The Man Who Would Be King

by

Rudyard Kipling

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Golden Crown Symbol Icon

Daniel Dravot orders the people of Kafiristan to make golden crown, and he also has one made for Peachey Carnehan. These crowns represent Dravot and Carnehan’s dominion over the people of Kafiristan. When Dravot first presents the crowns to Carnehan, he waxes poetic about the natural resources of Kafiristan: “I’ve got a crown for you! I told ’em to make two of ’em at a place called Shu, where the gold lies in the rock like suet in mutton. Gold I’ve seen, and turquoise I’ve kicked out of the cliffs, and there’s garnets in the sands of the river.” His desire for a crown—that is, his desire to rule—is based on his lust for glory and riches. Kipling also mentions the crown at the moment of Dravot’s death. It is “caught on a rock” beside his broken body, emphasizing the loss of his right to rule. Finally, Carnehan carries Dravot’s crown (reattached to his severed head) all the way back from Kafiristan. After Carnehan’s death, the narrator asks whether anything was found on his body, but he is told that there was nothing. Carnehan’s adventure thus ends with the loss of his crown, the symbol of his power and glory, as well as his life.

Golden Crown Quotes in The Man Who Would Be King

The The Man Who Would Be King quotes below all refer to the symbol of Golden Crown. 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

One morning I heard the devil’s own noise of drums and horns, and Dan Dravot marches down the hill with his Army and a tail of hundreds of men, and, which was the most amazing, a great gold crown on his head. “My Gord, Carnehan,” says Daniel, “this is a tremenjus business, and we’ve got the whole country as far as it’s worth having. I am the son of Alexander by Queen Semiramis, and you’re my younger brother and a God too! It’s the biggest thing we’ve ever seen. I’ve been marching and fighting for six weeks with the Army, and every footy little village for fifty miles has come in rejoiceful; and more than that, I’ve got the key of the whole show, as you’ll see, and I’ve got a crown for you! I told ’em to make two of ’em at a place called Shu, where the gold lies in the rock like suet in mutton. Gold I’ve seen, and turquoise I’ve kicked out of the cliffs, and there’s garnets in the sands of the river, and here’s a chunk of amber that a man brought me. Call up all the priests and, here, take your crown.”

Related Characters: Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot (speaker)
Related Symbols: Golden Crown
Page Number: 239
Explanation and Analysis:

“There’s another thing too,” says Dravot, walking up and down. “The winter’s coming, and these people won’t be giving much trouble, and if they do we can’t move about. I want a wife.”

“For Gord’s sake leave the women alone!” I says. “We’ve both got all the work we can, though I am a fool. Remember the Contrack, and keep clear o’ women.”

“The Contrack only lasted till such time as we was Kings; and Kings we have been these months past,” says Dravot, weighing his crown in his hand. “You go get a wife too, Peachey—a nice, strappin’, plump girl that’ll keep you warm in the winter. They’re prettier than English girls, and we can take the pick of ’em. Boil ’em once or twice in hot water, and they’ll come out like chicken and ham.”

Related Characters: Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot (speaker)
Related Symbols: Contract, Golden Crown
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:

“The girl’s a little bit afraid,” says the priest. “She thinks she’s going to die, and they are a-heartening of her up down in the temple.”

“Hearten her very tender, then,” says Dravot, “or I’ll hearten you with the butt of a gun so you’ll never want to be heartened again.” He licked his lips, did Dan, and stayed up walking about more than half the night, thinking of the wife that he was going to get in the morning. I wasn’t any means comfortable, for I knew that dealings with a woman in foreign parts, though you was a crowned King twenty times over, could not but be risky.

Related Characters: Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot (speaker)
Related Symbols: Golden Crown
Page Number: 248
Explanation and Analysis:

They marched him a mile across that snow to a rope-bridge over a ravine with a river at the bottom. You may have seen such. They prodded him behind like an ox. “Damn your eyes!” says the King. “D’you suppose I can’t die like a gentleman?” He turns to Peachey—Peachey that was crying like a child. “I’ve brought you to this, Peachey,” says he. “Brought you out of your happy life to be killed in Kafiristan, where you was late Commander-in-Chief of the Emperor’s forces. Say you forgive me, Peachey.”—“I do,” says Peachey. “Fully and freely do I forgive you, Dan.”—“Shake hands, Peachey,” says he. “I’m going now.” Out he goes, looking neither right nor left, and when he was plumb in the middle of those dizzy dancing ropes, “Cut, you beggars,” he shouts; and they cut, and old Dan fell, turning round and round and round, twenty thousand miles, for he took half an hour to fall till he struck the water, and I could see his body caught on a rock with the gold crown close beside.

Related Characters: Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot (speaker)
Related Symbols: Golden Crown
Page Number: 252–253
Explanation and Analysis:

He fumbled in the mass of rags round his bent waist; brought out a black horsehair bag embroidered with silver thread; and shook therefrom on to my table—the dried, withered head of Daniel Dravot! The morning sun that had long been paling the lamps struck the red beard and blind, sunken eyes; struck, too, a heavy circlet of gold studded with raw turquoises, that Carnehan placed tenderly on the battered temples. “You be’old now,” said Carnehan, “the Emperor in his ’abit as he lived—the King of Kafiristan with his crown upon his head. Poor old Daniel that was a monarch once!”

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot
Related Symbols: Golden Crown
Page Number: 253–254
Explanation and Analysis:
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Golden Crown Symbol Timeline in The Man Who Would Be King

The timeline below shows where the symbol Golden Crown 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
Morality and Colonialism Theme Icon
Ambition and Hubris Theme Icon
When Dravot finally returns, he is leading an army of hundreds and wearing a golden crown. He tells Carnehan, “I am the son of Alexander by Queen Semiramis, and you’re my... (full context)
Ambition and Hubris Theme Icon
Civilization and the Colonized Theme Icon
After Carnehan puts on his crown, Dravot says, “we don’t want to fight no more. The Craft’s the trick.” The Craft... (full context)
Morality and Colonialism Theme Icon
Ambition and Hubris Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
...“away through the pine-trees looking like a big red devil, the sun being on his crown and beard and all.” (full context)
Morality and Colonialism Theme Icon
...ravine. Carnehan says, “I could see his body caught on a rock with the gold crown close beside.” (full context)
Morality and Colonialism Theme Icon
Civilization and the Colonized Theme Icon
...they decide it’s a miracle and cut him down. They give him Dravot’s head and crown as a gift and tell him to go home. Carnehan says that he never thought... (full context)
Morality and Colonialism Theme Icon
...an end, he opens a bag and shakes Dravot’s head onto the narrator’s desk. The crown also falls from the bag, and Carnehan places it on the dead man’s head. (full context)
Morality and Colonialism Theme Icon
...street, singing to himself, “The Son of Man goes forth to war, / A golden crown to gain.” The narrator takes him to an asylum. However, when the narrator asks later... (full context)