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'The Kings of Orion' - Fiction
Published in Blackwood's Magazine 179 (1083) 101-17January1906
Subsequent Short Story Collection: The Moon Endureth (1912)


In a comfortable and remote Scottish inn, after a cold and luckless day's fishing, the narrator of this short story encounters an old school friend and they both settle down to smoke their pipes by the glowing peats in the hearth.

The account is given of one Tommy Lascelles, a curiously incompetent man who, disconsolate after the loss of his wife, was offered the post of the governor of an African colony. He managed an uprising with amazing skills and at the close of the narrative rides among the natives with an authority that, ordinarily speaking, he did not possess. His achievement was due to the fact that, in his imagination, he believed himself to be the Master of Central Asia, giving weight to the legend that when the kings of Orion were driven out of their constellation, they were sent down to earth to live in a human soul, making that person greater than he would normally be.

The two settings of the moorland inn and Africa, with its hint of Prester John, combine to make this a tale in the cracking good style that is so typical of John Buchan.

Diana Durden
Sussex 2001

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