Miao (specifically, Hmub) Creation Epics, IV.1-4

[texts in a humorous style, publicly sung for popular entertainment : each (short) section being introduced by a quaestion]

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pp. 113-156 Part IV = "Song of the Butterfly Mother"

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(pp. 113-15 – IV.1 Birth of the Butterfly Mother)

p. 113 release of Mais Lief (‘Butterfly’)

She (Mais Lief) was within the heartwood of the Sweet-Gum tree, until "The King of the Moth-Borers opened the door to let butterfly out."

"Woodpecker flew from the East. ... he pecked at the wood, then ate the Moth-Borers."

p. 114 relatives of Mais Lief

Tree-__

was her __ aunt

Root

elder

Branch

younger

Grandfather Xan Ge named her Ban Xan.

p. 114 fishes in Ji Wi (/Jix Wib/, p. 111) Pond [named for the Ji Wi bird (p. 115)]

fish

was a big as a __

Ladybug

straw hat

Mud Eel

grain-crib post

Carp

crossbeam

"The high mountains were the umbrella ... .

Beneath the umbrella the fish were boiled;

Butterfly ate them". [On the 3rd day after birth, each baby is taken out-of-doors under a paper umbrella to view the sunrise (p. 202, n. 4).]

pp. 114-115 ornaments of Butterfly-goddess; marriage of Butterfly-goddess to Wave-Foam

p. 114

While young, Butterfly wore "paper ... clothing" made by Xan Ge. {"His young sister-in-law spread out the edge of her gathered skirt and used it to wipe ... Nzhai-jio-shi-du’s brow" (AH, p. 35 – M119:61-62). With the pleats of a "gathered skirt", cf. Japanese origami paper-folding, wherein "butterflies seem to have evolved from the pleated paper covers" (OH1).}

p. 115

"Icicle made the neck rings as well as the bracelets to give to Butterfly.

... Butterfly wore them courting".

 

"Butterfly and Wave Foam courted and later became a couple. ...

She was married for twelve years and laid the Twelve Eggs."

OH1 = http://www.paperfolding.com/history/partone/

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(pp. 116-21 – IV.2 The 12 Eggs)

p. 116 clutches of eggs

eggs of __

resembling __

were laid on __

and incubated by __

Moth

coins

hemp paper

Stove

Mantis

wave-foam

yellow earth

Cogon-Grass

Duck

(greenish white)

(across Nan-he River)

Hen [Chicken]

Soft-shelled Turtle

round-washed stones

mud

sand

p. 116 Butterfly-goddess laid the egg of [containing] Van La (/Vanb Lax/, p. 202, n. 4, alias dictus /Jan Van/ -- /Janx Vanb/, p. 190, n. 4)

pp. 117, 119 makers of nest for, and incubator & inspector of, Butterfly-goddess’s eggs

p. 117

Ga Van [/Gab Vanx/ ‘mountain-ridge’ (p. 203, n. 5)] made the nest;

 

Fu Fan lined the nest with grass;

 

the Ji Wi bird incubated the eggs.

p. 119

Hsen Yen inspected the eggs ("held them up to the Sun to watch") when they were about to hatch.

pp. 119-120 caerimony-officiants into whom the eggshell-fragments transformed themselves

p.

transformation

119

one piece became Ga Hsan

120

two pieces became Din Wan

 

three pieces became Ga Lion

 

the two residual pieces became Ga Dan Hnian

p. 120 deities born from eggs

at __ Heavenly Branch

deity __ was born.

color of deity

1st

Ga Hva

white

2nd

Janx Vanb

black

3rd

Tigre

striped

4th

Thundre-god

bright

5th

Water-Dragon

yellow

6th

Snake

(long)

p. 120 what cut the umbilical cord of which deity

the umbilical cord of __

was cut by means of __

Dragon

copper ["which is why dragons fear copper" (p. 112)]

Thundre-god

torch

Cogon-grass

"itself"

Jan Van

bamboo

Snake

stone

Tigre

"Wild Grass"

p. 120 which umbilical cord transformed themselves into of which deity

the umbilical cord of __

transformed itself into __

Dragon

soft-shelled turtle

Thundre-god

Earth[-god] "then the Earth God went to live in the West side of the village."

Janx Vanb

rice; mountain ferns

Tigre

wild cats; brush wolves; foxes

Elephant

Dlian Ge ghosts ["This victim is very terrible ..., its citims dying in a short time. ... Only those associated with rich and powerful families went about killing or eating people." (p. 203, n. 13)] "who in the middle of the night eat people’s chickens."

p. 121 which deity was obtained by which family-relation

family-relation

obtained __

girl (while she was fetching water)

Snake

Father

Dlian ge ghosts

Mother

Guk Poison ["made of snakes, scorpions, toads, leeches, hornets, and so on. If a person eats ... this poison, the creatures will grow in his stomach and may pour out of his body orifices." The remedy is to eat boiled fruits. (p. 203, n. 14)]

p. 121 Approaching the nest was the laughing Gu Van. [/Guk Vanx/, who praepared curses by "tying a red thread around a crab or centipede." (p. 204, n. 15).]

p. 121 what the residues became after the hatchlings had departed from the nest

the __

became __

eggshells

dark clouds

egg-membranes

clear skies

the "bad egg"

daimon [causing a madness in sows : "sows will eat their offspring." (p. 204, n. 16)]

nest

Ve Khan [/vel khant/ the strawed sleeping-place for villagers immediately after a major sacrifice (p. 204, n. 17)]

"half a bit of eggshell"

Sacrificial Bowl ["pottery filled with vegetable oil and burned for the Ancestors" (p. 204, n. 18)]

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(pp. 122-28 – IV.3 The Brethren Divide)

pp. 122-123 burnings of houses by Jan Van

p.

house-burning

122

1st house was deliberately burned by Janx Vanb because it was overpopulated; thereupon, at his behest, the house’s former inhabitants went to Nan-tu, where "Du Yen’s house is really huge."

123

Housefly reported to the other migrants : Janx Vanb is "busy gathering moxa; I’m afraid he wants to burn down some house again."

p. 123 superlative qualities of the brethren

brother __

is the __

Water Dragon

longest

Thunder God

heaviest

Tigre

fiercest

Janx Vanb

cleverest

pp. 123-124 effects of crossing the Gold Bridge in the Sky

p.

while __ crossed

the bridge __

123

Water Dragon

did not move

 

Thunder God

swayed slightly

 

Tigre

did not even creak

123-4

Janx Vanb

seemed to creak greatly (but the creaking was really the squawking of a ge bird)

pp. 124-125 how the deities lit their way

p.

light

its location

of __

124

torch

was tied to tail

Tigre

 

pine sap ignited

on head

Green Snake

 

pine oil ignited

Glow Worms

[who were porters for Water Dragon (p. 125)]

125

" " "

Sun King

for Janx Vanb

pp. 125-126 while toting certain implements to work-destination, another object was forgotten by traveling deity and brought by another being

p.

125

125-6

object toted

knife

gong & drum

worker

Janx Vanb

Thunder God

destination

uncultivated orchards

Western Sky

object forgotten

hoe

silk chair

fetcher of object

Nian Ni

grandpa Earth

p. 127-128 sources of objects (made "when the Pillars of the Sky were erected") used by the Thunder God

p.

Thunder God’s __

is composed of __ (or is produced from __)

127

voice (thundre)

hammer

 

lightning

golden sparks

128

hat

nose of Ban Xan Ye

 

embroidered clothing [= rosy clouds (p. 204, n. 3)]

sewn by Ni Wo Nian

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(pp. 128-35 – IV.4 Killing the Centipede)

pp. 128-129 cause for Centipede’s enmity against Janx Vanb

p.

cause

128

When Janx Vanb "received the Ancestors’ ancient fields", he received Z^an-xi.

129

When he was clearing the land westward "all the way to distant Zhanxi", he was warned by Centipede : "There is also my father’s grave – my father is buried over there." Heedless of this warning, Janx Vanb "dug up Centipede’s graves".

p. 130 why Janx Vanb was carried by Yu Dan’s wife

When Janx Vanb was stung at the riverbank by Centipede which was perched on floating driftwood, old man Yu Dan "told his wife : "Centipede has bitten Jang Vang’s foot; hurry and carry him home.""

In order to cure centipede-poison, "Catch a louse to come suck".

p. 131 how Centipede was captured

Ge Bo and Ge Hxu trapped Centipede in a fish-trap (weir).

pp. 131-132 ritual objects employed in order to gratify Butterfly-goddess

p.

object

131

"hats" ["A special ceremonial hat, called mo liang (mos linagx)", having hemp "tied around the point of the hat." (p. 205, n. 4)]

132

"poles" ["the middle of the pole is dyed in black and white bands, and several pieces of cotton are tied to the top." (p. 205, n. 5)]

pp. 133-135 dealings by Janx Vanb with flying creatures

p.

flying creature of Janx Vanb

133

Janx Vanb "learned to dance from Honeybee."

134-5

From Woodpecker, Janx Vanb learned "to dance the drum dance."

135

"That good swimmer, Waterbug, taught him to turn;

flying Honeybee taught him to circle."

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AH = Keith & Kenneth Parsons : A Hmao (Hua Miao) Songs, Stories and Legends from China. Lincom, Muenchen, 2009.

Jin Dan ("Jenb Dangk" in Miao; compiler and translator from Miao into Chinese); Ma Xueliang (editor of the Chinese version); Mark Bender (translator from the Chinese) : Butterfly Mother : Miao (Hmong) Creation Epics from Guizhou, China. Hackett Publishing Co, Indianapolis, 2006.