This unlikely narrative is actually based upon the real-life exploits of the Englishman James Brooke, who became the first white Rajah of Sarawak in Borneo, as well as the travels of the American Josiah Harlan, who acquired the title Prince of Ghor for his lifetime and that of his descendants. The narrator is a correspondent for a British newspaper in India and first encounters Peach Carnehan on a train. It is after their grand adventures that Carnehan returns to the narrator and describes what has happened to them.
(1) True to his goal, Dravot does, indeed, become a king after a long trip when they stop because their supplies are dwindled and their animals are starving. As they rest, there appear men with blond hair chasing after others; one of these men tries to rob them and Dravot simply breaks the man's neck across his knee, then shoots twenty men who chase another ten men both with bows and arrows. Because of this feat as well as Dravot's imposing appearance, the ten men think he is a god and make him their king. So, Dravot tells them, "I'll make a damned fine Nation of you, or I'll die in the making!" First, he brings peace with his sense of military order and training. He orders that every tenth man be made a Frontier guard to protect the borders of Kafiristan against the Mohammedans (his people are pagan). Then, he orders that 200 men be sent to him to be personally trained. Also, Peachey makes contributions by incorporating technology and infrastructure into the land. He tells the narrator,
"My work was to help the people plow, and now and again go out with some of the Army and see what the other villages were doing, and make 'em throw rope bridges across the ravines which cut up the country horrid."
This first kingdom was called Er-Herb.
(2) While Dravot is king, Carnehan conquers another kingdom, which is named Bashkei. There he discovers gold, garnets, turquoise, and other precious stones, and sends word to Dravot that the abundance is more than he can handle.
Then, one day there is a gathering of the leaders of Kafiristan and there is tension in the air, but Dravot recognizes the signs of the Freemasons that have been preserved by the natives; furthermore, he knows the third sign. When he uses it, the chiefs are all impressed. Dravot commands,
"By virtue of the authority vested in me by my own right hand and the help of Peachey, I declare myself Grand-Master of all Freemasonry in Kafiristan in this the Mother Lodge o’ the country, and King of Kafiristan equally with Peachey!"
After this, Dravot crowns himself and Carnehan, too. "It was an amazing miracle!" Carnehan tells the narrator.