Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reginald Bretnor's "The Man on Top" (short story, free): An arrogant man is humbled

Quote from short story The Man on Top by Reginald Bretnor
I've seen dozens of variations of this in Indian jokes - targets vary from Mount Everest to moon, man who humbles the arrogant varies from a wise old man to enterprising Malayali or Punjabi, arrogant is typically a brash youngster or a rich merchant. Don't know if local versions owe to this story, or this story is retelling the local lore; I've been hearing it for as long as I remember.

Story summary.

Geoffrey Barbank, a rich & arrogant "white man", has arrived in India, on his way to Mount Everest; he intends to be the first man atop Everest. He finds the "natives" contemptible, & gets into a stupid argument with a sadhu in Darjaling, Bengal. Sadhu then decides to teach some humility to the arrogant visitor...

Fact sheet.

First published: Esquire, October 1951.
Download full text.
Rating: A.