Yield Not to Adversity, But Press On More Bravely
Thomas Robertson knew who Hanna Crow was, but he also knew in his heart that
this coincidence was more than that; it was a confirmation. The chance being so
remote, it must be providence. He thought to himself if coincidence was the
manifestation of guardianship by a deity, and divine direction to ones destiny,
then too many fall short of finding and following their true path.
Self-determination and fate was a two-way street: it required active engagement
to find the connecting point to ones rightful path in life, and it could happen
on some unannounced humdrum afternoon while waiting for a bus, or visiting a
church on some trip in Upper Burma, but many never made the effort to reflect
on why a coincidence happened and what it is telling them.
"Well then, could you be Reverend Crow's daughter?" Her
bare earnestness when she turns to him almost knocked him over.
know a little about William Lewis Crow and the founding of this church, that's
all." The sparkle in Hanna's eyes made him want to touch her face, her skin
light ochre, like the red hue of the church stone.
I am his daughter. He died just before I was born." He saw sadness in her eyes.
the kettle whistled and Hanna poured the tea, he walk around the room. That was
when he saw a framed painting of a phoenix holding 13 arrows and 13 olive
branches in its talons, the same as the coin he found in Mandalay. Thomas was
convinced this church contained the answers to his questions.
was my father's favorite winged one," she said, using the same term as Josh
when referring to birds.
a phoenix, isn't it?"
Phoenix. Yes, the firebird. It was used on United States coins up to 1902 when
the eagle replaced it. My mother used to tell me how he carried around a rare
US coin for good luck." His heart pounding as he processes her words, he
realized how tired he was because of his urge to hold her for a long moment.
one of the reasons I came to Burma is to find a religious stone tablet with
engravings that was believed to have been brought here from Tibet around the
time the Chinese invaded." Hanna left the mugs steaming on the counter,
curiosity deep in her features.
meeting a Native American elder in Canada last summer, everything changed for
me. I've been doing my own research into this prophecy and it points to your
father being the one who might have transported this sacred relic here to Upper
Burma. That's the whole thing right there. That's my purpose for coming here,
as outlandish as it sounds." Something in her demeanor changed. He worried she
might think he was some kind of religious zealot, but the kindness in her mouth
showed him otherwise.
was outlandish enough to bring you here." Bringing two hot mugs of tea to the
table, Hanna tilted her head as she looked into his tired eyes, seeing it meant
something to him.
"And it's a long way from Rangoon on the train."
it is, though it was a...an experience." He picked up the mug. "Did your father
have a place where he kept valuable items like a sacred religious item? What
I'm getting at is, did your father have an archive where he would keep
religious things that he may have come across in his research?"
think there was a discussion about that after his death, but I don't think it
was ever settled. There are some things here at the church but I don't think
"Where? Or I mean like what?"
"His papers are in the refectory." Hanna picked up her
mug of tea and took him by the arm towards the church.
"I'll try not to spill," he said, balancing the meniscus
"Can I ask you why you're so interested in this
"Because I'm an identical twin and the prophecy says it
is a twin who will find the stone and reunite it with the stone in North
America." He blushed. "It sounds crazy, doesn't it?" She smiled at him.
you know what my father spoke about the most? It wasn't about work, and it
wasn't about wealth; it was about being a twin."
you know why?" he asked in a gentle voice.
think I do now. My great grandfather was a Cree Indian from Canada so he
thought he may be part of this prophecy you're talking about, but he wasn't a
twin. My mother told me how he was always on the lookout for a twin coming to
Burma looking around for some lost religious artifact." After all the miles and
strange encounters, Thomas felt safe for the first time in years.
into the cool refectory with portraits on the walls and wooden rafters
overhead, in the middle of the room there was a sturdy table that look older
than the war. When Hanna flipped on the light he saw vestments hanging from the
wall and books on a shelf. It felt like a secret chamber.
have something to show you," he said, compelled to confess and confide. "The
keepers of ancient Native American prophecies are the Hopi Indians in Arizona.
Do you know anything about the Hopi Prophecies?"
heard of the Hopi Indians, yes. But not about the prophecies."
believe there is a connection between the Kachin people and the Red Man of North
America, as I have reason to believe your father did too. So far I have tracked
down a number of clues along the way. They have pointed me here." He pulled out
the map with the proverb as well as the coin. "These are the first clues I
found in a monastery in Mandalay, right beside Mandalay Hill and the Royal
Palace." Hanna gasped when he handed her the coin.
this my father's good luck charm?"
think it is. When I found it in one of the marble tablets at the monastery, I
didn't know what it was."
a phoenix. The same as the painting."
you know what the Latin inscription means?"
means many, and UNUM means together. I think."
course!" he said, making no effort to hide his admiration. "A United
up in a church environment I picked up some Latin." He showed Hanna the second
NE CEDE MALIS means Yield not to adversity, and SED CONTRA
AUDENTIOR ITO means but press on more bravely." Smiling, he put
his hand on her shoulder.
amazing." Then he handed Hanna the first Kachin proverb.
PIGEON LEFT AND THE CROW TOOK HIS PLACE," she said.
was the first Kachin Proverb."
of this before," voice peppered with excitement.
when I was put on the path to your father. Before that I was following Eugenio
Kin Kaid. I found out more information about your Dad when I was in Katha.
That's when I knew I would have to come here and see this church. But that's
not all." He showed her the map of Katha.
the second clue I found at a church in Katha. That's where I was yesterday."
second proverb is: THOUGH THE MONKEY IS IN A HURRY, THE TREE BRANCH IS NOT."
mother says that!" Thomas then showed her the grandfather key.
found this at the church in Katha. But I also found out some information that
begins to give all this some much-needed perspective." Thomas paused, and took
a deep breath. "I learned something about your father's death. I don't mean to
be insensitive so tell me if you want me to stop."
go ahead. It's all right Thomas." Hearing Hanna say his name made him move
closer to her.
know where he was found?"
you know where in Mandalay?"
"No, just that he was found dead there."
was told your father's body was found in the Mandalay Fort moat."
Are you sure?" Her hand covered her mouth.
spoke to a reverend a few days ago at Kin Kaid's church in Katha who knew of
your father and he filled in some missing pieces. He thinks your father was
killed by mercenaries hired to kill smugglers of religious items out of Tibet
after the Chinese invasion in 1958. Your Dad's favorite good luck charm was
literally found two-hundred yards from the moat. I think your father had
successfully smuggled the sacred stone tablet from Tibet and brought it here to
Burma. And as a safety measure he set up a trail of clues as a backup so the
relic could be found in case something happened to him."
turned out to be wise."
very wise indeed. He set up a clever trail for those who believe in the
prophecy, and for only those who were an identical twin. The first clue I found
in Mandalay had to do with twins that I don't think a non-twin would've figured
out. The two Kachin proverbs were to help me find my way, and the coin and a
key have yet to find their use. The puzzle is still incomplete but I believe it
will be solved. It must."
do you think it must?" He looked for a moment at the untouched mugs of tea on
I met you." He had to say it, pausing. "Because of that painting of the phoenix
in the common room. Because of so many unlikely coincidences." He was thrilled
to see her cheeks flushed; she had caught his double entendre and the reason
for the pause.
you think the stone tablet is here in my father's church?"
he answered without hesitation. In the silence they could hear something
outside the front entrance.
"No." Her hands suddenly covered her face.
Thu is back. He's very protective of his church, and he is suspicious of
foreigners. He won't be happy if he catches us in here."