Nzyu-fao-lao, catching the robbers.

Sung by Zhang Xin-mi.


This is a straightforward tale of Nzyu-fao-lao's exploits against a small band of robbers who had been terrorising a local neighbourhood. The summary treatment meted out to them apparently had a salutary effect as a deterrent over a much wider area.

The description of the robbers in lines 27 to 30 reflects the kind of image portrayed on the paper gods, which used to be pasted on the doors of all Chinese houses. The robbers' arms and legs were "very black" and "bent", that is, they had been blackened with soot or charcoal, and were held in a threatening posture. The demand to hand over "silver" was, of course, a demand for money, but the demand for "iron objects" is not quite so obvious. Probably it means weapons, spears, swords and knives of various descriptions. The use of fire crackers to cause panic was a not uncommon tactic attributed to the Chinese in many Miao songs.

Translation in verse
Literal Transcription

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