Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Man Who Would Be King. Rudyard Kipling. 1888

"It's good to be the King”,says Mel Brooks. Does anyone recognize that not very obscure movie reference? Does everyone wish to be rich, famous, or the King? I'll discuss that in the next paragraph. I don't believe this book was intended or written as a children’s book, although by today's standards, it is remarkably absent violence, sexual content, inappropriate language, and overtly frightening elements. It could be read, ala Princess Bride to any adolescent.(It is rather short) I read it because I liked the movie, of the same name, made several years ago with Sean Connery and Michael Caine. The book follows the movie rather closely although compromises must be made when compressing a book into two hours of celluloid. It read well although knowing the ending in advance did remove a little bit of the suspense. I had read very little of Kipling and thought this might be a chance. I did enjoy how the life of the English in occupied India was depicted; a small open window gives look inside. Also, as an aside, for those following the blog, Free Masonry played a part in securing the Kingship.

I can't decide if this was a just an interesting story or if there is a "moral". It does seem that greed, currently a political metaphor, always leads to misery. In this story, the money was irrelevant as it could not be spent. To spend the fortune meant leaving the Kingdom. If they left, Peachy and Dan could no longer be Kings of Kafiristan. Of course, if we are going to quote, it is the “love of money “which is the “root of all evil”. Eventually and predictably, the riches were not enough and although the partners had made a pinky swear, a woman was their demise. Stop me if you have heard that before. It may be the love of a woman who is not your wife is the root of all misery.

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