The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Twenty-two. Love and Poetry
caption: story illustrating tricks played on rivals
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching Wanching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: "Once upon a time the Wanching men inquired from the Wakching people how they should set about cutting their hair.
text: Now the Konyak custom is to hold a dao with its back to the forehead, arrange the hair over the sharp edge and then tap along the edge with a piece of wood, thus evenly clipping off the tips. But the malicious men of Wakching told their neighbours to place the dao with its sharp edge against the forehead and hit against the back of the axe with a heavy mallet. The unfortunate Wanching men followed the instructions literally: the dao cut the hair, but also the heads of all those who submitted to this method of hair-cutting, and many died at the hands of their well-meaning friends and brothers.
text: Another time the Wanching men wanted to make a logdrum and they asked their neighbours' advice. The Wakching men told them that they should choose a big tree, and while three or four men felled it, all the others should support the trunk.
text: Again the evil advice was followed and the tree in falling squashed the chief's brother Keangdzing and many of the others who had in vain tried to hold it up."