The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book - 'Naga Path', by Ursula Graham Bower, published John Murray 1950

caption: Chapter nine. First-Fruits Festival
caption: buffalo stampede
medium: books
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: The headman now came up and asked us to go along for a drink. We perched on three-inch stools in his firelit inner room and were served with rice-beer in pint-capacity banana-leaf cups. But as we sat we heard, suddenly, a distant shouting which could only mean that the bull was being thrown. As soon as some stalwart has a tight hold on the tail, he yells his patronymics at the top of his voice; and the moment he is identified, all the bucks of his morung race to the spot, the first up catching the horns while the rest beat off the rival morung and help to bring the bull to a standstill. Then they band together, to throw it, with much ho-ho-ing; for no (75) throw, no win. We didn't want to miss seeing that. We looked at each other with a wild surmise. Then we rose as one, thrust our drinks back at our hostess - to be poured back into the family beer-vat, for economy's sake - and dashed outside and down the street towards the noise, accompanied at a hand-gallop by several small boys with the same idea.
text: At the foot of the street a corkscrew path wound down into saplings and thickets. We raced on till we came abreast of the shouting, and then, certain that we should be too late for the fun, plunged headlong into the woods on the right. A gully intervened. We hurled ourselves into it and up the far bank. And there we found, not a captive buffalo in the hands of the young men, but a loose and very angry bull just in front of us and all the young men treed and ho-ho-ing to stampede the brute. Haichangnang's red blanket was too much for him, and he charged us. I had one brief glimpse of the great head bearing down, and another of a frantically- beckoning Naga up the slope. Never had I run as I ran then - my feet were air, I flew. Haichangnang reached the place a second before me and waited, thrust me into a natural cage of saplings into which the other Naga had preceded us, and ducked in after me, and there we stood gasping while the bull stamped and snorted where we had been five seconds before.