About seven o’clock on the following morning I was in the Sala or San
Shuang, which is within the second enclosure of the palace, but outside
of the third or inner wall, which is that of the harem. This building
is of one story only, and totally unlike that occupied for similar
purposes in the interior of the grand palace. The main entrance was
through a long, low corridor, on both sides of which opened apartments
of different dimensions, so dilapidated as to be scarcely habitable,
looking out upon the barracks, the magazine, and the fantastic grounds
of the palace gardens. On entering the hall one was at once struck by
the incongruities that met the eye; the windows were large and lofty,
and might have served for the casements of a royal residence, while the
doors were very narrow and mean, and the floor merely a collection of
worm-eaten boards roughly nailed down. One interesting and picturesque
peculiarity was the monstrous size of the spiders, who must have had
undisturbed possession of the walls and ceiling for at least a century.
Altogether, it was very dark, dull, and dreary, even depressing and
sepulchral, when not illumined by the direct rays of the sun.

Several of the men and women judges were already there, interchanging
greetings and offerings of the contents of their betel-boxes.
P’hayaprome Baree Rak, the chief of the men, and Khoon Thow App, chief
of the women judges, sat apart, the latter with her head bowed in an
attitude of reflection and sadness. Before them were low tables, on
which lay dark rolls of laws, Siamese paper, pens, and ink. Some lower
officials and clerks crouched around. They all eyed me with curiosity
as I entered and took a seat at the end of the hall, near the two
priests who were present as witnesses; but no one made any objection to
my stay.

I had not been there long when a file of Amazons appeared, bringing
in Tuptim and the two other girls under guard. These were Maprang and
Simlah, Tuptim’s most intimate friends, whom I had always seen with her
when she came to the school-room.

But was that Tuptim? I sat stupefied at the transformation that had
been wrought in the Tuptim I had known. Her hair was cut close to her
head, and her eyebrows had been shaved off. Her cheeks were hollow and
sunken. Her eyes were cast down. Her hands were manacled, and her bare
little feet could hardly drag along the heavy chains that were fastened
to her ankles. Her scarf was tied tightly over her bosom, and under it
her close-fitting vest was buttoned up to the throat. Her whole form
was still childlike, but she held herself erect, and her manner was
self-possessed. When she spoke, her voice was clear and vibrating, her
accent firm and unflinching.

The Amazons laid before the judges some priests’ garments and a small
amulet attached to a piece of yellow cord. The vestments, such as
are worn by a nain (young priest), were those in which Tuptim had
been arrested, and in which she had probably escaped from the palace;
the amulet, in appearance like those worn by all the natives of the
country, had been taken from her neck. On opening the yellow silk which
formed the envelope of the latter, a piece of paper was found stitched
inside, with English letters written thereon. Khoon Thow App was
sufficiently versed in English to spell out and read aloud the name of
“Khoon P’hra Bâlât.”

Tuptim was then ordered to come forward. She dragged herself along as
well as she could, and took her place in the centre of the hall. She
made no obeisance, no humble, appealing prostration, but neither was
there any want of modesty in her demeanor. She sat down with the air of
one who suffered, but who was too proud to complain. I caught a glance
of her eyes; they were clear and bright, and an almost imperceptible
melancholy smile flitted across her face as she returned my greeting. I
was more astonished than before; the simple child was transfigured into
a proud, heroic woman, and, as she sat there, she seemed so calm and
pure, that one might think she had already crystallized into a lovely

Simlah and Maprang were examined first, and, without apparent
reluctance, confessed all that poor Tuptim had ever confided to them,
and a great many other irrelevant matters. But when Simlah spoke of her
friend’s escape from the palace as connected with Khoon P’hra Bâlât’s
coming in for alms,[4] Tuptim interrupted her, telling her to stop,
and saying: “That’s not true. You are wrong, Simlah, you know nothing
about it. You know you don’t. And it was not at that time.” Then, as if
recollecting herself, she added, proudly: “No matter. Go on. Never mind
me. Say all that you want to say”; and resumed her former position.

“Well!” said P’hayaprome Baree Rak, the chief man judge; “if your
companions know nothing about it, perhaps you will tell us exactly how
it was.”

“If I tell you the whole truth, will you believe me and judge me
righteously?” asked the girl.

“You shall have the bastinado applied to your bare back if you do not
confess all your guilt at once,” replied the judge.

Tuptim did not speak immediately; but by the expression of her eyes
and the alternate flushing and paling of her face it was evident
that she was debating in her own mind whether she should make a full
confession or not. Finally, with an air of fixed determination she
turned towards Khoon Thow App, and, addressing her exclusively, said:
“Khoon P’hra Bâlât has not sinned, my lady, nor is he in any way
guilty. All the guilt is mine. In the stillness of the nights, when
I prostrated myself in prayer before Somdetch P’hra Buddh, the Chow,
thoughts of escaping from the palace often and often would distract me
from my devotions and take possession of my thoughts. It seemed to me
as if it were the voice of the Lord, and that there was nothing for me
to do but to obey. So I dressed myself as a priest, shaved off my hair
and my eyebrows–”

“Now,” interrupted P’hayaprome Baree Rak, “that’s just what we want to
hear. Tell us who it was got the priest’s dress for you, and shaved off
your hair and your eyebrows. Speak up louder.”

“My lord, I am telling what I did myself, and not what any one else
did. Hear me, and I will speak the truth, so far as it relates to
myself; beyond that I cannot go,” replied Tuptim, a sudden flush
covering her face, and making her look lovelier than ever.

“Go on,” said the dreadful man, with a scornful smile at the childish
form before him; “we shall find a way to make you speak.”

“Dèck nak” (she is very young), said Khoon Thow App, gently.

Tuptim was silent for some moments. The sunlight, streaming across the
hall, fell just behind her, revealing the exquisite transparency of her
olive-colored skin, as, with a look more thoughtful and an expression
more serenely simple still, she continued:–

“At five o’clock in the morning, when the priests were admitted into
the palace, I crawled out of my room and joined the procession as it
passed on to receive the royal alms. No one saw me but Simlah, and even
she, as she has told me herself, did not recognize me, but wondered why
a priest came so near to my door.”

“That is true!” broke in Simlah; “I never even knew that Tuptim had run
away until Khoon Yai (one of the chief ladies of the harem) sent to
inquire why she was absent from duty so long, and then I began to think
that the young priest I had seen had something to do with it. But I was
afraid to say anything of this to the women who searched the houses,
lest we should be accused of having helped her to escape.”

When Simlah had done speaking, Tuptim continued:–

“I know not why, but, when I found myself outside of the palace walls,
I went straight to the temple of Rajah Bah ditt Sang, and sat down at
the gate. Towards evening the good priest, Chow Khoon Sah, came out,
and, on seeing me, asked me why I sat there. I did not know what else
to say, and so I begged him to let me be his disciple and live in his
monastery. ‘Whose disciple art thou, my child?’ he asked. At which
I began to cry, for I did not wish to deceive the holy man. Seeing
my distress, he turned to P’hra Bâlât, who was following him with
other priests, and bade him take me under his charge and instruct me
faithfully in all the doctrines of Buddha. Then P’hra Bâlât took me
to his cell; but he did not recognize in the young priest I seemed to
be the Tuptim he had known in his boyhood, and who had once been his
betrothed wife.”

At this part of Tuptim’s recital, the women held up their hands
in profound astonishment, and the men judges grinned maliciously,
displaying their hateful gums, red with the juice of the betel-nut.

The poor girl’s pale lips quivered, and her whole face testified to
the immensity of her woe, as with simple, truthful earnestness she
asseverated: “P’hra Bâlât, whom you have condemned to torture and to
death, has not sinned. He is innocent. The sin is mine, and mine only.
I knew that I was a woman, but he did not. If I had known all that he
has taught me since I became his disciple, I could not have committed
the great sin of which I am accused. I would have tried, indeed and
truly, I would have tried to endure my life in the palace, and would
not have run away. O lady dear! believe that I am speaking the truth.
I grew quiet and happy because I was near him, and he taught me every
day, and I can say the whole of the Nava d’harma (Divine Law) by heart.
You can ask his other disciples who were with me, and they will tell
you that I was always modest and humble, and we all lay at his feet
by night. Indeed, dear lady, I did not so much want to be his wife
after he became a p’hra (priest), but only to be near him. On Sunday
morning, those men,” pointing to the two priests who sat apart, “came
to the cell to see P’hra Bâlât, and it so happened that I had overslept
myself. I had just got up and was arranging my dress, thinking that
I was alone in the cell, when I heard a low chuckling laugh. In an
instant I turned and faced them, and felt that I was degraded forever.

“Believe me, dear lady,” continued Tuptim, growing more and more
eloquent as she became still more earnest in her recital. “I was
guilty, it is true, when I fled from my gracious master, the king, but
I never even contemplated the sin of which I am accused by those men. I
knew that I was innocent, and I begged them to let me leave the temple,
and hide myself anywhere, telling them that P’hra Bâlât did not know
who I was, or that I was a woman; but they only laughed and jeered at
me. I fell on my knees at their feet, and implored them, entreated
them in the name of all that is holy and sacred, to keep my secret and
let me go; but they only laughed and jeered at me the more; they would
not be merciful,”–here the poor girl gasped as if for breath, while
two large tears coursed down her cheeks,–“and then I defied them, and
I still defy them,” she added, shaking her manacled hands at them.

The two priests looked at the girl unmoved, chewing their betel all
the while; the judges listened in silence, with an air of amused
incredulity, as to a fairy-tale. She continued:–

“Just then P’hra Bâlât and his other disciples returned from their
morning ablutions. I crawled to his feet, and told him that I was
Tuptim. He started back and recoiled to the end of the cell, as if the
very earth had quaked beneath him, leaving me prostrate and overwhelmed
with horror at what I had done. In a moment afterwards he came back to
me, and, while weeping bitterly himself, begged me that I would cry
no more. But the sight of his tears, and the grief in my heart, made
me feel as if I were being swallowed up in a great black abyss, and I
could not help crying more and more. Then he tried to soothe me, and
said, ‘Alas! Tuptim, thou hast committed a great sin. But fear not. We
are innocent; and for the sake of the great love thou hast shown to
me, I am ready to suffer even unto death for thee.’ This is the whole
truth. Indeed, indeed, it is!”

“Well, well!” said P’hayaprome Baree Rak, “you have told your story
beautifully, but nobody believes you. How will you tell us who shaved
off your hair and your eyebrows, and brought you that priest’s dress
you had on yesterday?”

The simple grandeur of that fragile child, as she folded her chained
hands across her bosom, as if to still its tumultuous heaving, and
replied, “I will not!” defies all description.

I had drawn quite near to Tuptim when she began her simple narrative,
and was so much absorbed in attention to what she said, and in
admiration of the fearlessness as well as of the beauty and majesty of
that little figure, that I had remained rooted to the spot, standing
there mechanically, and hardly noting what was going on around me. But
the effect of that reply was startling; it brought me suddenly to my
senses and to a full appreciation of the scene before me.

There was a child of barely sixteen years hurling defiance, at her
own risk and peril, at the judges who appeared as giants beside her.
To make such a reply to those executors of Siam’s cruel laws was not
only to accept death, but all the agonies of merciless torture. As her
refusal fell like a thunderbolt upon my startled ears, she seemed a
very Titan among the giants.

“Strip her, and give her thirty blows,” shouted the infuriated
P’hayaprome Baree Rak, in a voice hoarse with passion; and Khoon Thow
App looked calmly on.

Presently the crowd opened, and a litter borne by two men was brought
into the hall. On it lay the mutilated form of the priest Bâlât, who
had just undergone the torture, in order to make him confess his
guilt and that of his accomplice, Tuptim; but as the minutes of the
ecclesiastical court stated, “it had not been possible to elicit from
him even an indication that he had anything to confess.” His priestly
robes had been taken from him, and he was dressed like any ordinary
layman, except that his hair and eyebrows were closely shaven. They
laid him down beside Tuptim, hoping that the sight of her under torture
would induce him to confess.

[Illustration: A SIAMESE SLAVE-GIRL.]

The next moment Tuptim was stripped of her vest and bound to a stake,
and the executioners proceeded to obey the orders of the judge. When
the first blow descended on the girl’s bare and delicate shoulders, I
felt as if bound and lacerated myself, and losing all control over
my actions, forgetting that I was a stranger and a foreigner there,
and as powerless as the weakest of the oppressed around me, I sprang
forward, and heard my voice commanding the executioners to desist, as
they valued their lives.

The Amazons at once dropped their uplifted bamboos, and “Why so?” asked
the judge. “At least till I can plead for Tuptim before his Majesty,”
I replied. “So be it,” said the wretch; “go your way; we will wait
your return.”[5] Tuptim was unbound, and the moment she was released
she crouched down and concealed herself under the folds of the canvas
litter in which the priest lay motionless and silent.

I forced my way through the curious crowd, who stood on tiptoe and
with necks outstretched, trying to get a sight of the guilty pair.
On leaving the hall, I met the slave-girl Phim, who followed me into
the palace, wringing her hands and sobbing bitterly. The king was
in his breakfast-hall, and the smell of food made me feel sick and
dizzy as I climbed the lofty staircase, for I had eaten nothing that
day. Nevertheless, I walked as rapidly as possible up to the chair in
which the king was seated, fearing that I might lose my courage if
I deliberated a moment. “Your Majesty,” I began to say, in a voice
that seemed quite strange to me, “I beg, I entreat your pity on poor
Tuptim. I assure you that she is innocent. If you had known from the
beginning that she was betrothed to another man, you would never have
taken her to be your wife. She is not guilty; and the priest, too, is
innocent. Oh! do be gracious to them and forgive them both! I pray
your Majesty to give me a scrap of writing to say that she is forgiven,
and that the priest, too, is pardoned, through your goodness; only
let me–” My voice failed me, and I sank upon the floor by the king’s
chair. “I beg your Majesty’s pardon–” “You are mad,” said the monarch;
and, fixing a cold stare upon me, he burst out laughing in my face. I
started to my feet as if I had received a blow. Staggering to a pillar,
and leaning against it, I stood looking at him. I saw that there was
something indescribably revolting about him, something fiendish in his
character which had never struck me before, and I was seized with an
inexpressible horror of the man. Stupefied and amazed quite as much at
finding myself there as at the new development I witnessed, thought and
speech alike failed me, and I turned to go away.

“Madam,” said that man to me, “come back. I have granted your petition,
and the woman will be condemned to work in the rice-mill. You need not
return to the court-house. You had better go to the school now.”

I could not thank him; the revulsion of feeling was too great. I
understood him perfectly, but I had no power to speak. I went away
without a word, and at the head of the stairs met one of the women
judges bringing some papers in her hand to the king. Instead of going
to the school I went home, utterly sick and prostrated.

About two o’clock that very afternoon I was startled to see two
scaffolds set up on the great common in front of my windows, opposite
the palace. A vast crowd of men, women, and children had already
collected from every quarter, in order to see the spectacle, whatever
it might happen to be. A number of workmen were driving stakes and
bringing up strange machines, under the hurried instructions of
several high Siamese officials. There was an appearance of great
and general excitement among the crowd on the green, and I became
sufficiently aroused to inquire of my maid what was the reason of
all this preparation and commotion. She informed me that a Bâdachit
(guilty priest) and a Nangharm (royal concubine) were to be exposed and
tortured for the improvement of the public morals that afternoon. It
was afternoon already.

As I afterwards learned, I had no sooner left the king than the woman
judge I had met at the head of the staircase laid before him the
proceedings of both the trials, of Bâlât and Tuptim. On reading them
he repented of his promised mercy, flew into a violent rage against
Tuptim and me, and, not knowing how to punish me except by showing me
his absolute power of life and death over his subjects, ordered the
scaffolds to be set up before my windows, and swore vengeance against
any person who should again dare to oppose his royal will and pleasure.
To do justice to the king, I must here add that, having been educated
a priest, he had been taught to regard the crime of which Tuptim and
Bâlât were accused as the most deadly sin that could be committed by

The scaffolds or pillories on which the priest and Tuptim were to be
exposed were made of poles, and about five feet high; and to each
were attached two long levers, which were fastened to the neck of the
victim, and prevented his falling off, while they were so arranged as
to strangle him in case this was the sentence.

All the windows of the long antechamber that filled the eastern
front of the palace were thrown open, and I could see the hurried
preparations making for the king, the princes and princesses, and all
the great ladies of the court, who from there were to witness the
exquisite torture that awaited the hapless Tuptim.

Paralyzed by the knowledge that the only person who could have
done anything to mitigate the barbarous cruelty that was about to
be perpetrated–her Britannic Majesty’s Consul, T.G. Knox, now
Consul-General–was then absent from Bangkok, I looked in helpless
despair at what was going on before me. I longed to escape into the
forest, or to take refuge with the missionaries, who lived several
miles down the river; but so dense was the crowd and so horrible the
idea of deserting poor Tuptim and leaving her to suffer alone, that I
felt obliged to stay and sympathize with her and pray for her, at the
least. I thus compelled myself to endure what was one of the severest
trials of my life.

A little before three o’clock the instruments of torture were brought,
and placed beside the scaffolds. Soon a long, loud flourish of trumpets
announced the arrival of the royal party, and the king and all his
court were visible at the open windows; the Amazons, dressed in scarlet
and gold, took their post in the turrets to guard the favored fair ones
who were doomed to be present and to witness the sufferings of their
former companion.

Suddenly the throng sent up a thrilling cry, whether of joy or sorrow
I could not comprehend, and, the moment after, the priest was hoisted
upon the scaffold to the right, while Tuptim tranquilly ascended that
to the left, nearest my windows. I thought I could see that the poor
priest turned his eyes, full of love and grief, towards her.

I need not attempt to depict the feelings with which I saw the little
lady, with her hands, which were no longer chained, folded upon her
bosom, look calmly down upon the heartless and abandoned rabble who,
as usual, flocked around the scaffold to gloat upon the spectacle, and
who usually greet with ferocious howls the agonies of the poor tortured
victims. But, on this occasion, the rabble were awed into silence;
while some simple hearts, here and there, firm believers in Tuptim’s
innocence, were so impressed by her calm self-possession, that they
even prostrated themselves in worship of that childish form.

My windows were closed upon the scene; but that tiny figure, with her
scarlet scarf fluttering in the breeze, had so strong a fascination
for me, that I could not withdraw, but leaned against the shutters,
an unwilling witness of what took place, with feelings of pain,
indignation, pity, and conscious helplessness which can be imagined.

Two trumpeters, one on the right and one on the left, blared forth
the nature of the crime of which the helpless pair were accused. Ten
thousand eyes were fixed upon them, but no sound, no cry, was heard.
Every one held his breath, and remained mute in fixed attention, in
order not to lose a single word of the sentence that was to follow.
Again the trumpets sounded, and the conviction of the accused, with the
judgment that had been passed upon them, was announced. Then the spell
was broken, and some of the throng, as if desirous to propitiate the
royal spectator at the window, made the air ring with their shouts;
while others, going still further, showered all manner of abuse upon
the poor girl, as she stood calmly awaiting her fate upon those shaking
wooden posts.

Nothing could surpass the dignity of demeanor with which the little
lady sustained the storm of calumny from the more mercenary of the
rabble around her; but the rapidity with which the color came and went
in her cheeks, which were now of glowing crimson and now deadly pale,
and the astonishment and indignation which flashed from her eyes,
showed the agitation within.

The shrill native trumpets sounded for the third time. The multitude
was again hushed into a profound silence, and the executioners mounted
a raised platform to apply the torture to Tuptim. For one moment it
seemed as if the intense agony exceeded her power of endurance. She
half turned her back upon the royal spectator at the window, her form
became convulsed, and she tried to hide her face in her hands. But she
immediately raised herself up as by a supreme effort, and her voice
rang out, like a clear, deep-toned silver bell: “Chân my di phit;
Khoon P’hra Bâlât ko my me phit; P’hra Buddh the Chow sap möt.” She
had hardly done speaking when she uttered an agonized cry, wild and
piercing. It was peculiarly touching; the cry was that of a child, an
infant falling from its mother’s arms, and she fell forward insensible
upon the two poles placed there to support her.

The attendant physicians soon restored her to consciousness, and,
after a short interval, the torture was again applied. Once more her
voice rang out more musical still, for its quivering vibrations were
full of the tenderest devotion, the most sublime heroism: “I have not
sinned, nor has the priest my lord Bâlât sinned. The sacred Buddh[6]
in heaven knows all.” Every torture that would agonize, but not
kill, was employed to wring a confession of guilt from the suffering
Tuptim; but every torture, every pang, every agony, failed, utterly and
completely failed, to bring forth anything but the childlike innocence
of that incomparable pagan woman. The honor of the priest Bâlât seemed
inexpressibly more precious to her than her own life, for the last
words I heard from her were: “All the guilt was mine. I knew that I was
a woman, but he did not.”

After this I neither heard nor saw anything more. I was completely
exhausted and worn out, and had no strength left to endure further
sight of this monstrous, this inhuman tragedy. Kind nature came to my
relief, and I fainted.

When I again looked from my window the scaffolds were removed, the
crowd had departed, the sun had set. I strained my eyes, trying if I
could distinguish anything on the great common before the house. There
was a thick mist loaded with sepulchral vapors, a terrifying silence,
an absolute quiet that made me shudder, as if I were entombed alive.
At last I saw one solitary person coming towards my house through
the gathering darkness. It was the slave-girl, Phim, whose life had
been saved by the resolute bravery of her mistress; for it was she
who had bought the priest’s dress and aided her mistress to escape
from the palace. She came to me in secret to tell me that the most
merciful and yet the most dreadful doom, death by fire,–which is the
punishment assigned by the laws of Siam to the crime of which they were
accused,–had been pronounced upon the priest and Tuptim by that most
irresponsible of human beings, the King of Siam; that they had suffered
publicly outside of the moat and wall which enclose the cemetery Watt
Sah Katè; and that some of the common people had been terribly affected
by the sight of the priest’s invincible courage and of Tuptim’s heroic
fortitude. With her low, massive brow, her wild, glistening eyes,
and her whole soul in her face, she spoke as if she still beheld that
fragile form in its last struggle with the flaming fire that wrapped
it round about, and still heard her beloved mistress’s voice, as she
confronted the populace, holding up her mutilated hands, and saying:
“I am pure, and the priest, my lord Bâlât, is pure also. See, these
fingers have not made my lips to lie. The sacred Buddh in heaven judge
between me and my accusers!”

The slave-girl’s grief was as deep and lasting as her gratitude. Every
seventh day she offered fresh flowers and odoriferous tapers upon the
spot where her mistress and the priest had suffered, firmly believing
that their disembodied souls still hovered about the place at twilight,
bewailing their cruel fate. She assured me that she often heard voices
moaning plaintively through the mellow evening air, growing deeper and
gathering strength as she listened, and seeming to draw her very soul
away with them; now tenderly weeping, now fervently exulting, until
they became indistinct, and finally died away in the regions of the
blessed and the pure.

I afterwards learned that the fickle populace, convinced of the
innocence of Bâlât and Tuptim, would have taken speedy vengeance on the
two priests, their accusers, had they not escaped from Bangkok to a
monastery at Paknâm; and that the twenty caties offered for the capture
of Tuptim had been expended in the purchase of yellow robes, earthen
pots, pillows, and mats for the use of the bonzes at Watt Rajah Bah
ditt Sang, no priest being allowed to touch silver or gold.

The name Bâlât, which signifies “wonderful,” had been given to the
priest by the high-priest, Chow Khoon Sah, because of his deep piety
and his intuitive perception of divine and holy truths. The name which
his mother bestowed upon him, and by which Tuptim had known him in her
earlier years, was Dang, because of his complexion, which was a golden
yellow. On being bereft of Tuptim, to whom he was tenderly attached, he
entered the monastery, and became a priest, in order that, by austere
devotion and the study of the Divine Law, he might wean his heart from
her and distract his mind from the contemplation of his irreparable

For more than a month after Tuptim’s sad death I did not see the
king. At last he summoned me to his presence, and never did I feel so
cold, so hard, and so unforgiving, as when I once more entered his
breakfast-hall. He took no notice of my manner, but, as soon as he saw
me, began with what was uppermost in his mind. “I have much sorrow for
Tuptim,” he said; “I shall now believe she is innocent. I have had a
dream, and I had clear observation in my vision of Tuptim and Bâlât
floating together in a great wide space, and she has bent down and
touched me on the shoulder, and said to me, ‘We are guiltless. We were
ever pure and guiltless on earth, and look, we are happy now.’ After
discoursing thus, she has mounted on high and vanished from my further
observation. I have much sorrow, mam, much sorrow, and respect for your
judgment; but our laws are severe for such the crime. But now I shall
cause monument to be erected to the memory of Bâlât and Tuptim.”

Any one who may now pass by Watt Sah Katè will see two tall and slender
P’hra Chadees, or obelisks, erected by order of the king on the spot
where those lovely Buddhists suffered, each bearing this inscription:
“Suns may set and rise again, but the pure and brave Bâlât and Tuptim
will never more return to this earth.”