02 October 2014


A folklore from the book THE SEMA NAGAS  BY   J. H. HUTTON

They do say^ that of old the Foreigners, Angamis, Aos, Lhotas, and we Semas had the same ancestor, ^ and the same mother they say. When they separated their father killed a bull ^ and gave it to them. "Who will eat the head?" said he. The Foreigner, that he might become the Foreigner, said, " As for the head I will eat it." " Who will eat the shin ? " said (the father). 

The Angami, that he might become the Angami, said, " I will eat the shin."  And then "Who will eat the hoof ? " said (the father). The Lhota, to become the Lhota, said, "I will eat it." "The heart— who will eat that ? " said (the father). The Ao, to become the Ao, said, "I will eat it." "Who will eat the fore-leg ? " said (the father). The Sema, to become the  Sema, said, "I will eat the fore-leg." 

The Kolami, because he had eaten the head, became the greatest. The Angami, because he had eaten the shin, became great in the calf.^ The Ao, because he had eaten the heart, even in the face of an enemy, keeps a great heart  and calls on his father's name, when men are spearing (him) and shouting, and does not call on his mother. ^ The Lhota, because he had eaten the foot, is a great walker when travelling, they say. And we Semas, because we had eaten the fore-leg, are light-fingered,^ they say, and in hunting game, too, we Semas are clever to strike, they say, and we Semas in making war, too, are quick of hand to kill, they say. 

Foreigners, we Semas, Angamis, Lhotas, and Aos were thus of one ancestry. (Their father) divided clothing. Then the Foreigner, to become the Foreigner, took the hat, boots, and from that day many cloths. To the Angami ^ after the Foreigner his parents gave three cloths, and they made  him put on a kilt ^ too. After the Angami his parents wove three cloths for the Ao and wove him a loin-cloth as well.  Two cloths and a loin-cloth ^ they wove the Lhota. For our Sema they wove one cloth only. And as there was no thread left they wove him a little flap.^ For this reason even now Semas wear a little flap about their loins. 

No comments:

Post a Comment