The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Two. Feasts Of Merit
caption: fetching of two stones on sledges; stone dragging described
medium: books
person: Netsoho
ethnicgroup: Angami
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: But it was not yet time for the men to lose themselves in the enjoyments of the feast; there was still work to be done. When the sun stood high in the sky, Netsoho and his wife, leading the rest of the villagers, followed the steep path down to the forest, through the heavily carved gate, under the branches of the high bamboos, over the ridge to the place where two enormous stone boulders, two slumbering monsters, lay in the jungle. Strong cane ropes were slipped over the stones, which, with tremendous efforts, were hoisted on to the two wooden sledges. Thirty or forty young men strained at the cane ropes, their half-naked bodies glistening with sweat under the midday sun. Muscles tightened and slackened under taut burnished skin as the awkward sledges bumped, stuck, and were dragged yet farther over the rough ground. With their feather crowns, their long white cords fluttering, and those queer swinging "tails" of floating human hair that are the only remains of a one-time quiver, the men resembled huge grotesque birds of prey hovering about their victim, settling and dispersing again, as the sledges stuck on some root, were freed, and moved on.