The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: torchlight dancing
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Lunglam
date: 4.3.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 12.2.1937-31.3.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: I shot a pigeon towards evening. (133) Just now, 10 o'clock at night, I heard voices and when I stepped outside my hut I saw torches coming down the mountain from the village. Already for half an hour the wind has been rushing around the hut and dense fog is only now and then brightened by lightning. The torches were coming closer and seven boys stepped into the camp who were fetching water for me in chungas at this hour of the night. They are very cheerful and happy about a few cigarettes. Soon they have rekindled the still glowing camp fire and they are dancing around it singing and lifting their daos.
text: By the light of the fire and in the dense fog their figures are a really fantastic sight with the long palm leaf bundles on their baskets. It cannot have been different on the Blocksberg (or Brocken, the highest summit of the Harz Mountains was supposed to have been the annual meeting place of the devil and his witch disciples: Translator's note) in our ancestor's time. And what are they singing about? Of course, about Pangsha's destruction and my brave actions. Soon they go away again and now the sounds of the drums can be heard from the village. In the meantime heavy thunder crashes nearby and a real cloudburst is coming down on my roof. So far it is keeping tight.