How Yeu-dlang-ndu separated the sky from the earth.

Narrated by Wang Jian-guo.


There can be little doubt that the original text of this story was in the form of a song. There are quite a number of expressions used which belong to the vocabulary of the songs, but the Miao text in Document N is in prose, a transcript, possibly a precis, of the original song. The Chinese version is clearly not a direct translation of the present Miao text, but a paraphrase in Chinese verse form.

In other cosmology songs the activities of coppersmiths and blacksmiths are described, but these were engaged in actually forming the sky and the earth. Here they were faced with repairing the sky and fixing it back into position above the earth. This task they completed successfully, but their carelessness in supervising the smelting of the gold and silver, resulted in the formation of twelve suns and twelve moons. In the Ya-ya song the excessive numbers of suns and moons was reduced to a single pair, but Ya-ya had to deal with only seven of each. If, originally, there were twelve, what became of the other five? It is just possible that at some earlier stage in the transmission of this story the exploding crucible of molten gold and silver produced, not twelve pairs of suns and moons, but the twelve constellations of the zodiac.

The Miao word rendered, "crucible", normally means, "hearth", or "furnace". However, the context indicates that it was a container for molten metal which could be plugged with rock and earth and then thrown away.

It is from the Chinese text that we learn that this story was contributed by Wang Jian-guo. A record of this fact, together with the notes normally printed at the end of the piece are missing in the Miao text.

Literal Transcription

You can see the original documents for this song.

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Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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