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Long Narrative Songs from the Mongghul of Northeast Tibet

 | 
Gerald Roche
, 
Li Dechun

5. The Song of the Calf

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1In this song, a calf complains to her mother that the grass they eat is short, tough, and bitter, and the water they drink is awful, so she has been unable to fill her stomach and has not grown taller. In addition, the calf feels sad that her mother often needs to pull a plough and that her master often beats her if she pulls too slowly. The calf therefore complains about their life and repeatedly asks her mother to escape with her into the mountains.

2However, the calf’s mother rejects her request to go up to the high mountains where the calf thinks the grass is tall, more tender and sweeter, and where she believes the spring water is pure. She says that although it sounds like an ideal place to live, there are also many ferocious wolves and tigers in the high mountains, and it is therefore not safe to live there.

3Finally, the calf goes up to the mountains by herself. Her mother goes looking for her when she learns that her calf has escaped. When the cow finally finds her calf in the mountains, they encounter wolves. The cow fights with the wolves to protect her calf, and seeing this fight, the calf is frightened and flees back to their farm.

4As a result, the wolves eat the cow, and the calf feels deep regret about what happened. Seven days later, she goes up to the mountains, where she finds her mother’s bones, blood, and hair. The calf cremates her mother’s bones, offers incense, and prays to all the deities to give her mother a good reincarnation. The calf then goes back to the farm, where she spends the rest of her life peacefully.

5This folksong tells young children that they should listen to their parents’ and grandparents’ instructions, and not do whatever they like, or they will pay a terrible price.

6In the past, Mongghul women sang The Song of the Calf to their babies when they were feeding them. A baby would pleasantly stare at her mother’s face while drinking her breast milk, and the mother would smile, teasing her baby and singing The Song of the Calf. Sometimes two or three women sang together when they had gathered in a village lane or in a household. They would sing this song, or they might also chant, do embroidery, or tell folktales. Men also sang this song when they gathered to drink.

7The song was sung slowly and quietly, without instrumental accompaniment, to a sad melody. It usually took about half an hour to sing it. And even though the song is divided into the different speaking roles of the calf and the cow, it was not sung antiphonally. Instead, singers sang both parts.

8Since around the year 2000, Mongghul people no longer sing The Song of the Calf.

Buruunu Dau
布柔之歌
The Song of the Calf

Listen to an audio recording of the song at https://archive.org/​details/​BuruunuDau

9Buruuyuu
Buruu tenutughullaanu,
Aama tenu saajiiwa,
Kugo tenu arilghaja,
Buruu tenu hgalaaja,
Aama tenu hgalaaja,
Ghajar tenu fulija,
Xjau tela baghaja,
Buye tenu atighaja,
Guji tenu hgharaaja,
Buruu aamadunaa kileja,
Undur uladu ghariya?

10布柔哟
母牛生下牛犊了,
母牛奶挤着喝了,
母牛的奶挤干了,
牛犊一天天瘦了,
母牛一天天瘦了,
母牛拉犁种田了,
脚步慢着挨打了,
打得全身疼痛了,
脖颈磨得裂开了,
牛犊央求母牛了,
央求母牛山上去?

11Calf
A cow produced acalf,
The calf fed from her mother.
Her mother’s milk went dry
And the calf got thinner and thinner,
And the cow got thinner and thinner too.
The cow pulled a plough and farmed;
She was beaten because she walked slowly,
She felt pain all over her body from being beaten,
The skin and flesh on her neck were torn from being drawn.
The calf begged her mother,
Can we go up into mountains?

12Aamayuu
Tangnu usibughunwa,
Tangnu usi hadongwa,
Tangnu usi haxinwa,
Tangnu tangghur pudagwa,
Keele munu qadin gua,
Buye munu oosi gua,
Tangnu aadal jublongwa.

13阿妈哟
滩里牧草长得矮,
滩里牧草长得硬,
滩里牧草长得苦,
滩里池水浑又臭,
吃不饱来喝不足,
身子不长心不宽,
滩里生活真艰难。

14Calf (to her mother)
The grass on the plains is short,
The grass on the plains is tough,
The grass on the plains is bitter,
And the water on the plains is awful.
I cannot fill my stomach,
I am not growing taller,
Life on the plains is difficult.

15Aamayuu
Ulanu usiundurwa,
Ulanu usi joolonwa,
Ulanu usin datinwa,
Ulanu bulag arinwa,
Ulanu ghajar joolonwa,
Xjirbuu aadal ulaala yau.

16阿妈哟
山里牧草长得高,
山里牧草长得嫩,
山里牧草长得甜,
山里泉水清又清,
山里睡觉软又软,
山里舒服过日子。

17Calf (to her mother)
The grass in the mountains is tall,
The grass in the mountains is tender,
The grass in the mountains is sweet,
The water in the mountains is cleansing,
The soil in the mountains is soft to sleep on,
And life in the mountains is comfortable.

18Buruuyuu
Ulanu usiundurwa,
Ulanu usi joolonwa,
Ulanu usin datinwa,
Ulanu bulang arinwa,
Ulanu kadam raariwa,
Ulanu bas raariwa,
Ulanu pugunag shdughuna,
Ulanu mparaa mantana,
Ulaanu aadal debxjir gua,
Ulanu xjigunu bii sana.

19布柔哟
山里牧草长得高,
山里牧草长的嫩,
山里牧草长得甜,
山里泉水清又清,
山里狼比滩里害,
山里虎豹很迅猛,
山里牛虻要蛰身,
山里豹狗要扒肠,
山里日子多险凶,
千万不要上山去。

20Cow (to her calf)
The grass in the mountains is tall,
The grass in the mountains is tender,
The grass in the mountains is sweet,
The water in the mountains is cleansing —
But the wolves in the mountains are ferocious,
And the tigers in the mountains are ferocious,
The gadflies in the mountains sting,
And the beasts in the mountains will eat us.
Life in the mountains is dangerous:
We mustn’t climb up to the mountains.

21Buruuyuu
Tangnu usibughunwa,
Tangnu usi hadagwa,
Tangnu usi haxinwa,
Tangnu tangghur pudagwa,
Tangnu kadam raari gua,
Tangnu usinu ideya,
Tangnu szu uquya,
Tangdu losiji saulduya,
Tangdu kideeji saulduya,
Tangdu aadal ulaaya.

22布柔哟
滩里牧草长得矮,
滩里牧草长得硬,
滩里牧草长得苦,
滩里池水臭又浑,
滩狼没有山狼害,
饿了吃把滩里草,
渴了喝口滩里水,
滩里饥饿日子推,
困了卧在滩里睡,
伴你滩里过生活。

23Cow (to her calf)
The grass on the plains is short,
The grass on the plains is tough,
The grass on the plains is bitter,
The water on the plains is awful,
But the wolves on the plains are not ferocious.
It’s better to graze on grass on the plains,
It’s better to drink the water on the plains.
We’ll make our lives on the plains even though we are hungry,
We’ll make our lives on the plains even though the soil is hard,
We’ll make our lives on the plains.

24Buruuyuu
Buruu uladuyaodiija,
Aama huino daghaaya,
Ulanu kadam raariwa,
Ulanu bas raariwa,
Aama tela baghalduna,
Buruu tenu tudaaja,
Duluuu durulija,
Buruu aamana sanaja,
Nimpusi tenu urosija,
Buruu aamana yerija,
Aama tenu sarin gua,
Raari kadam idejiiwa,
Hara bas idejiiwa,
Buruu qisinu sgeja,
Sgee tenu ayija,
Buruu tenu ulaaja.

25布柔哟
牛犊独自上了山,
母牛跟踪山上寻,
山里恶狼多厉害,
山里虎豹更凶猛,
母牛与它们搏斗,
牛犊怕得逃回滩,
七天的日日夜夜,
牛犊想念牛阿妈,
它的眼里泪水流,
牛犊上山找阿妈,
没见妈妈身和影,
凶恶山狼吃了妈,
黑K虎吃了妈,
牛犊见了阿妈血,
害怕的目瞪口呆,
伤心的死去活来。

26The calf went up to the mountains all alone.
The cow went to the mountains to look for her calf,
The wolves in the mountains were ferocious,
The tigers in the mountains were ferocious,
The cow struggled with them.
The calf was scared and fled to the plains again.
Seven days passed,
And the calf missed her mother greatly.
The calf’s tears flowed down,
She went to the mountain to seek her mother again,
But she didn’t find her mother.
Fierce wolves had eaten her mother,
Fierce tigers had eaten her mother,
And the calf found her mother’s blood.
She was shocked,
And she cried.

27Aamayuu
Qighaan qighaan yaahanna?
Fulaan fulaan yaahanna?
Nughoon nughoon yaahanna?
Xira xira yaahanna?
Hara hara yaahanna?

28阿妈哟
白的白的是什么?
红的红的是什么?
绿的绿的是什么?
黄的黄的是什么?
黑K的黑K的是什么?

29Calf (to her mother)
What are those white things?
What are those red things?
What are those green things?
What are those yellow things?
What are those black things?

30Uneenu suneesi:
Buruuyuu
Qighaan qighaan aamanu yasiwa,
Fulaan fulaan aamanu qisiwa,
Nughoon nughoon aamanu suulziwa,
Xira xira aamanu fooguwa,
Hara hara aamanu nghuasiwa.

31母牛灵魂唱:
布柔哟
白的白的是阿妈的骨,
红的红的是阿妈的血,
绿的绿的是阿妈的胆,
黄的黄的是阿妈的油,
黑K的黑K的是阿妈的毛。

32Cow (her ghost sings to her calf)
Those white things are your mother’s bones,
Those red things are pools of your mother’s blood,
Those green things are patches of your mother’s bile,
Those yellow things are pieces of your mother’s fat,
Those black things are your mother’s hairs.

33Aamayuu
Undur uladughariya,
Aamanu maha buyenu,
Fulaan ghaldu awuya,
Aamanu hajinnu hariliya,
Geril rogdu gharaanu,
Kugo xugonu xuliya,
Nara sargu gharaanu,
Qighaan kambanu doglaya,
Njamba xjiindu bauwaanu,
Arin szunu wariya,
Ula tolghuindu ghariya,
Shge szangnu gharghaya,
Ulon purghaannu ughuagiya,
Aamadu molom jaalghaji,
Xambalangdu hargimjoo.

34阿妈哟
上那高高的山头,
拾全阿妈的尸骨,
火花阿妈的尸骨,
报答阿妈的大恩,
爬到高山的阴坡,
折上绿绿的柏香,
跑到高山的阳坡,
摘上白白的毛香,
又到平坦的河滩,
滔上清清的河水,
到那高高的山顶,
为苍天众佛煨桑,
祈求苍天和众佛,
只愿阿妈的灵魂,
转生到那香巴拉。

  • 1 A fragrant white flower that is often used to make incense in Mongghul areas.

35Calf
I climbed up to the high mountain
And found my dead mother’s skeleton,
I cremated my mother’s bones.
In order to repay my mother’s kindness
I climbed up the shady side of a high mountain
And broke off some green cypress twigs.
I climbed up the sunny side of a high mountain,
And gathered some nkamba1 flowers.
I went to the plains,
And got clear water from a river,
I climbed up to the peak of a high mountain,
And lit a big pile of incense,
I made offerings to all the deities,
And prayed for my mother’s soul
To be quickly reincarnated in Shambala.

36Aamayuu
Qinu ugonu sunusiya,
Tangnu aadal ulaaya,
Jublong aadal ulaaya,
Debxjir aadal ulaaya.

37阿妈哟
愿听阿妈的教导,
愿到滩里去生活,
愿过清苦的生活,
愿过平安的生活。

38Calf (to her mother)
From now on I will listen to what you said,
I’ll go down to make my life on the plains,
I’ll live my life poorly,
But live my life peacefully.

Notas

1 A fragrant white flower that is often used to make incense in Mongghul areas.

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