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HMONG FOLK TALES

DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE

The Hmong have a large repertoire of folktales that they have orally passed down over the centuries. These folktales explain such things as the creation of the world and the origins of the Hmong people and also provide lessons on how to treat others and live wisely. Folktales also provide lessons for how to treat others.

One example of a prominent Hmong folk tale is the story of the how the 18 Hmong clans got their names:

"A very long time ago, the whole universe turned upside down. The earth tipped up, and the sky rolled over, and the whole world was flooded with water. All living things were killed, except one brother and his sister, who had ran and taken refuge in an unusually large wooden and funeral drum. The brother and sister married each other and lived together as husband and wife. Later, they gave birth to a child. This child was like a round smooth stone. They cut the round egg-like child into little pieces. Then they threw the pieces in all directions. Two pieces fell on the goat house and these became the clan Lee. Two pieces fell in the pig pan became the clan Moua. Two pieces that landed in the garden turned into the clans Vang and Yang. This is how they founded all the Hmong clans."

Source: Johnson, C. and S. Vang. (1992). Myths, Legends and Folktales from the Hmong of Laos//Dab Neeg Moog. Saint Paul, MN: Linguistics Department, Macalester University.

 
 
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