James walker Mr.Johnson
E3December 20, 1996
The Chinese culture
This report is about the myths and beliefs of the Chinese culture. It’s about the stories the Chinese created to explain the world around them, and generally how they perceived their surrounding environment. This report deals with ancient myths and the people who believed them, and what the current believes of these people are.
The Southwest Creation Story
The Southwest creation story is a myth which explains why people are different. The myth begins by saying that there were people on earth who were all alike, meaning there werent people who were black, white, oriental, etc.. It states that the humans on earth all generally were the same. There were also gods who lived above the clouds in the heavens. And there was a huge heavenly ladder which started on a mountain and reached all the way up to heavens door. It goes on to tell a story of a man who had two children. One was a girl and the other was a boy.
They lived in a house which had a huge very thick roof. The man had built the roof so thick because it rained almost every day. He hated the rain. He knew it had its benefits but too much of it ruined his crops, destroyed his livestock and every time it rained the roof of the house was destroyed. And every time the man rebuilt it, he made it thicker and thicker. He blamed all his misfortune on the Duke of Thunder. The Duke of Thunder was one of the gods who lived in the heavens. He was the god of rain and thunder. The man dispised the Duke very much and had a pure hatred of him.
Every time it rained the Duke would descend from the heavens and stand on a hilltop. There he would watch with pure delight as the rains and thunder came down harder and harder. Finally the man had had enough. One day he took his axe and waited on the hilltop for the Duke to arrive. When the rains came so did the Duke, and the man slashed him in the back. The Duke was hurt but not killed because he was a god. The man caged him and brought him home. He put him in a corner and warned the kids not to go near him. And to especially not give him water. The next morning was a beautiful sunny one, but the Duke looked horrible almost as if he was dehydrating. The man told the children he had to go to the market and said again not to go near the Duke no matter what he does and dont give him water. After the man left the Duke started moaning. He begged the children to give him some water but they refused following their fathers orders. The Duke pretended he was dead with his mouth hung open and he had his lips very dry.
The girl was worried, she thought he was dying so she gave him one drop of water. The Duke instantly jumped back up and tore apart the cage. The children were terrified. He came over to them and promised them that they will be rewarded for their deed. He gave them a small egg and told them to plant it in the ground and then he left. When the man came back he was shocked by what had happened. He knew the Duke would be very angry and would punish him. So he didnt waste any time and started to build a ship. After a months time the ship was finished. It was built out of the strongest material known to him.
Meanwhile the egg the children planted had grown to a size of about two small people. Then one day what the man had anticipated came. Huge torrential downpours of rain started and there were tremendous floods. The man jumped into the ship he built, in his panic he had forgotten about the children. They had ran into the egg which had become soft. The floods were so great that the man in his ship reached all the way to the door of the heavens. He banged the doors and yelled let me in! The gods didnt want mortals in the heavens, so the Duke was ordered to recede the floods. He took the floods back so fast that the man fell back to the earth and was crushed by his ship.
The children in the soft egg bounced back to the ground safely. When they came out, they saw everything was destroyed. They were the only ones left. They lived happily for a while and after some time they had a child. Because they were brother and sister the child was deformed and died a short time later. The two kids chopped up the baby into tiny pieces and put him in a bag, and they started climbing up the heavenly ladder. The bag ripped before they could reach to the top and all the pieces fell back to earth. They fell all over the continents, and from them the new people developed. They were different in appearance from each other depending on where they lived. This myth explains why there are people who look so much different from each other. This myth suggests that man was more responsible for the creation of the new humans than the gods. Because of the actions of the man the people were created.
The Heritage of a King
This is a myth about fate. In this myth a man named Zoa chi who is a king tries to find out his fate. Zoa was a survivor. When he was little his parents were assassinated. An attempt at his life was also made but his older brother protected him. The murderer was his uncle who betrayed his father and overthrew his power. He stayed in exile with his brother until he was older. Over the years his hatred of his uncle had made Zoa a very stern man. He had wowed to get his revenge. He became a great fighter and started a group of followers who also were against the king.
Then finally the day he had been waiting for had arrived. With his small army he overpowered the kings army. Growing up on the streets had made Zoa a great strategy leader, so he was able to defeat the huge overconfident kings army. He killed the king and took over the throne. Years went by and he himself became overconfident and selfish. He created a fantasy image of himself as a great man. He thought that nothing on this planet could defeat him. As time went by he became just like his uncle. Absolute power had corrupted him.
Then one day he declared to all his subjects that he was a god and expected to be worshipped. This was too much for the people, they rebelled but Zoa crushed all their resistance. One of his advisors told Zoa that he knew a magician who could greatly help him in keeping down further rebellions. He said that this man could see the future and help him stop protesters before they could organise and challenged him. The king immediately called the man to his castle. The mans name was Hou. He told the king that there will be a man who will kill him soon. And that man would be a close relative of his. The king knew exactly whom Hou was talking about. Zoas son Zhuan was almost the age where he could become king if something happened to his father. Immediately Zoa ordered Zhuan to be imprisoned. He said this was another example of how clever he was, he said he saw the future and beat fates destiny. He even said that he was better than any other god the people believed in. When he went to see Zhuan his older brother went with him. Zhuan pleaded with Zoa and said he would never even think of killing his own father. But Zoa didnt believe him. He sentenced Zhuan to death. But before Zhuan could be killed older Zoas brother beheaded him when he facing his son. Zoa was killed by his own brother who was ashamed of what his younger sibling had become. What the magician didnt tell Zoa was which close relative would kill him. Zoa who had become overconfident wasnt as great as he thought he was. And he was too arrogant to not know that the gods should not be challenged. This myth tells that becoming overconfident will eventually hurt you and that no one could beat their destiny. The Chinese in this story believed in the gods, they were very religious people and this myth tells that the gods should not be challenged.
Both of these myths were written a long time ago and I dont think that the people today still believe in these myths as strongly as the people who wrote them did. I think it’s like Halloween in our culture. We still practice the custom as the ancient people did but we dont have as much as a strong believe in ghosts and goblins as our ancestors did.
Birch, Cyril. Chinese Myths And Fantasies. Great Britain: London, 1992.
Fei, Charles. Strange Creatures. New York, 1990
Ke, Yuan. Dragons And Dynasties. China: Beijing, 1993
*Chinese Myths.* Grolier Encyclopaedia, 12th ed. 1996.