Beelingo.com

English Audio Books

Kim

SPONSORED LINKS
Then she fed him, and the house spun to her clamour. She caused fowls to be slain; she sent for vegetables, and the sober, slow-thinking gardener, nigh as old as she, sweated for it; she took spices, and milk, and onion, with little fish from the brooks&mdash;anon limes for sherbets, fat quails from the pits, then chicken-livers upon a skewer, with sliced ginger between. </P> <P> 'I have seen something of this world,' she said over the crowded trays, 'and there are but two sorts of women in it&mdash;those who take the strength out of a man and those who put it back. Once I was that one, and now I am this. Nay&mdash;do not play the priestling with me. Mine was but a jest. If it does not hold good now, it will when thou takest the road again. Cousin,'&mdash;this to the poor relation, never wearied of extolling her patroness's charity&mdash;'he is getting a bloom on the skin of a new-curried horse. Our work is like polishing jewels to be thrown to a dance-girl&mdash;eh?' </P> <P> Kim sat up and smiled. The terrible weakness had dropped from him like an old shoe. His tongue itched for free speech again, and but a week back the lightest word clogged it like ashes. The pain in his neck (he must have caught it from the lama) had gone with the heavy dengue-aches and the evil taste in the mouth. The two old women, a little, but not much, more careful about their veils now, clucked as merrily as the hens that had entered pecking through the open door. </P> <P> 'Where is my Holy One?' he demanded. </P> <P> 'Hear him! Thy Holy One is well,' she snapped viciously. 'Though that is none of his merit. Knew I a charm to make him wise, I'd sell my jewels and buy it. To refuse good food that I cooked myself&mdash;and go roving into the fields for two nights on an empty belly&mdash;and to tumble into a brook at the end of it&mdash;call you that holiness? Then, when he has nearly broken what thou hast left of my heart with anxiety, he tells me that he has acquired merit. Oh, how like are all men! No, that was not it&mdash;he tells me that he is freed from all sin. I could have told him that before he wetted himself all over. He is well now&mdash;this happened a week ago&mdash;but burn me such holiness! A babe of three would do better. Do not fret thyself for the Holy One. He keeps both eyes on thee when he is not wading our brooks.' </P> <P> 'I do not remember to have seen him. I remember that the days and nights passed like bars of white and black, opening and shutting. I was not sick: I was but tired.' </P> <P> 'A lethargy that comes by right some few score years later. But it is done now.' </P> <P> 'Maharanee,' Kim began, but led by the look in her eye, changed it to the title of plain love&mdash;'Mother, I owe my life to thee. How shall I make thanks? Ten thousand blessings upon thy house and&mdash;' </P> <P> 'The house be unblessed!' (It is impossible to give exactly the old lady's word.) 'Thank the Gods as a priest if thou wilt, but thank me, if thou carest, as a son. Heavens above! Have I shifted thee and lifted thee and slapped and twisted thy ten toes to find texts flung at my head? Somewhere a mother must have borne thee to break her heart. What used thou to her&mdash;son?' </P> <P> 'I had no mother, my mother,' said Kim. 'She died, they tell me, when I was young.' </P> <P> 'Hai mai! Then none can say I have robbed her of any right if&mdash;when thou takest the road again and this house is but one of a thousand used for shelter and forgotten, after an easy-flung blessing. No matter. I need no blessings, but&mdash;but&mdash;' She stamped her foot at the poor relation. 'Take up the trays to the house. What is the good of stale food in the room, O woman of ill-omen?' </P> <P> 'I ha&mdash;have borne a son in my time too, but he died,' whimpered the bowed sister-figure behind the chudder. 'Thou knowest he died! I only waited for the order to take away the tray.' </P> <P> 'It is I that am the woman of ill-omen,' cried the old lady penitently. 'We that go down to the chattris [the big umbrellas above the burning-ghats where the priests take their last dues] clutch hard at the bearers of the chattis [water-jars&mdash;young folk full of the pride of life, she meant; but the pun is clumsy]. When one cannot dance in the festival one must e'en look out of the window, and grandmothering takes all a woman's time. Thy master gives me all the charms I now desire for my daughter's eldest, by reason&mdash;is it?&mdash;that he is wholly free from sin. The hakim is brought very low these days. He goes about poisoning my servants for lack of their betters.' </P> <P> 'What hakim, mother?' </P> <P> 'That very Dacca man who gave me the pill which rent me in three pieces. He cast up like a strayed camel a week ago, vowing that he and thou had been blood-brothers together up Kulu-way, and feigning great anxiety for thy health. He was very thin and hungry, so I gave orders to have him stuffed too&mdash;him and his anxiety!' </P> <P> 'I would see him if he is here.' </P> <P> 'He eats five times a day, and lances boils for my hinds to save himself from an apoplexy. He is so full of anxiety for thy health that he sticks to the cook-house door and stays himself with scraps. He will keep. We shall never get rid of him.' </P> <P> 'Send him here, mother'&mdash;the twinkle returned to Kim's eye for a flash&mdash;'and I will try.' </P> <P> 'I'll send him, but to chase him off is an ill turn. At least he had the sense to fish the Holy One out of the brook; thus, as the Holy One did not say, acquiring merit.' </P> <P> 'He is a very wise hakim. Send him, mother.' </P> <P> 'Priest praising priest? A miracle! If he is any friend of thine (ye squabbled at your last meeting) I'll hale him here with horse-ropes and&mdash;and give him a caste-dinner afterwards, my son ... Get up and see the world! This lying abed is the mother of seventy devils ... my son! my son!' </P> <P> She trotted forth to raise a typhoon off the cook-house, and almost on her shadow rolled in the Babu, robed as to the shoulders like a Roman emperor, jowled like Titus, bare-headed, with new patent-leather shoes, in highest condition of fat, exuding joy and salutations. </P> <P> 'By Jove, Mister O'Hara, but I are jolly-glad to see you. I will kindly shut the door. It is a pity you are sick. Are you very sick?' </P> <P> 'The papers&mdash;the papers from the kilta. The maps and the murasla!' He held out the key impatiently; for the present need on his soul was to get rid of the loot. </P> <P> 'You are quite right. That is correct Departmental view to take. You have got everything?' </P> <P> 'All that was handwritten in the kilta I took. The rest I threw down the hill.' He could hear the key's grate in the lock, the sticky pull of the slow-rending oilskin, and a quick shuffling of papers. He had been annoyed out of all reason by the knowledge that they lay below him through the sick idle days&mdash;a burden incommunicable. For that reason the blood tingled through his body, when Hurree, skipping elephantinely, shook hands again. </P> <P> 'This is fine! This is finest! Mister O'Hara! you have&mdash;ha! ha! swiped the whole bag of tricks&mdash;locks, stocks, and barrels. They told me it was eight months' work gone up the spouts! By Jove, how they beat me! ... Look, here is the letter from Hilas!' He intoned a line or two of Court Persian, which is the language of authorized and unauthorized diplomacy. 'Mister Rajah Sahib has just about put his foot in the holes. He will have to explain offeecially how the deuce-an'-all he is writing love-letters to the Czar. And they are very clever maps ... and there is three or four Prime Ministers of these parts implicated by the correspondence. By Gad, sar! The British Government will change the succession in Hilas and Bunar, and nominate new heirs to the throne. "Trea-son most base" ... but you do not understand? Eh?' </P> <P> 'Are they in thy hands?' said Kim. It was all he cared for. </P> <P> 'Just you jolly-well bet yourself they are.' He stowed the entire trove about his body, as only Orientals can. 'They are going up to the office, too. The old lady thinks I am permanent fixture here, but I shall go away with these straight off&mdash;immediately. Mr Lurgan will be proud man. You are offeecially subordinate to me, but I shall embody your name in my verbal report. It is a pity we are not allowed written reports. We Bengalis excel in thee exact science.' He tossed back the key and showed the box empty. </P> <P> 'Good. That is good. I was very tired. My Holy One was sick, too. And did he fall into&mdash;' </P> <P> 'Oah yess. I am his good friend, I tell you. He was behaving very strange when I came down after you, and I thought perhaps he might have the papers. I followed him on his meditations, and to discuss ethnological points also. You see, I am verree small person here nowadays, in comparison with all his charms. By Jove, O'Hara, do you know, he is afflicted with infirmity of fits. Yess, I tell you. Cataleptic, too, if not also epileptic. I found him in such a state under a tree in articulo mortem, and he jumped up and walked into a brook and he was nearly drowned but for me. I pulled him out.' </P> <P> 'Because I was not there!' said Kim. 'He might have died.' </P> <P> 'Yes, he might have died, but he is dry now, and asserts he has undergone transfiguration.' The Babu tapped his forehead knowingly. 'I took notes of his statements for Royal Society&mdash;in posse. You must make haste and be quite well and come back to Simla, and I will tell you all my tale at Lurgan's. It was splendid. The bottoms of their trousers were quite torn, and old Nahan Rajah, he thought they were European soldiers deserting.' </P> <P> 'Oh, the Russians? How long were they with thee?' </P> <P> 'One was a Frenchman. Oh, days and days and days! Now all the hill-people believe all Russians are all beggars. By Jove! they had not one dam'-thing that I did not get them. And I told the common people&mdash;oah, such tales and anecdotes!&mdash;I will tell you at old Lurgan's when you come up. We will have&mdash;ah&mdash;a night out! It is feather in both our caps! Yess, and they gave me a certificate. That is creaming joke. You should have seen them at the Alliance Bank identifying themselves! And thank Almighty God you got their papers so well! You do not laugh verree much, but you shall laugh when you are well. Now I will go straight to the railway and get out. You shall have all sorts of credits for your game. When do you come along? We are very proud of you though you gave us great frights. And especially Mahbub.' </P> <P> 'Ay, Mahbub. And where is he?' </P> <P> 'Selling horses in this vi-cinity, of course.' </P> <P> 'Here! Why? Speak slowly. There is a thickness in my head still.' </P> <P> The Babu looked shyly down his nose. 'Well, you see, I am fearful man, and I do not like responsibility. You were sick, you see, and I did not know where deuce-an'-all the papers were, and if so, how many. So when I had come down here I slipped in private wire to Mahbub&mdash;he was at Meerut for races&mdash;and I tell him how case stands. He comes up with his men and he consorts with the lama, and then he calls me a fool, and is very rude&mdash;' </P> <P> 'But wherefore&mdash;wherefore?' </P> <P> 'That is what I ask. I only suggest that if anyone steals the papers I should like some good strong, brave men to rob them back again. You see, they are vitally important, and Mahbub Ali he did not know where you were.' </P> <P> 'Mahbub Ali to rob the Sahiba's house? Thou art mad, Babu,' said Kim with indignation. </P> <P> 'I wanted the papers. Suppose she had stole them? It was only practical suggestion, I think. You are not pleased, eh?' </P> <P> A native proverb&mdash;unquotable&mdash;showed the blackness of Kim's disapproval. </P> <P> 'Well,'&mdash;Hurree shrugged his shoulders&mdash;'there is no accounting for thee taste. Mahbub was angry too. He has sold horses all about here, and he says old lady is pukka [thorough] old lady and would not condescend to such ungentlemanly things. I do not care. I have got the papers, and I was very glad of moral support from Mahbub. I tell you, I am fearful man, but, somehow or other, the more fearful I am the more dam'-tight places I get into. So I was glad you came with me to Chini, and I am glad Mahbub was close by. The old lady she is sometimes very rude to me and my beautiful pills.' </P> <P> 'Allah be merciful!' said Kim on his elbow, rejoicing. 'What a beast of wonder is a Babu! And that man walked alone&mdash;if he did walk&mdash;with robbed and angry foreigners!' </P> <P> 'Oah, thatt was nothing, after they had done beating me; but if I lost the papers it was pretty-jolly serious. Mahbub he nearly beat me too, and he went and consorted with the lama no end. I shall stick to ethnological investigations henceforwards. Now good-bye, Mister O'Hara. I can catch 4.25 p.m. to Umballa if I am quick. It will be good times when we all tell thee tale up at Mr Lurgan's. I shall report you offeecially better. Good-bye, my dear fallow, and when next you are under thee emotions please do not use the Mohammedan terms with the Tibetan dress.' </P> <P> He shook hands twice&mdash;a Babu to his boot-heels&mdash;and opened the door. With the fall of the sunlight upon his still triumphant face he returned to the humble Dacca quack. </P> <P> 'He robbed them,' thought Kim, forgetting his own share in the game. 'He tricked them. He lied to them like a Bengali. They give him a chit [a testimonial]. He makes them a mock at the risk of his life&mdash;I never would have gone down to them after the pistol-shots&mdash;and then he says he is a fearful man ... And he is a fearful man. I must get into the world again.' </P> <P> At first his legs bent like bad pipe-stems, and the flood and rush of the sunlit air dazzled him. He squatted by the white wall, the mind rummaging among the incidents of the long dooli journey, the lama's weaknesses, and, now that the stimulus of talk was removed, his own self-pity, of which, like the sick, he had great store. The unnerved brain edged away from all the outside, as a raw horse, once rowelled, sidles from the spur. It was enough, amply enough, that the spoil of the kilta was away&mdash;off his hands&mdash;out of his possession. He tried to think of the lama&mdash;to wonder why he had tumbled into a brook&mdash;but the bigness of the world, seen between the forecourt gates, swept linked thought aside. Then he looked upon the trees and the broad fields, with the thatched huts hidden among crops&mdash;looked with strange eyes unable to take up the size and proportion and use of things&mdash;stared for a still half-hour. All that while he felt, though he could not put it into words, that his soul was out of gear with its surroundings&mdash;a cog-wheel unconnected with any machinery, just like the idle cog-wheel of a cheap Beheea sugar-crusher laid by in a corner. The breezes fanned over him, the parrots shrieked at him, the noises of the populated house behind&mdash;squabbles, orders, and reproofs&mdash;hit on dead ears. </P> <P> 'I am Kim. I am Kim. And what is Kim?' His soul repeated it again and again. </P> <P> He did not want to cry&mdash;had never felt less like crying in his life&mdash;but of a sudden easy, stupid tears trickled down his nose, and with an almost audible click he felt the wheels of his being lock up anew on the world without. Things that rode meaningless on the eyeball an instant before slid into proper proportion. Roads were meant to be walked upon, houses to be lived in, cattle to be driven, fields to be tilled, and men and women to be talked to. They were all real and true&mdash;solidly planted upon the feet&mdash;perfectly comprehensible&mdash;clay of his clay, neither more nor less. He shook himself like a dog with a flea in his ear, and rambled out of the gate. Said the Sahiba, to whom watchful eyes reported this move: 'Let him go. I have done my share. Mother Earth must do the rest. When the Holy One comes back from meditation, tell him.' </P> <P> There stood an empty bullock-cart on a little knoll half a mile away, with a young banyan tree behind&mdash;a look-out, as it were, above some new-ploughed levels; and his eyelids, bathed in soft air, grew heavy as he neared it. The ground was good clean dust&mdash;no new herbage that, living, is half-way to death already, but the hopeful dust that holds the seeds of all life. He felt it between his toes, patted it with his palms, and joint by joint, sighing luxuriously, laid him down full length along in the shadow of the wooden-pinned cart. And Mother Earth was as faithful as the Sahiba. She breathed through him to restore the poise he had lost lying so long on a cot cut off from her good currents. His head lay powerless upon her breast, and his opened hands surrendered to her strength. The many-rooted tree above him, and even the dead manhandled wood beside, knew what he sought, as he himself did not know. Hour upon hour he lay deeper than sleep. </P> <P> Towards evening, when the dust of returning kine made all the horizons smoke, came the lama and Mahbub Ali, both afoot, walking cautiously, for the house had told them where he had gone. </P> <P> 'Allah! What a fool's trick to play in open country!' muttered the horse-dealer. 'He could be shot a hundred times&mdash;but this is not the Border.' </P> <P> 'And,' said the lama, repeating a many-times-told tale, 'never was such a chela. Temperate, kindly, wise, of ungrudging disposition, a merry heart upon the road, never forgetting, learned, truthful, courteous. Great is his reward!' </P> <P> 'I know the boy&mdash;as I have said.' </P> <P> 'And he was all those things?' </P> <P> 'Some of them&mdash;but I have not yet found a Red Hat's charm for making him overly truthful. He has certainly been well nursed.' </P> <P> 'The Sahiba is a heart of gold,' said the lama earnestly. 'She looks upon him as her son.' </P> <P> 'Hmph! Half Hind seems that way disposed. I only wished to see that the boy had come to no harm and was a free agent. As thou knowest, he and I were old friends in the first days of your pilgrimage together.' </P> <P> 'That is a bond between us.' The lama sat down. 'We are at the end of the pilgrimage.' </P> <P> 'No thanks to thee thine was not cut off for good and all a week back. I heard what the Sahiba said to thee when we bore thee up on the cot.' Mahbub laughed, and tugged his newly dyed beard. </P> <P> 'I was meditating upon other matters that tide. It was the hakim from Dacca broke my meditations.' </P> <P> 'Otherwise'&mdash;this was in Pushtu for decency's sake&mdash;'thou wouldst have ended thy meditations upon the sultry side of Hell&mdash;being an unbeliever and an idolater for all thy child's simplicity. But now, Red Hat, what is to be done?' </P> <P> 'This very night,'&mdash;the words came slowly, vibrating with triumph&mdash;'this very night he will be as free as I am from all taint of sin&mdash;assured as I am, when he quits this body, of Freedom from the Wheel of Things. I have a sign'&mdash;he laid his hand above the torn chart in his bosom&mdash;'that my time is short; but I shall have safeguarded him throughout the years. Remember, I have reached Knowledge, as I told thee only three nights back.' </P> <P> 'It must be true, as the Tirah priest said when I stole his cousin's wife, that I am a Sufi [a free-thinker]; for here I sit,' said Mahbub to himself, 'drinking in blasphemy unthinkable ... I remember the tale. On that, then, he goes to Fannatu l'Adn [the Gardens of Eden]. But how? Wilt thou slay him or drown him in that wonderful river from which the Babu dragged thee?' </P> <P> 'I was dragged from no river,' said the lama simply. 'Thou hast forgotten what befell. I found it by Knowledge.' </P> <P> 'Oh, ay. True,' stammered Mahbub, divided between high indignation and enormous mirth. 'I had forgotten the exact run of what happened. Thou didst find it knowingly.' </P> <P> 'And to say that I would take life is&mdash;not a sin, but a madness simple. My chela aided me to the River. It is his right to be cleansed from sin&mdash;with me.' </P> <P> 'Ay, he needs cleansing. But afterwards, old man&mdash;afterwards?' </P> <P> 'What matter under all the Heavens? He is sure of Nibban&mdash;enlightened&mdash;as I am.' </P> <P> 'Well said. I had a fear he might mount Mohammed's Horse and fly away.' </P> <P> 'Nay&mdash;he must go forth as a teacher.' </P> <P> 'Aha! Now I see! That is the right gait for the colt. Certainly he must go forth as a teacher. He is somewhat urgently needed as a scribe by the State, for instance.' </P> <P> 'To that end he was prepared. I acquired merit in that I gave alms for his sake. A good deed does not die. He aided me in my Search. I aided him in his. Just is the Wheel, O horse-seller from the North. Let him be a teacher; let him be a scribe&mdash;what matter? He will have attained Freedom at the end. The rest is illusion.' </P> <P> 'What matter? When I must have him with me beyond Balkh in six months! I come up with ten lame horses and three strong-backed men&mdash;thanks to that chicken of a Babu&mdash;to break a sick boy by force out of an old trot's house. It seems that I stand by while a young Sahib is hoisted into Allah knows what of an idolater's Heaven by means of old Red Hat. And I am reckoned something of a player of the Game myself! But the madman is fond of the boy; and I must be very reasonably mad too.' </P> <P> 'What is the prayer?' said the lama, as the rough Pushtu rumbled into the red beard. </P> <P> 'No matter at all; but now I understand that the boy, sure of Paradise, can yet enter Government service, my mind is easier. I must get to my horses. It grows dark. Do not wake him. I have no wish to hear him call thee master.' </P> <P> 'But he is my disciple. What else?' </P> <P> 'He has told me.' Mahbub choked down his touch of spleen and rose laughing. 'I am not altogether of thy faith, Red Hat&mdash;if so small a matter concern thee.' </P> <P> 'It is nothing,' said the lama. </P> <P> 'I thought not. Therefore it will not move thee, sinless, new-washed and three parts drowned to boot, when I call thee a good man&mdash;a very good man. We have talked together some four or five evenings now, and for all I am a horse-coper I can still, as the saying is, see holiness beyond the legs of a horse. Yea, can see, too, how our Friend of all the World put his hand in thine at the first. Use him well, and suffer him to return to the world as a teacher, when thou hast&mdash;bathed his legs, if that be the proper medicine for the colt.' </P> <P> 'Why not follow the Way thyself, and so accompany the boy?' </P> <P> Mahbub stared stupefied at the magnificent insolence of the demand, which across the Border he would have paid with more than a blow. Then the humour of it touched his worldly soul. </P> <P> 'Softly&mdash;softly&mdash;one foot at a time, as the lame gelding went over the Umballa jumps. I may come to Paradise later&mdash;I have workings that way&mdash;great motions&mdash;and I owe them to thy simplicity. Thou hast never lied?' </P> <P> 'What need?' </P> <P> 'O Allah, hear him! "What need" in this Thy world! Nor ever harmed a man?' </P> <P> 'Once&mdash;with a pencase&mdash;before I was wise.' </P> <P> 'So? I think the better of thee. Thy teachings are good. Thou hast turned one man that I know from the path of strife.' He laughed immensely. 'He came here open-minded to commit a dacoity [a house-robbery with violence]. Yes, to cut, rob, kill, and carry off what he desired.' </P> <P> 'A great foolishness!' </P> <P> 'Oh! black shame too. So he thought after he had seen thee&mdash;and a few others, male and female. So he abandoned it; and now he goes to beat a big fat Babu man.' </P> <P> 'I do not understand.' </P> <P> 'Allah forbid it! Some men are strong in knowledge, Red Hat. Thy strength is stronger still. Keep it&mdash;I think thou wilt. If the boy be not a good servant, pull his ears off.' </P> <P> With a hitch of his broad Bokhariot belt the Pathan swaggered off into the gloaming, and the lama came down from his clouds so far as to look at the broad back. </P> <P> 'That person lacks courtesy, and is deceived by the shadow of appearances. But he spoke well of my chela, who now enters upon his reward. Let me make the prayer! ... Wake, O fortunate above all born of women. Wake! It is found!' </P> <P> Kim came up from those deep wells, and the lama attended his yawning pleasure; duly snapping fingers to head off evil spirits. </P> <P> 'I have slept a hundred years. Where&mdash;? Holy One, hast thou been here long? I went out to look for thee, but'&mdash;he laughed drowsily&mdash;'I slept by the way. I am all well now. Hast thou eaten? Let us go to the house. It is many days since I tended thee. And the Sahiba fed thee well? Who shampooed thy legs? What of the weaknesses&mdash;the belly and the neck, and the beating in the ears?' </P> <P> 'Gone&mdash;all gone. Dost thou not know?' </P> <P> 'I know nothing, but that I have not seen thee in a monkey's age. Know what?' </P> <P> 'Strange the knowledge did not reach out to thee, when all my thoughts were theeward.' </P> <P> 'I cannot see the face, but the voice is like a gong. Has the Sahiba made a young man of thee by her cookery?' </P> <P> He peered at the cross-legged figure, outlined jet-black against the lemon-coloured drift of light. So does the stone Bodhisat sit who looks down upon the patent self-registering turnstiles of the Lahore Museum. </P> <P> The lama held his peace. Except for the click of the rosary and a faint clop-clop of Mahbub's retreating feet, the soft, smoky silence of evening in India wrapped them close. </P> <P> 'Hear me! I bring news.' </P> <P> 'But let us&mdash;' </P> <P> Out shot the long yellow hand compelling silence. Kim tucked his feet under his robe-edge obediently. </P> <P> 'Hear me! I bring news! The Search is finished. Comes now the Reward... Thus. When we were among the Hills, I lived on thy strength till the young branch bowed and nigh broke. When we came out of the Hills, I was troubled for thee and for other matters which I held in my heart. The boat of my soul lacked direction; I could not see into the Cause of Things. So I gave thee over to the virtuous woman altogether. I took no food. I drank no water. Still I saw not the Way. They pressed food upon me and cried at my shut door. So I removed myself to a hollow under a tree. I took no food. I took no water. I sat in meditation two days and two nights, abstracting my mind; inbreathing and outbreathing in the required manner ... Upon the second night&mdash;so great was my reward&mdash;the wise Soul loosed itself from the silly Body and went free. This I have never before attained, though I have stood on the threshold of it. Consider, for it is a marvel!' </P> <P> 'A marvel indeed. Two days and two nights without food! Where was the Sahiba?' said Kim under his breath. </P> <P> 'Yea, my Soul went free, and, wheeling like an eagle, saw indeed that there was no Teshoo Lama nor any other soul. As a drop draws to water, so my Soul drew near to the Great Soul which is beyond all things. At that point, exalted in contemplation, I saw all Hind, from Ceylon in the sea to the Hills, and my own Painted Rocks at Such-zen; I saw every camp and village, to the least, where we have ever rested. I saw them at one time and in one place; for they were within the Soul. By this I knew the Soul had passed beyond the illusion of Time and Space and of Things. By this I knew that I was free. I saw thee lying in thy cot, and I saw thee falling downhill under the idolater&mdash;at one time, in one place, in my Soul, which, as I say, had touched the Great Soul. Also I saw the stupid body of Teshoo Lama lying down, and the hakim from Dacca kneeled beside, shouting in its ear. Then my Soul was all alone, and I saw nothing, for I was all things, having reached the Great Soul. And I meditated a thousand thousand years, passionless, well aware of the Causes of all Things. Then a voice cried: "What shall come to the boy if thou art dead?" and I was shaken back and forth in myself with pity for thee; and I said: "I will return to my chela, lest he miss the Way." Upon this my Soul, which is the Soul of Teshoo Lama, withdrew itself from the Great Soul with strivings and yearnings and retchings and agonies not to be told. As the egg from the fish, as the fish from the water, as the water from the cloud, as the cloud from the thick air, so put forth, so leaped out, so drew away, so fumed up the Soul of Teshoo Lama from the Great Soul. Then a voice cried: "The River! Take heed to the River!" and I looked down upon all the world, which was as I had seen it before&mdash;one in time, one in place&mdash;and I saw plainly the River of the Arrow at my feet. At that hour my Soul was hampered by some evil or other whereof I was not wholly cleansed, and it lay upon my arms and coiled round my waist; but I put it aside, and I cast forth as an eagle in my flight for the very place of the River. I pushed aside world upon world for thy sake. I saw the River below me&mdash;the River of the Arrow&mdash;and, descending, the waters of it closed over me; and behold I was again in the body of Teshoo Lama, but free from sin, and the hakim from Decca bore up my head in the waters of the River. It is here! It is behind the mango-tope here&mdash;even here!' </P> <P> 'Allah kerim! Oh, well that the Babu was by! Wast thou very wet?' </P> <P> 'Why should I regard? I remember the hakim was concerned for the body of Teshoo Lama. He haled it out of the holy water in his hands, and there came afterwards thy horse-seller from the North with a cot and men, and they put the body on the cot and bore it up to the Sahiba's house.' </P> <P> 'What said the Sahiba?' </P> <P> 'I was meditating in that body, and did not hear. So thus the Search is ended. For the merit that I have acquired, the River of the Arrow is here. It broke forth at our feet, as I have said. I have found it. Son of my Soul, I have wrenched my Soul back from the Threshold of Freedom to free thee from all sin&mdash;as I am free, and sinless! Just is the Wheel! Certain is our deliverance! Come!' </P> <P> He crossed his hands on his lap and smiled, as a man may who has won salvation for himself and his beloved. </P> <BR><BR><BR><BR> <pre> End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Kim, by Rudyard Kipling
SPONSORED LINKS