Sunday, 12 October 2008


I was reading John's copy of The Oxford World's Classics 'Rudyard Kipling - The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories" to read. Well actually, it was more a case of dipping into it. I enjoyed one very short story called In Flood Time. It involves an inner story of a man who recounts a tale while he and the narrator wait to ford a swollen river. It reminded me of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner manner of story-telling. I liked Kipling's opening line: "There's no getting over the river tonight, Sahib."

I struggle a bit with Kipling mainly because it is so dense and the place names and vocabulary keep slowing me down. That being said I am always intrigued by what I find. For example I did not know this about hookahs (water pipes). In the story the native river man states that to take it 'like a Mussulman' is to inhale through a clenched fist, so that the lips do not touch the mouthpiece. I had often wondered about that. I wonder if North American Indians' shared peace pipes were smoked in the same way?

Last night I was listening to a radio programme 'The Palace and the Beeb' which traced 75 years of the BBC's relationship with the Royal Family. I learned that in 1932 when King George V made the first royal Christmas BBC broadcast to the British Empire, it was transmitted live from his small study at Sandringham, in Norfolk, where the Royal Family always spent their Christmas holidays. The speech was scripted by Rudyard Kipling and began with the words: "I speak now from my home and from my heart to you all."


Top photo: Kuřák vodní dýmky, Shisha Smoker, Wikimedia.
Bottom photo: Jean-Léon Gérôme,
The Hookah Lighter, c. 1898, Wikimedia.

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