How people used to cast their skins.

Told by Wang Jian-guo.


There is no internal evidence that this story is the transcription of a song into prose. The vocabulary and style are those of contemporary Miao speech, with no hint of the expressions and phraseology characteristic of the songs.

The story explains why human life is now so short. It was probably derived from observation of snakes casting their skins, though it does not actually say so. It is not recorded how frequently people cast their skins, though "at the third year" may mean that it took place once every three years. Of the actual process there is no word except that, like child-birth, it could be very painful.

In this song the sky-people appear as a group with one of their number acting as spokesman.

Literal Transcription

You can see the original documents for this song.

You can also see these pages as Word97 documents

Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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