The Thousandth Man

The Thousandth Man by Rudyard Kipling

One man in a thousand, Solomon says.
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it’s worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.

Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you, 
But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend 
With the whole round world agin you.

‘Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show 
Will settle the finding for ‘ee. 
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ’em go
By your looks, or your acts, or your glory.

But if he finds you and you find him, 
The rest of the world don’t matter; 
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim 
With you in any water.

You can use his purse with no more talk 
Than he uses yours for his spendings, 
And laugh and meet in your daily walk 
As though there had been no lendings.

Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ’em call 
For silver and gold in their dealings; 
But the Thousandth Man he’s worth ’em all
Because you can show him your feelings.

His wrong’s your wrong, and his right’s your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men’s sight
With that for your only reason!

Nine hundred and ninety-nine can’t bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot – and after!

There are natural synergies and affinities which work out in the world. In my experience, the deepest connections go far beyond compatible personalities, shared passions and common likes. They emerge as if from within – soul to soul – and the bond feels and perhaps is, eternal.

Given that there are 7,000,000,000 people on earth, there are 7,000,000 thousandth men out there for you to find. The chances are high that you’ll find at least one in your lifetime! If you do, be the thousandth back.

4 thoughts on “The Thousandth Man

  • I just love this poem. It speaks of the spirit and function of loyalty. I’ve been fortunate to know that Thousandth Man and privileged to be that for another. It’s a love and trust in something shared from the heart. Why it happens I can’t explain but the bond is tighter than any opposing force. Perhaps we are eternal friends, who knows, but for this incarnation we are will walk this Earth in loyal fellowship. Thank you for highlighting this most precious of relationships.

  • This is such an excellent poem to describe the depth of true friendship. Although rare, if we focus more on being that thousandth man, we will most likely befriend another of the same ilk.

  • There are a million opportunities to refine being the thousandth, provided each day.
    Being, is a choice, an one I will seek to exercise more fully… my heart yearns to find such, but far wiser to be it, than seek it.
    Rowan was correct in his response, for being in position to reciprocate is the point.

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