Monday, January 14, 2008

14. On the verge of battle at Dala, 1416

When Prince Minyekyawswa learned that the Mons were preparing to lay siege to his stockade, he called together his ministers, and addressed them:

"I have marched here planning to get the Mon king. Now, the Mon king is going to surround us.

To be surrounded is not acceptable. We will leave the stockade and attack them."

None of the ministers dared say anything and each returned to his respective tat (unit, company).

Everyday Minyekyawswa gave his elephant Nga Chit Khaing two large bowls of liquor to drink. On that day he treated him to three bowls. Minyekyawswa drank a lot more than he usually did.

Before leaving for war, Minyekyawswa confided with his wife Min Hla as he held her in his embrace:

"I, the northern prince, am on the verge of taking eerything that the royal uncle, the Mon king, possesses and adding it to the tributary domains that I have gained by conquest.

When the royal elephant Nga Chit Khaing whoops like a crane in battle that is a sign that I'm about to win.

At Mohnyin (in the Shan-Tai states) with the whooping sound of a crane the royal desire was fulfilled.
(royal desire fulfilled = victory).

At the capital of Arakan there was the whooping sound of a crane and then the royal desire was fulfilled.

This time Nga Chit Khaing will once again sing like a crane and the capital of Pegu cannot escape from my hands."

[Note: Possible sexual innuendo here since it is really more than "embrace" his wife with
thon:-that = stroke, fondle; wash, bathe (Myanmar Abidan 521]

After confiding in his wife, Minyekyawswa went outside and assigned the lord of Myedu to Bagamat.

He ordered all the ministers, generals, and tat commanders to mount their elephants and horses and letting out a jubilant shout, he ordered them to follow him wave after wave.

He plied the royal elephant (hsin-daw) Nga Chit Khaing with one more round of drink and positioned his retainer (a-htein-daw) Nanda Thuriya on the middle of the elephant's back.

Over one hundred Shans (Tai) from Kale were ordered to wear pitch black robes and armed with spears to form a guard around his elephant.

Over 1000 Mohnyin Shan soldiers were armed with 3 throwing spears each.

Over 1,000 Burmese troops with gilt helmets, their shields of gold ornamented with peacock feathers were armed with 3 throwing spears each.

Noble cavalrymen wearing buffalo horns, wearing gold helmets, and noblemen clad in gold armour, surrounded him as he rode the royal elephant Nga Chit Hkaing.

The royal drum was sounded three times to announce Minyekyawswa's exit from the fort.

He marched forth without hesitation united with with his brave warriors in one group.

When Minyekyawswa left the stockade, the lord of Kale in the Shan states, Kye Taung Nyo also exited the stockade, mounted on the elephant Ye Thaw Boun with 50 elephantry, 700 cavalry and over 5,000 troops.

The king of Arakan followed on the war elephant Ye Myat Ke with 10 elephantry, 500 cavalry and 7,000 troops.

Then as the lord of Myedu climbed up on the elephant Bagamat, the elephant went berserk and started butting and trampling people and smashing things. The lord of Myedu had to dismount quickly.

On the opposite side, ready and mounted on his elephant, on the verge of commencing the battle, lord Rajadhirat poured water from a golden bowl over the front of the elephant and uttered the following vow:

" I call on the gods who safeguard the Teachings of the Buddha for 5,000 years to declare that this land is the domain of my father king Hsinbyushin, that it was so has been affirmed in a treaty (thissa-pyu) between my father king Hsinpyushin (Lord of the White Elephant) and Minyekyawswa's grandfather, Minkyiswasawke made at Thakyin.

If what I have declared is the truth may I be successful and may Minyekyawswa fall into my hands, while if it is not, may I lose the battle to him."

(based on U San Lwin's translation with extensive changes, pages 146-147, the Burmese of Banya Dala, page 322)