Study Guide

Kim Chapter 5

By Rudyard Kipling

Chapter 5

Hey, See That Bull Over There? It Looks Kind of Reddish, Doesn't It?

  • The next day, the Kulu woman strikes camp early and Kim looks around for something to do.
  • He and the lama go walking together.
  • Kim spots something in the distance: white soldiers.
  • Two advance scouts are looking for a good place to camp, and they plant a flag in the ground where they are going set up their tents.
  • Kim stares at the flag in amazement: it's the Red Bull on the green field.
  • Kim is deeply excited—it's exactly like his father's prophecy.
  • Kim and the lama listen to the sounds of the regiment approaching; the lama spots an Anglican minister with the company, and considers going up to talk to him.
  • But they decide to go back and speak to the minister after they have eaten.
  • Kim heads off to the regiment's camp on his own after dinner, and sneaks into camp and peeks at the officers laughing and toasting a statue of a bull.
  • He tries to slip away when the Reverend Arthur Bennett (the Anglican minster) steps out of the tent, but Bennett still manages to step on Kim's back in the dark.

The Breaking Of The Bromance

  • Bennett pulls Kim into his tent to get a look at him.
  • At first, he thinks that Kim is a local thief, but then he sees the small pouch hanging from Kim's neck.
  • In this pouch are several documents from Kimball O'Hara, Kim's father.
  • (For more on these documents, check out our entry on Kim's amulet under "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory.")
  • Bennett calls the regiment's Catholic priest, Father Victor, over to consult.
  • Kim really wants to go away right about now, but these two priests won't let him.
  • It turns out that Father Victor was there when Kimball O'Hara married Kim's mother, Annie Shott.
  • Kim explains himself quickly: both his father and his mother are dead, but he is following a holy man.
  • Father Victor and Bennett both follow Kim back to the Kulu woman's cart to have a word with the lama.
  • Bennett wants Kim to go to the Masonic Orphanage, since his father was a Mason.
  • Kim translates to the lama that these two priests have realized that he is the son of a British soldier, and they want to take him away—Kim's plan is to run away after two or three days to rejoin the lama for their quest to find the River of the Arrow.
  • But now that the lama knows that Kim has people he can go to, he no longer feels that it's right for Kim to be his disciple.
  • In fact, the lama decides that his attachment to Kim has probably been keeping him from finding the River.
  • (This scene is so painful—why can't Kim just keep looking for the River of the Arrow with his best friend the lama forever?)

It's Tough To Imagine Kim In School…

  • Kim wants the lama to stay with the Kulu woman, who can take care of him until Kim can find him again.
  • The lama asks what the white men will do with Kim if he stays with them, and Bennett says that he'll go to school, and that maybe he'll become a soldier.
  • Kim has no desire at all to be a soldier. (This is not a kid who respects discipline.)
  • The lama asks if school costs money among white people, and if so, if more money means better school.
  • Father Victor tells the lama the name of the best school in India and its cost.
  • The lama suddenly leaves the tent, but he promises a letter for Father Victor in a couple of days.
  • Father Victor is like, … what? Okay
  • Father Victor sends Kim off to have a bath and find new clothes.
  • He instructs the sergeants not to let Kim escape, no matter what.
  • Kim tells everyone that they will be going to war soon enough. (Cheerful news, no doubt.)
  • Everyone is puzzled by this random boy turning up with a lama and making predictions all over the place.