Quotes Lama


The lama shook his head slowly and began to fold up the Wheel. The Russian, on his side, saw no more than an unclean old man haggling over a dirty piece of paper. He drew out a handful of rupees, and snatched half-jestingly at the chart, which tore in the lama’s grip. A low murmur of horror went up from the coolies—some of whom were Spiti men and, by their lights, good Buddhists.

…..“Chela! He has defiled the Written Word!”  It was too late. Before Kim could ward him off, the Russian struck the old man full on the face.


Kim and the Lama, high in the Himalayas, have encountered two foreigners, a Russian and a Frenchman. They are spies for the Russian Empire. The Lama, an artist and a scholar, as well as distinguished  abbot of a monastery, has drawn a rare and intricate  chart  of the most sacred beliefs  of Buddhism, the Wheel of Life. The Russian offers money for it, the Lama refuses, and the Russian snatches at the picture, tearing it, and hits him in the face.

Kim strikes him back, the local hillmen, outraged by the sacrilege, drive the foreigners away down the hill with a shower of stones, and .Kim is left with all the notes and papers from their espioage. With his Lama, shocked and shaken, he  takes refuge in a high place up the mountain, before  the long trek down to the Plains with his precious burdens.