The sky maiden.

Told by Yang Ya-go.


In 1911 Sanuel Pollard wrote this version of the sky maiden story in his diary. Although originally a song, it was told to him in prose and he took it down at the dictation of an informant who is not named, but was most probably Yang Ya-go.

At this early date the Miao script was still in the process of development, but in the present transcription the final form of 1934 has been used. Occasionally in the writing odd words have been accidentally omitted. These have been supplied to make the text readable, and are listed in the Notes. At other places the story has obviously run on faster than it could be taken down. No attempt has been made to fill such breaks in continuity, but they are indicated by three dots in the course of the translation. At two or three points, particularly where the narrative was merely a repetition of what had just been said, Pollard did not write it out again but indicated an omission by half a line of dots. The same has been done in this transcription and translation. The last sentence is clearly the beginning of a further episode. The fact that the rest of the page is left blank suggests that Pollard intended taking down more at some later date, but never managed to do so.

Millet seed had to be sown by hand, and the quantity in this story was immense. There were ten "dyu" in one "lu". These Miao words correspond to the Chinese "dou" and "dan" respectively, but the actual capacity of these measures varied a great deal from area to area. That used at the market in Shi-men-kan was considerably larger than that used at Zhaotung only 20 miles away. When large quantities of grain had to be measured a wooden container was used. This was the largest amount that could be conveniently handled at a time. At Shi-men-kan this was a box approximately two feet square at the top with sides sloping to a one and a half feet square bottom. It was about eight inches deep and contained half a "dyu". The amount of millet to be sown and collected again in this story was such a container filled twenty-two times.

Literal Transcription

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Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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