The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: further visit to soothsayer Limnia , trance and tiger journey
medium: diaries
person: Limnia
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 21.5.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1.4.1937-26.6.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
seealso: Notebook 14
text: Wakching 21/5/1937
text: For the first time in several days we had a sunny morning again and around half past nine Shankok and I went to Limnia's house. He had already heard that she had had much to endure during the night because of the long journey to my country and was still exhausted. As today and tomorrow are two more genna days many people have stayed in the village while others have gone to get wood, and the boys are clearing the path to the bungalow of weeds.
text: Again Limnia's little house was full of people. Here husband, a neighbour, (170) two women nursing their babies and a multitude of children were all sitting around the fire on which a pot closed with leaves was boiling. Limnia was still lying on her bed but she was already awake. Her neighbour, a man of Shankok's clan, told us that yesterday she went into trance soon after we had left and soon started to act so alarmingly that he and her husband had sat up with her until the first cock crow because they feared that she might die. In the meantime Limnia sat up and soon left her bed. Indeed she was looking quite exhausted and complained of a headache as well as pains in her feet due to the long walk. Unfortunately what she had to tell was not very interesting.
text: She said she had wandered about for a long time before she had found the way to my village but she had not gone across mountains but on level ground. Finally she had come to my village and to the house of my parents which was like a bungalow. Everyone was already asleep and she did not enter my house but stood in front of it. Without saying how she saw this she furthermore told me (171) that I would return safely and without encountering any obstacles, and that I would find everything in order there. I would have enough food and money, a wife I would also find. She clearly saw us together. She, my wife, was to be beautiful and neither too tall nor too small. All this she said in a quiet, calm voice, often only after I questioned her. Although I do not doubt Limnia's good faith, nevertheless there was nothing in her tale which a careful and clever fraud would have said differently. Much more important than the tale itself was the fact that she insisted to have wandered in the shape of a tiger. Whenever she goes on her nocturnal excursions it is in the form of a tiger whom she has long since been closely allied with. (See Notebook 14). Because of her great endurances I gave her an additional 1.8 rupees which seemed to satisfy her.