The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Seven. Fishing with Tactful 'Savages'
caption: arrival back exhausted
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Night fell and every moment flashes of lightning illuminated the country for whole seconds at a time. Slowly, very slowly, we moved up a steep, open slope. I had fever, and I knew I would not be able to manage the remaining two thousand feet without a good rest. But before I could mention the fact, Chinyang suggested that we should make tea in one of the nearby field huts, and the others accepted the idea without debate. We went down to a hut through the fields, where large taro-leaves stood between the rice-plants. And there I lay down on a mat, while my friends fetched water from a brook and made a fire. Nagas usually carry small bags of tea with them, and they took out a handful and let the leaves boil in the water for some minutes. After a few mouthfuls of the bitter beverage my spirits were somewhat revived. Again (72) they found excuses for me, and Yona told me that exactly the same thing had happened to him one day when, coming home from the plains, he got fever and "felt like dead" -- nobody could help such a thing!
text: At last we could start again. The thunderstorm had luckily passed, and two torches, made during the rest from split bamboos, brightly lit the path. From the height of the ridge glowing points moved downwards. They were the torches of men coming to meet us, for our absence had already caused anxiety in the village. After yet another hour we arrived at the bungalow. I stumbled into bed with tired and aching limbs, but even in my exhaustion I felt that the experience had been worth while. The Wakching people appeared to me in a new light. Nowhere could I have found more consideration and helpfulness, and, above all, more tact.