Song of the crab-apple tree of Njiao-tai.

Collected by Wang Ming-ji


The title given to this song by Wang Ming-ji is misleading. The crab-apple tree was only one, albeit the first, of a number of objects and places mentioned. The central figure is the blind girl, Gi-yw, who, despite her handicap "saw" things, to which, sighted people, through familiarity or fear, were blind.

Njiao-tai, meaning "bamboo bridge", is the Miao name of a place called Ban-qiao in Chinese, but the name does not appear in the text.

Striking the water with a stick until it bubbled and foamed was probably an activity the blind girl enjoyed as a child.

"Little deer family" was the Miao name given to an Yi landlord, whose personal name was also given to the land around about. A note in the text says that, alternatively the place was called, "Yi-gi-dlyu". It was near to Da-guang-jiai.

Many Yi landlords had large formal gardens, like temple gardens, as part of their residence. All around ran a high, whitewashed wall in which were set imposing gateways with massive wooden doors which made a loud crash when they were swung open against the wall, and again when they were closed to. In the normal way the Miao would avoid passing near the landlordís house, and so would not know exactly what the doors were like. The blind girl did not share the common fear of the landlord, and even had the temerity actually to open the garden doors. This escapade apparently resulted in her being warned off, hence her grieving for the doors.

In the mountains above the homestead of Little deer family was a pine forest. Miao girls were forbidden to go there for fear of being enticed away and abducted by a tiger. However, where others were afraid to go, the blind girl had explored. Likewise she had noticed the masses of azaleas and spring bracken, while others had taken them for granted.

"Sheep", "Monkey" and "Cockerel" are the names of the third, fourth and fifth lunar months respectively, that is, springtime in South West China.

Literal Transcription

You can see the original documents for this song.

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Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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