The song of the Flood.

Sung by a grandmother from Hmao-zu-mu.


This version of the Flood story comes from a line of tradition different from the foregoing versions. With detail of the deluge itself quite brief, the distinctive feature is the provision for the continuation of the human race after the Flood, by a union between Ndrao-ya and his young sister.

In this song the personage who informed the two brothers of the imminent danger of the Flood is not given a name or title, but is simply called "the Old-one", but having delivered his warning he just disappears until the end of the song.

Considerable sections of the story seem to be missing. There is no word about the building of boats, or the fate of the elder brother Ndrao-yiu. The hatching of an egg prompted Ndrao-ya to look out and observe that the waters were still in full flood, but their abatement, signalled by the crowing of the cockerel, now fully grown, is not mentioned. Similarly the whole sequence about Thunder and the cycle of the seasons has been omitted.

When the smoke from Ndrao-yas fire alerted the "sky people" that someone must still be alive on earth, they despatched the Old-one to go and investigate, and Ndrao-ya took the opportunity to express his concern about finding a wife. Among the Miao, marriage between near kindred was always inadmissible, so that, though the rest of the human race had been wiped out by the Flood, the idea that Ndrao-ya and his young sister should "make a family and live", was abhorrent to both of them. It was only when the Old-one presented them with the powerful and incontrovertible sign of the rolling stone, that their scruples were overcome and they were prepared to accept this as the right thing to do.

Translation in verse
Literal Transcription

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Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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