Tragedy at Kien-ning

Buddist Idols - from Mary Darleys book
Buddist Idols – from Mary Darleys book

Mary Darley, in missionary work in China, told the story of a lady so devoted to Bhuddism, that she lost her life in a flood. I retell the story here in verse, the original can be read on

The waters rose as the waters do
Every few years with the monsoon rains
The villagers flew as the villagers knew
The waters take all that remains.
But there was about a woman devout
Who in her idols and Gods put her trust
To the temples she went and there was content
Sitting at the feet of a Buddha bust.

The waters came swirling with her prayer wheel whirling
Chants to the Buddha she said
The locals in town at her looked down
Glad to see she as yet wasn’t dead.
They were to be found on the high ground
On the slopes of the forested hills
It was a safe place to go for generations they did know
To survive the wild weathers angers and wills.

The waters rose farther, her skirts she did gather,
Climbed up the statue clinging to its neck,
It became unstable, to stay upright wasn’t able
Collapsed face down and broke, as a wreck.
For many a day for the woman swept away
The villagers after the floods looked and searched
The preachers declared to a people dismayed
She died as she worshipped the idol on which she perched.

Shrine in a Banyan Tree - from Mary Darleys book
Shrine in a Banyan Tree – from Mary Darleys book

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