The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary one

caption: ancient and archaic chant sung in village; morung foundations
medium: diaries
person: Chinyang
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 22.8.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 2.6.1936-11.7.1936
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
seealso: notebook 3 p.149ff
text: (215) Wakching 22/8/1936. When I wanted to ask the gaonburas today about the origin myth of the Wakching people I unwittingly approached another, possibly even more interesting matter. As an illustration for the events of old times I was given the chant which is sung at village and morung foundations. Its language is so antiquated that the meaning of some words is no longer understood by most people although they know the general content of the chant, but many of these words are no longer used. The chant starts with the mythical bird Yang-wo-ou-niu who lives in the water of the Dikhu and who once brought forth all human beings. Then follows an episode from the time when man and tiger were still friends and then it goes on to the relationship between Wakching and Wanching. Every line consists only of certain catchwords and can only be understood if one knows the related story which is not told but is only, so to speak, recalled to memory. The explanations took up a lot of time and still there is much that remains dark to me. (notebook 3 p. 149 following). (216) By the way there seem to exist several versions of one and the same chant as Chinyang with whose help I went through the texts at night insisted on some changes.