Song of Ndrao-ntlai and Hmao-chiís youngest daughter.

Collected by Wang Ming-ji.


This version of the Ndrao-ntlai story, with the exception of a few differences of detail, follows the prose narrative, M481, fairly closely. There are, however some noteworthy differences. The enigmatic episode of the young womanís incarceration, decay and rejuvenation is recounted but with no mention of pregnancy or the birth of tiger cubs. This makes it the more difficult to understand, and no explanation is offered as to its significance either in the text or by way of notes.

The Miao believed that each person possessed his own spirit called his "a dli". In the songs this is often expanded to a four-syllable expression, "a dli a dlo". A fright, a shock, in fact almost any eventuality, might cause his "a dli" to become separated from the person, and when this happened there were rituals to be performed by which it could be recalled. When a person died there were other rituals by which his "a dli" was escorted to its resting-place. These beliefs lie behind the final section of the song, and may also explain the surprising fact that neither Ndrao-ntlai nor Hmao-chiís youngest daughter could remember where they had come from, and had to find employment with a Chinese maker of wooden spoons. Their encounter with the tigers had caused a separation of the "a dli" which manifested itself in a loss of memory. In the course of his sales rounds Ndrao happened to visit his own village which revived his memory. To complete the cure, the necessary rituals were carried out to recall the "a dli" for both him and Hmao-chiís youngest daughter.

Literal Transcription

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