فصل 11

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فصل 11

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  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
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CHAPTER ELEVEN

The River of the Arrow

Kim, the lama and the hillmen travelled to a very small village called Shamlegh-under-the-Snow. They were treated with great respect. The leader of the village, a woman, even had her men carry the lama down to the next village. Then each village along the way was very happy to carry a lama - a lama who was searching for a Holy River - for a while until they reached the plain. There, on the plains, the last group of hillmen left the lama and Kim, and went back to the hills.

The lama looked sadly towards the Himalayas, which were his home, and said, ‘Holy hills, the Arrow of our Lord Buddha did not fall among you. And I will never breathe your cool air again before I die.’

Now Kim was all alone with the lama. He had to carry the food, the maps and papers. He had to help the old man to walk. He had to prepare the old man’s bed and to beg food for him in the morning and evening.

‘You are the best chela, even if you are a Sahib. It is strange,’ said the lama.

‘You have said,’ answered Kim, ‘that there is neither black nor white. Why talk about these things, Holy One? I am your chela, and I am tired.’

Soon Kim realised that he could not continue. He was now very ill. He sent a message to the old lady, and soon some of her servants came. They carried Kim and the lama back to the old lady’s house near Saharunpore.

When they arrived at the old lady’s house she looked down from her window and said to the lama, ‘I told you - I told you, Holy One, to keep an eye on your chela. He has become sick by running after women. Look at his eyes!’

Kim looked up at her, but he was too tired to smile.

‘Do not joke,’ said the lama, ‘We are here for important matters. I became sick spiritually in the hills - I became angry and wanted to hit a man, and he became sick in the body. It is my fault!’

Before he fell asleep, Kim asked the old lady for a box with a lock. He said that it was for some holy books. Then he put the secret maps and documents in it. After this, the old lady took control of the situation: first, she let him sleep and sleep and sleep. Then she fed him and massaged him until after many days he was able to sit up and talk.

‘Where is my Holy One?’ Kim asked.

‘Oh, listen to him! Your Holy One is well,’ she responded angrily. ‘But he is lucky! First he refused the good food that I cooked and then went walking around the fields for two nights. And then he fell into one of our streams and almost drowned - thank goodness that the doctor was there and pulled him out! - and then he says that he is now… what did he say?… yes! He is free of all sin! He has found his river! Anyway, he always keeps an eye on you.’

The old lady then told Kim that the doctor was also there. The doctor had wanted to see Kim, but the old lady had kept him away.

‘Oh, please send him to me now,’ said Kim.

The lady left Kim’s room and soon the doctor, who was, of course, Hurree Babu, came in.

‘Oh, Mr O’Hara, we are all so extremely proud of you! As soon as you are better, we will work together again,’ cried Hurree Babu.

‘The papers! The maps and books from the basket! Here is the key to the box under my bed,’ was Kim’s answer. He could no longer stand the huge responsibility of keeping them.

Hurree Babu took everything from Kim, and left for Simla to take it all to Colonel Creighton.

Kim got up and walked away from the old lady’s home. He went towards a cart on a little hill with a tree, just above the flat fields. When he arrived in front of the cart, he lay down and fell into a deep sleep.

Later that day, the lama came out to Kim. He said, ‘Wake up! Wake up! I have found it!’

‘I have slept for a hundred years,’ said Kim. ‘Where have you been, Holy One? I came out here to look for you.’

‘Listen to me!’ continued the lama. ‘My search is over. Listen to what happened. The old lady offered me food, but I did not eat. For two days and two nights l meditated. During the second night my soul left my body. It was free and went near to the Great Soul. At this point, I could see all of India - from Ceylon in the sea to the hills and my monastery in Tibet. Then I was about to enter forever the Great Soul when I heard a voice that cried, “What will happen to the boy, your chela, if you die?” I could not abandon you! So, I left the Great Soul. Then I heard a voice that said, “Look out! There is the River of the Arrow!” Then my soul was in my body again, and the doctor pulled me out of the River - it was really only a small stream.’

‘Oh, I am glad that the Babu was near,’ said Kim. ‘Were you very wet?’

‘That is not important,’ answered the lama. ‘The doctor was very worried about the body of the lama. But I came back from freedom, from the Great Soul, for you. We are now both free from sin!’

The lama smiled because he had freed himself and the boy he loved from sin.

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