The song of the Man Cao. How the Miao arrived in Byu-no country.

Sung by Yang Nggai-xing.


In the sixth song of Yang Zhi's cycle describing the loss of the Miao homeland and their conflict with the Chinese, there is a summary of the names used for the ancient clan leaders. Thus for the modern Miao name Hmao-ndlw, the old "classical" form was Gi-yie-yeu-lao or Gi-no-yeu-lao, but there was also the form A-yeu-hai, which, though no longer in current use, appears to be less old than the other two. The name Yeu-cao, the Man Cao, used throughout this song, also belongs in this later category, while the vocabulary and language suggest a rather later style of composition than that of the Yang Zhi cycle. At the end of another version of this song, recorded by Wang Ming-ji, there is a footnote explaining that "this family belongs to the Hmao-njiao branch of the Hmao-dang clan". That is the clan bearing the Chinese name Wang.

According to this song, the feud between the Miao and the Chinese began when the leader of the Cao clan, while on a journey, was set upon and robbed by some local Chinese. The Miao took revenge by attacking and killing the several Chinese leaders. The angry threats that this evoked were sufficient to frighten the Miao into fleeing from the region altogether. Unlike other forms of the tradition, this clan seems to have offered no resistance, and made no effort to defend their homeland.

At the end of the song we learn that the Miao eventually settled in the Na-lu valley, but no mention is made of their relationship with the Yi landlord Byu-no who owned the whole area. However in Wang Ming-ji's version the oppression and the virtual enslavement that the Miao suffered is vividly described, and the story is carried forward to the ultimate settlement far to the West in Sao-no country.

Translation in verse
Literal Transcription

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Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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