘Were you very wet?’

‘That is not important,’ answered the lama. ‘The doctor was very worried about the body of the lama. But I came back from freedom, from the Great Soul, for you. We are now both free from sin!’

The lama smiled because he had freed himself and the boy he loved from sin.


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