October 2013

202122 23242526
Saturday, July 21st, 2012 02:38 pm
(I took care to give no obvious spoilers about the story)

Title: Ashma (on Librarything)
Author: compiled and translated from Shani into Chinese by the Yunnan People's Cultural Troupe, translated into English by Gladys Yang
Format: hardcover
Pages: 82
Year published: not mentioned
Language: English, original Shani (but translated from the Chinese version)
ISBN number: no isbn number
Reason for reading: I borrowed it from a friend because it sounded interesting.
Recommended: If you're interested in folk poems and/or other cultures.

Back cover text:
There is no back cover text, but for the story (the entire story in prose form), you can go read it here.

First alinea of the preface:
"Ashma" is a long and colourful narrative poem which has been handed down orally for generations by the Shani people in Yunnan. The poem describes a young village girl, Ashma, and her brother Ahay. In simple, unadorned language, it relates Ashma's determined struggle against the despotic landlord who has carried her off. With their vitality and their longing for freedom and happiness, young Ahay and Ashma epitomize the whole Shani people.
A branch of the Yi, one of the minority peoples in Southwest China, the Shani live in Kweishan District, southeast of Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan. They have their own spoken language, and a simple written script. They love music and dancing, and can express their feelings and wishes with a simple musical instrument made of bamboo - the mô-sheen.

First few verses:
A fine bamboo we lengthwise split
In two, four, eight, sixteen,
And choose a piece without a flaw
To fashion a mö-sheen.

For when the soft mô-sheen is played,
Our inmost thoughts are told.
No sweeter music has been heard;
We love it more than gold.

Beneath the rock bees build their hive,
And make their honey sweet;
But I, I cannot make a hive,
Or honey good to eat.

Beside the pool the long grass grows,
And cuckoos sing in spring;
But I, I cannot grow like grass,
And neither can I sing!

Read the full review here.


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