The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga notebook seven

caption: death and the land of the dead
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Kongan
date: 24.9.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 23.9.1936-21.3.1937
refnum: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (26) When a man of Lingba morung dies, all the Ching-ha girls come and bring bundles of pan leaves, betel nuts, lime, bark (sali), covered with flowers and put it into his house near the body and then hand it up near the coffin at the grave. And they say: "We are crying for you, take this 'pan' on your way when you go". The land of the dead is somewhere in the Chang country and the road leads through the Ao country. (27) The dead men meet on the way the A-khong-shi-tang-ba - (like an old man) - who asks them their names and their father's and mother's names, and his village. If the dead man doesn't say, A-khong-shi-tang-ba kills him and devours. When the dead man tells his name he gives a present to the A-khong-shi-tang-ba. A dead man goes first crying and weeping on the road to Yimbu. When he meets A-khong-shi-tang-ba he relates to him all the story of his whole life. Then he comes to a river where (28) all his friends who had died before him meet him. He washes himself in the river and drinks its water. Then he crosses it. From that moment he forgets all about his former life and happily goes with his friends to Yimbu. After crossing the river there are two roads, one for the lucky people and one for those who died an apothia death or have torn ear-lobes. When a head-taker dies he meets in his way to A-khong-shi-tang-ba the people whom he has (29) killed and fights with them. Then they go the bad way.