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Six Honest Serving-Men : A professional journalist and author recognises that he has met his match
Six Honest Serving-Men

‘I Keep Six Honest Serving-Men’, by Rudyard Kipling.

Bombay-born Rudyard Kipling’s first job was as a journalist in what was then the Indian city of Lahore. Kipling grasped the importance of sending his ‘honest serving-men’ out on duty in the search for accurate reports, but even the most investigative of journalists has to recognise that in certain company, he is a mere amateur.

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small—
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!

She sends ’em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes—
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!

‘I Keep Six Honest Serving-Men’, by Rudyard Kipling.

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Picture: Photo by Sgt Mike MacLeod, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public domain. View original
Indian Army soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles and U.S. Army paratroopers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division on a field training exercise at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA, in 2013.
By Rudyard Kipling

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