The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous papers, notebooks and letters on Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower, 1937-1947

caption: luck stones
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: Hga ("luck stones")
text: The right kind of stone makes a nest for itself of grass, leaves and so on, and sits in it; when a man comes on a stone like this, he knows it is the real thing. He takes it home and learns by his dreams that night whether it is good or bad. If it is bad he throws it away; if it is good, he performs "kalakha-teo", offering a fowl in the house, at the hearth. The fowl and zu are consumed by the family. After this the stone is wrapped in a piece of cloth and carefully laid away with the family treasures in the jappa reserved for them. If the owner wishes he takes the stones out and consults them at Nsing-ngi or Nkam-ngi. If the stone is sweaty, it means riches; if blood-stained, it foretells the owner's illness or death. they may also be consulted when offerings (the genna called Lu-tsak-le) are made to Tsiuperai when the main rice crop ripens. They may not be taken out for even casual inspection unless some zu or a feast on a small scale has been prepared. A pot of zu was specially provided when my dakwalla, Haitsangnang of Asalu, showed me his hga. Nor will a man show his luck-stones to strangers.
text: A genuine hga will return of its own accord if thrown out behind the house.
text: If a man die altogether without heirs, however remote, of his own clan, those who get his other property will on no account take the hga; if no relative of the same clan can be traced, the hga will be taken away.