The Man Who Would Be King

by

Rudyard Kipling

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Billy Fish Character Analysis

Peachey Carnehan and Daniel Dravot make up names for the chiefs of Kafiristan, presumably because they can’t pronounce their real names. One of these is Billy Fish. Billy Fish warns against Dravot’s plan to marry, and he remains loyal to Carnehan even after it is revealed that Carnehan and Dravot aren’t gods. Because of his loyalty to Carnehan, the insurgents slit his throat. Billy Fish’s experience mirrors that of Indians who remained loyal to the British during the Rebellion of 1857, many of whom were killed.

Billy Fish Quotes in The Man Who Would Be King

The The Man Who Would Be King quotes below are all either spoken by Billy Fish or refer to Billy Fish. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Morality and Colonialism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Knopf edition of The Man Who Would Be King published in 1994.
The Man Who Would Be King Quotes

“Shake hands with him,” says Dravot, and I shook hands and nearly dropped, for Billy Fish gave me the Grip. I said nothing, but tried him with the Fellow Craft Grip. He answers all right, and I tried the Master’s Grip, but that was a slip. “A Fellow Craft he is!” I says to Dan. “Does he know the word?”—“He does,” says Dan, “and all the priests know. It’s a miracle! The Chiefs and the priests can work a Fellow Craft Lodge in a way that’s very like ours, and they’ve cut the marks on the rocks, but they don’t know the Third Degree, and they’ve come to find out. It’s Gord’s Truth. I’ve known these long years that the Afghans knew up to the Fellow Craft Degree, but this is a miracle. A God and a Grand-Master of the Craft am I, and a Lodge in the Third Degree I will open, and we’ll raise the head priests and the Chiefs of the villages.”

“It’s against all the law,” I says, “holding a Lodge without warrant from any one; and you know we never held office in any Lodge.”

“It’s a master-stroke o’ policy,” says Dravot.

Related Characters: Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot (speaker), Billy Fish
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:

Up comes the girl, and a strapping wench she was, covered with silver and turquoises, but white as death, and looking back every minute at the priests. “She’ll do,” said Dan, looking her over. “What’s to be afraid of, lass? Come and kiss me.” He puts his arm round her. She shuts her eyes, gives a bit of a squeak, and down goes her face in the side of Dan’s flaming red beard. “The slut’s bitten me!” says he, clapping his hand to his neck, and, sure enough, his hand was red with blood. Billy Fish and two of his matchlock-men catches hold of Dan by the shoulders and drags him into the Bashkai lot, while the priests howls in their lingo, —“Neither God nor Devil, but a man!” I was all taken aback, for a priest cut at me in front, and the Army behind began firing into the Bashkai men.

Related Characters: Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot (speaker), Billy Fish
Page Number: 249
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Man Who Would Be King PDF

Billy Fish Character Timeline in The Man Who Would Be King

The timeline below shows where the character Billy Fish appears in The Man Who Would Be King. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Man Who Would Be King
Civilization and the Colonized Theme Icon
...of the army. Carnehan makes friends with the local chief—whom they later decide to call Billy Fish —and helps him to conquer one more village nearby. Then, as he is running out... (full context)
Civilization and the Colonized Theme Icon
...begins to make grander plans. He holds councils of war with the local chiefs (including Billy Fish ), and he sends Carnehan to Ghorband to acquire more rifles, handmade knock-offs of the... (full context)
Ambition and Hubris Theme Icon
However, when Dravot tells the council that he wants a wife, Billy Fish tells him he’ll have to ask the girls. Dravot flies into a rage, claiming that... (full context)
Ambition and Hubris Theme Icon
Billy Fish and his men, who remain loyal to Carnehan and Dravot, help them to flee the... (full context)
Morality and Colonialism Theme Icon
The rebels slit Billy Fish ’s throat, and they march Dravot and Carnehan to a rope bridge. They prod Dravot... (full context)