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Kim is Kimball O’Hara, a white Irish boy, whose father was a soldier in the Irish regiment stationed in Lahore, India. Kim was orphaned and grew up on the streets of Lahore. He is being looked after by a half-caste woman who is, in all probability, a prostitute. His skin is burnt black, and he lives like a low-caste Hindu street delinquent. He never learned to read or write or speak English very well but is streetsmart and perceptive and has given up a normal life with his recruitment as a spy in the British Secret Service. The story begins when Kim meets an old Tibetan, Teshoo lama, who wanders into Lahore to look for Buddhist artifacts which might be useful to him as he searches to find the river which resulted from an arrow shot by Buddha and which washes away sin, but the location is undisclosed. Because both are in search of their identities, they join together in their journey. Kim assumes the role of the lama’s disciple which gives him an excuse to travel across India and also provides him with a perfect cover for his purpose as a spy. He becomes the lama’s protector and guide in the snarling hustle and bustle of Indian life which is strange and unknown to the lama. He helps the lama find shelter and begs for their food and allows the lama to lean on his shoulder as they walk. The lama also aids Kim with emotional and spiritual support while being sustained by Kim’s youthful energy and strength. They travel the plains south to Benares and onward to the Himalayas at the very edge of India, and here their spectacular pilgrimage comes to an end. The qualities Kim and the lama have in common allow them to unite their capabilities as a solution to their personal explorations. They have no family; they have no recognition of possession; both have surrendered a regular life to their quests; both expeditions are beyond the effort of ordinary people. Their crusade takes four years and ends with an unmistakable awareness of their destin
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