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 eighteen. The First Rains
caption: ritual sacrifice
medium: books
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: Namkia went off at once to fetch a suitable bird and call the village priest. He found the bird, but the priest was not available, so he returned with the old ex-headman, Samrangba's uncle. Like many elders, he earned extra income by performing such minor ceremonies for the sick.
text: The house was cleared. The old man, accompanied by a helper with rice and beer, came in and settled down at the living-room hearth. He first offered the cock, with invocations, to the offending spirit. Then he killed and cooked it. (138) A few scraps of the liver, with a little rice, were laid on a leaf plate and set out for the spirit. Then some similar scraps were given to me. Next a libation of beer was poured for the spirit. Some more, in a leaf cup, was handed to me. Lastly, the old man rose and pronounced a blessing. The ceremony, he told me, had been correctly done; I should most certainly be cured. Then he went off home, his friend following with their joint perquisites, the rest of the food and beer, and left me feeling not one jot worse or better.
text: As I turned painfully over in the small hours of the morning, my knee gave a click and went back. I could limp about next day.
text: It may, of course, have been the elastic plaster. But I never tried to tell the Zemi that.