M455
The youth who married a sky maiden.

Collected by Wang Ming-ji.

Introduction.

"The continuing adventures of Ndrao-ghu and Ndrao-ghv", would be a more appropriate title for this song, which, after a dozen episodes and nearly 340 lines still reaches no satisfactory conclusion. Retribution still has to be visited on Ndrao-ghu for his cruelty and subterfuge. Was the sole surviving cousin of the monkey family to be its agent? In addition Ndrao-ghv had to find a new mother for his orphaned children, but who and where we still are not told.

The meaning of the names given to the Miao man and the sky maiden is not known, but "Ndrao-ghu" and "Ndrao-ghv" are possibly conventional names for twins.

A note in the text suggests that mule, piebald and grey horses were pseudonyms for a dragon, an elephant and a cloud. Why the actual names could not be used, and how the listener was expected to know, is not explained. Neither is there any explanation why Ndrao-ghv was so upset by the calling of the gi-zhw birds. Was there some superstition, or did he imagine that they were mocking him at the death of his brother?

Another explanatory note in the text says that "the man Dlang-ndu" was "the new fatherís name", implying that this person was the sky-maidenís second husband, and therefore stepfather to the two young men. In other versions of the story he is their grandfather, and this explained why he was anxious to put them to the test, namely to establish that they were truly his kin. In this version his sole object was to kill them. However, by their own agility they avoided being crushed by the falling tree, and with a circle of magic water supplied by their mother they escaped being burnt alive.

The name "Nggu-yi-nzeu" is reminiscent of Hmao-chiís youngest daughter who, in another song, was abducted by a tiger. Although the text does not say so, it is implied that this person also consorted with tigers, and her offspring, though human in form were tigers by nature. So the girl whom Ndrao-ghu married soon made an excuse to go off up over the mountain to call her tiger relations together for a kill.

The reason why the stag made Ndrao-ghu "tie himself up" was to fasten his loose fitting clothes tightly around him in order that they might not get caught up when he was tossed into the tree. This particular tree, unknown to Ndrao-ghu, was hollow, so that when he was shown the hole by the bluebottle grub, he was able to climb down on the inside of the trunk, when he had been unable to get down on the outside.

Why Ndrao-ghu shot the monkey maiden is not clear, but it appears that he took offence at the light-hearted, teasing answer he received to his initial question and to his threat to shoot her.

Translation
Literal Transcription
Notes

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