The Taking of Lungtungpen

Saturday, 8 August 2015


The story is concerning one in every of Kipling's 3 non-public troopers, Learoyd, Mulvaney and Ortheris, whose adventures ar any connected in his assortment of short stories troopers Three: Publius Terentius Afer Mulvaney.

This story tells "how Privit Mulvaney tuk the city Jewish calendar month Lungtungpen", in his own words (Kipling represents him conventionally as associate Irish speaker of English). Mulvaney, United Nations agency frequently blots his book (and loses promotions and smart conduct badges from his habit of "wan massive dhrink a month") is however a fine soldier. once he's patrolling Burmah against dacoits with twenty four young recruits underneath Lieutenant Brazenose, they capture a suspect. Mulvaney, with associate interpreter, takes the unfortunate aside and "trates him tinderly" [='treats him tenderly'] with a improvement rod. this instance of army brutality extracts the data that there's a city known as Lungtungpen, a haunt of dacoits, nine miles away, 'across the river'.
Mulvaney persuades the Lieutenant to not expect reinforcements, however to "visit" Lungtungpen that night. Mulvaney is within the lead once they come back to the watercourse, and tells the four men with him to strip and swim across. 2 of them cannot swim, however they use a trunk for flotation and cross the watercourse - despite their discovery that "That shtrame [= stream] was miles woide!" once they reach the opposite aspect, within the dark they need landed on the watercourse wall of Lungtungpen, and a fierce fight ensues - as luck would have it for a people, they're therefore shut underneath the wall that, within the dark, the Burmese fireplace passes harmlessly over their heads.
After reinforcements arrive, a people – still naked from their swim – get in with bayonets and also the butts of their rifles, yet as their ammunition. They kill seventy five Burmese. They then hold "the most ondasint prade  I iver tuk a hand in", with solely eight men having even belt and pouches on; the remainder ar "as naked as Venus". whereas 1/2 them dress, the opposite patrol the city, with the ladies riant at them.


The ethical of this story, to Mulvaney, is that it shows what three-year noncommissioned men will do, and why he values them on top of felt men, WHO would are way more cautious. These would defeat European armies moreover as dacoits. "They tuk Lungtungpen nakid; an' they'd take St. Pethersburg in their dhrawers!" Rudyard Kipling seems to price nation soldier extremely (see Barrack-Room Ballads (1892), troopers 3 (1888) and plenty of alternative works throughout his career).
However, the trendy western reader – usually lacking expertise in similar cultures – could surprise at the casual imperial acceptance of brutality and a surprising casualty rate. To such a reader, it stretches credibleness that girls WHO are unmarried  during this attack - and impoverished by the robbery that Mulvaney relates - would kid the naked invaders. George Orwell, whereas serving with the Indian Imperial Police in Union of Burma, discovered this sort of behaviour and located it very distasteful. Such experiences provided a number of the fabric for his later literary career.


All quotations during this article are taken from the Uniform Edition of Plain Tales from the Hills revealed by Macmillan & Co., restricted in London in 1899. The text is that of the third edition (1890), and therefore the author of the article has used his own copy of the 1923 reprint. any comment, as well as page-by-page notes, is found on the author Society's web site, at

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