Chinese Legend – Mysterious China Blog http://www.mysteriouschina.com Welcome to Mysterious China Blog. The blog's main purpose is to let the world know the ancient, civilized and mysterious China. Mysterious China blog introduces all about China, including Chinese history, Chinese culture, Chinese scenery, China travel tour, Chinese food, China today, Chinese kung fu, Chinese legend and Beijing Olympics. Sun, 16 Aug 2015 22:21:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chinese Myth Legend 4 — The Moon Goddess http://www.mysteriouschina.com/chinese-myth-legend-4-the-moon-goddess/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/chinese-myth-legend-4-the-moon-goddess/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2009 01:00:48 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=1005 chinese-myth-legend-4-e28094-the-moon-goddess

The moon goddess is a popular folk tale that dates from the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-906). Each province in China has its own version of her story. She is connected to the Mid-autumn Festival, a harvest celebration that occurs in mid-September.

When the Hou Yi shot down the nine suns, the sun god Dijun banished him. Dijun had expected Hou Yi merely to discipline, not to kill, his sons. In addition to the Hou Yi, Dijun also banished Hou Yi’s goddess wife, Chang’e, to the earth below. The banishment suited Hou Yi because he was regarded as a hero on earth, but Hou Yi’s wife was lonely for her sister goddesses and missed the luxuries of heaven. Chang’e was also angry at her husband for jeopardizing her social status. Therefore, although the Hou Yi and his wife loved each other deeply, they often quarreled.

In order to keep their bodies in perfect condition, every three thousand years, gods must eat the peach of long life and drink the elixir of immortality from the Garden of the Western Paradise. This garden is tended by the Queen Mother Wang Mu, an old woman who has the fangs of a tiger and the tail of a panther. She lives alone and is protected by birds of prey and fearsome beasts. She also controls plagues and evil spirits. However frightful her appearance and her powers, Wang Mu is a motherly figure to all the gods in heaven.

In her enchanted garden grow the coveted peaches which she plucks and serves at a sumptuous banquet for the gods. She is an alchemist, or a person who practices the art of combining substances that will transform. Wang Mu can mix many elixirs, or magic potions, including the one that will insure immortality for the gods. In more recent versions of the story, the Queen Mother is shown as a graceful elderly woman.

The fabled Garden of the Western Paradise is thought to reside in a remote section of the Kunlun Mountains. These spectacular peaks are located in western China between Tibet and Xijiang and soar as high as twenty-five thousand feet. In mythology the mountains are the home of the Chinese gods, as well as the site of life-restoring herbs. Historically, the Kunlun range was part of the Silk Road, a caravan route between China and Persia used for trading silks, spices, and gold.

Because he loved his wife very much, the Grand Hou Yi reluctantly set out on a journey to the Kunlun Mountains where the peaches of long life were grown by Wang Mu, the Queen Mother of the Western Paradise. The Hou Yi was unsure of the road, and even less sure of how much strength he had left. When he lived in heaven, Hou Yi had always ridden in the empress’s chariot or straddled the tails of sky dragons to reach the Western Paradise, but now that he lived on earth, he had to walk. He crossed burning deserts, forded cold streams, and trekked over high mountains for thousands of miles.

Finally, Hou Yi arrived at his destination and was greeted by Wang Mu. When Hou Yi told her that his wife wanted a dosage of the elixir of immortality, Wang Mu could only sigh. Unfortunately, she told Hou Yi, the gods and goddesses had just feasted on the last batch of peaches. The next peach crop would not ripen for another three thousand years. When Hou Yi continued to implore her, Wang Mu took one leftover, very imperfect dried-up peach, pounded some herbs and powders, and stirred them together into an elixir. Then the Queen Mother poured the precious liquid into a small vial. “This potion will take both of you to the heavens.

But make sure you take it on a clear night, or you could be trapped halfway between earth and heaven,” she warned.

Carefully, the Hou Yi placed the vial in his leather pouch and knotted the bag tightly around his waist. Again, Hou Yi trudged over the same high mountains, forded the same cold streams, and crossed the same burning deserts to return to his wife. When he lived in heaven, he had not cared about its comforts and luxuries. Because of his status there as a mortal who served the gods, Hou Yi, too, had been invited to sumptuous feasts and had eaten the peach of immortality. The magical potion had enhanced his already powerful body and made him invincible. Now on earth, however, he felt his power slipping day by day. Although Hou Yi did not resent his banishment to earth, he was beginning to resent his decaying mortal body.

When at last the Hou Yi returned home and presented the precious elixir to his wife, Chang’e was delighted. She burned with the anticipation of returning to her sisters in the sky. The goddess begged him to take the medicine immediately, but her husband refused, remembering the warning he had been given by the Queen Mother. Hou Yi said, “I have undertaken a long journey to fulfill your deepest desire. We must be patient and wait for a clear night when the stars can guide us homeward.”

Chang’e agreed with her husband’s clear reasoning, but her desire to be reunited with her sisters was far stronger than her appreciation of his logic. When her husband left for his daily hunt, the goddess stared at the elixir. As the day and night wore on, Hou Yi did not return. As was often the case, Chang’e spent the lonely night waiting for her husband’s return. The Hou Yi often stopped to chat with his neighbors to whom he gave generous portions of deer, rabbit, quail, pheasant, and duck from his hunt.

Chang’e sighed. The goddess knew by its smell that the elixir was already diluted. The dosage was so weak, she reasoned, that the Hou Yi would probably never recover his full strength by drinking his portion, and she would probably never regain her full beauty by drinking hers. Furthermore, they might never even reach heaven.

With these fears in mind, the goddess developed a plan. She would drink both of their portions so that she could return to heaven first, and beg the sun god to forgive her husband for his brashness in having shot down the nine suns. Then she and her sister goddesses could borrow some sky dragons to visit the Queen Mother of the Western Paradise. There, they would persuade her to mix up another dose of the elixir solely for the Hou Yi so he could join his wife in heaven.

As she swallowed the elixir, Chang’e felt its bitterness burn her throat. Immediately, her body became lighter, and she felt dizzy. As she ran out into the night, her body floated upward to the stars. Unfortunately, the night was not clear. Chang’e wandered among the stars and lost her way. She finally came to rest, trapped in the cold moon.

The Hou Yi was just returning when he saw his wife drifting up to the sky. He called out to her and ran after her shadow, but she was too far away to hear him. Hou Yi was heartbroken and wept for days. No one could console the grieving hunter.

The gods took pity on the Hou Yi. Hou Yi had served the gods well and always did their bidding faithfully. The Hou Yi never complained about the countless petty tasks assigned to him by the lesser gods of heaven. Furthermore, Hou Yi had saved the earth from droughts and monsters when the gods could not be bothered.

Therefore, once a year, the gods grant the Hou Yi the right to ascend to the skies to be with his wife. On that one night, the harvest moon shines the brightest and fullest of the year, reflecting the Hou Yi’s love for Chang’e.

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Chinese Myth Legend 3 — Hou Yi Shot the Sun http://www.mysteriouschina.com/chinese-myth-legend-3-hou-yi-shot-the-sun/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/chinese-myth-legend-3-hou-yi-shot-the-sun/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2009 18:16:00 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=1002 chinese-myth-legend-3-hou-yi-shot-the-sun

In many ancient Chinese myths, as well as the myths of other cultures, the gods help the people. The Hou Yi, however, is one of the few mortals who helps the gods, thanks to his great skill with the bow and arrow. Like many of Chinese myths, this story may have been based on an actual person, in this case a skilled bowman who lived sometime between 2436-2255 B.C.

Plants and herbs often appear in the background of Chinese stories. The mythical Fusang tree is reputed to be over ten thousand feet tall and spreads its leaves out over two thousand feet. Because the tree appears in many ancient tombs, paintings, and sculptures, it once must have been a very important symbol.

Although some versions of the story depict the Fusang as a hibiscus, the mulberry tree is probably its basis. One variety of the mulberry, Morus alba, is native to China. Growing more than fifty feet tall, its leaves are used to feed silkworms. Strands from the silkworms’ cocoons are woven together to create silk, the strongest of all natural fibers. The cloth is lightweight and cool to the touch, but retains warmth and is highly flame-resistant. Its beauty and ability to absorb bright dyes made it a highly prized trade item in ancient Egypt, Rome, and Persia.

The water spinach, ung choy, has thick hollow stems and long slender leaves. It will sprout leaves and regenerate with very little water, and it will grow as much as four inches per day. This hardy plant saved people from starvation during China’s many wars and is also a valuable source of iron for the people of India, Vietnam, Brazil, Central America, and Africa.

China was once thought to be surrounded by four seas. To the east was a vast ocean. Beyond the ocean, magnificent plants bloomed on an island paradise. The most glorious specimen of all the plant life was the Fusang tree, whose wondrous branches stretched up toward the heavens and out across the island for hundreds of miles. Scattered among its masses of dark green foliage, fragrant hibiscus flowers burst into flaming shades of magenta, crimson, and violet.

Among the glossy leaves of the Fusang tree lived ten naughty suns. They were left alone to play in paradise, neglected by their parents, the sun god Dijun and the sun goddess Shiho. Each day, Shiho left heaven in a pearl-shell chariot drawn by six fiery young Loong and passed by the Fusang tree. The suns took turns clambering to the treetop to leap into the chariot and make the rounds with their mother as she roared by. It was the job of each working sun, as the goddess Shiho wheeled her chariot across the sky, to shed light and warmth evenly across the world and wake up the roosters. But Shiho had to scold her sons constantly for fixing too much heat in places that captured their interest.

While one sun was on duty, the other nine frolicked among the jagged leaves of the Fusang tree. The suns spent idle afternoons happily chasing each other in the tree, then cooling themselves in the ocean. At dusk, they eagerly awaited their mother’s chariot. The returning sun always splashed down in a series of splendid twirls and jackknifes to the noisy cheers of his brothers.

After many years, however, the suns became bored. All of them plotted to spend more time plaHou Ying, and less time working. One day, they decided to run across the sky, all together, before their mother arrived. They hoped to generate enough light and warmth to last for several days. Then no one would need to work for awhile.

As the ten suns chased each other across the sky, the moisture on earth slowly evaporated. The light the sun brothers gave off together was blinding. Their heat scorched the soil, and rivers dried up to a trickle. Crops withered, and many people died of thirst across the land. There was nothing to eat except water spinach, which mercifully grew in the mud of their fields. Monsters appeared in the seas and skies to snatch the people from their homes. The people prayed to the gods night and day for deliverance. When their prayers finally reached the sun god Dijun, he became very angry at his sons’ selfishness and laziness.

Dijun called the best marksman, Hou Yi, before him. The sun god gave Hou Yi ten magic arrows. Then he ordered Hou Yi to discipline his naughty sons. When Hou Yi saw all the dead creatures on the parched earth, he was filled with sadness, for he was a mortal man. Hou Yi called out to the suns and ordered them to stop their foolishness, but they only leaped around the Grand Archer, mocking his seriousness.

When Hou Yi threatened to shoot them with his magic arrows, the suns laughed even harder. They knew they were the sons of a god and that the Grand Archer was merely a heavenly court servant.

Angrily, Hou Yi grabbed one magic arrow out of his quiver and aimed carefully. Whaam! The arrow flew straight into the heart of the most boastful sun. Quickly, that sun dropped down from the sky, burning up in a ball of fire. When he hit the ground, the sun turned into a huge black crow with a three-foot wingspan, and then he died. The earth immediately felt cooler. Then the Grand Archer stalked the remaining suns.

Having witnessed Hou Yi’s powers, the other suns became frightened, and they scattered across the country, trHou Ying to hide. However, one by one, the Grand Archer tracked them down. Each time he killed one of the suns, the earth cooled further.

Zing! He shot the second sun and billowing clouds reappeared in the sky.

Zoom! He shot the third sun and mist curled around the high mountains.

Twang! He shot the fourth sun and dewdrops formed like pearls on every leaf.

Thump! He shot the fifth sun and springs bubbled out of the rocky hills.

Zap! He shot the sixth sun and rivers rippled with leaping carp.

Pow! He shot the seventh sun and branches sprouted lush green foliage.

Thud! He shot the eighth sun and buds blossomed on the trees.

Thwack! He shot the ninth sun and rice grass pushed up tender new shoots.

Then Hou Yi vowed to find the very last sun and bring him to justice.

By now, the land had cooled so dramatically that it was comfortable for the peasants. They wanted Hou Yi to quit, but no one dared approach him. However, before the Grand Archer could spend his last arrow, a brave boy sneaked up behind him and stole the tenth shaft. After this show of courage, the peasants were emboldened enough to beg the Grand Archer to leave one sun to light up the heavens. Hou Yi was filled with pity for the farmers, and he agreed to spare the last sun remaining in the sky.

This last sun mourned the loss of his brothers and was doomed to assume his daily journey alone. Furthermore, his mother rejected his pleas to borrow her chariot, and the Loong refused to pull him. From one end of heaven to the other, the last sun trudged across the sky in solitude, bringing light and warmth to the world for all eternity.

Prosperity returned to the people. Crops grew again, the rivers slaked their thirst, and the animals bathed in the fresh water and clear sunshine. Last of all, the people gave thanks for one plant, the water spinach, that grew wild in the muddy waters, allowing the people to survive the time of the terrible drought caused by the thoughtless ten suns.

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Chinese Myth Legend 2 — Yu Controlled the Flood http://www.mysteriouschina.com/chinese-myth-legend-2-yu-controlled-the-flood/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/chinese-myth-legend-2-yu-controlled-the-flood/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2009 23:47:05 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=999 chinese-myth-legend-2-yu-controlled-the-flood

The story of Yu is based on a king of the same name who ruled in Chinese legend from 2205 to 2197 B.C. Like all demigods of ancient times, Yu changes into different shapes whenever necessary. Unlike the demigods of ancient times, Yu is the first to pass on his status as ruler to his descendants and thus create a dynasty, or ruling family. He named his dynasty the Xia Dynasty. It isn’t a mythical dynasty, the archaeological evidence has proven its existence.

The ruling king in this story is the Yellow Emperor, a good leader who struggled with the mighty rivers that flooded the country each year. According to ancient myths, the Yellow Emperor had a pile of magic dirt that could absorb water. His grandson Kun stole the magic earth and dropped little balls of dirt wherever he went. The dirtballs swelled into huge, fertile mounds of soil as they absorbed water. The peasants then scooped up the fertile soil and spread it over their sopping fields. Kun also built dams to control the flooding of the country’s unpredictable rivers. Unfortunately, the dams often burst and flooded the land again. When the emperor found out about the theft, he was furious and sent Zurong the fire god, now the chief executioner, to track down and kill his grandson Kun. Zurong chased Kun to the ice glaciers of the arctic and struck him dead with a flaming sword. Kun’s body lay trapped and frozen in the ice.

Three years later, the Yellow Emperor sent Zurong the fire god to check on his grandson Kun’s body. When he reached the spot where Kun was buried in the ice, the fire god was amazed to find that Kun’s body was perfectly preserved in the ice. As he hacked open the glacier with his sword, Zurong accidentally split open Kun’s body. A huge Loong flew out of the corpse. Terrified, Zurong fled to warn the Yellow Emperor. The huge Loong became Yu, son of Kun, who was born with all the memories and knowledge of his father.

Like his father, Yu was filled with compassion for the farmers. However, unlike his father, he did not wish to incur the wrath of the Yellow Emperor. Immediately, he hurried to the Yellow Emperor’s court. Bowing before the ruler, Yu pleaded for the lives of the farmers, “Your majesty, I beg you to pity the people for their suffering. Please help them restore their land.” The Yellow Emperor was not impressed with Yu’s pleas. He bellowed, “Do not forget that your father stole my magic earth and tried to restore the land without my permission!”

Yu replied, “Then give me some magic earth and your permission, and allow me to complete my father’s work.” Secretly, the Yellow Emperor agreed that the world was a big, muddy mess. None of his gods had any ideas about how to stop the raging rivers that flooded the country year after year. Kun had tried to divert the rivers with dams but had failed. Therefore, every spring, the rivers continued to burst their banks, drown innocent people, and destroy property. Furthermore, the emperor was pleased that Yu had asked for the magic earth, rather than attempt to steal it. At last, the emperor said to Yu, “Pile the magic dirt on the back of this tortoise and go forth to control the floodwaters. With the help of this tortoise and a winged dragon, rebuild the world in your father’s vision.”

Yu was curious about the size and shape of the earth. Therefore, before leaving the emperor’s court, he dispatched one of the lesser court gods to measure the country north/south and another god to measure the country east/west. Each returned to report exactly the same number: 233,500 li (three li make one mile) and 75 paces. Delighted, Yu created a map from the gods’ descriptions, which made the earth a perfect square. Then Yu divided the country into nine areas, or provinces. Only then did he begin his construction work.

Unlike his father, Yu was not content merely to build dams to control the rivers. Instead, he studied the shape of the land in each area. He observed the course of the rivers and planned their most natural route to the sea. To guide the rivers, Yu dug canals, carved tunnels, leveled hilltops, created dams, and formed lakes. In each area, Yu used the tail of the dragon to gouge out new channels for the rivers.

As he plodded across the country, Yu found 233,559 large holes in the earth. Year after year, water had bubbled up in these cavities and flooded the world. Now Yu plugged up the gaping holes with dirt and reeds, and dropped in magic dirt balls from the tortoise’s back to dry up the soggy earth caused by the floods.

When he worked, Yu often used the form of a human to avoid frightening the farmers. Even in his human form, he had an ugly face like an insect, with a mouth like the bottom of a crow’s beak and a long neck like a snake. The farmers did not care about his appearance, however. They loved him for his efforts on their behalf.

As Yu traveled across China, he named the tribal groups and recorded their customs: Leather-Skin people; Goat-Fur people; Oyster-and-Pearl people; Kingfisher¬Green-Silk people; Grass-Skirt people; Felt-Tent people; Mountains-of-Jewels people; Dew-Drinkers; Red-Grain-Growers; Lacquer-Makers; Winged people; Short people; Deep-Set-Eyes people. He charted their land and collected samples of their soil as he traveled across the fifty rivers and mountains of China.

Wherever he went, Yu found happy families. Their happiness only made him aware of his own loneliness. Although Yu was married briefly, his wife and son both abandoned him because they had no fondness for digging dirt. With neither wife nor son by his side, Yu continued his work alone, with only the tortoise and the dragon for company. His hands were covered with sores and calluses. His skin was blackened and blistered from the sun. One leg shriveled and twisted as Yu limped around the rough terrain. Wherever he traveled, farmers hailed him as the Great Yu.

Their widespread affection caused the ruling emperor to choose Yu as the next emperor. It was thus that Yu became the founder and ruler of the Xia [She ah] dynasty. Soon plentiful grain harvests blessed the land. The rivers ran peacefully to the sea and did not overflow. The people lived happily in their villages and blessed the name of Yu in their joy and contentment.

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Chinese Myth Legend (1) — Fu Xi Legend http://www.mysteriouschina.com/chinese-myth-legend-1-fu-xi-legend/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/chinese-myth-legend-1-fu-xi-legend/#comments Sat, 06 Dec 2008 06:29:01 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=804 Fu Xi was the first ruler of this world in the Chinese myth legend. He was demigod. He lived among the people and taught life skills to early humans. These skills include using fire, fishing, hunting, writing, and fortunetelling. Some scholars believe he is an actual monarch who lived sometime remote ancient times.

Fu Xi statue


Fu Xi Temple


In the Chinese myth legend, the earliest humans did not have the supernatural powers of gods, the strength of tigers, or the speed of leopards. They did not have the protective armor of turtles, the leathery hide of water buffaloes, or the thick fur of foxes. People had thin skin, soft flesh, sparse hair, and moved about rather slowly. They had good hearts and cheerful laughter, but they were easily frightened and discouraged.

Fu Xi decided to help the new humans. First, Fu Xi taught people how to twist plant fibers together to form ropes of all widths and lengths. With the thinner ropes, he wove fishing lines and nets so people could plunge the water’s depths to find food. With the thicker ropes, he braided strong bridges, then strung them across high chasms so people could cross from one mountain peak to another in search of food.

When lightning set trees on fire, as so often happened, the people trembled and hid in caves. To entice the people to come out, Fu Xi twirled together two willow sticks to start a fire. He showed the humans how cooked meat and fish were more digestible and tempting than raw meat and fish. The people soon discovered that fire could also keep them safe and snug throughout the chilly nights. Ferocious animals feared its licking flames, and biting insects avoided its sooty smoke.

Fu Xi shaped young branches over an open fire in the spring, then cooled them into curvy bows. He scraped, smoothed, and dried slender sticks into arrow shafts. Then Fu Xi led the people on hunts for deer, wild boar, and migrant birds. He guided them in gathering up black mushrooms of the forests, wild grasses of the plains, and bitter cresses growing along the banks of trickling streams. He taught them how to raise sheep, goats, geese, and ducks. Fu Xi warned people only to take what they needed and never to waste food or kill senselessly.

To keep track of the food they grew and exchanged, people tied fancy knots shaped like butterflies, flowers, and diamonds. But they often forgot what each knot meant and argued and fought among themselves, so Fu Xi invented a writing system by carving small pictures and numbers onto bones and tortoise shells. Each picture stood for a word. This is the earliest Chinese characters. We name it “The inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells” now.

The inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells


Fu Xi knew that he could not stay on earth forever to help the people make up their minds whenever they were in trouble. When they did not know which path to take or which way to turn, Fu Xi taught them how to consult the oracle. So Fu Xi invented the Eight Diagrams.

And then Fu Xi showed people how to use these diagrams. The Eight Diagrams can be changed into a lot of patterns. Some patterns might mean the people were safe; others might warn them of impending danger. Some patterns advised them to stay in place; others advised them to move. Some urged them to attack, and some urged them to yield in battle. By reading the patterns of the sticks, the people could unlock their fortunes and make choices about their actions.

The people were delighted with their knowledge and felt ready to populate the earth. But Fu Xi knew better. He realized that finding food, making tools, raising animals, keeping records, and making choices were not enough.

The Fu Xi Eight Diagrams


He worried that the people would become boastful and selfish. Fu Xi wanted them to stay humble and learn from their past, to remember their successes and failures by telling stories. To help the storytellers, and to touch their hearts, he gave them his last gift, the gift of music.

Fu Xi taught the people how to make a Pi Pa (known as Chinese lute). Its melodic notes were a pleasure to hear, and its beautiful curves were a joy to behold. The Pi Pa could mimic the sound of wind blowing against trees, water flowing over rocks, and horses’ hooves clopping forward in battle. Fu Xi taught the people how to use the Pi Pa to tell unforgettable stories.

Each time the people plucked a tune, the still air in the sound box of the Pi Pa sprang to life. Each time they strummed the strings, sleeping emotions and silent thoughts welled up in their hearts and minds. Playing the Pi Pa filled the people’s bodies with joy, calmed their most savage feelings, and eased their deepest sorrows.

When his time on earth was over, Fu Xi bade goodbye to his people and ascended to the heavens, hoping that they would share their wisdom with each other and continue to live in peace.

Chinese classical musical instrument — Pi Pa

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Ancient Chinese Universe Creation Myth Legend http://www.mysteriouschina.com/ancient-chinese-universe-creation-myth-legend/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/ancient-chinese-universe-creation-myth-legend/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2008 05:48:56 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=759

Pan Gu is the creator of the universe in Chinese myth Legend. He created the world.

In the beginning, the universe was like a big egg. Inside was darkness chaos. After a long, long time, a giant was born in the egg-shaped space. His name was Pan Gu. Pan Gu slept for 18,000 years. He woke up and opened his eyes, but he could see nothing; he wanted to stretch, but his limbs hit the walls around him; he tried to stand up, but he bumped his head against the ceiling of the egg-shaped space.

Pan Gu began to kick and knock around until he broke the shell and stuck out his head and upper body. He looked around and still saw nothing but darkness. He kicked and knocked again until the substance of darkness began to break up. As a result, the light and clear substance started to float upward to form the sky and the dark and muddy substance began to sink to the bottom to form the earth. Pan Gu was in between, his head against the sky and his feet upon the earth. Fearing that the sky and the earth would come together and form the chaotic darkness again, Pan Gu decided to stay between the sky and the earth until the world became permanently separate. His body began to grow at the speed of ten feet a day. As he grew taller and taller, the sky and the earth were pushed farther and farther apart. Eventually Pan Gu became a giant 90,000 miles tall. Thus the sky and the earth were 90,000 miles apart. Pan Gu was sure that they would never have a chance to come together again.

By now, another 18,000 years had passed. Pan Gu was too exhausted to stand and grow anymore. One day he suddenly dropped to the ground and fell into a sleep from which he never woke. As he died, the parts of his body became the elements of nature. His head, torso, and limbs turned into mountains. His left eye became the sun; his right eye, the moon; and his hair, the myriad stars in the night sky. His last breath became wind, fog, and clouds; his muscles, the soil; his blood, the rivers; his bones and teeth, the minerals and precious stones; his perspiration, the rain and dew; his body hair, the vegetation; and the parasites living in and on his body became the living creatures.

After Pan Gu created the universe, there appeared a goddess who had a human upper body and a snake lower body. Her name was Nv Wa. She was infinitely resourceful, capable of changing into seventy different beings in a single day. All the same, she felt very lonely. She wanted to add something exciting to the earth. She began searching for that something, even though she had no idea what it was. While flying over a river, she looked down and happened to see the reflection of her face in the waters below. It was lively and beautiful. An idea dawned: “Why can’t I create something that will look like me? Then, I will have companions.” So thinking, she landed by the river and started to put her idea into practice.

Fishing some mud from the river, Nv Wa kneaded it into a piece of dough. Then she molded a little figure after her human face and upper body. Instead of a snake lower body like hers, she gave it two limbs that she called legs. The moment she placed the clay figure on the ground, it began to jump around with joy and called her Mom!” She happily named the little figurine ren (human). She then created more ren in the same fashion so that they could populate the world.

Nv Wa worked day and night until she was too tired to go on. Leaning against a mound, she fell asleep. Waking up, she looked around and caught sight of a large pool of muddy water nearby. Something like a rope led her eyes from the edge of the muddy puddle up to the side of the mound. It was a vine. She suddenly had an idea. She dipped the vine in the puddle and whirled it around. As she swung the muddy vine round and round, pieces of mud flew off and soon covered a large area about her. In no time the larger pieces of mud had turned into human beings and the smaller ones into animals. The ren she had molded from the mud she fished from the river became the forebears of noble, and the ren she created from the mud she slung were the ancestors of the common people.

The earth now teamed with life, but Nv Wa’s joy did not last long. In time the humans began to die in great numbers. She realized that as mortals, they eventually would all perish, and she would have to create them all over again. The resourceful Nv Wa never ran out of ideas, so she suggested to herself, “How about letting the humans regenerate themselves?” Acting on her thought, she blew a breath of yang into some of the humans so that they became men and a breath of yin into others so that they turned into women. She then encouraged them to marry for the purpose of reproducing themselves. Since then, humanity has continued from generation to generation.

Humans lived a happy, peaceful life for years, until one day a great disaster struck them. Gong Gong, a red-haired giant, started a war against the Zhuan Xu (another giant). Defeated, Gong Gong became so furious that he banged his humongous head against Bu Zhou Mountain and caused it to crumble. The mountain was in fact one of the pillars of the four corners of the world, (north, south, east, and west), supporting the tent like sky to prevent it from collapsing. Consequently a large chunk of the sky fell. Water gushed out from the big hole and poured onto the earth, which had been quaking violently in the wake of Bu Zhou Mountain’s collapse. The seas swelled and began to submerge land after land. Loong of fire and water and beasts of prey who were flushed out of their dens began to run wild and took a great number of lives.

Nv Wa could not stand seeing the decimation of the humans and other creatures she had created. She was determined to rescue them. Facing such a large-scale calamity, Nv Wa did not panic. Instead, she prioritized what she was going to do. She decided that the damage to the sky was the cause of everything, so took on the task of mending it. She collected a great number of multicolored stones from a riverbed, built a furnace in the Zhong Huang Mountain. And after forty-nine days, melted the stones and created a huge piece of colorful slate. Embedding the slate in the hole, Nv Wa managed to fix the leaking sky. Her action produced an unexpected side effect the shining colors of the slate added to the sky a moon, a rainbow, and numerous stars.

Fearing that the sky might break loose again, Nv Wa slew a giant turtle and propped the sky up with its legs in place of the fallen Bu Zhou Mountain. Seeing that the sky was secure, she turned her attention to the other causes of the disaster. She slaughtered the Loong that had produced excessive fire and water and drove the beasts of prey into the depths of forests and mountains. With the ashes left in the furnace that had produced the colorful slate, she built dams and dikes to check the floods. In the end, when everything on earth returned to normal, Nv Wa was too tired to get up. She fell into a peaceful sleep and never woke up.

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4 Supernatural Beasts in Ancient China http://www.mysteriouschina.com/4-supernatural-beasts-in-ancient-china/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/4-supernatural-beasts-in-ancient-china/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2008 05:00:21 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=705 There were 4 supernatural beasts that have boundless supernatural power in legend in China’s ancient times. They are Green Loong, White Tiger, Zhuque and Xuanwu.

In ancient times, the Chinese called east, west, south and north after Green Loong, White Tiger, Zhuque and Xuanwu respectively. In fact divide the sky into four parts. Green Loong is the deity in the east; White Tiger is the deity in the west; Zhuque is the deity in the south; Xuanwu is the deity in the north. This originated from ancient Chinese astrology.

China’s ancient astrology thinks Green Loong, White Tiger, Zhuque, Xuanwu is 4 supernatural beasts that guard heavenly palace. They can counteract evil force. Their images often appear on imperial palace, hall door, the city gate or grave building and implements in China’s ancient times.

East Green Loong

Loong is the most inviolable beast, and is the emperor’s symbol. It is the representatives in the East too. There are many legends about Loong in China. Loong is translated into dragon in Occident countries wrongly now. The correct translation should be “Loong”. In fact Chinese Loong is totally different from Western dragon. About the differences between Loong and dragon, you can read the article: Symbol of Chinese Culture – Chinese Loong.

West White Tiger

The tiger is the King of the beasts. It has strong appearance and can counteract evil force. It and Loong are a pair of best partner. In China’s ancient times, White Tiger has a lot supernatural power that exorcise evil spirits, exorcise calamity, prays for the bumper harvest, getting wealth, getting love…

South Zhuque

Zhuque is known as the Phoenix too. The body of Zhuque is the red like fire and it can live again in fire. So it’s named Fire Phoenix also.

According to the ancient recording, the Phoenix is a kind of beautiful bird. It becomes the king of the birds relying on wonderful song and beautiful appearance. It can bring good luck to human world. Loong is male and the phoenix is female. Loong matches with the phoenix. There is a kind of legend that ‘It is very auspicious that Loong appears with phoenix together’ among the Chinese people.

North Xuanwu

Xuanwu is a kind of supernatural animal that made up by tortoise and snake. There was a kind of tortoise augury in China’s ancient fortunetelling skill. The so-called tortoise augury is that let tortoise go to the dark hell and ask the ancestry, and then brings the answers back. And show to common people by the divining form. Certainly, this is superstition.

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China Four Great Famous Books (4) — Dream of Red Mansions http://www.mysteriouschina.com/china-four-great-famous-books-4-dream-of-red-mansions/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/china-four-great-famous-books-4-dream-of-red-mansions/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2008 10:36:19 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=636

Dream of Red Mansions (The Story of the Stone)

Author: Cao Xue Qin (Qing Dynasty). There are 1,075,000 Chinese characters in all.

Dream of Red Mansions is a China’s classical tragic love novel. The novel regard Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu’s love tragedy as clue; describe feudal bureaucrat Jia, Wang, Shi and Xue four family decline course; have reveal the feudal ruler’s crime; has explained the historical destiny that the feudal dynasty will decline. Dream of Red Mansions is a great classical masterpiece in history of Chinese literature.

What Dream of Red Mansions described in fact is unmarried girl’s hope and chase to the love. This novel language is very vivid and graceful. The figures are numerous in the novel. This novel includes various Chinese cultures such as Chinese cooking, Chinese medicine, Chinese Poetry, Chinese painting, Chinese architecture, Chinese opera… Have described colorful custom and social life in China Qing Dynasty. Someone says Dream of Red Mansions includes history of one era, is the encyclopedia of feudal last phase.

Dream of Red Mansions is known as “the summit of Chinese classical novel”. This is enough to state its remarkable value and artistic achievement. This novel is worth tasting and appreciating very much.

Dream of Red Mansions TV edition in 1986

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China Four Great Famous Books (3) — Journey to the West http://www.mysteriouschina.com/china-four-great-famous-books-3-journey-to-the-west/ Fri, 24 Oct 2008 07:56:40 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=595

Journey to the West

Author: Wu Chengen (1504 – 1582). There are 820,000 Chinese characters altogether.

Journey to the West is a famous mythical novel of China. It is based on the true deed that a Buddhist of the Tang Dynasty went on a pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures to India, merges the popular legend and mythical legend. Journey to the West has described Tang Monk and him 3 apprentices went on a pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures to India. The 3 apprentices of Tang Monk are Sun Wukong, Piggie, Sha Monk. They have many magical and dangerous experiences on the way. They have suffered a lot of tribulation. They have defeated varied demon and monster, have obtained real Buddhist scriptures finally. All of four people become Buddha. Journey to the West is a romantic masterpiece in China ancient times.

Tang Monk

Tang Monk was the first eminent monk in the Tang Dynasty, so named Tang Monk by people. Tang Monk was converted to Buddhism at 18 years old, researched sutras diligently and his comprehension is extremely strong. He was chosen by the emperor of the Tang Dynasty and went on a pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures to India. Tathagata Buddha gave him three treasured object: Kasaya, Nine Ring Buddhist Monk’s Staff, Gold Hoop Incantations. Tang Monk is very handsome, the disposition is gentle, Sutras attainments are extremely high. He went through the innumerable tribulations and fetched 35 sutras from the western Lei Yin Temple. It is said the person who eat Tang Monk flesh can live for ever, so the monsters all want to taste Tang Monk flesh, in order to achieve the goal living for ever.

Sun Wukong

Sun Wukong is the first apprentice of Tang Monk. He is a monkey who has supernatural theurgy. He can change body into 72 kinds of things, can fly in the sky; He has a pair of fiery eyes with golden pupils, can see through all sorts of demon and monster’ mask; He can fly over 54,000 kilometers in a somersault. Sun Wukong’ weapon is a golden cudgel. This golden cudgel can change the size at will, can as small as the embroidery needle or stretch and reach the sky. He once was the king of the Hua Guo Mountain, messed up the Peach Banquet of Queen Mother of Heaven, defeated 100,000 troops of Heaven. He was pressed under the Wu Xing Mountain for more than 500 years by Tathagata Buddha finally. He protected Tang Monk and went on a pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures to west. He defeated a lot demon and monster on the way. Fetched real Sutras finally.

Piggie

Piggie is the second apprentice of Tang Monk. He originally is a marshal in Heaven and is in charge of the Milky Way. Because philandered with the goddess of the moon after drunk and is evicted from the Heaven by Emperor of Heaven. He went to human world to reincarnate, but reincarnate pig by mistake, so the look was similar to pig. He can change body into 36 kinds of things, can fly in the sky and his weapon is spike-tooth rake. Tang Monk passed by Gao Lao Village on the way, Piggie was defeated by Sun Wukong, Piggie became the helper of Sun Wukong from then on, protected Tang Monk to go to west together. Piggie personality is good-natured, the strength is very big. But he is gluttonous and lazy, lust for women, is often allured by the beautiful monster.

Sha Monk

Sha Monk is the third apprentice of Tang Monk. He was originally a general in Heavenly Palace. Because has broken the colored glaze cup at the Peach Banquet, enraged the Queen Mother of Heaven, was demoted into human world. He was as the monster in Quicksand River, was defeated by Sun Wukong later, became the third apprentice of Tang Monk. His weapon is Crescent Shovel. Sha Monk is honest, loyal and unselfish, willing to bear the burden of work, observe the religious discipline of Buddhism sincerely. He followed Tang Monk wholeheartedly since he gave up the identity of monster.

]]> China Four Great Famous Books (2) — Heroes of the Marshes http://www.mysteriouschina.com/china-four-great-famous-books-2-heroes-of-the-marshes/ Sun, 12 Oct 2008 12:00:19 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=560

Heroes of the Marshes

Author: Shi Naian. There are 960,000 Chinese characters altogether.

Heroes of the Marshes is the long hero novel. This novel take “the story of peasant uprising in the end years of Sung Dynasty” as the background; take “the feudal local authorities force the people to rebel” as the theme. Describe the story that 108 heroic brave revolt. Has revealed the feudal ruler is cruel and decadent, have revealed the crime which corrupt official and local bullied oppressed the people in last years of Sung Dynasty. Have extolled the heroic behavior that brave men suppressed the evil and pacify the good people. Story language are vivid, personages have distinct personality, have very high artistic achievements.

Heroes of the Marshes is the first long colloquialism novel in China history, have significance of the milestone. Heroes of the Marshes nearly includes all of China’s feudal society, related to all aspect of China’s ancient social life, such as Chinese Kung Fu, Chinese medicine, astrology, Chinese ancient architecture, China’s ancient music…have offered the picture of social life custom of Sung Dynasty to us.

The characteristic of 108 heroes are different and everybody’s Kung Fu is different, the fighting scene is very excellent at the same time. Heroes of the Marshes has already been played by TV and movies in China. This book has tremendous influence to Chinese people. I think the hero in Heroes of the Marshes is somewhat like the American Batman.

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China Four Great Famous Books (1) — Three Kingdoms http://www.mysteriouschina.com/china-four-great-famous-books-1-three-kingdoms/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/china-four-great-famous-books-1-three-kingdoms/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2008 07:48:16 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=492

Three Kingdoms

Author: Luo Guanzhong (1330 – 1400). There are 734,321 Chinese characters altogether.

Three Kingdoms is China’s first magnificent historical novel. It widely spread, the influence is deepest, achievement is highest. This masterpiece makes the great and indelible contribution to the literature history of China. Meanwhile, add the magnificent splendor to the literature history of the world too. Novelist Luo Guanzhong of the Ming Dynasty merged material of history and popular legend and wrote a great historical novel Three Kingdoms. This strange book recorded the momentous historical incident of one century (184 – 280), the conception is grand, the scene is broad, the figure is distinct, artistic levels is high, is unparalleled in the world classical novels.

The novel describe complicated military and politics struggle among three kingdoms (Wei, Shu and Wu kingdom) in the historical period of three kingdoms of China. The figure’s image is portrayed deeply, intricate in details, the structure is magnificence. Through the soul-stirring military and political struggle, lifesome portray the remarkable personage image of politics and military. Zhu Ge Liang is an extremely important personage in Three Kingdoms. He is a intelligent incarnation. He has gathered a lot of politicians’ virtue and exceptional intelligence. He is widely known in China. Zhu Ge Liang is a personage who each Chinese like.

The main artistic achievement of Three Kingdoms are war describing and characterization. This novel specializes the war describing and can write out the characteristic of each war. Describe several hundred of big and small wars in this book and each war is different. Three Kingdoms has also described different feudal ruling class, in order to reach an private interests, deceive each other, use the intrigue, widely use the political trickery of strategy, have carried on fierce and complicated politics and military struggle.

Three Kingdoms is a works that the achievement is highest and most influential in China ancient historical novel. It spreads extensively and glamour is infinite. There is deep influence to Chinese people’s life. Nearly each Chinese has known this phase of history or read this masterpiece, it is really very excellent.

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