The Ninth Vibration and Other Stories HTML version
The Hatred Of The Queen
A Story of Burma
Most wonderful is the Irawadi, the mighty river of Burma. In all the world elsewhere is
no such river, bearing the melted snows from its mysterious sources in the high places of
the mountains. The dawn rises upon its league. wide flood; the moon walks upon it with
silver feet. It is the pulsing heart of the land, living still though so many rules and rulers
have risen and fallen beside it, their pomps and glories drifting like flotsam dawn the
river to the eternal ocean that is the end of all - and the beginning. Dead civilizations
strew its banks, dreaming in the torrid sunshine of glories that were - of blood-stained
gold, jewels wept from woeful crowns, nightmare dreams of murder and terror; dreaming
also of heavenly beauty, for the Lord Buddha looks down in moonlight peace upon the
land that leaped to kiss His footprints, that has laid its heart in the hand of the Blessed
One, and shares therefore in His bliss and content. The Land of the Lord Buddha, where
the myriad pagodas lift their golden flames of worship everywhere, and no idlest wind
can pass but it ruffles the bells below the htees until they send forth their silver ripple of
music to swell the hymn of praise!
There is a little bay on the bank of the flooding river - a silent, deserted place of sand-
dunes and small bills. When a ship is in sight, some poor folk come and spread out the
red lacquer that helps their scanty subsistence, and the people from the passing ship land
and barter and in a few minutes are gone on their busy way and silence settles down once
more. They neither know nor care that, near by, a mighty city spread its splendour for
miles along the river bank, that the king known as Lord of the Golden Palace, The
Golden Foot, Lord of the White Elephant, held his state there with balls of magnificence,
obsequious women, fawning courtiers and all the riot and colour of an Eastern tyranny.
How should they care? Now there are ruins - ruins, and the cobras slip in and out through
the deserted holy places. They breed their writhing young in the sleeping-chambers of
queens, the tigers mew in the moonlight, and the giant spider, more terrible than the
cobra, strikes with its black poison- claw and, paralyzing the life of the victim, sucks its
brain with slow, lascivious pleasure.
Are these foul creatures more dreadful than some of the men, the women, who dwelt in
these palaces - the more evil because of the human brain that plotted and foresaw? That is
known only to the mysterious Law that in silence watches and decrees.
But this is a story of the dead days of Pagan, by the Irawadi, and it will be shown that, as
the Lotus of the Lord Buddha grows up a white splendour from the black mud of the
depths, so also may the soul of a woman.
In the days of the Lord of the White Elephant, the King Pagan Men, was a boy named
Mindon, son of second Queen and the King. So, at least, it was said in the Golden Palace,
but those who knew the secrets of such matters whispered that, when the King had taken
her by the hand she came to him no maid, and that the boy was the son of an Indian