OLD MALI AND THE BOY by D.R. Sherman

OLD MALI AND THE BOY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Set in Northern India, with its subject the relationship between an aged servant and the boy master he loves and who loves him in return, this story has the timelessness of a childhood memory. The author, in his twenties, may well be turning to an experience close to him for the telling. The boy is English, the gardener Mali, Indian. While Mali works the garden, he also works the mind of the boy, instructing him in high principles and practical lore. The story centers about the ?low which Mali used in his youth and manhood, which he promises to pass on to the boy. He does so, and there follows the lesson of arrow making and finally, with the mother's fearful permission, the three-day journey to the forest to search for the ambur. Mali and the boy allow one day to reach the hunting grounds, one to search for their quarry, and one to return. But by midday of the second day they have found none, and Mali calls a halt. The boy, lusting for prey, shoots a monkey, and immediately bad luck ensues. Mali is caught in a steel trap, helpless to guide the boy home. Now the boy's great lesson truly begins. By a fortunate chance he frees Mali, leads, then carries him from the forest, and Mali lives only long enough to know he has kept his promise to return the boy on the third day... At times awkward, this is nevertheless an aware and honest portrait of a relationship between youth and age, particular to a time of life, recalled with tenderness.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1964
Publisher: Little, Brown