There were lots of things in this section that interested me. I will focus on two of them.
“The Gods, who sent it for a plague, alone know. A madness ate into all the Army, and they turned against their officers. That was the first evil, but not past remedy if they had then held their hands. But they chose to kill the Sahibs’ wives and children. Then came the Sahibs from over the sea and called them to the most strict account.”
I found this passage similar to the story of Moses in the Bible. The most striking parallel between the two is the killing of the families. Except in the Bible, families lost their first born sons. I’m not sure if Kipling intended any religious references, but it certainly seems like a summarized, twentieth century version of the same story.
“But I know a River of great healing.”
“I have drank Gunga water to the edge of dropsy. All she gave me was a flux, and no sort of strength.”
“It is not Gunga. The River that I know washes from all taint of sin.”
There were two things that struck me about this exchange between the lama and the soldier: 1) We know that the lama is a buddhist. But I’m not so sure that buddhists believe in sin. 2) How does the lama know what he is looking for all of a sudden? Earlier, it seemed that he was looking for a river as part of his pilgrimmage, but he didn’t know where it was or why he was going there. Unless I missed that part …