Kim HTML version

Chapter ll
Give the man who is not made
To his trade
Swords to fling and catch again,
Coins to ring and snatch again,
Men to harm and cure again,
Snakes to charm and lure again -
He'll be hurt by his own blade,
By his serpents disobeyed,
By his clumsiness bewrayed,'
By the people mocked to scorn -
So 'tis not with juggler born!
Pinch of dust or withered flower,
Chance-flung fruit or borrowed staff,
Serve his need and shore his power,
Bind the spell, or loose the laugh!
But a man who, etc.
The Juggler's Song, op. 15
Followed a sudden natural reaction.
'Now am I alone all alone,' he thought. 'In all India is no one so alone as I! If I die today,
who shall bring the news -and to whom? If I live and God is good, there will be a price
upon my head, for I am a Son of the Charm - I, Kim.'
A very few white people, but many Asiatics, can throw themselves into a mazement as it
were by repeating their own names over and over again to themselves, letting the mind go
free upon speculation as to what is called personal identity. When one grows older, the
power, usually, departs, but while it lasts it may descend upon a man at any moment.
'Who is Kim - Kim - Kim?'
He squatted in a corner of the clanging waiting-room, rapt from all other thoughts; hands
folded in lap, and pupils contracted to pin- points. In a minute - in another half-second -
he felt he would arrive at the solution of the tremendous puzzle; but here, as always
happens, his mind dropped away from those heights with a rush of a wounded bird, and
passing his hand before his eyes, he shook his head.
A long-haired Hindu bairagi [holy man], who had just bought a ticket, halted before him
at that moment and stared intently.
'I also have lost it,' he said sadly. 'It is one of the Gates to the Way, but for me it has been
shut many years.'
'What is the talk?' said Kim, abashed.