The Hmong have passed down their ancient art of healing from generation to generation. Their spirit doctors have the power to cast out evil spirits from the bodies of the sick. According to legend, a long time ago there was a spirit doctor named Chee yee, which roughly translated, means a wise philosopher/a wiseman/a master. One day, Master Chee yee came across a pile of Naga dragon's eggs near the edge of a cliff. Master Chee yee cracked the eggs open and continued on his way home. Three days later Master Chee yee returned to see what had happened to the eggs, but to his surprise they had all returned to their original state, whole and sound. Master Chee yee decided to crack all the eggs once more and came back the next day to see what happened, but again the eggs had returned to their original state. Master Chee yee became quite curious and decided to crack all the eggs once more, but this time he would wait in hiding and see how the eggs managed to return to their original state.

Master Chee yee did not have to wait long before a giant Naga dragon returned to find that her eggs had all been cracked. The mother Naga dragon went to the edge of the cliff and picked the leaves of a medicinal plant. After chewing up the leaves in her mouth she then proceeded to apply a layer of the ointment to the broken eggs. After the first application the eggs began to improve slightly. Following the second application the eggs improved even further. By the third application the eggs had returned to their original condition, totally healed.

After seeing this, Master Chee yee waited anxiously until the Naga dragon left again. He then made for the eggs and broke them open with a rock. Next, he proceeded to climb down the cliff face until he reached the medicinal plant, which he had seen the mother Naga dragon use. He picked the plant and took it back home with him to take care of it. Two days later he returned to see what had happened to the eggs he cracked and found them laying out, rotting in the sun. Master Chee yee realized the value of the plant he had taken and resolved to take extra special care of it. It wasn't long before he began to care for the sick and suffering in his village, successfully curing them of their ailments. He was even able to resuscitate people that had died.

As a result, Master Chee yee became famous as word of his amazing healing power spread throughout the land. The special plant, which Master Chee yee had so cleverly discovered, was named "goo-ah moo-ah joo-ah." It wasn't long before word of Master Chee yee reached the spirits of the underworld--known as da in Hmong--and they decided to teach Master Chee yee a lesson. 7 da were sent to the village and they proceeded to devour the villagers. Many people were dying and Master Chee yee could not care for them fast enough. Finally, one day Master Chee yee ran into the da, or spirits of the underworld, and quickly devised a strategy for ridding the village of these evil creatures. Master Chee yee and the 7 da met and began to bargain. Master Chee yee complained to the da that he was unable to heal everyone in time, causing many to die. He had the 7 da each raise up one of their arms, then he bent over and looked at their arm pits. He saw many dead people (It is believed that by peering through one's legs or under arms one can see into a different dimension).

 

          Next the da had Master Chee yee raise one of his arms and when they peered into his arm pit they saw many chickens, ducks and other animals left as offerings to him (these would have been gifts made to him by the families of those who he had healed). Both sides having sized up their opponent, Master Chee yee made the da an offer. He challenged them to a duel, stating that if he lost the da would be free to eat all the people in the world. First, however, the da must accompany him to the cliff edge where he would spray medicine at them. If Master Chee yee stumbled and fainted, then he would be considered the loser and the da could proceed to eat all the people in the world. But, if he didn't faint, the da would have to immediately stop eating people. The da agreed and Master Chee yee proceeded to spray his medicine at them. Master Chee yee pretended to become faint and wobbled back and forth. The da laughed with glee at his plight. Master Chee yee stabilized himself and sprayed his medicine at them for the second time. The da continued to be unaffected by the medicine and laughed hysterically at Master Chee yee's drunken stuppor, certain of their victory. Finally, Master Chee yee sprayed his medicine at them for the third time and the da immediately all turned to stone. Master Chee yee had tricked the evil da and the village was once again peaceful.

          After two days had passed by and the wives of the 7 da still had not seen their husbands come home, they decided to come up and investigate. After seeing what had happened they decided to try to fool Master Chee yee into coming with them to the city of spirits to treat (or oo-ah neng) a sick patient. Once Master Chee yee had gone, one of the da's wives killed Master Chee yee's eldest son and took him down to the city of spirits to be used in the healing ceremony for her husband. Upon entering the city of spirits the boy turned into a pig (the Hmong believe that once a dead person reaches the city of spirits they turn into an animal). The healing ceremony was carried out in the same manner Master Chee yee had always done, and when it was complete the da's wives offered Master Chee yee the liver of the pig used in the ceremony to eat. Master Chee yee had a strange feeling, but had to accept the offering, and so he ate a piece of the the liver (Chee-ya). Immediately the jeu neng, or instruments used in oo-ah neng (meaning "working with spirits") spun away and returned to earth.

          

Master Chee yee raced to follow his instruments, but upon arrival back on Earth he learned that his son had died and found his family and friends in the middle of performing a funeral ceremony for him. Master Chee yee was terribly upset and determined to bring his son back to life. He sprayed medicine at his son and found that the color of his skin improved. He sprayed the medicine again a second time and the child's condition again improved. On the third time his son came back to life, but because Master Chee yee had already eaten half of his son's heart, the child was in terrible pain. Master Chee yee's son asked him to please treat him again and finish healing him. Master Chee yee sprayed medicine at his son once again but instead of getting better, the child's body became all bloated and inflamed. Master Chee yee tried again a second time but the child's skin began to rot. After the third time the child's skin had rotted beyond the point where he could be saved. Master Chee yee was downstruck and wished to follow his son to the city of spirits; thus he announced to all that he would leave his oo-ah neng instruments behind and if anyone wanted to learn the craft they should come to see him.

The news spread throughout the land, but no one came to study with Master Chee yee. Time went by and finally someone in a far away village decided to learn with Master Chee yee, but by the time he reached Master Chee yee's village, the Master had already passed on. Master Chee yee had left a message before passing on saying, "I can't take it any longer. I'm going to go up on the mountains and I am going to defecate. If anyone wants to learn the art of healing from me, that person should eat this pile of feces as it is the textbook containing all my secrets and wisdom. That person must consume the entire pile of feces, however, in order to be able to treat sickness and disease as well as me."

When the man desiring to learn Master Chee yee's craft arrived, the villagers had finished performing the funeral ceremony. The man asked the master of the house whether Master Chee yee had left any messages or things behind before he died. The villagers explained to him about the pile of feces waiting for him on the mountain, and the man set off in search of it. When the man reached the pile of feces he found himself unable to build up the nerve to eat it. The pile of feces was massive and worms and maggots were crawling all over it. The man sat and thought for what seemed like ages until he finally stuck out his finger, scooped off a smudge and stuck it in his mouth. The pile of feces shrank in size and then disappeared. The man returned to his home village and became a great healer or practitioner of oo-ah neng. He was not, however, as good as Master Chee yee, because this man was not aware of the medicinal plant that Master Chee yee used. Thus, he was only able to help some people.