The song of a woman and a man called Ndlw.

Sung by Tao Zi-gai.


This song belongs to the cycle of songs of conflict with the Chinese. Sung by Tao Zi-gai, its style and content are different from the songs by Yang Zhi, but its subject is the same. It concerns, in particular, the clan called Ndlw, which is the equivalent in modern Miao to the archaic name, Gi-yie. This song is therefore most closely related to "The descendants of the Elder Gi-yie" as sung by Yang Zhi. That song contains a description of the Chinese troops coming in boats to attack the Miao homeland. It then goes on:-

"So the Chinese Leader Gi-yie vanquished the Elder Gi-yie, And pinned him down on the top of a rock, Though the Elder Gi-yie struggled like a bull. The companies of the Elder Gi-yie's soldiers all fled".

All this may explain the strange behaviour described in lines three to eight of the present song, where the frustration and the anger of the Miao leaders is vented on the river which had facilitated the Chinese invasion. So violent was their attack on the water that the very fish in the river suffered too. After this dramatic outburst, however, the rest of the song propounds a somewhat fatalistic philosophy. As the river must pay its dues to the cliffs and rocks, that is to say that both its course and its rate of flow are determined by them, and as the wild geese and cranes must pay their due to "the sky people", that is to the succession of the seasons which determine their migrations, so the Miao must pay their dues to the invincible Chinese, who came flooding in like the monsoon rains.

Translation in verse
Literal Transcription

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Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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