Concerning Sun-maid and Moon-youth.

Sung by a man from Hmao-a-gw-gw.


The object of this song is to explain why the sun and moon move round the sky rather than over the surface of the ground. The idea of the sun and the moon as a maid and a youth, common in Miao songs, is here taken a step further. It says that Sun-maid and Moon-youth "made a family to live", that is that they became man and wife. The song then goes on to imagine them, like any young Miao couple, moving house, she, carrying her new baby wrapped up on her back, and he, burdened with the essential household articles, including his crossbow.

It is not explained to what astronomical phenomena Sun-maid's baby boy and Moon-youth's cross-bow correspond, nor are we told of the cosmic significance of the delay involved while the couple returned to make a sash and a rope for carrying their respective loads.

Their journey took them, eventually, to the point where the dome of the sky fitted down on the ground. Here, unable to go further, they had to turn back, but elected not to travel the way they had come, but rather to go circling around the sky.

In the final lines of the song the sky is described as "black and coloured". The second adjective is, in fact, the word "dyed". The Miao used a variety of dye stuffs, but by far the most common was indigo, so that this expression is a reference to the colour of the sky at night and in the day.

Literal Transcription

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Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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