Recorded by Wang Ming-ji.
At the end of this song in Document N there is a footnote explaining that the Cao family belonged to the Hmao-njiao branch of the Hmao-dang clan. That is the clan which took the Chinese name Wang.
Internal evidence makes it clear that Wang Ming-ji had collected two songs about the Cao family. One traces their flight from their original home, their arrival on the estates of Lord Byu-no, and the subsequent oppression they suffered at his hands. The second song begins with a graphic description of the increasingly heavy demands made upon the family by Lord Byu-no, even in a year when all the crops failed. It then tells how the family fled to Sao-no when Lord Byu-no was killed and his estates seized by the Chinese.
Whether these two songs were collected from the same singer is not clear. The first is a different version of the story, also narrated in a song by Yang Nggai-xing, and the second presents yet another angle on the Miao migration from Byu-no to Sao-no. The interesting thing is the unique manner in which Wang Ming-ji combined the two songs. He began with the second song, but having reached the point where the family was fleeing after the Chinese attack on Byu-no, he inserted the first song as a "flash back" to the last occasion when the Cao family had had to flee before Chinese aggression. After this he took up the second song again, completing the story of the flight to Sao-no. In this way the songs were not simply strung together, nor was there any conflation. The integrity of each was preserved, and it is quite obvious where each began and ended, though it is just possible that the linking stanza, lines 43 to 47, together with line 91 were added by Wang Ming-ji. For the sake of greater clarity the inserted song has been printed in italics in the English translation.
Document N presents the piece much as Wang Ming-ji had edited it, but the compilers of Document M, had already included Yang Nggai-xing's song and did not wish to cover the ground again. Having therefore quoted the first four lines of Wang Ming-ji's version, that is as far as line 51, they omitted the rest and passed straight on to the arrival at Sao-no, which is line 92.
The following detached notes will assist in understanding the song.
10 shi = 1 dyu
10 dyu = 1 lu
10 shen = 1 dou
10 dou = 1 dan
The actual size of these measures varied from place to place.
Translation in verse
You can see the original documents for this song.
You can also see these pages as Word97 documents
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