by Lisa Lewis
| notes on
There is evidence in favour of the Biblical view that Solomon’s reign was prosperous and peaceful. The fact that he reigned for forty years goes a long way towards proof of this. His commercial ventures were extensive; imports being on such a scale that he is said to have made silver as common as stones, and cedars as sycamores, in Jerusalem. His ocean-going fleet trading regularly to Mediterranean ports and to Ophir, which is probably Aden in South Arabia, brought back 'gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks' [1 Kings 10,22].Critical Opinions
His passion for building completely transformed his capital, Jerusalem, and he spent thirteen years constructing a magnificent royal dwelling. His temple, however, though much talked of, took little more than half this time, and was really only in the nature of an annex to the palace.
Solomon is a central figure in Freemasonry (see notes on the poem “Banquet Night” and his building of the temple is a rich source of their symbolism. Kipling, who was himself a mason, has included several masonic allusions in the initial to “The Butterfly that Stamped” (see the notes on the text).
more complex, and go deeper than any of the earlier ones, except the two tales of Taffy and her father. The Butterfly is charming and exquisite, a story like a fragment of Eastern filigree work and luminous with a particularly lovely kind of laughter [Rosemary Sutcliffe, "Rudyard Kipling" in Three Bodley Head Monographs London, The Bodley Head 1968, p. 95.]But to Angus Wilson it was:
… too marred by humans … mock-oriental. [p. 229].Rosamund Meyer [Kipling Journal, 232, December 1984, p. 12] argued that in Just So Stories:
Plots turn on the interaction of sufficiently complex personalities, and may even effect changes in character. The mighty Suleiman-bin-Daoud in all his wisdom is confounded by the Animal that came out of the sea, and only then realises that his munificent project has been prompted by a desire to patronise. Only after this can he grasp at what point he shares common ground with a little Butterfly. Says the Butterfly: [quoted, p. 207, lines 7-9] [pp. 13-4].She pointed out that:
In due time, some hearers may appreciate what superb effects can be achieved by simplicity: with nouns, for example, as Suleiman-bin-Daoud [quoted, p. 206, lines 6-9] [p. 22].She noted 'the ironic cast given to Suleiman-bin-Daoud’s instructions to the Djinns by his final adverb' [quoted, p. 210, lines 12-18] [p. 25], while she also noted that:
Visual technique forms an integral part of the narration … Entire justice is done to the retreat of Suleiman’s wives: [quoted, p. 217, lines 1-3]. [p. 27].Again:
The magic in the tales is very strictly contained. … The 'really truly wise' Suleiman-bin-Daoud is … restrained, and his reasons are given. [quoted, p. 205, lines 3-9] [p. 29].