Quotes Kim, the Lama

April 14th to 20th


‘And, overshooting all other marks, the arrow passed far and far beyond sight. At the last it fell; and, where it touched earth, there broke out a stream which presently became a River, whose nature, by our Lord’s beneficence, and that merit He acquired ere He freed himself, is that whoso bathes in it washes away all taint and speckle of sin.’


This is from the very beginning of Kim.

In the Wonder House, the great museum in Lahore, the lama is explaining his search for the Buddha’s sacred river to the curator, who is based on Kipling’s father.  Lockwood Kipling was Curator of that museum and a noted scholar of Indian art and its religious associations.

Kim, then a small street urchin, who has led the lama into the museum, joins him in the search through India around which Kipling’s greatest story is written. It takes them both into many strange places.

The lama, very straight and erect, the deep folds of his yellow clothing slashed with black in the light of the parao fires precisely as a knotted tree-trunk is slashed with the shadow of the long sun, addressed a tinsel and lacquered ruth which burned like a many-coloured jewel in the same uncertain light. The patterns on the gold-worked curtains ran up and down, melting and re-forming as the folds shook and quivered to the night wind…


This is from the fourth chapter of Kim.

The boy and the lama have made camp on the Grand Trunk Road, and have made a propitious encounter with the Sahiba, an old lady of substance, with a retinue of hillmen, who venerate the lama.

Here he is making the acquaintance of the Sahiba as they settle down for the night. She will play an important part at the end of the story.

Glancing back in the twilight at the huge ridges behind him and the faint, thin line of the road whereby they had come, he would lay out, with a hillman’s generous breadth of vision, fresh marches for the morrow; or, halting in the neck of some uplifted pass that gave on Spiti…


This is from the thirteenth chapter of Kim.

Kim and his lama are walking higher and higher into the great hills. As they do, the boy tires but the old man, born among the familiar hills, grows stronger.

Soon, high in the mountains, they will have an encounter which will soon bring their search to its conclusion.