远古神话 Myths of Remote Antiquity
Chinese myths of remote antiquity were mostly created collectively by the laboring people of the primitive society, circulated and handed down orally until written script was invented to provide a more permanent record.
Drawing on the powerful imagination of their creators, these myths reflect the rich and colorful life of ancient society. The best-known include Pangu Separates the Sky from the Earth, Nu Wa Makes Men, Nu Wa Mends the Sky, describing how the world came into being; Hou Yi Shoots down Suns, Kua Fu Chases the Sun, Jing Wei Determines to Fill up the Sea, reflecting mankind's incessant struggle against nature; Shennong Shi Tastes Medicine, Gun and Yu Harness Water, written in praise of selfless devotion.
Nu Wa Mends the Sky: Long, long ago, half of the sky suddenly collapsed and a huge hole appeared. Floods ravaged the land and beasts ran amok, so that the human race was in great danger. Just then, a woman named Nu Wa came out to mend the sky with five colored rocks that she had previously tempered, and thus saved mankind.
Gun and Yu Harness Water: Long, long ago, the land was flooded. A deity named Gun stole the Heavenly Emperor's treasure, xirang, a kind of earth that could grow to block floods. He was later tracked down and put to death. Three years later, Yu leapt out of Gun's stomach. He succeeded to his father's work and continued to harness the waters. He was so devoted to the task that in eight years he never once entered his own home, although he passed the front door three times. The river was harnessed at last, and the floodwaters poured safely into the sea through the watercourses they had dredged.
Such fascinating myths not only reflected ancient people's understanding of nature and their wish to tame it, but also their dauntless spirit and tenacity in the struggle against natural disasters.
Chinese myths of remote antiquity continue to circulate, giving people courage and providing them with enlightenment to help them turn their dreams into reality. The ancient fantasies had a great impact on the development of Chinese literature. Many renowned writers of later generations drew inspiration from them in their own outstanding works.