Kim Author:Rudyard Kipling Kim (Kimball O'Hara) is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier (Sahib). He earns his living by begging and running small errands on the streets of Lahore. He occasionally works for his friend, Mahbub Ali, a horse trader who is one of the native operatives of the British secret service. — One day, he befriends a Tibetan Lama who is on a quest to fre... more »e himself from the Wheel of Things. Kim becomes his chela, or disciple, and accompanies him on his journey. On the way, Kim incidentally learns about parts of the Great Game and is recruited by the British to carry a message to the British commander in Umballa. Kim's trip with the Lama along the Grand Trunk Road is the first great adventure in the novel.
By chance, Kim's father's regimental chaplain identifies him by his Masonic certificate, which he wears around his neck and Kim is sent to a top English school in Lucknow, but he keeps in touch with both the Lama and his secret service connections. He is trained in espionage (the game of looking at a tray full of mixed objects and noting which have been added or taken away is still used for training spies and is still called "Kim's Game").
After three years of schooling, Kim is given a government appointment so that he can begin his role in the Great Game. Before this appointment begins, however, he is granted time to take a much-deserved break. Kim rejoins the Lama and, at the behest of Kim's superior Hurree Chunder Mookherjee, they make a trip to the Himalayas. Here the espionage and spiritual threads of the story collide, with the Lama unwittingly falling into conflict with Russian intelligence agents. Kim obtains maps, papers, and other important items from the Russians--who were working to undermine British control of the region. Mookherjee befriends the Russians under cover, acting as a guide and thus ensuring that they do not recover the lost items. Kim, porters, and villagers all come to the aid of the Lama.
The Lama realizes that he has gone astray. His search for the River of the Arrow should be taking place in the plains, not the mountains, and he orders the porters to take them back. Here Kim and the Lama are nursed to health, Kim delivers the Russian intel documents to Babu, a concerned Mahbub Ali comes to check on Kim, and the Lama finds his river and achieves Enlightenment. The reader is left to decide whether Kim will henceforth follow the materialistic road of the Great Game, the spiritual way of Tibetan Buddhism, or a combination thereof. Kim himself has this to say: "I am not a Sahib. I am thy chela."« less