The foolish Kha woman.

Told by Yang Xiu-gong.


The first section of this rather bizarre story appears to be a contest between the men and the kha woman. The latter won the first round by solving the problem of the leaking pot, while the men won the final round by disappearing into the sky clinging to the tails of their flying buffalo and bullock. Presumably these were the animals with which they had been ploughing. It is possible that in the original song version there were other rounds besides these two.

The conditions in which the Miao lived meant that lice abounded, and it was not uncommon for people to loosen their garments and shake them vigorously without actually taking them off, in order to relieve the irritation. Some of the offending creatures might even be shaken out in the process. This is what the kha woman ordered the two girls to do, and assumed that the black seeds of millet, which dropped out of the younger girl’s clothes, were lice.

The pounder was a heavy wooden contrivance in the form of a cross, used for pounding grain or oil seed.

The episode with the ploughshare is hard to understand, and Yang Xiu-gong could not explain why the kha woman was foolish enough to give the girl in the tree a red-hot ploughshare, or how, indeed, they managed to handle it and pass it one to the other. The girl told the kha woman that she was trapped in the tree, and that the red-hot ploughshare was required somehow to make it possible for the kha woman to climb up the tree and get her down, but just how is not explained. Again in the original song version these matters may well have been made clear.

The final point of the story refers to a particularly virulent variety of stinging nettle which grows under trees. These are said to have sprung from the remains of the kha woman, who though dead, still continues to sting people. These nettles are always called "kha woman". A similar derivation of the name is found in song M116.

Literal Transcription

You can see the original documents for this song.

You can also see these pages as Word97 documents

Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

Return to Index of Songs
Return to First Page of the Archive