Concerning the Man Li-dao, section four.

Sung by Tao Zi-gai.


This short final section of Tao Zi-gai's extended song about the Li-dao clan has, in fact, nothing to do with the man Li-dao. It tells rather how the powerful Yi lords, who originally controlled the area around Zhaotung in North-east Yunnan, were driven away, and their land seized by the Chinese. The same story was recorded by Yang Zhi at the end of the legend of how Nzyu-fao-lao drained the lake which once covered the Zhaotung plain to make way for agriculture.

The two accounts differ in one particular. According to Yang Zhi, having annexed the Zhaotung region, the Chinese sent an envoy who dictated terms to the defeated Yi lords, confining them to the West side of the Ndu-na-yi-mo river. On the other hand Tao Zi-gai says that, having been driven from the Zhaotung plain, the Yi lords brought a case against the invaders before a superior authority called Lord Syu-gyu. It is not explained who he was, but he clearly had the authority to set a bound to the Chinese expansion to the West, leaving the Yi lords in control of the mountains on the far side of the Ndu-na-yi-mo.

In the old songs the name Ndu-na-yi-mo is used for the great river which ran through the ancient Miao Homeland. Here, however, and in general modern usage, it is the name given to that stretch of the Yangtsi river which, some miles to the West of Zhaotung, flows in a North-easterly direction, and is known locally as the "Golden Sands River". Beyond it lay a region which was known as "independent Lolo country" as late as the middle of the Twentieth Century.

Translation in verse
Literal Transcription

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