Lesson 4

Answer Questions attachedit was said , read the text :The Man Who Would Be King Pages 13-25by Rudyard KiplingThe Kumharsen Serai is the great four-squaresink of humanity where the stringsof camels and horses from the North loadand unload. All the nationalities of CentralAsia may be found there, and most of thefolk of India proper. Balkh and Bokharathere meet Bengal and Bombay, and try todraw eye-teeth. You can buy ponies, turquoises,Persian pussy-cats, saddle-bags, fat-tailedsheep and musk in the KumharsenSerai, and get many strange things fornothing. In the afternoon I went downthere to see whether my friends intended tokeep their word or were lying about drunk.A priest attired in fragments of ribbonsand rags stalked up to me, gravely twistinga child’s paper whirligig. Behind him washis servant, bending under the load of acrate of mud toys. The two were loadingup two camels, and the inhabitants of theSerai watched them with shrieks of laughter.“The priest is mad,” said a horse-dealer tome. “He is going up to Kabul to sell toysto the Amir. He will either be raised tohonor or have his head cut off. He camein here this morning and has been behavingmadly ever since.”“The witless are under the protection ofGod,” stammered a flat-cheeked Usbeg inbroken Hindi. “They foretell future events.”“Would they could have foretold that mycaravan would have been cut up by theShinwaris almost within shadow of thePass!” grunted the Eusufzai agent of a Rajputanatrading-house whose goods had beenfeloniously diverted into the hands of otherrobbers just across the Border, and whosemisfortunes were the laughing-stock of thebazar. “Ohé, priest, whence come you andwhither do you go?”“From Roum have I come,” shouted thepriest, waving his whirligig; “from Roum,blown by the breath of a hundred devilsacross the sea! O thieves, robbers, liars,the blessing of Pir Khan on pigs, dogs, andperjurers! Who will take the Protected ofGod to the North to sell charms that arenever still to the Amir? The camels shallnot gall, the sons shall not fall sick, and thewives shall remain faithful while they areaway, of the men who give me place intheir caravan. Who will assist me to slipperthe King of the Roos with a golden slipperwith a silver heel? The protection of PirKahn be upon his labors!” He spread outthe skirts of his gaberdine and pirouetted betweenthe lines of tethered horses.“There starts a caravan from Peshawar toKabul in twenty days, Huzrut,” said theEusufzai trader. “My camels go therewith.Do thou also go and bring us good luck.”“I will go even now!” shouted the priest.“I will depart upon my winged camels,and be at Peshawar in a day! Ho! HazarMir Khan,” he yelled to his servant “driveout the camels, but let me first mount myown.”He leaped on the back of his beast as itknelt, and turning round to me, cried:—“Come thou also, Sahib, a little along theroad, and I will sell thee a charm—an amuletthat shall make thee King of Kafiristan.”Then the light broke upon me, and I followedthe two camels out of the Serai till wereached open road and the priest halted.“What d’ you think o’ that?” said he inEnglish. “Carnehan can’t talk their patter,so I’ve made him my servant. He makes ahandsome servant. ’Tisn’t for nothing thatI’ve been knocking about the country forfourteen years. Didn’t I do that talk neat?We’ll hitch on to a caravan at Peshawar tillwe get to Jagdallak, and then we’ll see if wecan get donkeys for our camels, and strikeinto Kafiristan. Whirligigs for the Amir,O Lor! Put your hand under the camel-bagsand tell me what you feel.”I felt the butt of a Martini, and anotherand another.“Twenty of ’em,” said Dravot, placidly.“Twenty of ’em, and ammunition to correspond,under the whirligigs and the muddolls.”“Heaven help you if you are caught withthose things!” I said. “A Martini is worthher weight in silver among the Pathans.”“Fifteen hundred rupees of capital—everyrupee we could beg, borrow, or steal—areinvested on these two camels,” said Dravot.“We won’t get caught. We’re going throughthe Khaiber with a regular caravan. Who’dtouch a poor mad priest?”“Have you got everything you want?”I asked, overcome with astonishment.“Not yet, but we shall soon. Give us amomento of your kindness, Brother. Youdid me a service yesterday, and that time inMarwar. Half my Kingdom shall you have,as the saying is.” I slipped a small charmcompass from my watch-chain and handedit up to the priest.“Good-by,” said Dravot, giving me hishand cautiously. “It’s the last time we’llshake hands with an Englishman these manydays. Shake hands with him, Carnehan,”he cried, as the second camel passed me.Carnehan leaned down and shook hands.Then the camels passed away along the dustyroad, and I was left alone to wonder. Myeye could detect no failure in the disguises.The scene in the Serai attested that theywere complete to the native mind. Therewas just the chance, therefore, that Carnehanand Dravot would be able to wanderthrough Afghanistan without detection.But, beyond, they would find death, certainand awful death.Ten days later a native friend of mine,giving me the news of the day from Peshawar,wound up his letter with:—“There hasbeen much laughter here on account of acertain mad priest who is going in his estimationto sell petty gauds and insignificanttrinkets which he ascribes as great charmsto H. H. the Amir of Bokhara. He passedthrough Peshawar and associated himself tothe Second Summer caravan that goes toKabul. The merchants are pleased becausethrough superstition they imagine that suchmad fellows bring good-fortune.”The two then, were beyond the Border.I would have prayed for them, but, thatnight, a real King died in Europe, and demandedan obituary notice.*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *The wheel of the world swings throughthe same phases again and again. Summerpassed and winter thereafter, and came andpassed again. The daily paper continuedand I with it, and upon the third summerthere fell a hot night, a night-issue, and astrained waiting for something to be telegraphedfrom the other side of the world,exactly as had happened before. A few greatmen had died in the past two years, the machinesworked with more clatter, and someof the trees in the Office garden were a fewfeet taller. But that was all the difference.I passed over to the press-room, and wentthrough just such a scene as I have alreadydescribed. The nervous tension was strongerthan it had been two years before, and I feltthe heat more acutely. At three o’clock Icried, “Print off,” and turned to go, whenthere crept to my chair what was left of aman. He was bent into a circle, his headwas sunk between his shoulders, and hemoved his feet one over the other like a bear.I could hardly see whether he walked orcrawled—this rag-wrapped, whining cripplewho addressed me by name, crying that hewas come back. “Can you give me adrink?” he whimpered. “For the Lord’ssake, give me a drink!”I went back to the office, the man followingwith groans of pain, and I turned up thelamp.“Don’t you know me?” he gasped, droppinginto a chair, and he turned his drawnface, surmounted by a shock of gray hair, tothe light.I looked at him intently. Once before hadI seen eyebrows that met over the nose in aninch-broad black band, but for the life of meI could not tell where.“I don’t know you,” I said, handing himthe whiskey. “What can I do for you?”He took a gulp of the spirit raw, and shiveredin spite of the suffocating heat.“I’ve come back,” he repeated; “and Iwas the King of Kafiristan—me and Dravot—crowned Kings we was! In this office wesettled it—you setting there and giving usthe books. I am Peachey—Peachey TaliaferroCarnehan, and you’ve been setting hereever since—O Lord!”I was more than a little astonished, andexpressed my feelings accordingly.“It’s true,” said Carnehan, with a drycackle, nursing his feet which were wrappedin rags. “True as gospel. Kings we were,with crowns upon our heads—me and Dravot—poor Dan—oh, poor, poor Dan, that wouldnever take advice, not though I begged ofhim!”“Take the whiskey,” I said, “and takeyour own time. Tell me all you can recollectof everything from beginning to end.You got across the border on your camels,Dravot dressed as a mad priest and you hisservant. Do you remember that?”“I ain’t mad—yet, but I will be that waysoon. Of course I remember. Keep lookingat me, or maybe my words will go all topieces. Keep looking at me in my eyes anddon’t say anything.”I leaned forward and looked into his faceas steadily as I could. He dropped one handupon the table and I grasped it by the wrist.It was twisted like a bird’s claw, and uponthe back was a ragged, red, diamond-shapedscar.“No, don’t look there. Look at me,” saidCarnehan.“That comes afterwards, but for the Lord’ssake don’t distrack me. We left with thatcaravan, me and Dravot, playing all sorts ofantics to amuse the people we were with.Dravot used to make us laugh in the eveningswhen all the people was cooking theirdinners—cooking their dinners, and … whatdid they do then? They lit little fireswith sparks that went into Dravot’s beard,and we all laughed—fit to die. Little redfires they was, going into Dravot’s big redbeard—so funny.” His eyes left mine andhe smiled foolishly.“You went as far as Jagdallak with thatcaravan,” I said at a venture, “after youhad lit those fires. To Jagdallak, whereyou turned off to try to get into Kafiristan.”“No, we didn’t neither. What are youtalking about? We turned off before Jagdallak,because we heard the roads was good.But they wasn’t good enough for our twocamels—mine and Dravot’s. When we leftthe caravan, Dravot took off all his clothesand mine too, and said we would be heathen,because the Kafirs didn’t allow Mohammedansto talk to them. So we dressed betwixtand between, and such a sight as DanielDravot I never saw yet nor expect to seeagain. He burned half his beard, and slunga sheep-skin over his shoulder, and shavedhis head into patterns. He shaved mine,too, and made me wear outrageous things tolook like a heathen. That was in a mostmountaineous country, and our camelscouldn’t go along any more because of themountains. They were tall and black, andcoming home I saw them fight like wildgoats—there are lots of goats in Kafiristan.And these mountains, they never keep still,no more than the goats. Always fightingthey are, and don’t let you sleep at night.”“Take some more whiskey,” I said, veryslowly. “What did you and Daniel Dravotdo when the camels could go no further becauseof the rough roads that led into Kafiristan?”“What did which do? There was a partycalled Peachey Taliaferro Carnehan that waswith Dravot. Shall I tell you about him?He died out there in the cold. Slap fromthe bridge fell old Peachey, turning andtwisting in the air like a penny whirligigthat you can sell to the Amir—No; theywas two for three ha’pence, those whirligigs,or I am much mistaken and woful sore.And then these camels were no use, andPeachey said to Dravot—‘For the Lord’ssake, let’s get out of this before our heads arechopped off,’ and with that they killed thecamels all among the mountains, not havinganything in particular to eat, but first theytook off the boxes with the guns and theammunition, till two men came along drivingfour mules. Dravot up and dances in frontof them, singing,—‘Sell me four mules.’Says the first man,—‘If you are rich enoughto buy, you are rich enough to rob;’ but beforeever he could put his hand to his knife,Dravot breaks his neck over his knee, andthe other party runs away. So Carnehanloaded the mules with the rifles that wastaken off the camels, and together we startsforward into those bitter cold mountainousparts, and never a road broader than theback of your hand.”He paused for a moment, while I askedhim if he could remember the nature of thecountry through which he had journeyed.“I am telling you as straight as I can, butmy head isn’t as good as it might be. Theydrove nails through it to make me hearbetter how Dravot died. The country wasmountainous and the mules were most contrary,and the inhabitants was dispersed andsolitary. They went up and up, and downand down, and that other party Carnehan,was imploring of Dravot not to sing andwhistle so loud, for fear of bringing down thetremenjus avalanches. But Dravot says thatif a King couldn’t sing it wasn’t worth beingKing, and whacked the mules over the rump,and never took no heed for ten cold days.We came to a big level valley all among themountains, and the mules were near dead,so we killed them, not having anything inspecial for them or us to eat. We sat uponthe boxes, and played odd and even withthe cartridges that was jolted out.“Then ten men with bows and arrowsran down that valley, chasing twenty menwith bows and arrows, and the row wastremenjus. They was fair men—fairer thanyou or me—with yellow hair and remarkablewell built. Says Dravot, unpacking theguns—‘This is the beginning of the business.We’ll fight for the ten men,’ and with that hefires two rifles at the twenty men and dropsone of them at two hundred yards from therock where we was sitting. The other menbegan to run, but Carnehan and Dravot sitson the boxes picking them off at all ranges, upand down the valley. Then we goes up to theten men that had run across the snow too,and they fires a footy little arrow at us.Dravot he shoots above their heads and theyall falls down flat. Then he walks overthem and kicks them, and then he lifts themup and shakes hands all around to makethem friendly like. He calls them and givesthem the boxes to carry, and waves his handfor all the world as though he was Kingalready. They takes the boxes and himacross the valley and up the hill into a pinewood on the top, where there was half adozen big stone idols. Dravot he goes to thebiggest—a fellow they call Imbra—and laysa rifle and a cartridge at his feet, rubbing hisnose respectful with his own nose, pattinghim on the head, and saluting in front of it.He turns round to the men and nods hishead, and says,—‘That’s all right. I’m inthe know too, and these old jim-jams are myfriends.’ Then he opens his mouth andpoints down it, and when the first manbrings him food, he says—‘No;’ and whenthe second man brings him food, he says—‘No;’ but when one of the old priests andthe boss of the village brings him food, hesays—‘Yes;’ very haughty, and eats it slow.That was how we came to our first village,without any trouble, just as though we hadtumbled from the skies. But we tumbledfrom one of those damned rope-bridges, yousee, and you couldn’t expect a man to laughmuch after that.”“Take some more whiskey and go on,” Isaid. “That was the first village you cameinto. How did you get to be King?”“I wasn’t King,” said Carnehan. “Dravothe was the King, and a handsome manhe looked with the gold crown on his headand all. Him and the other party stayed inthat village, and every morning Dravot satby the side of old Imbra, and the people cameand worshipped. That was Dravot’s order.Then a lot of men came into the valley, andCarnehan and Dravot picks them off withthe rifles before they knew where they was,and runs down into the valley and up againthe other side, and finds another village,same as the first one, and the people all fallsdown flat on their faces, and Dravot says,—‘Now what is the trouble between you twovillages?’ and the people points to a woman,as fair as you or me, that was carried off,and Dravot takes her back to the first villageand counts up the dead—eight there was.For each dead man Dravot pours a little milkon the ground and waves his arms like awhirligig and, ‘That’s all right,’ says he.Then he and Carnehan takes the big boss ofeach village by the arm and walks themdown into the valley, and shows them howto scratch a line with a spear right downthe valley, and gives each a sod of turffrom both sides o’ the line. Then all thepeople comes down and shouts like the deviland all, and Dravot says,—‘Go and dig theland, and be fruitful and multiply,’ whichthey did, though they didn’t understand.Then we asks the names of things in theirlingo—bread and water and fire and idolsand such, and Dravot leads the priest of eachvillage up to the idol, and says he must sitthere and judge the people, and if anythinggoes wrong he is to be shot.“Next week they was all turning up theland in the valley as quiet as bees and muchprettier, and the priests heard all the complaintsand told Dravot in dumb show whatit was about. ‘That’s just the beginning,’says Dravot. ‘They think we’re gods.’ Heand Carnehan picks out twenty good menand shows them how to click off a rifle, andform fours, and advance in line, and theywas very pleased to do so, and clever to seethe hang of it. Then he takes out his pipeand his baccy-pouch and leaves one at onevillage, and one at the other, and off we twogoes to see what was to be done in the nextvalley. That was all rock, and there was alittle village there, and Carnehan says,—‘Send ’em to the old valley to plant,’ andtakes ’em there and gives ’em some land thatwasn’t took before. They were a poor lot,and we blooded ’em with a kid before letting’em into the new Kingdom. That was toimpress the people, and then they settleddown quiet, and Carnehan went back toDravot who had got into another valley, allsnow and ice and most mountainous. Therewas no people there and the Army got afraid,so Dravot shoots one of them, and goes ontill he finds some people in a village, andthe Army explains that unless the peoplewants to be killed they had better not shoottheir little matchlocks; for they had matchlocks.We makes friends with the priestand I stays there alone with two of theArmy, teaching the men how to drill, and athundering big Chief comes across the snowwith kettledrums and horns twanging, becausehe heard there was a new god kickingabout. Carnehan sights for the brown ofthe men half a mile across the snow andwings one of them. Then he sends a messageto the Chief that, unless he wished tobe killed, he must come and shake handswith me and leave his arms behind. TheChief comes alone first, and Carnehan shakeshands with him and whirls his arms about,same as Dravot used, and very much surprisedthat Chief was, and strokes my eyebrows.Then Carnehan goes alone to theChief, and asks him in dumb show if hehad an enemy he hated. ‘I have,’ says theChief. So Carnehan weeds out the pick ofhis men, and sets the two of the Army toshow them drill and at the end of two weeksthe men can manœuvre about as well asVolunteers. So he marches with the Chiefto a great big plain on the top of a mountain,and the Chiefs men rushes into a villageand takes it; we three Martinis firing intothe brown of the enemy. So we took thatvillage too, and I gives the Chief a rag frommy coat and says, ‘Occupy till I come’:which was scriptural. By way of a reminder,when me and the Army was eighteen hundredyards away, I drops a bullet near himstanding on the snow, and all the peoplefalls flat on their faces. Then I sends a letterto Dravot, wherever he be by land or bysea.”At the risk of throwing the creature out oftrain I interrupted,—“How could you writea letter up yonder?”“The letter?—Oh! — The letter! Keeplooking at me between the eyes, please. Itwas a string-talk letter, that we’d learnedthe way of it from a blind beggar in thePunjab.”I remember that there had once come tothe office a blind man with a knotted twigand a piece of string which he wound roundthe twig according to some cypher of hisown. He could, after the lapse of days orhours, repeat the sentence which he hadreeled up. He had reduced the alphabet toeleven primitive sounds; and tried to teachme his method, but failed.“I sent that letter to Dravot,” said Carnehan;“and told him to come back becausethis Kingdom was growing too big for me tohandle, and then I struck for the first valley,to see how the priests were working. Theycalled the village we took along with theChief, Bashkai, and the first village we took,Er-Heb. The priest at Er-Heb was doing allright, but they had a lot of pending casesabout land to show me, and some men fromanother village had been firing arrows atnight. I went out and looked for that villageand fired four rounds at it from a thousandyards. That used all the cartridges Icared to spend, and I waited for Dravot, whohad been away two or three months, and Ikept my people quiet.“One morning I heard the devil’s ownnoise of drums and horns, and Dan Dravotmarches down the hill with his Army and atail of hundreds of men, and, which was themost amazing—a great gold crown on hishead. ‘My Gord, Carnehan,’ says Daniel,‘this is a tremenjus business, and we’ve gotthe whole country as far as it’s worth having.I am the son of Alexander by Queen Semiramis,and you’re my younger brother anda god too! It’s the biggest thing we’ve everseen. I’ve been marching and fighting forsix weeks with the Army, and every footylittle village for fifty miles has come in rejoiceful;and more than that, I’ve got thekey of the whole show, as you’ll see, andI’ve got a crown for you! I told ’em tomake two of ’em at a place called Shu, wherethe gold lies in the rock like suet in mutton.Gold I’ve seen, and turquoise I’ve kicked outof the cliffs, and there’s garnets in the sandsof the river, and here’s a chunk of amberthat a man brought me. Call up all thepriests and, here, take your crown.’“One of the men opens a black hair bagand I slips the crown on. It was too smalland too heavy, but I wore it for the glory.Hammered gold it was—five pound weight,like a hoop of a barrel.“‘Peachey,’ says Dravot, ‘we don’t want tofight no more. The Craft’s the trick so helpme!’ and he brings forward that same Chiefthat I left at Bashkai—Billy Fish we calledhim afterwards, because he was so like BillyFish that drove the big tank-engine at Machon the Bolan in the old days. ‘Shake handswith him,’ says Dravot, and I shook handsand nearly dropped, for Billy Fish gave methe Grip. I said nothing, but tried himwith the Fellow Craft Grip. He answers,all right, and I tried the Master’s Grip, butthat was a slip. ‘A Fellow Craft he is!’I says to Dan. ‘Does he know the word?’‘He does,’ says Dan, ‘and all the priestsknow. It’s a miracle! The Chiefs andthe priest can work a Fellow Craft Lodgein a way that’s very like ours, and they’vecut the marks on the rocks, but theydon’t know the Third Degree, and they’vecome to find out. It’s Gord’s Truth.I’ve known these long years that theAfghans knew up to the Fellow CraftDegree, but this is a miracle. A god and aGrand-Master of the Craft am I, and aLodge in the Third Degree I will open, andwe’ll raise the head priests and the Chiefs ofthe villages.’“‘It’s against all the law,’ I says, ‘holdinga Lodge without warrant from any one;and we never held office in any Lodge.’“‘It’s a master-stroke of policy,’ saysDravot. ‘It means running the country aseasy as a four-wheeled bogy on a downgrade. We can’t stop to inquire now, orthey’ll turn against us. I’ve forty Chiefs atmy heel, and passed and raised accordingto their merit they shall be. Billet thesemen on the villages and see that we run upa Lodge of some kind. The temple of Imbrawill do for the Lodge-room. The womenmust make aprons as you show them. I’llhold a levee of Chiefs tonight and Lodge to-morrow.’“I was fair rim off my legs, but I wasn’tsuch a fool as not to see what a pull thisCraft business gave us. I showed thepriests’ families how to make aprons ofthe degrees, but for Dravot’s apron the blueborder and marks was made of turquoiselumps on white hide, not cloth. We took agreat square stone in the temple for theMaster’s chair, and little stones for the officers’chairs, and painted the black pavementwith white squares, and did what wecould to make things regular.“At the levee which was held that nighton the hillside with big bonfires, Dravotgives out that him and me were gods andsons of Alexander, and Past Grand-Mastersin the Craft, and was come to make Kafiristana country where every man should eatin peace and drink in quiet, and speciallyobey us. Then the Chiefs come round toshake hands, and they was so hairy andwhite and fair it was just shaking handswith old friends. We gave them names accordingas they was like men we had knownin India—Billy Fish, Holly Dilworth, PikkyKergan that was Bazar-master when I wasat Mhow, and so on, and so on.“The most amazing miracle was at Lodgenext night. One of the old priests waswatching us continuous, and I felt uneasy,for I knew we’d have to fudge the Ritual,and I didn’t know what the men knew. Theold priest was a stranger come in from beyondthe village of Bashkai. The minuteDravot puts on the Master’s apron that thegirls had made for him, the priest fetches awhoop and a howl, and tries to overturn thestone that Dravot was sitting on. ‘It’s allup now,’ I says. ‘That comes of meddlingwith the Craft without warrant!’ Dravotnever winked an eye, not when ten prieststook and tilted over the Grand-Master’s chair—which was to say the stone of Imbra. Thepriest begins rubbing the bottom end of itto clear away the black dirt, and presentlyhe shows all the other priests the Master’sMark, same as was on Dravot’s apron, cutinto the stone. Not even the priests ofthe temple of Imbra knew it was there. Theold chap falls flat on his face at Dravot’s feetand kisses ’em. ‘Luck again,’ says Dravot,across the Lodge to me, ‘they say it’s themissing Mark that no one could understandthe why of. We’re more than safe now.’Then he bangs the butt of his gun for agavel and says:—‘By virtue of the authorityvested in me by my own right hand andthe help of Peachey, I declare myself Grand-Masterof all Freemasonry in Kafiristan inthis the Mother Lodge o’ the country, andKing of Kafiristan equally with Peachey!’At that he puts on his crown and I puts onmine—I was doing Senior Warden—and weopens the Lodge in most ample form. Itwas a amazing miracle! The priests movedin Lodge through the first two degrees almostwithout telling, as if the memory wascoming back to them. After that, Peacheyand Dravot raised such as was worthy—high priests and Chiefs of far-off villages.Billy Fish was the first, and I can tell youwe scared the soul out of him. It was notin any way according to Ritual, but it servedour turn. We didn’t raise more than ten ofthe biggest men because we didn’t want tomake the Degree common. And they wasclamoring to be raised.“‘In another six months,’ says Dravot,‘we’ll hold another Communication and seehow you are working.’ Then he asks themabout their villages, and learns that theywas fighting one against the other and werefair sick and tired of it. And when theywasn’t doing that they was fighting withthe Mohammedans. ‘You can fight thosewhen they come into our country,’ saysDravot. ‘Tell off every tenth man of yourtribes for a Frontier guard, and send twohundred at a time to this valley to be drilled.Nobody is going to be shot or speared anymore so long as he does well, and I knowthat you won’t cheat me because you’rewhite people—sons of Alexander—and notlike common, black Mohammedans. You aremy people and by God,’ says he, runningoff into English at the end—‘I’ll make adamned fine Nation of you, or I’ll die in the making!’