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Erik's Masonic Journey

Thu, 29 Apr 2004

# Most Freemasons have at least heard that the famous poet and author Rudyard Kipling was a brother, and many have probably read at least a few of his Masonic poems, such as "Banquet Night" or "The Palace". I'd bet that some of you have even read The Man Who Would be King or even seen the movie by the same name.

Brother Kipling was made a Mason in 1886 at Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782 at Lahore Punjab, India. That Masonry made a great impression on him is evident by its many references in his works, but strangely The Kipling Society's website, though an excellent resource, fails to mention his association with the Craft. It is also interesting to note that Bro. Kipling was a member of the Societas Rosicruciana In Anglia.

I suspect that outside of Masonic and literary circles, Bro. Kipling is most famous for The Jungle Book, which unfortunately has been a victim of Disney's crass commercialism.

# Here's something new and interesting, though: The Man Who Would be King's Daniel Dravot is supposedly based on a real person! Also a Freemason, Josiah Harlan was a Quaker from Philadelphia. He was a physician, a naturalist, a spy, a governor, a military leader, and an all-around adventurous guy. His adventures in Afghanistan occurred between 1827 and 1839, and after returning home to the United States he fought for the Union during the Civil War.

The Man Who Would Be King: The First American in Afghanistan by Ben Macintyre details the life and adventures of Josiah Harlan. It looks like an excellent book, but I've yet to read it.

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