A History of the Kingdom of Mo

I spent the afternoon in a friend’s room studying and discussing embalmed bodies, lost civilisations and other things relevant to a term paper I’m supposed to be working on. In the course of events, William Le Queux’sThe Great White Queen: A Tale of Treasure and Treason (1896) came to our attention and caused us unimaginable joy. Which is why I had to extract this for you – Indian readers especially, you should enjoy this.

There is a strange story connected with this place known to us as Zomara’s Wrath,” Omar said, when together we turned away and mounted our horses to ride back to the camp.

“Relate it to me,” I urged eagerly.

“To-night. After we have eaten at sundown I will tell you about it,” he answered, and spurring our horses we galloped quickly forward.

When we had eaten that evening and were seated aside together, I reminded him of his promise.

“It is a story of my ancestors, and it occurred more than a thousand years ago,” he said. “Ruler of the great kingdom of Mo, King Lobenba had no children. The three queens observed fasts, kept vows, made offerings to the fetish, all to no effect. By a lucky chance a great hermit made his appearance in our capital. The King and queens received the visitor at the palace, and treated him with the most generous and sincere hospitality. The guest was very pleased; by a prompting of the fetish he knew what they wanted, and gave them three peppercorns, one for each queen. In due time three sons were born, Karmos, Matrugna, and Fausalya, who when they reached a suitable age married by the ceremony of ‘choice,’ daughters of a branch of the royal family. When the brides arrived at their husbands’ family and were disciplined in their wifely duties, King Lobenba, who was growing old, thought the time had arrived for him to make over the royal burden to younger shoulders, and to adopt a hermit’s life preliminary to death. So in consultation with the royal fetish-man, a day was appointed for the coronation of Prince Karmos, who had married a beautiful girl named Naya. But the fates had willed it otherwise. Long before the children were born, when King Lobenba, in his younger days, was subduing a revolt in this region where we now are he once fell from his chariot while aiming an arrow, and got his arm crushed under the wheel. The three queens had accompanied their royal husband to the battlefield to soften for him the hardships of his camp life, and during the long illness that followed the wound, Queen Zulnam, who afterwards became mother of Fausalya, nursed him with all the devotion of a wife’s first young love. ‘Ask me anything and thou shalt have it,’ said the monarch during his convalescence. ‘I have to ask only two favours, my lord,’ she answered. ‘I grant them beforehand. Name them,’ he cried. But she said she wished for nothing at that time, but would make her request in due course. She waited twenty years. Then she repaired to her husband on the morning of Karmos’ coronation and boldly requested that the prince should absent himself for fourteen years, and that her son Fausalya should be crowned instead.”

“She was artful,” I observed, laughing.

“Yes,” he went on. “The words fell like a thunder-bolt upon the king, the light faded from his eyes and he fainted. Nevertheless, Zulnam’s wish was granted, and Karmos’ departure was heartrending. To soften the austerities of forest life, Prince Matrugna tore himself from his newly-married bride to accompany Karmos. But the hardest was to be the latter’s wrench from his devoted Naya. The change from a most exuberant girlish gaiety to quivering grief, and the offer of the delicately-nurtured wife to share with her lord the severities of an exile’s life are often told by every wise man in Mo. Fourteen long years Karmos spent in exile with his beautiful wife as companion, until at last they were free to return. The home-coming was one long triumph. The people were mad with delight to welcome their hero Karmos and their beloved Naya. Karmos was crowned, and then began that government whose morality and justice and love and purity have passed into the proverbs of my race. There was, however, one blemish upon it. Poor Naya’s evil genius had not yet exhausted his malevolence. A rumour was spread by evil tongues that she was plotting to possess the crown, and Karmos, sacrificing the husband’s love, the father’s joy, to his kingly duty, while standing on that spot we have visited to-day—then his summer palace surrounded by lovely gardens—pronounced sentence of exile upon her. But in an instant, swift as the lightning from above, the terrible curse of Zomara fell upon him, striking him dead, his magnificent palace was swept away and swallowed up by a mighty earthquake, and from the barren hole, once the fairest spot in the land, there have ever since belched forth fumes that poison every living thing. It is Zomara’s Wrath.”

“And what became of Naya, the queen?” I asked, struck with the remarkable story that seemed more than a mere legend.

“She reigned in his stead,” he answered. “Whenever we speak of the Nayas we sum up all that is noble and mighty and queenly in government, its tact, its talent, its love and its beneficence, for every queen who has since sat on the Great Emerald Throne of Mo has been named after her, and I am her lineal descendant, the last of her line.”

5 Comments to “A History of the Kingdom of Mo”

  1. naya raj? happy thought. :)

  2. I want a royal fetish-man!


  3. Kuffir – I definitely prefer this ending to the original. Though it seems unfair that Naya should have had to build her own magnificent palace.

    Jabberjee – And who wouldn’t?

  4. I don’t know the history behind this story but I did find it quite interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

  5. this information is great to me!!
    thank you guys for your awesome posts
    As Nick says, i´ll re-read it again, and again …

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