A hunting song. (1)

Collected by Wang Ming-ji.


The Miao songs contain a number of stories about legendary heroes whose exploits benefited the race in one way or another. There was Zhyu-shi-lao, who cleared the forests, Zie-gha-lao who introduced agriculture, Ndlie-di Ndrao-bang who taught the people to sing, and Nzyu-fa-lao the great shaman-healer. In this song Du-gha-njia is the legendary master huntsman. The narrative tells how he hunted and killed a prodigious beast, which no one recognised, the pelt of which, he alone, of all the inhabitants of earth and sky could wear as a cape.

In the background of the story is the "great Master" who owned the forest where the beast was found, and whose homestead provided a suitable location for preserving the meat and curing the skin. This individual had a daughter called "Nggu-gu", which means "Golden Maid", who on the morning of the hunt rose and put on her sandals at the same time as did the great Du-gha-njia himself. The implication, although it is not stated, is that she was his wife.

The line in the song that says that the loud crowing of the cockerel "cheered the people’s heart", may be a reference to the Ya-ya storey, (M108, M109 and M110) where it is explained that the cock’s crowing is the daily insurance that the sun will rise again.

Literal Transcription

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