The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book - 'Naga Path', by Ursula Graham Bower, published John Murray 1950

caption: Chapter thirty-five. Finale
caption: leaving Magulong
medium: books
date: 5.1946
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: The next morning we left. Half the bucks of the village wanted to come with us to work. The village suffered from the Barail's disease - shortage of land and chronic poverty. We took down names and told them we'd send back later. Elders, women, warriors, said good-bye. They all addressed us now by the proper terms - aunt, uncle, son-in-law, daughter, as the relationship might be. Priests blessed us. Khutuing, carrying a head-taker's shield I had acquired, was to come down with us. At last, at very long last, we left the village gate; rice-beer, gifts, blessings, farewell advice - slowly we cleared them all, and dropped down the long, winding hill to the stream. Far behind us, falling clearly through the empty air, came boys' and girls' voices from the gateway ledge. They were singing the song of farewell to a girl who marries outside the village :
text: "It is as though we lived, and one had died;
text: Weeping, we remain.
text: O since we weep, return again, ascend!
text: O mount the road ! O climb the steep again!"
text: At the bottom, suddenly, between the high walls of reeds, a small boy was discovered to be carrying Tim's shotgun. He was not more than eight, the leader of the pack which had been catching butterflies and locating birds for Tim in the scrub surrounding the camp. It was unauthorized. He was a stowaway. Elders and headmen, in an awful silence, surrounded him.
text: " What," said Khutuing, " are you doing here ? "
text: There was a wet snivel.
text: " I want to go away and work for the Sahib," said a small, sad voice. " He gives you plenty to eat."
text: " Have you your father's leave ? "
text: " No."
text: " Go home," said Khutuing.
text: Mutely the small figure handed over the gun. Heart- broken, bent, it turned round in its tracks and trudged off home. The column resumed the climb to Bungsang.