Hmong Folklore – A Girl, A Warrior & A Tiger

A Girl, A Warrior & A Tiger

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A Girl, A Warrior & A Tiger
A Girl, A Warrior & A Tiger

It all started hundreds of years ago when the Hmong first resided into the Mountains of Laos. It was said that the spirit of the Mountains had never seen any human with any talent before and so the Hmong people interested them because of our Keng playing, flute play, ncas playing and kwv txhiaj, lustaum, pajhuam. One day a woman went to the garden and started singing kwv txhiaj… the nearby Spirit King (Tswv Xyas) heard her and wanted to hear more so it followed her home to the nearby village. As it entered the village, it morphed into the only animal it could copy, a tiger. And it stayed near the edge of town to hide itself from the Hmongs. It heard many many skills that the Hmong people had achieved and it wanted to possess the skills or the person with the skills. Slowly, it started taking lives of the Hmong people. One by one, the talented Hmongs were dying of unexplainable deaths. The shaman finally saw the spirit Tswv Xyas and did battle with it.

He lost but he found out what Tswv Xyas wanted and he inform all the Hmongs to stop using their talents in public for death will be near if they do. It was new year and people gather around for the festivities… from another village lived a very skillful Keng player name Yob (Yaw). He did not know about the Tswv Xyas so he played his Keng on the way to the other village to enjoy the festival. On his way there, Tswv Xyas heard it and wanted him because he was the best so far. Tswv Xyas slowly watched this young man throughout the new year. After the new year, Tswv Xyas stole this man’s spirit and he became very ill and later died. But he did not die a normal death, for he was the very first to come back from the dead because he was to be Tswv Xyas successor. He scared the elders and soon after, they tied him down and burried him far far away.

(This is what the movie was about, Yob (Yaw) is the dead guy chasing after Xab.) After Tswv Xyas got this man, he put a curse on the Hmong people… Hmongs cannot put lub kawm (the ker or the bamboo basket they wear) over their head for they shall turn into a tiger and become Tswv Xyas’ minions. Over time, the Hmong Shaman got stronger and taught Hmong people of how to evade Tswv Xyas which made it weaker and weaker. Over several decades, it is still roaming the Laos mountain sides and is still seeking talented people but it only wants the best, therefore the elders banned us from: * Whistling at night for it will attract poj ntxoog which will bring Tswv Xyas. * Playing dead tunes on the Keng while not in the funeral for it shall bring the dead to you. * The drum that is played at the funeral shall not be played anywhere else and before somebody dies, it will play a loud three-time booming sound in the house of the keeper of the drum.

* No crying at the burial site for Tswv Xyas is always nearby to take the weakest soul with him and crying shows that you are the weakest one.


  1. Herr

    The background history of Tswv Xyas bothers me… because that’s not how the story goes….. Tswv Xyas was Hmong and he was Human……

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