The Gardener Summary
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), a British poet, novelist, and the writer of short stories was born in India and set many of his writings in the Indian flavor. He was awarded by the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907.
‘The Gardener’ ends surprisingly revealing the reality of Helen, the protagonist, and her relationship with Michael. Michael, whom Helen calls nephew, is in reality, her son whose father is unknown throughout the story. The gardener is a mysterious character who does not appear at first and in the middle but only at the last of the story creating confusions in the readers.
Helen Turrell conceals (hides) the truth about Michael till the end of the story but she does not show any reaction when the gardener confidently says he will tell where her son lies.
The villagers of Hampshire believe Michael to be an unfortunate son of Helen’s late brother, George Turrell and his beloved (not wife). Actually it was not so. She had created a false story about Michael’s parents. Michael was born when Helen was in southern part of France. She had told lies about her trip that she had long troubles. Because of the fear of social stigma she had told another lie that she had arranged for the passage of the child and a nurse from Bombay. She was thirty-five when she gave birth to the child. She showed much fondness to the child despite the fact that she was not the child lover.
Michael was fearless, Philosophical, and fairly good-looking. At the age of six, he knew that Helen was not her real mother but his aunt. She did not allow Michael to say her mummy because she was unmarried. To escape from the society’s contempt, she made Michael know the false reality.
Michael got maturity in due course of time but his interest in Helen was constant and increasing throughout. Though Helen wanted him to go to Oxford University, he took war as his career. The First World War was going on. Many soldiers were killed during war. Michael was killed by the shell-splinter explosion. After getting full proof about his death, Helen, being a next of –kin, prepared to go and see his grave in Hazenzeelein the third Military Cemetery with perfect information.
In a teashop, three kilometers away from cemetery, she met an English Woman, Mrs. Scarsworth. They stopped in a hotel where Mrs. Scarsworth revealed that she had come there to see the grave of someone special to her and also that she was unmarried. Helen told lie that she had come to see her nephew’s grave.
Next morning she walked alone towards the grave. As she was searching at the mean time she saw a man knelt behind a line of headstones-evidently a gardener. He did not introduce with her neither did he salute her. He asked her who she was looking for. She said it was Lieutenant Michael Turrell, her nephew. He had finite compassion in his expression and eyes. He said he would show her where her ‘son’ lay. She went away, supposing him to be the gardener when she left the cemetery.