Kipling’s King

One hot day in India, “what was left of a man” came to visit a British newspaper man to tell him a wild story.

“He was bent into a circle, his head was sunk between his shoulders, and he moved his feet one over the other like a bear. I could hardly see whether he walked or crawled – this rag-wrapped, whining cripple who addressed me by name, crying that he was come back.”

Rudyard Kipling packs a lot of adventure into his short story The Man Who Would be King. This description is so vivid, I can see the character shuffling along. Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865 and spent an unhappy childhood in England. Later he returned to India as a journalist and traveled frequently, so he comes by the exotic settings in his stories from experience. Kipling serves as the narrator of The Man Who Would be King. His story was adapted to the 1975 movie with Sean Connery and Michael Caine playing the roles of the adventurers.

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