Chapter XIII

Notes on
the text

by Sharad Keskar

The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan Uniform Edition of Kim, first published in 1901 and frequently reprinted since.

[May 2 2007]

[Page 328, verse heading] This is the second verse of “The Sea and the Hills”, which appeared as a poem of three verses, with some alterations later.

[Page 328, main text, line 10] great ramp Mussoorie is a steep uphill climb from Dehra Dun.

[Page 329, line 5] ilex the evergreen holm oak.

[Page 329, line 18/19] Kedarnath and Badrinath places sacred to Hindus; the former is a 22,000 feet mountain peak; the latter, sited on the Alaknanda river, is also a mountain peak, nearly 1.500 ft higher than Kedarnath..

[Page 331, line 1] Esquimaux Alternative spelling 'Eskimo'.

[Page 331, line 13] the black breasts of Eua A fictional name.

[Page 331, line 14] a Betah Kipling must mean betah which means 'son', and is generally applied to any young boy of the same village clan.

[Page 332, line 9] wives of many husbands Polyandry is common among hill tribes in India, where one husband’s pair of shoes left outside the hut keeps the others away.

[Page 332, line 26] cows grazing on the house tops Homes built into the slope of a hillside enable cattle to graze on higher slopes and the roof-tops too.

[Page 333, line 3] cadastral survey a survey which maps land for taxation purposes. Brigadier Alec Mason in ORG adds that Hurree “does not mean this to be taken seriously.”

[Page 333, line 9] Kara Koram the Karakoram range of mountains is north of the Himalayas.

[Page 335, line 27] wandering wullie-wa “a wisp of blown snow in a squall”; a term, according to Brigadier Alec Mason in ORG, used in the American continent.

[Page 336, line 17] Ziglaur a small hamlet en route, but the name may be fictional.

[Page 337, line 8] shikarris or shikaris; professional hunters, famed abroad.

[Page 338, line 14] kilta a large basket, carried on the back, and held by a strap tied against the forehead.

[Page 341, line3] thar “a reddish goat with a black face and short horns of triangular section, usually found in groups of two or three on scrub-covered slopes.” [Brigadier Alec Mason in ORG]

[Page 341, line 4] markhor Himalayan goat, with long, dark brown, spirally twisted horns.

bears by Elisha’s allowance [cf. 2 Kings 2,24] Two bears.

[Page 341, line 12] in petto by secret appointment; in later editions changed to “in little”.

[Page 342, line 7] Puss-in-Boots The children’s story of this clever resourceful cat, translated from Italian [1530] and into French [1585], and reached England at the end of the 17th Century. [cf. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable]

[Page 344, line 11] beegar coolies coolies pressed into service: beegar or begaar means 'forced labour'; and coolies are porters.

[Page 345, line 17] Spiti men from Spiti in the north-eastern corner of Punjab.

[Page 346. Line 7] Ao-chung A fictitious place-name.

[Page 346, line 22] murasla “a Persian word for a diplomatic dispatch.” [Brigadier Alec Mason in ORG]

[Page 347, line 8] country-bred local and without pedigree.

[Page 347, line 14] Shamlegh-under-the-Snow another fictitious place-name.

[Page 349, lines 8 & 33] Yankling Sahib, Fostum Sahib Kipling is aware of the difficulties non-English speakers have with the pronunciation of some English vowels and consonants, and acutely reproduces their idiosyncrasies. In these instances, 'Yanklin' could be Franklin, and 'Fostum', Foster.

[Page 350, line 32] Day and Martin where the boy Charles Dickens worked.

[Page 351, line 5] kobolds goblins and dwarfs in German mines. "Kipling is recalling George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin (1872) which he read as a child, and mentions in “Wee Willie Winkie”. [Brigadier Alec Mason in ORG]

[Page 351, line 27] musk-pods musk deer glands, valued for the scent extracted.[Brigadier Alec Mason in ORG]

[Page 353, line 10] serow a goat-like antelope.