The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Thirteen. The Camp On a Peak
caption: climbing steep slopes to Helipong
medium: books
person: HoksheSmith
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Helipong Helipong Mt.
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Our path rose almost perpendicularly ahead, sheer from the narrow valley filled with abundant jungle. The steep slope, only sparsely covered with low bushes, meant many hours' climb in a broiling sun, which had at last dispersed the clouds. Endlessly we climbed, and the wooded peak of Mount Helipong stood always above us -- high above -- and never any nearer.
text: "Hokshe, how far may it be to Helipong?" asked Smith for the third time, as he took off his topee and wiped the sweat from his forehead.
text: "Perhaps an hour and a half, Sahib. We are not far any more." Silently we climbed on. It seemed hardly believable that at breakfast we had been shivering despite pullovers and coats. It was now incredibly hot. After another hour Smith stopped again.
text: "Listen, Hokshe. The ridge up there looks just as far as it did before. When in the hell are we getting to Helipong?"
text: "Perhaps in two hours, Sahib, if we go quickly."
text: "Damn you! An hour ago you told me that it was only an hour and a half to Helipong, and now you say it should be still two hours?"
text: "Certainly, Sahib, but if I had told you then that we had still three hours to climb, your mind would have hurt. And we would not have got on quicker, anyhow. Why should I have told you (115) something unpleasant?" His logic was convincing, and resignedly we climbed on.