First-woman and First-man.

Told by Wang Jian-guo.


There can be little doubt that this story was originally a song. If Wang Jian-guo, who recorded it, had a copy of the song version, he chose to transcribe it into prose. It may be, however, that the song version has been lost and only the narrative remembered.

The story concerns the origin of the sun and the moon, and also of the myriad of stars. It explains too why the former are regularly thought of as a young woman and a young man, though the common names, Sun-maid and Moon-youth, are not actually used. The questions that the story provokes are mostly left unanswered. We are not told how First-woman and First-man came to be, or who attended to their needs during their daily cycles of infancy, childhood and old age. Details about the man from the sky are not given, nor how he and the rest of the sky people reacted to the sudden invasion of their domain by the hoards from earth, or had they, perhaps, arranged for it all to happen?

The Miao day began with early rising at daybreak or soon after. There were two main meals, breakfast at about 10 a.m. and evening meal at dusk. Between these two, at noon or there about, they ate a light mid-day snack which is somewhat over dignified by the English word lunch.

Literal Transcription

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Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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