Customs devised by twelve Miao clans for their protection.

Sung by Yang Zhi.


The narrative in this song begins at the end of the story, with the time when the Miao left their ancient homeland, and works backwards to the point at which they first arrived and took their bearings. It starts with a brief reference to the fifth moon festivities under cover of which the Miao clans eventually fled from the homeland. It then refers to that battle with the Chinese which took place in the narrow river valley. Next comes an extended passage describing how the young people mounted a watch in preparation for the anticipated Chinese attack. Then there is a section about the hunting of game, followed by one about the making of roads, and, finally, a description of the Miao Elders surveying the borders of the homeland, to the south and the north, and to the east and the west.

Several of the songs which concern the flight of the Miao from their ancient homeland and their subsequent migrations, describe how the old people grieved for the lost land and recorded their grief in song. This piece may well belong in that category. It seems much more like the some-what disjointed reminiscences of an old man recalling what used to be when he was young, than an historical narrative of things as they actually happened. In fact the details in the passage about the "rock watch" and the "farm watch" read like the recollections of someone who still remembered how weary one could get, and what a struggle it was to keep awake.

From other songs we learn that the fleeing Miao tribes first encountered the Yi people at a place called Bang-deu-di. This name occurs at the very end of this song where it is called "this place", presumably the place where the singer found himself as he composed his song.

Translation in verse
Literal Transcription

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Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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