The Mark of the Beast by Rudyard Kipling
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror June 10, 2014
It’s New Year’s Eve and we are east of the Suez, in the exotic land of India where the powers of gods and devils struggle. Three men are celebrating the holiday. Our narrator is a guest at the home of Mr. Stickland, an officer of the police. Mr. Fleete is a local land owner, also a guest. After drinking too much whiskey and sodas at the club, Fleete becomes intoxicated. On their way home, they pass the temple of Hanuman. Fleete is in a riotous state of mind and grinds his cigar-butt into the forehead of the stone image of Hanuman, the monkey god. Our narrator is aghast for he suspects what this insult to the religion will cause. And he’s right.
“Then, without any warning, a Silver Man came out of a recess behind the image of the god. He was perfectly naked in that bitter, bitter cold, and his body shone like frosted silver, for he was what the Bible calls ‘a leper as white as snow.‘ ”
If you’ve only read Kipling in school you will remember him for The Jungle Book of short stories: a “man cub” named Mowgli in the Indian jungle and the snake-fighting mongoose Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Some of you might know The Phantom Rickshaw, Kipling’s most notable ghost story.
Read The Mark of the Beast at ReadBookOnline.net
Listen to the audio (an excellent reading!) at Classic Audio Books
Also available is the 2012 film Mark of the Beast, directed by Jonathan Gorman & Thomas Edward Seymour at IMDb.com
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Image of Hanuman from DollsofIndia.com