The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: shaman's healing, were tiger
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 8.2.1937
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
seealso: notebook 10,p.93
text: Wakching 8/2/1937
text: As Vieyera is doing injections today in Wakching and needs all gaonburas there was not much to do in the morning. Instead I had a not uninteresting conversation with Shopong, the gaonbura of Tanhai, who once again had come for opium. He is a famous shaman and were-tiger, and now told me what he does when he's called in to cure a sick person.
text: First the relatives give him some cooked rice. This he spreads out in his own house and then goes to bed. In the dream he will have, Hayang tells him whether the sick person can be cured or whether he will die. In the former case he also tells him where the pig for the sacrifice has to be killed, (148) on the threshold, at the main post or in a corner of the sick person's house. In the latter case of death, Shopong declares that there is nothing further he can do and gives up all endeavours.
text: If however Hayang gives him hope for the sick person's cure he goes into his house the next day and first of all strokes his whole body with "lai-mei" leaves and says "Hayang, cure him, cure him". Then he kills the pig in the correct place and says "Hayang, eat, drive out the sickness, cure him". Then the pig is singed whereupon Shopong divides it, cuts off small pieces of the feet and of the heart and liver and mixes these with salt, ginger and sticky rice. (For himself he keeps a leg and parts of the belly). This mixture he then spreads around in the house and says "Hayang, eat, drive out, cure". Then he sits down to a meal with the relatives of the sick man and also receives one to three rupees for his services. (Notebook 10 p. 93).