My Favorite Chinese Myths

I've always been fascinated with the culture of China and chinese myths. Since I was very young I've been attracted to its art, history, symbolism, food and culture. Chinese myths are a colourful part of Chinese culture, they are imaginative, often amusing and usually have a moral message attatched to them.


Chinese - Myths - Chinese Spirit

The Chinese fables I've included here are a few of my favorites, and though I by no means profess to be an expert on the subject, I will, because of my interest in all things Chinese, be constantly adding more Chinese mythology and legends to our pages, so pop in often to see what's new.

In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy the ones I have made available, and if you're interested in Chinese Astrology check out our Chinese Zodiac section for more Chinese myths and astrology. Hao Yun !

First a little about the history and origin of Chinese myths:

Chinese myths are purported to have arisen around the 12th. century B.C.,including creation myths and legends and myths concerning the founding of Chinese culture and society. Most Chinese myths and legends were passed down in oral format for over a thousand years, before being written down in early books such as Shui Jing Zhu and Shan Hai Jing. Other Chinese myths continued to be passed down through oral traditions such as theatre and song, before being recorded in the form of novels such as Fengshen Yanyi. Chinese myths about creation apparently began a little later as accounts didn't appear till well after Confucianism and Taoism were established.

Pangu and Nuwa are featured in the chinese myths we have on this page, while there is another chinese myth regarding creation about Yu Huang the Jade Emperor that appeared even later in time.

Chinese myths are full of mythical beings and creatures. The aforementioned Jade Emperor is considered the most important, though his origins and how he came to be a God are Unknown. Dragons feature in Chinese myths frequently and are considered to be the most powerful and divine creatures of all.

There are many Chinese myths that also tell of the Jiang Shr or Kuang Shi, the Zombies of Chinese Mythology. They have physical bodies, but they are not alive, nor have they will or thought, much like the Zombies of the West, they are the "Boogeymeny" of Chinese myths. They are thought to be the lost souls of Chinese who have died away from home and had no priest to lead them to rest.

Like other cultures Chinese myths are full of deities. Besides the ones previously mentioned there are characters such as Ba, a daughter of the Gods who brought drought, Chih Nu, the daughter of Yu-Huang, Di-ya and Tian-long, Chinese deities and the servants of Wen Chang, the god of literature. Another Chinese myth myth mentions them as the primordial pair of gods from whom all creatures came forth.

As you can see there is an abundance of Chinese myths one could spend a lifetime studying. Chinese myths are some of the oldest stories in the world, and though the Irish are known as great storytellers, the Chinese are not far behind them!

Chinese Myths About Creation

Chinese Myths -Creation Graphic

Chinese Myths - Pangu Creates The Earth

In the beginning, the universe was a black egg where heaven and earth were mixed together, and in this egg was contained Pangu. He felt suffocated, so he cracked the egg with a broadax, and the light, clear part of the egg floated up to form Heaven while the cold, heavy part stayed down and formed Earth. Pangu stood in the middle, and he and the egg's two parts grew and grew until he was nine million li in height.

When Pangu died, Chinese myths say that his breath became the wind and clouds, his voice the rolling thunder, and his eyes the sun and the moon. His hair and beard became the stars in the sky, the flowers and trees from his skin, the marrow in his bones became jade and pearls, and his sweat the good rain that nurtured the Earth.

There are several Chinese myths of the Pangu legend, but one that is common in southern China is that of King Fang and King Gao Xin. Pangu was King Gao Xin's dog, and King Gao Xin had a great enmity with King Fang. He proclaimed, "Anyone who can bring me King Fang's head will have my daughter's hand in marriage," but no one would try because of King Fang's fearsome army.

One day Pangu slipped away and went to King Fang's court. King Fang was happy to see that he had deserted King Gao Xin, and welcomed him with a banquet. However, that night, Pangu sneaked into the king's chambers and bit off his head, returning back to King Gao Xin with it.

King Gao Xin was overjoyed to see that Pangu had brought King Fang's head, but did not think to marry his daughter to a dog. Pangu would not eat for three days, and the king asked, "Why do you not eat? Are you angry that I would not marry my daughter to you?"

Pangu said, "No, just cover me with your golden bell for seven days and I'll turn into a man." The king did so, but the princess peeked under on the sixth day. She found that Pangu already had man's body but retained a dog's head. However, once the bell had been raised the magic change stopped, and he remained a man with a dog's head. The princess married him and the settled in southern China, where they had four children, who became the ancestors of mankind.

Chinese Myths - Nü Wa Makes Men

One of our Chinese myths says that there were no men when the sky and the earth were separated. It was Nü Wa who made men by moulding yellow clay. The work was so taxing that her strength was not equal to it. So she dipped a rope into the mud and then lifted it. The mud that dripped from the rope also became men. Those made by moulding yellow clay were rich and noble, while those made by lifting the rope were poor and low.

Chinese Myths – Nu Wa Mends the Sky At one time the world split open when the four corners of the sky collapsed. The earth could not support the weight of everything on it, and the sky wasn’t able to cover that which was under it. To make matters worse, a terrible fire broke out that could not be extinguished, and a fierce flood could not be stopped. The animals went wild and attacked the humans, giant birds swooping upon the old and the weak.

Nu Wa came to the rescue by melting rocks of five different colors together and using them to mend the cracks left in the sky by the collapse of its corners. She cut the legs off of a giant turtle and used them to prop up the four corners of the sky. One of the savage beasts that was attacking and killing people was a black dragon, which Chinese myths say that Nu Wa slew. After that, she burned the reeds of the river and used their ashes to stem the flood.

With the sky mended and the four corners once again secured, the flood stopped and the wild beasts dead, the people went on to live in peace on the square earth under the sky. It was a time of paradise and plenty, wild beasts were tamed, and the earth gave generously of its bounty.

The good deeds of Nu Wa benefited both Heaven and the Earth, and her name was passed from generation to generation. To show her gratitude, Nu Wa shone her light on every creation. She never bragged of her good deeds, and did not seek any reward; she chose to remain humble, as is the way of the universe.

From Huai nan zi (Writings of Prince Huainan)- Chinese Myths

Chinese Myths With a Moral Lesson

Chinese Myths - Sun

Chinese Myths - The Ten Suns

The Chinese myths state that there existed ten suns which appeared in turn in the sky during the Chinese ten-day week. Each day the ten suns would travel with their mother, the goddess Xi He, to the Valley of the Light in the East. There, Xi He would wash her children in the lake and put them in the branches of an enormous mulberry tree called fu-sang. From the tree, only one sun would move off into the sky for a journey of one day, to reach the mount Yen-Tzu in the Far West.

Tired of this routine, Chinese myths say that the ten suns decided to appear all together. The combined heat made the life on the Earth unbearable. To prevent the destruction of the Earth, the emperor Yao asked Di Jun, the father of the ten suns, to persuade his children to appear one at a time.

They would not listen to him, so Di Jun sent the archer, Yi, armed with a magic bow and ten arrows to frighten the disobedient suns. However, Yi shot nine suns, only the Sun that we see today remained in the sky. Di Jun was so angry for the death of nine of his children that he condemned Yi to live as an ordinary mortal in the earth.

Chinese Myths - Confucious

Chinese Myths - The Foolish Old Man Removes the Mountains

The Taihang and Wangwu Mountains, which had a periphery of seven hundred li and were a hundred thousand feet high, originally lay south of Jizhou and north of Heyang and are the setting for one of the most interesting Chinese myths.

The Foolish Old Man of the North Mountain, nearly ninety years of age, lived behind these mountains. He was unhappy about the fact that the mountains blocked his way to the south and he had to walk round them whenever he went our or came back, so he called the whole family together to talk about the matter.

" What would you say," he said to them,"if I suggest that all of us work hard to level the two mountains, so as to open a way to places south of Yu Prefecture and the Han River?" Many voices said they agreed to the idea.

But his wife had her doubts. "With your strength," she said, "you could hardly remove a small hill like Kuifu. What could you do with the Taihang and Wangwu Mountains? Besides, where could you deposit the earth and rocks.?"

"Carry them to the shores of the Bohai Sea and north of Yintu," said several people.

The old man, helped by his son and grandson who could carry things, began to break rocks and dig earth, which they carried in baskets and dustbins to the shores of the Bohai Sea. The seven-year-old son of a widow named Jingcheng, one of the old man's neighbours, came running up to offer his help. One trip to the sea took them a long time: they left in winter and came back in summer.

The Wise Old Man at the River Bend stopped the old man. He laughed and said, "How unwise you are! At your age, old and feeble as you are, you cannot even remove one hair on the mountain, let alone so much earth and so many rocks!"

The Foolish Old Man of the North Mountain heaved a long sign and said, "You are so conceited that you are blind to reason. Even a widow and a child know better than you. When I die, there will be my sons, who will have their sons and grandsons. Those grandsons will have their sons and grandsons, and so on to infinity. But the mountains will not grow. Why is it impossible to level them?" The Wise Old Man at the River Bend could not answer him.

The Old Man's words were heard by a god of Chinese myths who had snakes in his hands. He was afraid that the old man would really level the two mountains, and reported the whole thing to the Heavenly God. Moved by the old man's determination, Chinese myths say that the Heavenly God ordered the two sons of Kua'ershi to carry the two mountains on their backs and put one east of Shuo and the other south of Yong. After this, there were no more mountains between Jizhou and the Han River.

Chinese Myths - Chinese Horse

Chinese Myths - The Old Man of the Steppes Finds a Horse

Once upon a time in Chinese myths, there was a wise old man who lived in the steppes. He owned many horses. One evening, after a long day of working in the fields, he came home to discover that one of his horses--a mare, had run off. His family and his neighbours searched the surrounding area. When they finally gave up, they sent him their condolences, “We are sorry that this unfortunate incident happened to you.” The old man of the steppes remarked calmly, “The loss of my mare is not necessarily a bad thing. All will be shown for its true worth in time.”

The next morning, the old man of the steppes looked up in the horizon and saw two horses coming towards his house. The first horse was his mare that had run off, and the other was a stallion following the mare. Even from a distance, he could see that this stallion was a war horse of great stature and worth. He quickly inquired at the county office whether anyone had reported the loss of their stallion.

The county magistrate advised him to keep the horse until someone had reported it missing. That evening, the old man’s family and his neighbours celebrated the return of his mare as well as his newly acquired stallion. At the celebration, he was called upon to make a speech. The old man of the steppes stood up and remarked calmly, “The acquisition of this stallion is not necessarily a good thing. all will be shown for its true worth in time.”

Chinese myths say that a week later, the old man’s son took the stallion out for a ride. Not being skilled in manoeuvering a great war horse, the boy suffered a terrible fall. As a result, his leg was broken. The old man’s family and his neighbours crowded around the boy and commented, “This is an awful thing that has happened. This stallion has brought bad luck to the family.” The old man of the steppes stood by the boy and remarked calmly, “This accident is not necessarily a bad thing. All will be shown for its true worth in time.”

Sometime later, the kingdom was involved in a cruel and unjust war with a neighbouring kingdom. All the young men of the kingdom were called upon to enlist in the army. The old man’s neighbours lamented as all their sons were called off to fight in the war. It was impossible to escape the draft as the enlisting officers moved from county to county and house to house in search of all the young men. Inevitably, they finally came upon the old man’s house.

Seeing the stallion in the yard, they remarked to themselves, “This must be the home of a great warrior. But why has this coward not gone off to war? We must seize him at once.” When they searched the house, they found only the old man of the steppes, his wife and their crippled son. The enlisting officers then remarked, “This young man would have been a fine soldier if it were not for his broken leg. We cannot take him with us.” And thus, their son was exempted from fighting in the war. The old man’s neighbours, observing with amazement the declared, “What wisdom this old man has, that he can foresee both good and bad incidences for what they are truly worth!”

Check Out These Myths and Legends From Around The World

Chinese Myths - Mantis

Chinese Myths -A Mantis Trying to Stop a Chariot

When somebody overrates himself, he is often warned: "Don't be a mantis trying to stop a chariot." The saying comes from Chinese myths dating back to the Spring and Autumn Period.

One day, the King of Qi went out for a hunting with his men. The carriages were going along, when suddenly a mantis stood in the middle of the road with its sickle-like forelegs opened. It was obvious that he was trying to fight against the carriage to hold it back. Surprised at the case, the King of Qi ordered to stop and asked what creature it was. When he was told it was called mantis, and it would go well up to bridle decisively when it was challenged.

The King sighed with exclamation at its braveness. He mused a moment and added: "It's a great pity that it is not more than an insect. If it were a man, he must be the bravest warrior in the world!" Then the King ordered his carriages turn around it to leave the mantis there standing martially.

When the persons around heard the King's words, they were well touched and determined to devote themselves to the country.

As time passed, the meaning of the phrase changed to its opposite. Now it means that someone overrates oneself and try to hold back an overwhelmingly superior force. One of my favorite Chinese myths.

Chinese Myths -Tiger Shoes

Tiger shoes are commonly found on babies' feet in the countryside of China even today. The shoes are entirely made of cloth and their toe-caps are made into tiger's head. Their story is one of the most popular Chinese myths.

Long ago, in the famous old town Yangzhou lived a boatman called Big Yang, who was very generous and ready to help others. Because of his charities, he got an old drawing as a present from an old female passenger. In the picture, a beautiful girl was embroidering a pair of tiger shoes. The boatman was very pleased with the gift. He liked the picture dearly. As soon as he got home, he put it on the wall above his bed.

One evening, the girl in the picture stepped out of the picture and had a nice time with Big Yang. Since then, they met every night. Years later, they had a son who brought much happiness to the couple. But unfortunately, as in many Chinese myths, the magic picture was seized away by the official of the town, who had heard about the beauty in Big Yang's picture. Big Yang was angry with the evil official though he could do nothing. The greedy official put the picture on the wall above his bed and waited the girl to come down every night. To his disappointment, nothing happened.

The son was crying for his mother. The father tried to deceive him into believing that his mother had gone far away to the west. The son insisted on looking for his mother. Finally, the son went on the trip to find his mother. He traveled westwards day and night, and in the end, he saw his mother in a pool in the forest bathing together with many other fairies. "Well, my son, how have you been looking for Mum a long way here!" said the mother, weeping the tears off her son's cheeks. "Mum, let's go home. You know how I missed you." "We won't meet until you go into the official's bed room, wearing that pair of tiger shoes I made for you. My son. Shut your eyes, and I'll send you home first."

After a whirl of gale, the son was surprised to find himself already at home. He informed the official that he could call down the lady from the picture. On hearing the news, the evil official was very pleased for he was eager to find a way to get in touch with the beauty. So the boy was lead directly into the bedroom. As soon as the boy saw his mother, he spoke to the picture. "Mum, let's go!" the son said deeply. The mother got down right away and walked out with the support of her son. But the evil official stopped them right away. He wanted to detain the beauty as his concubine forcefully, but he was refused. The official became angry and thrust at the mother and son. The boy fought back bravely.

While they were fighting, Chinese myths say the tiger shoes shook off from the boy's feet and turned into a large tiger. It jumped up quickly over to the sinful official. The calls for help from the poor man and the roars from the fierce tiger were mixed together, which was heard by the whole town. It was the tiger shoes that saved the mother and son, and the family united again. Since then, people made tiger shoes for their own babies hoping the family and their babies well protected.

Chinese Myths - A Fond Dream of Nanke

One of the saddest of Chinese myths.

In Tang Dynasty, there lived a person called Chun Yufen, who thought himself a wise man but was not recognized by people then. So he often felt sad and drank down to pass his time.

One day, he was drinking under an old pagoda tree, to the south of his house. he soon fell asleep and had a dream.

In his dream, Chun Yufen met with an atomy who introduced himself to Chun Yufen that he came to invite him to the great Kingdom of Pagoda. Chun Yufen gladly went there with him. He found himself into a fairy world with many red gates, magnificent palaces, luxuriant pavilions and beautiful gardens; in a word, it couldn't be found in the real world, only in Chinese myths.

The king appreciated him very much so that he was named the head of Nanke. Soon after, he married the king's pretty daughter. Chun Yufen was so happy with the life there that he totally forgot his hometown and his family.

But it was not long before the kingdom was invaded by another country and Chun Yufen had to lead the troops to hold out the enemies. Unfortunately his troops were defeated and his wife died. Chun Yufen was badly hit and he felt very disappointed to himself, so he decided to leave the Kingdom of Pagoda. In the end, he was sent home by the atomy. As soon as he arrived home, he woke up to realize what had happened was just a dream, which only took him a short time to have. There lay the half glass of alcohol on the ground in front of him. And there was an ant creeping on one of his feet. Looking down from the little creature he found an ant nest in the old pagoda tree. "Oh, it must have been the ant nest that I entered and took for that kingdom in my dream." he murmured.

Of all Chinese myths this one is often used to say that someone is very happy about something not based on reality. For an example, someone thought he won a lottery and was very happy about it, but actually he did not win anything.

Chinese Myths – Swayed by a Woman’s Wares

Two factions of young warriors stood face to face in a field at the base of Huangshan Mountain in China. They were armed to the teeth with spears, swords, staffs and bow and arrows, ready to annihilate each other. All of a sudden a beautiful young woman dressed in a provocative short skirt entered the area between them.

She danced seductively and passionately, some of the weapons that the men held lightly grazing her body as she danced amongst their ranks. The men on both sides were hypnotized by her movements, and after awhile their weapons dropped to the ground. The woman gave what seemed to be some kind of a command, and the men all turned and went their separate ways, leaving their weapons where they lay.

The woman who danced was no witch or sorceress, or powerful figure from one of the warring villages. She was simply a normal working woman, but her dance represented a tradition that had been carried on for years, and the warriors respected it. Chinese myths tell us that if there ever was a fight between villages, no man from either side could venture forth to negotiate peace, as he would be killed or kidnapped. Women however were respected and allowed to go close to the border to work in the fields or visit family members or friends in the opposing village. Tradition allowed for women to mediate martial disputes by performing a dance like the woman in our story.

The efforts of the women who danced were normally respected, as the side who would disregard her efforts would be condemned, and many other tribes previously neutral in the dispute would join forces with the side who respected the woman’s wishes – usually crushing the other side with vastly superior numbers. It’s no wonder then, that Chinese myths tell us that warriors usually respected the power of a woman’s wares.

From: Chinese myths and fables by O. Lee

Chinese Myths – Tale of the Tiger Shoes

In the rural areas of China, the feet of babies are kept warm and protected by Tiger Shoes, little woolen booties adorned with a tiger’s head. Chinese myths tell a captivating story of how this tradition came to be.

A long time ago in Yangzhou there lived a boatman by the name of Big Ying. Ying took his name from his gigantic heart more than his physical size, as he was willing to help anybody at anytime with anything they needed. After one of his many charitable acts, Ying was given a beautiful drawing by a grateful woman whom he had helped. The picture was of a girl decorating a pair of tiger shoes with beautiful embroidery. Ying was very proud of the gift he had received and hung it on the wall of his home above his bed.

One night the girl in the picture came out and pleasured Ying as he lay in his bed. This became a regular occurrence, and Big Ying was extremely happy with the arrangement. Soon enough, their relationship resulted in a child being born, a beautiful boy who gave the couple much happiness. Rumor spread of the picture that Ying had, and soon the mayor of his village confiscated it. Ying was angry, but could do nothing because of the mayor’s position, so he and his family went about living their life.

The mayor though, knowing what had happened to Ying, hung the picture over his bed, hoping for the same. Nothing happened to the mayor, but Ying’s wife mysteriously disappeared. Her son cried and cried, wanting his mother, and Ying tried to console him by saying that she had just gone on a short trip to the west. The boy insisted that he would go and find her, and set out on a journey into the western part of the country to find his mother. He searched and searched and finally found her bathing in a pool with some fairies

The mother welcomed her son, wiping his tears of joy at having found her from his face. “Let’s go home mother,” he pleaded, “we have missed you so much!” “I must do something first my son”, she replied, “but close your eyes and I will send you home first, and join you after a short time.”

The mother knew that in order to go home, she must come out of the mayor’s picture and lay with him. The son closed his eyes, a ferocious wind blew, and when he opened his eyes again he was home. He went directly to the mayor’s house and told him he could make the woman come out of the picture. The mayor was very pleased, and brought the boy into his bedroom.

The boy went to the picture and calmly asked his mother to come out. She came out of the picture immediately, and started to walk off with her son, but the evil mayor stopped them. He tried to grab the mother and keep her there, but the son fought bravely, in the process losing the tiger shoes he had worn.

The shoes turned into a large and vicious tiger which quickly attacked the mayor. The mayor screamed and shouted, and the tiger left by jumping out of the window. The boy and his mother went home, never to be bothered by anyone in the village again. Now people make tiger shoes for their newborns hoping that they will be protected.

General Chinese Myths

Chinese Myths - Well

Chinese Myths - The Moon in the Well

One evening,as Chinese myths go, the clever man, Huojia went to fetch some water from the well. To his surprise, when he looked into the well, he found the moon sunk in the well shining. "Oh, good Heavens, what a pity! The beautiful moon has dropped into the well!" so he dashed home for a hook, and tied it with the rope for his bucket, then put it into the well to fish for the moon.

After some time of hunting for the moon, Haojia was pleased to find that something was caught by the hook.. He must have thought it was the moon. He pulled hard by the rope. Due to the excessive pulling, the rope broke into apart and Haojia fell flat on his back. Taking the advantage of that post, Haojia saw the moon again high in the sky. Chinese myths say that he sighed with emotion, "Aha, it finally came back to its place! What a good job! He felt very happy and told whomever he met with about the wonderment proudly without knowing what he did was something impractical.

Chinese Myths - Chinese Dragon

Chinese Myths - Fu Xi

Fu Xi was the first of three noble emperors, the San-huang, in Chinese mythology. Legend has it that he ruled from 2952 to 2836 BCE (116 years) or from 2852 to 2737 BCE (115 years). Fu Xi was a teacher of the arts, such as the use of fishing nets, the breeding of silk worms, and the taming of wild animals.

Traditional Chinese myths state that he invented music, and, most importantly, the eight tigrams (Pakua), said to be the basis of Chinese writing and influential in the development of Pa-Kua Kung Fu. He is also credited with the invention of casting oracles by the use of yarrow stalks and as being the founder of the one hundred Chinese family names. Fu Xi is also said to have decreed that marriages may only take place between persons bearing different family names.

Chinese myths represent Fu Xi as a human being with the body of a snake. He is married to Nü-gua. In Taoist temples he is usually portrayed holding a panel on which the eight tigrams are inscribed.

Chinese Myths - Nu Guaü-gua

Nu Gua was the goddess of Chinese myths who created the first humans from yellow earth, after the seperation of Heaven and earth. Since this process was too tedious and time-consuming she dipped a rope into mud and then swung it about her. Chinese myths say that soon the earth around her was covered with lumps of mud. The handmade figurines became the wealthy and the noble; those that arose from the splashes of mud were the poor and the common.

Nü-gua is one of the most popular goddesses of Chinese myths and is worshipped both as the intermediary between men and women, and as the goddess who grants children. She invented the whistle, instituted marriage and instructed mankind in the art of building dams and channels for irrigation. Chinese myths also credit Nü-gua with the restoration of the universe after it had been devastated by the monster Gong Gong.

A particular favorite of Chinese myths tells that at a certain time the cardinal points where no longer in the proper place, exposing the nine realms. Nü-gua melted colored stones to mend the azure skies, cut off the lags of a turtle to support the cardinal points, and slayed a black dragon to save the land of Qi. Another of the favored Chinese myths states that beyond the northwesters ocean there live ten ghosts who were fashioned from her bowels.

Her alleged husband (and brother) is the god of Chinese myths Fu Xi. Like her brother, the lower part of her body is portrayed as that of a dragon. When they are represented together in Chinese myths, their tails are intertwined. She holds a compass, the symbol of Earth, and her husband holds a set square, the symbol of Heaven.

Chinese Myths – Feeling the Wrath of a Painted Snake

In this gem among Chinese myths, a man is made ill by what seemed to be a painted snake.

Once there were two friends, Lee Chang and Ming Yang. Lee Chang was a very outgoing person who loved to entertain his friends. One day he sent for his friend Yang Ming who he hadn’t seen for a long time, to come and have dinner with him. When Yang arrived at his house, Lee Chang noticed that he seemed quite distressed, so he asked him what was wrong.

“The last time I had dinner at your house I became very ill after” Yang told him. “When I was drinking my wine, I noticed a small painted snake at the bottom of the glass, but it was too late, as I had already drunk it all. After I became very ill, and I don’t want it to happen again, as since that time, I can’t do anything but lay in my bed all day.”

Lee Chang was quite perplexed, and couldn’t figure out what on earth had happened. As he escorted his friend inside, Chang looked around and noticed a painted snake hung as a decoration on the wall of the room in which they had eaten that night. He immediately knew what had happened, but didn’t tell his friend. He set the table in the same room and in the same way he had the night that Ming had got sick, and asked his friend to sit down. Lee Chang poured his friend a glass of wine and pointed to the reflection of the snake in his friend’s glass.

“That is the same kind of snake that was in my glass last time,” said Yang. Lee Chang began to laugh and took the painted snake off of the wall.

“Can you still see the snake?” he asked his friend. Yang was astonished to see that the snake was no longer there. He immediately realized that the snake that had made him ill was just a reflection of the ornamental one that had been hanging on the wall. Yang Ming immediately felt better, although he felt a little foolish too.

This is one of the Chinese myths that are used to teach the power of psychosomatic illness.

Chinese Myths-Buffalo

Chinese Myths - Li Bing Fights the River Deity

Chinese Myths say that when King Zhao of Qin conquered Shu (Szechuan Province), he appointed Li Bing governor of the area. At that time there in the river was a river deity, who each year demanded two virgins as his wives. One day, the official responsible for the matter came to report to Li, "This time a million copper coins must be collected to buy two women for the deity." "Don't worry," Li Bing comforted him, "I have got girls for him already."

When the day came, Li had his two daughters properly dressed, ready to be thrown into the river. He stepped onto the terrace for the ceremony and poured a libation, saying, "Today, I am greatly honoured to become a relation of yours. Please, my River God, come out and honour the occasion with your respected presence, and allow me to propose a toast to you." After saying these words, Li emptied his cup, put it down and waited.

The wine in the cup for the deity, however, only stirred a little and remained full to the brim. Flying into a rage at this, Li said in a stern voice, "Since you look down upon me so, I have no choice but to fight you." Li drew out his sword, and the next moment disappeared. Quite a while later, two grey buffaloes were seen fighting on the other side of the river. Soon, Li reappeared, ordering his subordinates to help him, saying, "The buffalo facing south with a white stripe on the middle part of his body is me. That is the ribbon for my seal." Then he disappeared again to go back to his fight. Finally, his chief secretary killed the buffalo facing north. Chinese myths believe that was the end of the river deity and all the trouble he had caused.

from Tai ping yu lan Chinese Myths (Taiping Anthologies for the Emperor)

Chinese Myths - Mr.Tan

Mr. Tan, a scholar of Chinese myths in the Han Dynasty, was single at forty. He often read the Book of Songs, which invariably stirred his feelings. At midnight one day a girl appeared before him. She was no more than fifteen or sixteen, her clothes were resplendent, and her beauty staggering. She asked him to marry her, saying, "I am different from other women. Please do not put any light close to me, but after three years you can do that." And they became husband and wife. Then a son was born. When the child was two years old, Tan was tempted by curiosity and looked at her one night by the light of a candle while she was asleep. What he saw was a woman with human flesh above the waist but only a skeleton below it.

At this moment the woman woke up. "You have failed me," she said. "Otherwise, I would soon revive. Why couldn't you have waited for another year instead of exposing me to the light now?" Tan apologized for what he had done, tears running down his cheeks. "We cannot but part for ever," she said. "But I shall try to provide for my son. Come with me and I shall give you something in case you are too poor to support yourself and him." So Tan followed her as she entered a magnificent, sumptuously furnished house. There she gave him a gown decorated with pearls and said, "With this you will always live a decent life." Then she tore off a part of his sleeve as a keepsake and disappeared.

Later Mr. Tan went to the market with the gown, which was bought by someone for a Mr. Wang of Suiyang. Tan got a large sum of money for it. When Wang saw it, he recognized it, saying, "This used to be my daughter's gown. The man who sold it must be a grave-digger." On his order, Tan was seized and interrogated. Tan told his story in detail, but Wang found it hardly believable.

He went to her grave to check and found it intact. When it was opened, part of Tan's sleeve was seen inside the coffin. Wang then had Tan's son brought to him and found the boy took after his daughter. Now that he believed Tan had told the truth, he sent for him, returned the gown to him, and made him a legitimate son-in-law. Later the old man recommended Tan's son to an important post in the court.

from Cao Pi's Lie yi zhuan Chinese Myths (Strange Stories)

Myths And Legends From Other Countries

Chinese Myths - Ghost

Chinese Myths - Zong Dingbo Catches a Ghost

Zong Dingbo, a young man in Nanyang, met a ghost one night while walking along the road. "Who is it?" he asked. "A ghost," answered the ghost. "Who are you?" "I am a ghost, too," Zong lied. "Where are you going?" the ghost asked. "I am going to Wanshi," Zong answered. "I am also going there," the ghost said. So they went a few li together. "It is very tiresome to walk like this," said the ghost. "Why do we not carry each other on our backs by turns?" "That is an excellent idea," Zong agreed. First the ghost carried Zong for & few li. "You are so heavy!" it said. "Are you really a ghost?" Zong said, "I died quite recently, so I am heavy." Then it was his turn to carry the ghost, which was almost weightless. They went on like this, each carrying the other several times. Zong said, "Since I have just died, I do not know what a ghost fears." "A ghost fears nothing but to be spat at," the ghost told him.

They came to a river. Zong asked the ghost to cross it first. He listened and found that the ghost made no noise at all. When he waded the river, he splashed and made a lot of noise. "Why did you make so much noise?" the ghost asked. "I have not yet learned to cross a river quietly, since I am a new ghost," Zong answered, adding, "Please bear with me about that."

Chinese myths say that they were approaching Wanshi when Zong put the ghost on his shoulder and held it fast with his hands. The ghost demanded in a loud voice to be let off, but Zong turned a deaf ear to it. He walked straight to the centre of the town. When he put the ghost down on the ground, it had turned itself into a goat. He sold it and spat at it for fear that it might change people said at the time, "Zong Dingbo earned fifteen hundred coins by selling a ghost."

from Cao Pi's Lie yi zhuan (Strange Stories)and Chinese Myths

Chinese Myths - Fish

Chinese Myths - Jiang Taigong Fishes

The last ruler of the Shang dynasty (16th - 11th century BC) was a tyrannical and debauched slave owner who spent his days carousing with his favourite concubine Daji and mercilessly executing or punishing upright officials and all others who objected to his ways. Jiang Shang had once served the Shang king and had come to hate him with all his heart. He was an expert in military affairs and hoped that some day someone would call on him to help overthrow the king. He waited and waited till he was 80 years old, continuing placidly with his fishing in a tributary of the Weihe River (near today’s Xi'an) using a barbless hook or even no hook at all, on the theory that the fish would come to him of their own volition when they were ready.

King Wen of the Zhou state, (central Shaanxi), found Jiang Shang fishing. King Wen, following the advice of his father and grandfather before him, was in search of talented people. In fact, he had been told by his grandfather, the Grand Duke of Zhou, that one day a sage would appear to help rule the Zhou state.

When King Wen saw Jiang Shang, at first sight he felt that this was an unusual old man, and began to converse with him. He discovered that this white-haired fisherman was actually an astute political thinker and military strategist. This, he felt, must be the man his grandfather was waiting for. He took Jiang Shang in his coach to the court and appointed him prime minister and gave him the title Jiang Taigongwang (Hope of the Duke of Zhou). This was later shortened to Jiang Taigong.

An account of Jiang Taigong's life written long after his time says he held that a country could become powerful only when the people prospered. If the officials enriched themselves while the people remained poor, the ruler would not last long. The major principle in ruling a country should be to love the people; and to love the people meant to reduce taxes and corvée labour. By following these ideas, King Wen is said to have made the Zhou state proper very rapidly.

After King Wen died, his son King Wu, who inherited the throne, decided to send troops to overthrow the King of Shang. But Jiang Taigong stopped him, saying: "While I was fishing at Panxi, I realised one truth- if you want to succeed you need to be patient . We must wait for the appropriate opportunity to eliminate the King of Shang". Soon it was reported that the people of Shang were so oppressed that no one dared speak. King Wu and Jiang Taigong decided this was the time to attack, for the people had lost faith in the ruler. A bloody battle was fought at Muye (35 kilometres from the Shang capital Yin, now Anyang in Henan province).

Jiang Taigong charged at the head of the troops, beat the battle drums and then with 100 of his men drew the Shang troops to the southwest. King Wu's troops moved quickly and surrounded the capital. The Shang King had sent relatively untrained slaves to fight. This, plus the fact that many surrendered or revolted, enabled Zhou to take the capital.

The Shang King set fire to his palace and perished in it, and King Wu and his successors as the Zhou dynasty established rule over all of China. As for Daji, one version has it that she was captured and executed, another that she took her own life. Jiang Taigong was made duke of the State of Qi (today’s Shandong province), which thrived with better communications and exploitation of its fish and salt resources under him.

Chinese Myths - Two of Everything

This most humorous of Chinese myths!

One day old mister Wong was busily tending to his garden when he discovered a brass pot. He took the item inside to show his wife, who was very impressed and excited. The Wongs were poor, and had very little in the way of possessions, so they cherished the pot and kept it displayed on their mantle. Mr. Wong used the pot to keep his money, and one day he put his last five gold coins in it for safekeeping.

One day while admiring the pot, Mrs. Wong dropped her hairpin into it. When she went to retrieve it, she found another hairpin and two pouches each containing five gold coins. She ran and told Mr. Wong, and soon they were putting everything they could think of into the pot, and each item was doubled. Soon that had two of everything, and the Wongs were very happy.

The pot being as large as it was, Mrs. Wong fell into it one day while she was placing something inside it. Mr. Wong grabbed her to pull her out, and to his surprise he now had two Mrs. Wongs! Mr. Wong became excited, and fell into the pot himself. Out came two Mr. Wongs! The new Mr. and Mrs. Wong married each other, and lived happily ever after next to the original Wongs, each having two of everything.

Chinese Myths – The Absurdity of Mr. Fong’s Ostrich Logic

There once lived a nobleman in the province of Jin. Fong was struck by bad luck, and was forced to become a fugitive and a peasant to hide from his debtors. One day Fong found a huge bell, and attempted to carry it back to his hut on his back. The bell proved too big and heavy for him to carry, so he decided to smash it into smaller pieces.

As he began to hit the bell with a hammer in order to break it apart, Chinese myths say that he was put off by the loud noise he made. He didn’t want to be noticed, as someone might recognize him and tell his debtors where he could be found. To avoid anyone hearing the noise, Fong plugged his own ears, ridiculously similar to an Ostrich burying his head in the sand so no one can see him! How absurd!

Chinese Myths -The Graves of Three Kings

Gangjiang and Moye, who were husband and wife and lived in the state of Chu, were obliged to forge swords for the king. Three years had passed before they could finally produce them. Annoyed, the king intended to kill Ganjiang. The couple made two swords, one male, the other female. Just then Moye, the wife, was about to give birth to a child.

The husband said to her,"Since it has taken me three long years to make the swords, the king must be angry. It is certain that he will put me to death when I go and present the swords to him. If the child turns out to be a boy, tell him this as soon as he is grown up, `Go out of the house, look at the southern mountains and search for the place where a pine tree is growing on a rock. Try to find one of the swords on its back.'"

After he had said this, Ganjiang left for the palace with the female sword. The king became furious when he saw only one sword, and ordered it to be examined. When he was told that there were actually two swords, one male and the other female, and that the one he saw was female, while the male one was not there, the king flew into a rage and had Ganjiang beheaded at once.

Moye named her son Chibi. When he grew up, he asked her, "Where is my father?" "Your father once had to forget two swords for the king," Moye replied, "and it took him three years to finish them. The king killed him in a fury. Before he left home, your father asked me to give you this message, 'Go out of the house, look at the southern moun tains and search for the place where a pine tree is growing on a rock. Try to find one of the swords on its back.'" So the boy ran out of the house and looked south, but he saw no mountain at all. Then his eyes fell on a stone plinth in front of the house, with a pine pillar on its top. Chibi hurried to cleave the pillar from behind. Sure enough, there was the male sword. From that time on, Chibi planned day and night to avenge his father.

The king had a dream one night, in which he saw a boy, whose eyebrows were one foot apart from each other, swearing to take vengeance for his father's death. The king offered a reward of one-thousand taels of gold for the capture of the young lad. Chibi heard the news and had to take to the mountains.

On his way he went singing sad songs, when a stranger came up and asked, "Why are you so sad, young man?" "I am the son of Ganjiang and Moye," replied the boy. "Because the king killed my father, I'm determined to take revenge." At this, the stranger said, "People say that the king has set a price of one-thousand taels of gold on your head. If you could give me your head and the sword, I would take revenge for you." "Good!" said the boy. He cut off his own head and handed it, together with the sword, to the stranger. But his body stood where it was until the man vowed, "I will not let you down!"

The king was pleased when he saw the boy's head. "Since this is a brave man's head," said the man, "it should be boiled in a cauldron to prevent further trouble." This the king did. Three days and three nights went by, but the head remained intact. And it was bobbing on the water, the eyes burning with anger. "The head will not decompose," the stranger said to the king, "would you just come over and take a close look. Then it will surely go."

The king came. As soon as he bent forward, the stranger swung his sword and chopped off the king's head, which dropped into the cauldron. This done, the man killed himself, his head also falling into the broth. In no time, the three heads became mashed and were no longer recognizable. Later, the broth, with what was left of the heads, was divided into three parts and buried in three graves, which came to be called "the Graves of Three Kings." Today they can still be found in Yichun County north of Runan.

from Gan Bao's Sou shen ji (Stories of Immortals)

Chinese Myths -The Thousand-Day Liquor

Di Xi, who lived in Zhongshan, could make a liquor one cup of which was enough to get one drunk for a thousand days. There lived in the same prefecture a man called Liu Xuanshi, who, being a heavy drinker, went to Di to ask for it. "This brew is not yet ready," said Di. "I dare not give any to you." "Just one cup, please," Liu insisted, "though it is not yet ready." Because he said this, Di could not help giving him a cup, which he finished. "Wonderful!" he said. "Do give me some more." But Di said, "Please return home now and come on another day. The one cup you have drunk will make you sleep for a thousand days." So Liu left, the colour of his face having somewhat changed. As soon as he reached home, he apparently died of intoxication. His family believed he was dead, cried and buried him.

Three years later, Di said to himself, "It is time Liu woke up. I had better go and ask about him." He went to Liu's home and asked, "Is Mr. Liu in?" Surprised, Liu's people said, "He died a long time ago. The mourning for him is already over." It was now Di's turn to be surprised. "The liquor I made was so strong that he would sleep for a thousand days after drinking a cup of it," he said. "He ought to wake up today."

He urged them to open the grave and break the coffin to have a look. There was the smell of sweat on the grave. When it was opened, they saw Liu opening his eyes and mouth and heard him drawling, "How happy it is to be drunk!" Then he asked Di, "What did you brew to make me so drunk that I've woken up only today, How high is the sun now?" All those around the grave laughed. The smell of liquor from Liu's mouth got into their nostrils and put them all into a drunken sleep for three months.

Gan Bao Sou shen ji (Stories of Immortals)

Chinese Myths - Dead Horse and Talents

During the period of the Warring States from 475-221 B.C., the State of Qi was victorious over the State of Yan. King Zhao was then crowned as the king of Yan, and he was determined to strengthen his state to remove the humiliation. However, King Zhao complained about having a lack of talented people to assist him.

One day he was speaking to a minister named Guo Wei. "Can you tell me how I can aquire great talents?", he asked. Guo Wei replied with a story.

"Once there was a king who offered hundreds of ounces of gold for a winged steed, a horse which can run 500 kilometers a day. He sent one of his men to search through the country but the man only brought back a pile of bones of a dead steed for half of the gold. The king got outraged. But the man said, 'When people learn that you have paid so much for a dead horse, they will certainly offer to sell you a steed if anyone has got one.' As was expected, the king got three steeds in less than a year. If you are sincerely seeking top talents, why don't you treat me as a dead horse of that sort now?"

King Zhao went on to build Guo Wei a very expensive villa and regarded him as a great teacher. He also built a platform on which he placed a lot of presents for guests from different regions. Soon his sincerity was spread to every corner of the land. In a couple of years, great talents such as Ju Xin, Su Dai, Zou Yan, Le Yi all came from different states to gather around King Zhao. Very soon, with the assistance of them, Yan became a powerful state and defeated Qi. King Zhao accomplished his dream of revenge.

Chinese Myths - The Magical Leaf

There are many magical things mentioned in Chinese myths. Sometimes the magic is from a supernatural source, sometimes a human one. And sometimes, very rarely in fact, the magic is the result of a fool unwittingly turning something ordinary into something magical. This is such a story.

In the heart of China, in a tiny village, lived a tax collector who was feared by everyone. He taxed the villagers unfairly, and was unmerciful when they couldn’t afford what he charged them. If they couldn’t pay, he would take possession of their houses and property, and if what they had was of no interest to him, he would beat them.

One day a poor stranger entered the village carrying a beautiful plant full of beautiful green leaves. The tax collector soon got word of this mysterious stranger and went to seek him out. When he found the stranger the tax collector demanded an “entrance tax” from him, and told him he couldn’t walk around the village without paying it. The stranger told the tax collector that he had only the “magic tree” that he was carrying, he had no money. “What is so magical about the tree then”, the tax collector demanded. “It makes whoever holds the leaves invisible” said the stranger. Seeing that it obviously did not work, as he could see the present owner quite clearly, the tax collector beat the stranger to the ground and snatched his tree away.

That night when he was at home, the tax collector picked a leaf and put it in his pocket. He went to his wife and asked her, “Can you see me my dear?”

“Yes, of course” said his wife, looking at him strangely.

The tax collector picked another leaf and stuck it to his forehead. “Can you see me now” he asked? “Yes” his wife said, now a little irritated.

The tax collector continued the process well into the night until the wife was tired and wanted to sleep. “Can you see me now?” he asked as he put the last leaf of the tree up to his forehead.

The wife, tired and wanting to go to her bed replied, “No my husband, I cannot see you now.” The husband smiled with satisfaction, finally it’s working he thought!

The following morning the tax collector walked around with what he considered his magical leaf stuck to his forehead. No on e paid any attention to him, so he assumed the magic leaf was working. He ate, drank, shopped and just walked around, but nobody seemed to notice. “Indeed I am invisible” he thought to himself, and sauntered around the town. The truth was that everybody saw him, but they feared a beating if they spoke, so said nothing and kept their eyes to the ground!

On this particular day the son of the Emperor was passing through the town on his return from a hunting expedition. He and his entourage passed through the village carrying valuable pelts of snow leopards and tigers. The tax collector, believing he was invisible, tried to take the pelts from the carriage of the Emperors son.

“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” shouted one of the guards. The Emperor’s son turned to see what was happening. “How dare you try to steal my merchandise” he shouted at the tax collector, “you will surely pay for this”. The son of the Emperor instructed the guards to arrest the tax collector, and away they went with him to the dungeons.

When the tax collector was finally given the chance to explain his actions and brought before the Emperors son, he tried to explain by telling the story of the poor man and the magical tree he had given him. He had his wife bring the tree to the Emperor’s son, but there were no leaves left upon it. The Emperor’s son grew tired of the flimsy explanations of the tax collector and had him beaten and placed in a cart in which he would be taken to the palace for trial and execution.

On the way out of the village the royal entourage passed by the local tavern. The tax collector could hear the poor man inside telling his story. “I gave him the kumquat tree I dug up from his own garden and told him it was magic and could make you invisible” he was saying. The tax collector heard everyone laugh, and realized that he had been a fool.

Chinese Myths -The Four Dragons

This is one of the more famous of Chinese myths and tells an interesting story of how the four main rivers of China were formed.

Chinese myths say that at one time there were no lakes or rivers in the world, the only body of water being the Eastern Sea. In this sea lived four dragons: the Long Dragon, the Yellow Dragon, the Black Dragon, and the Pearl Dragon. The Dragons would play by flying from the sea up into the sky; chasing one another and playing hide and see in the clouds.

One day as they were playing the Pearl Dragon cried out to the others, "Quickly, come over here.”The other Dragons flew over to where Pearl Dragon was and looked down to where he was pointing. They saw many people down on the earth putting out fruits and cakes, and burning incense sticks as they were praying. They heard an old woman's prayer:

God of Heaven, send us rain to grow our rice and stave our hunger."

It hadn’t rained on the earth for a very long time; people were starving as the hot sun withered their crops and dried up their fields.

Yellow Dragon spoke first: “The poor humans” he said, “they will all die if the rain doesn’t come soon.”

The Long Dragon agreed with him. “Yes” he said, “we must go and plead to the Jade Emperor on their behalf.” So saying, he leapt into the clouds. The others followed closely and flew towards the Heavenly Palace.

The Jade Emperor was all powerful and controlled all things in Heaven and upon the earth. He didn’t like to be disturbed and was annoyed when the Four Dragons approached him. As many Chinese myths contain a villain, the emperor fulfilled this role very well.“Why do you bother me?” he demanded, “Why aren’t you out playing in the clouds?”

Long Dragon stepped forward and explained to him; “The people of the earth are dying, they have had no rain for a very long time, and so their crops are dying and they will starve if it doesn’t rain soon.”

“Humph” shrugged the Emperor, “All right, go away now, I will make it rain tomorrow.”

The Four Dragons thanked him enthusiastically and flew off back up into the sky to continue playing, feeling very pleased with themselves and happy that the humans would be saved.

But ten days passed, and not a drop of rain fell.

The people continued to suffer; some ate the bark of trees, while some ate the roots of grass, and even white clay when they could find no grass or bark. The Dragons’ hearts were heavy as they watched the people wither and die, and they wondered why the Emperor had broken his promise. They saw that the future of the humans relied on them, but what could they do, they pondered?

The Long Dragon looked out at the sea and came up with a plan. The other three listened attentively as he explained. “Isn’t there plenty of water in the Eastern Sea?” he asked. “What we will do is collect it and spray it into the sky so that it will fall like rain and save the people and their crops.

The other Dragons thought it was a great idea, but the Long Dragon had a warning for them.“The Emperor will not like it if we act on our own,” he said. “He will be angry and perhaps take some action against us.”

The other Dragons spoke as one. “We cannot watch the people suffer and die any longer, we will do what must be done”!

And so the Dragons flew out to the Eastern Sea, gathered the water in their mouths, and flying back into the sky, sprayed the water out over the earth. They did this all day long, time after time until the sky became dark with rain clouds all around them. Soon the clouds burst and the seawater fell to the earth as much needed rain.

“It’s raining, it’s raining,” the people cried. “Our crops will be saved, and we will no longer starve”!

The Dragons looked down with joy, happy that they had helped the dying people. But the God of the Sea was not so happy that the Dragons had taken his water, and he reported them to the Jade Emperor.

The jade Emperor flew into a rage and summoned the four dragons to him. “How dare you go behind my back and act without my permission” he yelled. He ordered his guards to arrest the dragons and imprison them in the palace dungeon. The four young dragons were outnumbered and unarmed, and so had no choice but to surrender.

The Emperor made a decree that each Dragon would have a large mountain placed upon him by the Mountain God so that he could not escape. The mountain god did as he was instructed and so placed a towering mountain on top of each of the four dragons. Mountains represent insurmountable odds in many Chinese myths.

Though imprisoned, the Dragons did not regret their actions. The Emperor had overlooked the Dragons’ ability to perform magic, and as they were determined to help the people forever, they turned themselves into four rivers that wound their way through the mountains and into the sea. This is how China’s four great rivers were formed - the Heilongjian (Black Dragon) in the far north, the Huanghe (Yellow River) in central China, the Changjiang (Yangtze, or Long River) farther south, and the Zhujiang (Pearl) in the very far south.

Chinese Myths – The Folly of Cheap Tricks

Once upon a time in Kweichow province people had never seen a donkey. Eventually one was introduced to the area and came to the attention of a tiger. The tiger was entranced by the donkey, never having seen one before, and so hid in the bushes in order to observe the strange animal. After days of studying the beast, the tiger decided that it was harmless, and approached him to get a closer look.

Suddenly a strange noise filled the air. “Hee Haw, Hee Haw” the donkey cried out, as donkeys do when they are approached by tigers! The tiger ran away as fast as he could, but soon his curiosity got the better of him, and so he returned to watch the donkey. The tiger, having been humiliated at his previous flight, approached the donkey once again to show that he wasn’t afraid. This time as he got too close, the donkey kicked out with his hind legs. The tiger didn’t run away this time, and tested the donkey by constantly approaching him. Gradually the tiger saw where the donkey’s weakness lay, and swiftly attacked him, slicing the donkey’s throat with one thrust of his powerful claw.

This one of the Chinese myths that are told to students of the martial arts so that they don’t reveal their full arsenal of tricks to an opponent.

Chinese Myths – The Man Who Moved Two Mountains

There is a Chinese story that tells the tale of a ninety year old man who lived with his two sons, their wives, and their children near the mountain Bei. Directly in front of his house were two other mountains, Taixing and Wangwu. These two mountains blocked the way to the county seat and made travel to there very difficult.

One day the old man decided to move the two mountains to the coast nearby and dump the dirt into the sea.All of his neighbors laughed at him and made fun of him behind his back. He just ignored them, and asked them; “Why do you think it’s impossible? I might die before it is finished, but my sons will have sons and grandsons without end. What I don’t accomplish, they will. Isn’t it true that where there is a will, there is a way?”

The old man and his sons worked tirelessly year after year, and finally the old man died. His sons however continued his work, and his grandsons after. Eventually the mountains were no more, and now the people of the village can travel to the county seat thanks to the old man and his sons.

From Jiao Shin Chinese myths and fables

Chinese Myths - A Very Foxy Lady

In Chinese myths foxes are often portrayed as evil creatures. Sly and cunning, they create havoc and engage in quite nasty behavior. This Chinese myth starts with a lady coming to town one day. She had hair as black as pitch, yet her skin was as clear as snow. Because of her height, she was believed to have come from the Northern part of China where people are generally taller. She was a very foxy lady, and swayed her hips sensually when she walked, making a swishing sound.

On arriving in town she had her wagon driver drop her at the local inn. Going inside, she approached the landlady and asked her how much it would be to rent a room. She made the deal, and had her driver bring in her belongings, following him up to her room, swaying her hips as always, making a swishing sound.

A man named Mr. Chong was watching her the whole time from across the street. He had fallen in love with her as soon as he’d seen her. Everyday that she stayed at the inn he brought her flowers and delicious sweets form the local market. The woman was much taken with Mr. Chong, and everyday the two of them would walk hand in hand in the beautiful village garden, all the time swaying her hips, making a swishing sound.

After three wonderful months Mr. Chong asked the woman to marry him. She readily agreed, and everyone in the village began to get ready for the wedding. The ceremony was a resounding success, and the woman walked down the aisle, swaying her hips as usual, and making a swishing sound. The whole village celebrated afterwards, and everyone was happy.

About five months after the woman’s arrival, strange things began to happen in the village. The wine vendor noticed that his wine was starting to go missing, and previously beautiful flowers were mysteriously uprooted from their gardens. Chickens became extra noisy when the sun went down, and then the worst began. Little children started to get sick and die. The doctors were baffled, and said somehow the children were dying of blood loss. The villagers were shocked, and life in the little town was gloomy. In a single month, four families experienced a death of their child.

The woman’s behavior became erratic as well, and people began to whisper behind her back. “She’s drinking much more wine these days,” they whispered. “And she lost her temper yesterday, even threatening to hit my son.” One village said that he’d seen foxes hanging around her house. The local magistrate became concerned, and called Mr. Chong to come and have a chat with him.

Imagine the magistrates surprise when Mr. Chong confided that he and his wife slept in separate beds, and had drifted apart. The magistrate felt sorry for Mr. Chong, and tried to console him. “Every night she goes to her own room and locks the door,” Mr. Chong told him. The magistrate decided to place a guard outside the Chong’s house to keep an eye on them.

On the very first night the guard heard a swishing noise outside the house. He looked up to see a fox creeping along the porch with a chicken in its mouth. The fox then jumped into the woman’s bedroom window, leaving bloody footprints where it walked. The guard took note of the strange occurrence and continued to watch the house.

On the second night the same thing happened. The guard heard the swishing noise, and then saw the fox creeping along the porch. But this time in its mouth was a bottle of wine. The fox again jumped through the woman’s window, leaving the same bloody footprints as it had before. a bad omen in chinese myths.

On the third night the guard was ready to capture the fox. He left three bottles of wine outside the woman’s window, and sat down at the edge of the porch with a net, ready to catch the fox. Again the guard heard the swishing sound, and peaked around the corner to see the fox sniffing at the wine bottles. He watched the fox drink all three bottles, then fall asleep on the porch. The guard pounced, snaring the fox in his net. The fox woke up in a terror and tried to escape, but the guard struck the fox over the head with his nightstick, killing it instantly.

Since that night, no more chickens or wine went missing, and no more children mysteriously died. And no one saw the woman again. They did see the guard though, with a fancy foxtail hanging as an ornament on his bag, walking around the town, making a swishing sound. This is one of my favorite chinese myths.

Chinese Myths – Meng’s Journey

There was a woman named Meng Chiangnu whose husband was drafted to help with the construction of China’s Great Wall. Meng missed her husband terribly, and was always waiting for news of his well-being. There came a time when many days passed without a word from him, and Meng became very worried. One day as she was sleeping, he appeared to her in a dream, and told her that he was freezing to death. Meng awoke with a start, and made the decision there and then, that she would travel to where he was working and take him the warm clothes he so desperately needed.

During the course of her long and arduous journey, Meng almost froze to death herself when she got caught in a vicious snow storm. She sought shelter in a cave, and slept while the storm raged outside. When she awoke, she continued on her journey and eventually arrived at the Great Wall. Meng was horrified when the foreman told her that her husband had died and was already buried. Meng searched frantically for his grave, but couldn’t find his body. She became so angry that lightning crashed down out of the heavens, and it rained so hard that part of the Great Wall was washed away.

The ground became awash with the bones of those who had been buried, and Meng desperate for her husbands return, pricked her finger hoping her blood would penetrate her husband’s bones and revive him. She found his bones and wrapped them in the clothes she had brought him, and headed back home.

The evil Emperor Qin was furious with her, but Meng was beautiful, so the emperor became infatuated with her. He forced her to come and live with him under the threat of being beheaded if she refused. Chinese myths say that she used his attention to secure three wishes from him; to have her husband buried as a prince, to have the people mourn him for forty nine days, and to give him a state funeral. The emperor couldn’t resist, and so granted her three wishes. Meng’s husband was buried with flair and honor, after which she threw herself into the sea rather than continue living with Qin.

The emperor, being the evil person that he was, commanded that Meng’s body be dragged from the sea and cut into pieces and her bones ground into dust. As the dust of her bones was thrown into the sea, thousands of little silvery fished swarmed the waters. Chinese myths say that if you visit the Great Wall today, and look to the Eastern Sea, you will recall the story of Meng’s journey.

From: Famous Folktales and Chinese Myths

Chinese Myths – A Fool and His Shoes

A long time ago in a small Chinese village called Shang lived a fool who wanted to buy some new shoes. He carefully measured his feet, writing the measurements down on a piece of paper, and rushed off to the shoe store to browse the new shipment of shoes. When he arrived at the shoe shop he appraised the new arrivals, and then called a salesperson over to tell them which ones he wanted.

The salesperson asked the fool if he knew what size he wore. The fool went to get the piece of paper he had written the measurements on out of his pocket, when he realized he had left it at home. “I have forgotten my measurements” he told the salesman, and dashed out of the store before the man could stop him.

The fool rushed home at the speed of light, grabbed the paper containing the measurements and hurried back to the shop, only to find that it was now closed. A passing villager saw him looking through the store window, and asked him what at happened. The fool relayed his story after which the villager asked him, “Were the shoes for you or someone else?” “For me of course” replied the fool.“Then why didn’t you just try them on?” asked the villager.

The fool could not answer, and felt a bigger fool than he ever had before.

From Funny Chinese Myths and Fables

Chinese Myths – The Jaded Jade of Bian Heh

A village by the name of Bian Heh stumbled upon a piece of Jade while traveling through the mountains. To show how loyal he was to the state, he made a gift of his find to the Emperor. The Emperor had the kingdom appraisers value the stone that Bian Heh had found, only for them to reveal that it was of a poor quality. Not appreciating Bian’s gift, which he deemed as an insult, he had his left foot cut off.

When a new emperor named Chuwu came to power, he found the jade stone in his treasury, and had it appraised once again, only for the official valuers to return the same verdict; it was worthless. As a result, Bian lost his remaining foot.

When the son of the emperor Chuwu took over his throne, Bian knew the stone would be valued again, and he fled to the mountains on his crutches, fearing the worst. “This time” he thought, “they will cut off my head.” Bian stayed in the mountains and cried for seven days and nights, he cried so hard that his eyes bled. He couldn’t understand how his integrity had been doubted, and how what he knew to be real jade had been wrongly valued time after time.

Chinese myths tell us that the emperor Chuwu’s son heard of how Bian was suffering, and sent his emissary to find out why Bien was so sad. When the emissary returned and told the prince, his heart was softened towards Bian, and he ordered the appraisers to have a closer look at the stone. Beneath the rough exterior of the raw jade, they found a shiny green surface. It was, after all, real jade! The prince proclaimed the jade a national treasure, and named it after it’s finder – Bian Heh, and the expression “Bian’s Jade” came to be.

According to Chinese myths, now in China when somebody has something extremely valuable, they refer to it as Bian’s Jade.

From Chinese Myths and Fables vol. 1

Chinese Myths – Tiger Shoes

In the countryside of China it is common for the rural inhabitants to dress the feet of their babies in Tiger Shoes. Made of cloth, the toes of the shoes are fashioned into the shape of a tiger’s head, and Chinese myths tell us of their purpose.

In the famous city of Yangzhou there lived a man called Big Wang. Big Wang was generous of heart, and went out of his way to help anyone in need. One day he was given a drawing of a beautiful woman making tiger shoes as a gift for his kindness. He loved the picture, and hung it on the wall over his bed.

In a few days, during the stillness of the night, the beautiful woman in the picture entered the bed of Big Wang and they made passionate love. This then happened every night after and years later the woman gave birth to a son, who brought the couple much joy.

Big Wang soon got into financial trouble, and unable to pay his taxes, the picture was confiscated by a city official. Wang found out that the official somehow got wind of the magical properties of the picture, and had taken to his home, and hung it over his bed, and waited for the woman to come to him. Big Wang was furious, but he could do nothing. However, much to Wang’s delight, and much to the official’s disappointment, the woman did not come out of the picture.

Unfortunately the boy missed his mother, and cried for her constantly. Wang tried to convince the boy that his mother had gone to visit some relatives and would soon return, but Chinese myths tell us that the boy didn’t believe him, and went to search for his mother. He traveled first to the house of the official, but the woman had never appeared to him. He searched throughout the land to no avail, until one day he saw her bathing in a pool in the forest with many other fairies. The mother was happy to see him, and he happy to have finally found her. He beckoned her to return home with him. His mother told him that the only way she could return was if he entered the room of the official wearing the tiger shoes she had made for him. She told him to close his eyes, and used her magic to transport him home.

A strong wind carried the boy to the home of the official, and he told him that he could get the woman to come out of the picture. The lecherous official was very pleased, and hurriedly led the boy into his bedroom. When he saw the picture the boy called for his mother, and she came out and walked away with her son. The evil official blocked their way, and tried to detain them, but the boy fought him off. As they were fighting, the shoes came off of the boy’s feet and turned into a large tiger which quickly devoured the evil official. Because the tiger shoes saved the mother and her son, the people fashion tiger shoes for their children hoping they’ll be protected.

From Chinese Myths and Fables Vol. 1

Chinese Myths - Jiang Taigong Meets King Wen

One day King Wen decided that he would go on a hunting trip. He summoned his trusted prophet to divine the result by burning a tortoise shell. The sage read the resulting cracks in the shell and told the king that if he hunted on the north side of the Wei River would bring him great success, but he would not tell him the nature of the success, only that it would not be in the form of a Dragon, a Tiger, or a Bear. “It will be a wise man, that shall rather capture you,” said the sage. “He will be sent from Heaven to be your minister and mentor.” The King thought o himself that he would rather it be a Bear or a Tiger, Dragon’s were much too hard to kill, and he set out for the River Wei. Arriving on the north side of the river, he found Jiang Taigong meditating.

After speaking with Jiang Taigong the King was quite pleased. “Both my father before he died, and my diviner this morning, predicted that I would become prosperous upon meeting a wise man at the river” he told him. “Are you the man they prophesized?” Jiang said nothing, only smiled slightly. The King renamed him in honor of his father by calling him Taigong Wang (Father's Expectation), and returned with him to his palace where Taigong Wang became his mentor.

Eventually the King promoted Taigong to the position of chief magistrate of the province. During the time he ruled there was only peace, even the wind itself did not blow any stronger than the breeze manufactured by the beating of a butterfly’s wings. One night King Wen had a dream in which he saw a beautiful woman weeping before his carriage. “Who are you, and what is wrong?” inquired the King. “I am the daughter of the god of Mount Taishan, married to the god of the East Sea” she replied. “I want to return home, but your virtuous chief magistrate won’t allow me, as I always travel with a violent storm, which would damage his good name.”

The next morning upon awakening, the King summoned Taigong and asked him if anything unusual had happened. “A violent storm with pouring rain swept through the surrounding provinces during the night” Taigong told him, “but we were spared.” The King promoted Taigong to the position of Chief General, second in command only to himself, right on the spot.

Chinese Myths - from Sou Shen Ji (stories of Immortals)

Chinese Myths -The Frog Who Became an Emperor

Once upon a time there lived a very poor couple. A baby was on the way when the husband was forced to leave his home to find a living somewhere far away. Before he left, he embraced his wife fondly and gave her the last few silver pieces he had, saying, "When the child is born, be it a boy or a girl, you must do all you can to bring it up. You and I are so poor that there is no hope for us now. But our child may be able to help us find a living."

Three months after her husband's departure, the wife gave birth. The baby was neither a boy nor a little girl, but a frog! The poor mother was heart-broken, and wept bitterly. "Ah, an animal, not a child!" she cried. "Our hopes for someone to care for us in our old age are gone! How can I ever face people again!" She thought at first she would do away with him, but she did not have the heart to do so. She wanted to bring him up, but was afraid of what the neighbors would say.

As she brooded over the matter, she remembered her husband's words before he went away, and she decided not to kill the child but always keep him hidden under the bed. In this way, no one knew she had given birth to a frog-child. But within two months, the frog-child had grown so big that he could no longer be kept under the bed. And one day, he suddenly spoke in a human voice. "Mother," he said, "my father is coming back tonight. I am going to wait for him beside the road." And sure enough, the husband did come home that very night. "Have you seen your son?" the wife asked anxiously.

"Where? Where is my son?" "He was waiting for you by the side of the road. Didn't you see him?" "No! I saw no sign of anyone," her husband answered, surprised. "All I saw was an awful frog which gave me such a fright."

"That frog was your son," said the wife unhappily. When the husband heard that his wife had given birth to a frog, he was grieved."Why did you tell him to meet me?" he said. "What do you mean, tell him to meet you? He went without any telling from me. He suddenly said you were coming tonight and went out to meet you."

"This is really extraordinary," thought the husband, brightening up. "No one knew I was coming. How could he have known?" "Call him home, quickly," he said aloud. "He might catch cold outside."

Just as the mother opened the door to do so, the frog came in. He hopped over to his father, who asked him, "Was it you I met on the road?"

"Yes," said the frog. "I was waiting for you, Father." "How did you know I was coming back tonight?" "I know everything under heaven."

The father and mother were amazed by his words and more amazed when he went on.

"Our country is in great peril," he said solemnly. "We are unable to resist the invaders. I want Father to take me to the emperor, for I must save our country."

"How can that be?" said the father. "Firstly, you have no horse. Secondly, you have no weapons, and thirdly, you have never been on a battlefield. How, then, do you propose to fight?"

The frog was very much in earnest. "Only take me there," he pleaded. "I'll defeat the enemy, never fear."

The father could not dissuade the frog, so he took his frog-son to the city to seek an audience with the emperor. After two days' journey, they arrived at the capital, where they saw the imperial decree displayed!

"The imperial capital is in danger. My country has been invaded. We are willing to marry our daughter to the man who can drive away the enemy."

The frog tore down the decree and with one gulp swallowed it. The soldier guarding the imperial decree was greatly alarmed. He could hardly imagine a frog accepting such a responsible duty. However, since the frog had swallowed the decree, he must be taken into the palace.

The emperor asked the frog if he had the means and ability to defeat the enemy. The frog replied, "Yes, Lord." Then the emperor asked him how many men and horses he would need. "Not a single horse or a single man," answered the frog. "All I need is a heap of hot, glowing embers."

The emperor immediately commanded that a heap of hot, glowing embers be brought, and it was done. The heat was intense. The frog sat before the fire devouring the flames by the mouthful for three days and three nights. He ate till his belly was as big and round as a bladder full of fat. By now the city was in great danger, for the enemy was already at the walls.

The emperor was terribly apprehensive, but the frog behaved as if nothing unusual was happening, and calmly went on swallowing fire and flame. Only after the third day had passed did he go to the top of the city wall and look at the situation. There, ringing the city, were thousands of soldiers and horses, as far as the eye could see.

"How, frog, are you going to drive back the enemy?" asked the emperor. "Order your troops to stop plying their bows," replied the frog, "and open the city gate."

The emperor turned pale with alarm when he heard these words. "What! With the enemy at our very door! You tell me to open the gate! How dare you trifle with me?" "Your Imperial Highness has bidden me to drive the enemy away," said the frog. "And that being so, you must heed my words."

The emperor was helpless. He ordered the soldiers to stop bending their bows and lay down their arrows and throw open the gate.

As soon as the gate was open, the invaders poured in. The frog was above them in the gate tower and, as they passed underneath, he coolly and calmly spat fire down on them, searing countless men and horses. They fled back in disorder.

The emperor was overjoyed when he saw that the enemy was defeated. He made the frog a general and ordered that the victory should be celebrated for several days. But of the princess he said nothing, for he had not the slightest intention of letting his daughter marry a frog.

"Of course I cannot do such a thing!" he said to himself. Instead, he let it be known that it was the princess who refused. She must marry someone else, but whom? He did not know what to do. Anyone but a frog of chinese myths! Finally he ordained that her marriage should be decided by casting the Embroidered Ball.

Casting the Embroidered Ball! The news spread immediately throughout the whole country and within a few days the city was in a turmoil. Men from far and wide came to try their luck, and all manner of people flocked to the capital. The day came. The frog was present. He did not push his way into the mob but stood at the very edge of the crowded square.

A gaily festooned pavilion of a great height had been built. The emperor led the princess and her train of maids to their seats high up on the stand.

The moment arrived. The princess tossed the Embroidered Ball into the air, and down it gently floated. The masses in the square surged and roared like a raging sea. As one and all stretched eager hands to clutch the ball, the frog drew in a mighty breath and, like a whirling tornado, sucked the ball straight to him.

Now, surely, the princess will have to marry the frog! But the emperor was still unwilling to let this happen.

"An Embroidered Ball cast by a princess," he declared, "can only be seized by a human hand. No beast may do so." He told the princess to throw down a second ball. This time a young, stalwart fellow caught the ball.

"This is the man!" cried the happy emperor. "Here is the person fit to be my imperial son-in-law." A sumptuous feast was set to celebrate the occasion.

Can you guess who that young, stalwart fellow was? Of course it was the frog, now in the guise of a man, a common occurence in Chinese myths!

Not till he was married to the princess did he change back again. By day he was a frog but at night he stripped off his green skin and was transformed into a fine, upstanding youth. The princess could not keep it a secret and one day revealed it to her father, the emperor. He was startled but happy.

"At night," he said to his son-in-law, "you discard your outer garment, I hear, and become a handsome young man. Why do you wear that horrid frog-skin in the day?"

"Ah, Sire," replied the frog, "this outer garment is priceless. When I wear it in winter, I am warm and cozy; and in summer, cool and fresh. It is proof against wind and rain. Not even the fiercest flame can set it alight. And as long as I wear it, I can live for thousands of years."

"Let me try it on!" demanded the emperor. "Yes, Sire," replied the frog and made haste to discard his skin.

The emperor smiled gleefully. He took off his dragon-embroidered robe and put on the frog-skin. But then he could not take it off again!

The frog put on the imperial robe and became the emperor. His father-in-law remained a frog forever. ________________________________________Chinese myths Source: Folk Tales from China, third series Chinese myths(Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1958), pp. 74-82. No copyright notice. Slightly abridged

Chinese Myths – The Monkeys and The Tea

Chinese myths contain an interesting story about the origin of tea. It began one autumn, the leaves on the trees were beginning to change color, and the air had started to cool.

A Daoist Monk sat relaxing in his cabin and decided to boil some water in order to heat the room. While the water was heating, he went outside to stroll around the gardens toy watch the monkeys preparing for the winter ahead.

He always observed one particular family of monkeys, and had seen them gathering certain foods at particular times of the day. At the moment they were eating leaves and the buds of flowers. He smiled as he watched their humorous antics for awhile, then he decided to try some of the same leaves and flower buds that the monkeys were eating.

The flowers were fresh and sticky with their natural oils when he picked them, so decided to rinse them off by soaking them in some water. He placed them in a bowl and poured some of the hot water that was boiling over the flowers.

As the wonderful aroma of the buds filled the air, the monk watched the water turn a golden amber color. He was so enticed by the color and the wonderful fragrance that he decided to taste the golden liquid. And so he drank the very first cup of tea.

From Jiao Shin Chinese myths and fables

Chinese Myths – Three Meals a Day

As the men of China worked about their daily toil, they were observed each day by the King of Heaven sitting on his heavenly throne. The King was a compassionate being, and he felt pity for the men as they struggled to make ends meet. When the crops failed that year there was little food in China, and people could only eat one meal per day.

In the Heavens there was a Great Bull Star which the King would occasionally consult. He summoned the Bull Star from his constellation and told him to take a message down to the men on Earth. “Tell them to keep working,” the King said, “and let them know that their hard work will soon pay off so that they will eat three meals a day. Tell them to persevere, and the good times will come.” The Great Bull Star nodded his head, transformed himself into a real bull, and set off to the earth with his message.

When the Great Bull arrived on the earth he summoned all the people and leaders together to share his message, but the Bull mixed up the message. He told the people that the King of Heaven will send them food, and that they wouldn’t have to work anymore. The people shouted with glee, and had a big party that night to celebrate the wonderful news. The party continued for three days after which the people had exhausted their supply of food.

The Great Bull returned to heaven very pleased with himself, and reported directly to the King. “I did what you told me,” he said, “and the people have never been so happy.” The King was furious with the Bull, and smacked him upside the head with his royal scepter. The Bull looked at the King in shock; “Why hast thou hit me?” he asked.

The King frowned, “You didn’t deliver the message accurately,” he said. “I didn’t say I would give them food, but they would receive it if they continued working. Because you have made a grave mistake, you must return to the earth and help the men work in their fields so that they may have three meals a day.”This is why farmers use oxen to help them plow their fields so that we can eat three meals a day!

From Pang Wu Chinese Myths and Fables

Chinese Myths – A Blessing or a Curse

Near the northern border of China there lived an old Daoist master. One day his horse wondered off into the territories occupied by the warlike northern tribes. Because it was a dangerous area, the man chose not to go looking for it. All the people of his village sympathized with him.

“Never mind” the man said, “perhaps this will turn out to be a blessing.”

A few months later the horse returned, leading a beautiful horse form the north behind him. All the people of his village congratulated him.

“Don’t speak too soon,” said the old man, “this could turn out to be a curse.”

The Daoist master was actually quite wealthy, and had a fine stable of horses. His son loved to ride, and did so regularly. But one day the boy fell off his horse, breaking his leg and becoming bed-ridden. Everyone in his village felt sorry for the man.

“Ah well,” said the man, “such is life. Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing,"

About a year later the war mongering northern tribes invaded the south Chinese. Myths say that all able bodied young men were called to ward off the invaders. As a result of the fierce fighting, nine out of ten men died. The man’s son, having broken his leg, could not join in the fighting as he has become crippled from his fall, and so he and his father survived.

From Southern Chinese Myths vol.1

Chinese Myths – The Power of Compassion

Chinese myths state that 4000 years ago, there lived a man named Miao Chuang. He reigned as King over a small island off the coast of China. Miao had three beautiful daughters: Miao Yen, Miao Yin, and Miao Shan who was the youngest.

As Miao Shan grew up in her palatial home, she dressed dourly and ate the simplest of foods. Shan was extremely gentle with her family, and treated her servants and the animals of the kingdom equally as fondly. She was never cruel, and never said a bad word about, or had an unkind thought towards anyone. She became known among the people of the kingdom as The Heart of Buddha.

In those days it was traditional for women to be betrothed through arranged marriages in order to strengthen the king's kingdom and to increase his assets. The king married his first two daughters off to strong families, yet when it was Miao Shan’s turn, she calmly told her father that marriage was not for her. “If I am married,” she said, “I will amount to nothing, besides; I have too much good work to do to commit to a husband.” She knew that she would not gain entrance to Heaven through silver and gold, and chose to live the life of a servant to the people. The king flew into a rage, and banished his youngest daughter from his kingdom.

Chinese myths go on to say that Miao Shan went to live in a convent, and the nuns reported to her father regularly, telling him of the good works she did. This infuriated the king, and he told the nuns to punish her by giving her the most difficult and dirtiest of jobs. The nuns feared the king, and thought he might have the convent burnt down if they didn’t do what he said, so they reluctantly fulfilled his wishes. This didn’t bother Miao Shan; she worked diligently, never uttering a word of complaint. She did all the hardest work, and praised Buddha with her actions.

The gods smiled upon her, and used their influence to make her life easier. A well sprouted close to the convent, so she wasn’t forced to walk long distances and lug heavy urns of water. The gods enriched the soil, so that she grew the best vegetables in the land. They caused a wind to blow gently through the convent, so that she didn’t have to sweep so much. She was truly blessed, and continued smiling while doing her good work.

The king watched these developments with growing anger. He became so incensed that he made himself ill. The feeling in his right arm was lost, and he began to lose his eyesight. His loving daughter, hearing of this, became very sad, and asked the monks in the neighboring monastery to pluck out her eyes and cut off her arm so that the king could use them. They obeyed her command, and as soon as they did, she died.

As she arrived in Heaven, Miao Shan was warmly welcomed by the gods and angels of Chinese myths. They dressed her in a beautiful white gown before presenting her to the Heavenly King. He proceeded to make Miao Shan the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy and Chinese myths say that she was given the Heavenly name Kwan Yin. Such is the power of Compassion.

From: Chinese Myths and Fables of Moral Value

Chinese Myths -Mr. Chang’s Yellow Robe

Mr. Chang was not a flashy dresser at all. His favorite clothes, that he wore everyday, were plain and ordinary with boring colors, and his shoes were always black. One day Mr. Chang decided to change his image, and spruce himself up a bit. As he was shopping for a new wardrobe, he spotted the governor passing by wearing his splendid golden robe as usual. Mr. Chang got to thinking maybe he would look good in a yellow road, amid maybe he would look important too, like the governor.

Mr. Chang walked down to the tailor’s and asked to be measured for a yellow robe. The tailor told Mr. Chang that yellow robes were reserved only for the most important Chinese. Myths have it that Mr. Chang pestered and pestered him, until finally the tailor gave in. The tailor told Mr. Chang he actually had one already made and to try it on. Mr. Chang tried on the yellow robe and found to his delight that it fit like a very comfortable glove!

Mr. Chang would only wear his robe under his ordinary clothes when he went out. When he got back home at the end of the day, he would then admire himself wearing his yellow robe in the mirror. He still went about the town with an air of importance, being a snob to people that he previously spoke to.

Chinese myths say that one day Mr. Chang was relaxing on the banks of a river when he heard a scream. He ran towards the area that he heard the scream come from to find two little girls who had been playing ball. Their ball had fallen into the river, and they were afraid they would get into trouble if they didn’t return home with it. Mr. Chang took off his plain clothes and headed into the river to retrieve the ball, but the girls seeing his yellow robe and thinking he was most important pleaded with him not to, fearing they would get into even more trouble. Mr. Chang ignored them and retrieved their ball anyway, then headed for home.

As he was walking home, a stray dog attacked Mr.Chang, ripping his clothes and exposing the yellow robe underneath. The people saw the robe and reported Mr. Chang to the authorities. Chinese myths say that he was promptly arrested and brought before the governor. The governor was incensed at Mr. Chang’s nerve, and was ready to punish him severely. The two little girls that Mr. Chang had helped however were the governor’s daughters, and they heard their father screaming at someone and rushed to see who it was.

The girls told their father what had happened, and how Mr. Chang had helped them. The governor’s mood changed right away. He thanked Mr. Chang and invited him to be his guest at the palace that night for dinner and a fireworks display. He told Mr. Chang that as a reward he could wear his yellow robe for one night.

That night Mr. Chang decided to stay home. He could see the fireworks from home anyway, and didn’t feel he would fit in with the governor guests, yellow robe or not. Chinese myths say that after he watched the fireworks that night Mr. Chang gazed up at the stars and thought, “I am just like them, not so bright as to be as brilliant as the sun or the moon, but unique the same as every star”.

Chinese Myths -Nai Nai the Wolf

This is one of the oldest Chinese myths, a story similar to Little Red Riding Hood.

There once was a woman who lived in the country with her three children. Her husband had died in an accident while working as a tree-cutter, and she had raised her children alone. She spent time with her children teaching them and educating them about life and the dangers of the forest, and soon they were all three smart as whips.

A day came when her own mother became ill and she had to leave the children alone while she went to tend to her mother. She told them she had to visit their grandmother, their Nai Nai, and would be back very soon. Off she went, and the children settled down to a game of charades.

An old wolf had been watching the house, and heard what the mother had told the children. He crept up too the door and knocked three times. When the children asked who it was, he told them it was their Nai Nai, who they had never seen. Finally the wolf convinced them to let him in, and the children became skeptical because of his appearance. His voice was too low they thought, and his hands seemed to grow thorns, and he was very, very, hairy. The eldest child recognized that this was indeed a wolf, and devised an escape plan.

On the count of three they all ran out of the house, past the wolf and up the gingko tree in their yard. The wolf tried to get them, but wolves cannot climb trees. But the children could still not come down either. It was a stalemate till the oldest boy convinced the wolf to get into a basket, and they would pull him up with a rope so that he could taste the gingko nuts, which the boy said were much better tasting than little children. The wolf got into the basket and the children began to pull him. Up and up, closer and closer he came, until when he was almost to the top of the tree the children let go of the rope.

The basket and the wolf crashed to the ground, breaking the neck of the wolf so that the children were safe. The children climbed down out of the tree and ran inside the house. When their mother returned, she had brought their real Nai Nai with her.

From Chinese Myths and Fables

Chinese Myths – The Jaded Jade of Bian Heh

A village by the name of Bian Heh stumbled upon a piece of Jade while traveling through the mountains. To show how loyal he was to the state, he made a gift of his find to the Emperor. The Emperor had the kingdom appraisers value the stone that Bian Heh had found, only for them to reveal that it was of a poor quality. Not appreciating Bian’s gift, which he deemed as an insult, he had his left foot cut off.

When a new emperor named Chuwu came to power, he found the jade stone in his treasury, and had it appraised once again, only for the official valuers to return the same verdict; it was worthless. As a result, Bian lost his remaining foot.

When the son of the emperor Chuwu took over his throne, Bian knew the stone would be valued again, and he fled to the mountains on his crutches, fearing the worst. “This time” he thought, “they will cut off my head.” Bian stayed in the mountains and cried for seven days and nights, he cried so hard that his eyes bled. He couldn’t understand how his integrity had been doubted, and how what he knew to be real jade had been wrongly valued time after time.

Chinese myths tell us that the emperor Chuwu’s son heard of how Bian was suffering, and sent his emissary to find out why Bien was so sad. When the emissary returned and told the prince, his heart was softened towards Bian, and he ordered the appraisers to have a closer look at the stone. Beneath the rough exterior of the raw jade, they found a shiny green surface. It was, after all, real jade! The prince proclaimed the jade a national treasure, and named it after it’s finder – Bian Heh, and the expression “Bian’s Jade” came to be.

According to Chinese myths, now in China when somebody has something extremely valuable, they refer to it as Bian’s Jade.

From Chinese Myths and Fables vol. 1

Chinese Myths – Qi Xi and His Candidate

During the Chinese Spring and Autumn Period, Chinese myths tell us that, in the state of Jin, Qi Xi was a high-ranking individual who was approaching the age of retirement. The reigning official, Duke Dao asked him to select a candidate to replace him. Qi Xi responded by recommending a man who was known to be his political enemy, a man called Xie Hue.

Duke Dao was amazed at his recommendation and asked him; “Why do you recommend a man who is your known enemy?” Xi replied, “You asked me who was most suitable, and so I recommended Xie Hue, you did not ask me who my enemy was.”

Unfortunately Xie Hue died before the duke could designate him as QI Xi’s replacement. He was forced to ask him for another recommendation. “In that case”, said Qi Xi, “I recommend Qi Wu.”

“But isn’t he your son?” inquired the Duke. “You asked me who was the best to replace me”, said Qi Xi, “not who was my son.”

As it turned out, Qi Wu contributed greatly to society and fulfilled his position most admirably. The people accepted him as his father, a much respected official, had recommended him. Again, Chinese myths show us the value of integrity.

Chinese Myths - The Mantis and the Chariot

According to Chinese myths, those who think too highly of themselves are cautioned to not be like a Mantis trying to stop a chariot. The saying comes from the following famous folktale.The King of Chi was an avid hunter, and one day as he pursued some prey with his band of men, his carriages came upon a mantis standing in it’s path, it’s sickle like legs wide open as if prepared for a fight with the carriage.

The King was humored by the mantis’s show of courage, and asked his men what kind of insect it was. When they informed him that it was a mantis, he became infatuated with it, amazed at its bravery.

Too bad it’s only a creature and not a man; I could use soldiers of such courage in my army the King thought. He then ordered his carriages and men to about face, and left the mantis unharmed.Originally the phrase was meant as a commendation of bravery, but over the years it changed to mean a person over rates themselves.

Chinese Myths - The Emperor’s Ugly Wife-

In ancient China, as in many cultures, men tended to choose their wives by their appearance rather than their personality or values. This was especially true of royalty, as an emperor was expected to have a beautiful bride. Not only were the wives of emperors beautiful, but so too were their concubines. That was true at least until during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese History (770 – 476 B.C.E), when an incredibly unsightly female became wife to the emperor.

The woman was reputed to have been so distasteful in appearance that people ran from her whenever she appeared in public. Chinese myths tell us that she was bald, with sunken eyes and skin as black as tar. Her name was Wu, and she lived alone for many years, as no one would talk to her and she had no friends. One day she felt an urge to speak with the emperor, and summoned up the courage to put forth her request for an audience with him. The emperor acquiesced, and soon Wu found herself before him. Being a gracious and compassionate man, the emperor did not react to her ugliness, and he gently asked her what he could do for her.

Wu responded that she wished to serve the country, as it and the emperor himself, were in great danger as they stood in the middle of two powerful rival kingdoms. The emperor hadn’t given this much thought at all up till this point in time; as he was too busy indulging himself in the pleasures that come with being an emperor. Impressed by the concern of this lowly woman, he married her, and together they set about strengthening their country. The country grew to be prosperous and defeated their enemies, and the people grew to love Wu and overlook her ugliness, in fact to them she became a woman of great beauty.

From Chinese Myths by Hao Zhou

Chinese Myths and The Chinese Zodiac