As he spoke the fog was blown into shreds, and we saw the sea, gray with mud, rolling on every side of us and empty of all life. Then in one spot it bubbled and became like the pot of ointment that the Bible speaks of. From that wideringed trouble a Thing came up—a gray and red Thing with a neck—a Thing that bellowed and writhed in pain.

This is from A Matter of Fact " by Rudyard Kipling.

I don't understand the meaning of
--- wideringed trouble

I am glad if someone would kindly teach me.

  • 2
    In my paper edition (Many Inventions, Doubleday 1914) the word is hyphenated "wide-ringed".
    – tgdavies
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 6:57
  • 1
    "trouble" is used for ocean disturbances, e.g. "pouring oil on troubled waters"
    – tgdavies
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 7:03

1 Answer 1


This falls more under the purview of literary analysis in this case, as “wideringed trouble” is certainly not a commonly seen or used phrase whatsoever.

That being said, it appears to me that Kipling is referring to ripples of some kind. In the context of the whole paragraph, the sea is bubbling up in one specific spot, which is described as a “wideringed trouble,” and some kind of creature is emerging. The tone of the passage is quite ominous and dark. Here, my interpretation of the passage is that the phrase refers to the ripples/bubbles on the water’s surface (thus forming wide rings) right before the Thing comes up (thus bringing trouble).

  • Thank you for your answer. It is so helpful! Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 23:27

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