The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous papers, notebooks and letters on Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower, 1937-1947

caption: 'The Bird which would not Work' - myth
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Zemi
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: Once upon a time everyone went to dig out the beds of the streams,- everybody, Nagas and spirits too - all but one bird, which would not help; so when the work was finished and the water had all run in, the Raja said: "This bird NKAK has done none of the work; let us forbid him to have water," and he put the HETSIN bird as a sentry over the streams. So now the HETSIN always flies up and down the streams, keeping guard, and when the NKAK comes to drink he forbids it. When it rains the NKAK sits on a branch with his beak open and that's the only way he gets water.
text: (The hetsin is, I think, the water-wagtail.)