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Indian Tales   By: (1865-1936)

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E text prepared by S.R.Ellison, Charles Aldarondo, Tiffany Vergon, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

INDIAN TALES

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

CONTENTS

"The Finest Story in the World"

With the Main Guard

Wee Willie Winkie

The Rout of the White Hussars

At Twenty two

The Courting of Dinah Shadd

The Story of Muhammad Din

In Flood Time

My Own True Ghost Story

The Big Drunk Draf'

By Word of Mouth

The Drums of the Fore and Aft

The Sending of Dana Da

On the City Wall

The Broken link Handicap

On Greenhow Hill

To Be Filed for Reference

The Man Who Would Be King

The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows

The Incarnation of Krishna Mulvaney

His Majesty the King

The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes

In the House of Suddhoo

Black Jack

The Taking of Lungtungpen

The Phantom Rickshaw

On the Strength of a Likeness

Private Learoyd's Story

Wressley of the Foreign Office

The Solid Muldoon

The Three Musketeers

Beyond the Pale

The God from the Machine

The Daughter of the Regiment

The Madness of Private Ortheris

L'Envoi

"THE FINEST STORY IN THE WORLD"

"Or ever the knightly years were gone With the old world to the grave, I was a king in Babylon And you were a Christian slave," W.E. Henley .

His name was Charlie Mears; he was the only son of his mother who was a widow, and he lived in the north of London, coming into the City every day to work in a bank. He was twenty years old and suffered from aspirations. I met him in a public billiard saloon where the marker called him by his given name, and he called the marker "Bullseyes." Charlie explained, a little nervously, that he had only come to the place to look on, and since looking on at games of skill is not a cheap amusement for the young, I suggested that Charlie should go back to his mother.

That was our first step toward better acquaintance. He would call on me sometimes in the evenings instead of running about London with his fellow clerks; and before long, speaking of himself as a young man must, he told me of his aspirations, which were all literary. He desired to make himself an undying name chiefly through verse, though he was not above sending stories of love and death to the drop a penny in the slot journals. It was my fate to sit still while Charlie read me poems of many hundred lines, and bulky fragments of plays that would surely shake the world. My reward was his unreserved confidence, and the self revelations and troubles of a young man are almost as holy as those of a maiden. Charlie had never fallen in love, but was anxious to do so on the first opportunity; he believed in all things good and all things honorable, but, at the same time, was curiously careful to let me see that he knew his way about the world as befitted a bank clerk on twenty five shillings a week. He rhymed "dove" with "love" and "moon" with "June," and devoutly believed that they had never so been rhymed before. The long lame gaps in his plays he filled up with hasty words of apology and description and swept on, seeing all that he intended to do so clearly that he esteemed it already done, and turned to me for applause.

I fancy that his mother did not encourage his aspirations, and I know that his writing table at home was the edge of his washstand. This he told me almost at the outset of our acquaintance; when he was ravaging my bookshelves, and a little before I was implored to speak the truth as to his chances of "writing something really great, you know." Maybe I encouraged him too much, for, one night, he called on me, his eyes flaming with excitement, and said breathlessly:

"Do you mind can you let me stay here and write all this evening? I won't interrupt you, I won't really. There's no place for me to write in at my mother's."

"What's the trouble?" I said, knowing well what that trouble was.

"I've a notion in my head that would make the most splendid story that was ever written. Do let me write it out here. It's such a notion!"

There was no resisting the appeal... Continue reading book >>




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