Song of how the Miao living at Byu-no fled.

Sung by Li Nggai-guang.


This version of the story of their migration from Byu-no to Sao-no makes no mention of the longstanding discontent of the Miao with their harsh treatment by Lord Byu-no, which, in other versions, is the main reason for their move. Neither, in this account, was it a general exodus of the whole community, but only of a small group of young women and young men who accompanied the bride to Sao-no at her request. Here they remained as her personal retainers for some time before moving away to set up their own farms in the valley of the "great river".

Sticks, from which the bark had been peeled leaving them white, figure occasionally in the accounts of Miao spirit worship. Here the middleman was either given such a white stick by Lord Byu-no, or instructed to get one, and use it to determine whether this was a propitious time for a marriage. The middleman, having no idea what to do with the stick, consulted an old Miao woman who apparently explained that it had to be placed in a pool of water, and if it floated in a vertical position a positive answer was indicated. In theory the vertical is a possible position of unstable equilibrium, but it could only be achieved if the water in the pool were quite still and there was absolutely no wind. It was to such a pool that the middleman was directed.

Translation in verse
Literal Transcription

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