The run-away girl and the run-away youth. 1.
The woman running away from a man)

Sung by a man from Hmao-go-ndlao.


This, the first of two songs, is about a run-away bride. The second is about a run-away bridegroom. The songs are from different sources and have little in common. They were brought together by Yang Yong-xin, who also provided the title.

The name given to the young woman, "Ngao-shao-ngao-shw", means, literally, "the girl well cared for, the girl longed for". "The eligible girl" is a fair rendering.

It would appear from the story that the middleman had already arrived and the marriage agreement was completed except for the consent of the bride who was now under considerable pressure, (the verb used means "to bully"), to say "yes". The barking dogs during the night roused the household, and the young woman went quickly outside to look. Seeing that her lover was on his way, she went back into the house to report that all was well, and in particular to reassure the recumbent middleman by adjusting the bed covering, before picking up her own clothing and slipping away.

Three nights travel by moonlight brought the couple to the Ndu-na-yi-mo. In the songs about the conflict with the Chinese, this is the name of the great river which flowed through the ancient Miao homeland, but in modern Miao it is that stretch of the Yangtse river which flows north-east through the Province of Yunnan. The latter is most likely the meaning in this song. The pine trees that the youth cut were saplings only about three inches in diameter, to serve as staffs to steady the couple against the current as they crossed the river. At this point, a thousand miles from the sea, the Ndu-na-yi-mo is already a formidable and dangerous river, which only the foolhardy would attempt to ford. The rejoicing of the young couple at having got safely across brings the song to a close. It is a fitting conclusion, for no pursuer would dare to cross the water as they had done.

Literal Transcription

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