James WalkerMr.Johnson E3December 20, 1996This report is about the myths and beliefs of the Chinese culture.
It’s aboutthe stories the Chinese created to explain the world around them, and generallyhow they perceived their surrounding environment. This report deals withancient myths and the people who believed them, and what the current believes ofthese people are.The Southwest Creation StoryThe Southwest creation story is a myth which explains why people are different.The myth begins by saying that there were people on earth who were all alike,meaning there weren’t people who were black, white, oriental, etc.. It statesthat the humans on earth all generally were the same.
There were also gods wholived above the clouds in the heavens. And there was a huge heavenly ladderwhich started on a mountain and reached all the way up to heaven’s door. Itgoes on to tell a story of a man who had two children.
One was a girl and theother was a boy.They lived in a house which had a huge very thick roof. The man had built theroof so thick because it rained almost every day. He hated the rain.
He knewit had its benefits but too much of it ruined his crops, destroyed his livestockand every time it rained the roof of the house was destroyed. And every timethe man rebuilt it, he made it thicker and thicker. He blamed all hismisfortune on the Duke of Thunder.
The Duke of Thunder was one of the gods wholived in the heavens. He was the god of rain and thunder. The man dispised theDuke very much and had a pure hatred of him.
Every time it rained the Duke would descend from the heavens and stand on ahilltop. There he would watch with pure delight as the rains and thunder camedown harder and harder. Finally the man had had enough. One day he took hisaxe and waited on the hilltop for the Duke to arrive. When the rains came so didthe Duke, and the man slashed him in the back. The Duke washurt but not killed because he was a god. The man caged him and brought himhome. He put him in a corner and warned the kids not to go near him.
And toespecially not give him water. The next morning was a beautiful sunny one, butthe Duke looked horrible almost as if he was dehydrating. The man told thechildren he had to go to the market and said again not to go near the Duke nomatter what he does and don’t give him water. After the man left the Dukestarted moaning. He begged the children to give him some water but they refusedfollowing their father’s orders. The Duke pretended he was dead with his mouthhung open and he had his lips very dry. The girl was worried, she thought he was dying so she gave him one drop ofwater.
The Duke instantly jumped back up and tore apart the cage. Thechildren were terrified. He came over to them and promised them that theywill be rewarded for their deed. He gave them a small egg and told them toplant it in the ground and then he left. When the man came back he wasshocked by what had happened. He knew the Duke would be very angry and wouldpunish him. So he didn’t waste any time and started to build a ship. Aftera month’s time the ship was finished.
It was built out of the strongestmaterial known to him.Meanwhile the egg the children planted had grown to a size of about two smallpeople. Then one day what the man had anticipated came. Huge torrentialdownpours of rain started and there were tremendous floods. The man jumped intothe ship he built, in his panic he had forgotten about the children. They hadran into the egg which had become soft.
The floods were so great that the manin his ship reached all the way to the door of the heavens. He banged the doorsand yelled let me in! The gods didn’t want mortals in the heavens, so the Dukewas ordered to recede the floods. He took the floods back so fast that the manfell back to the earth and was crushed by his ship. The children in the soft egg bounced back to the ground safely. When they cameout, they saw everything was destroyed.
They were the only ones left. Theylived happily for a while and after some time they had a child. Because theywere brother and sister the child was deformed and died a short time later.
Thetwo kids chopped up the baby into tiny pieces and put him in a bag, and theystarted climbing up the heavenly ladder. The bag ripped before they could reach to the top and all the piecesfell back to earth. They fell all over the continents, and from them the newpeople developed.
They were different in appearance from each other dependingon where they lived. This myth explains why there are people who look so muchdifferent from each other. This myth suggests that man was more responsible forthe creation of the new humans than the gods. Because of the actions of the manthe people were created.The Heritage of a KingThis is a myth about fate. In this myth a man named Zoa chi who is a king triesto find out his fate.
Zoa was a survivor. When he was little his parents wereassassinated. An attempt at his life was also made but his older brotherprotected him. The murderer was his uncle who betrayed his father and overthrewhis power. He stayed in exile with his brother until he was older. Over theyears his hatred of his uncle had made Zoa a very stern man. He had wowed toget his revenge. He became a great fighter and started a group of followers whoalso were against the king.
Then finally the day he had been waiting for hadarrived. With his small army he overpowered the kings army. Growing up onthe streets had made Zoa a great strategy leader, so he was able to defeatthe huge overconfident king’s army. He killed the king and took over thethrone. Years went by and he himself became overconfident and selfish.
Hecreated a fantasy image of himself as a great man. He thought that nothingon this planet could defeat him. As time went by he became just like hisuncle. Absolute power had corrupted him.Then one day he declared to all his subjects that he was a god and expected tobe worshipped. This was too much for the people, they rebelled but Zoa crushedall their resistance. One of his advisors told Zoa that he knew a magician whocould greatly help him in keeping down further rebellions. He said that thisman could see the future and help him stop protesters before they could organiseand challenged him.
The king immediately called the man to his castle. Theman’s name was Hou. He told the king that there will be a man who will kill himsoon. And that man would be a close relative of his. The king knew exactly whom Hou was talking about.
Zoa’s son Zhuan was almostthe age where he could become king if something happened to his father.Immediately Zoa ordered Zhuan to be imprisoned. He said this was anotherexample of how clever he was, he said he saw the future and beat fate’sdestiny. He even said that he was better than any other god the peoplebelieved in. When he went to see Zhuan his older brother went with him.Zhuan pleaded with Zoa and said he would never even think of killing his ownfather.
But Zoa didn’t believe him.He sentenced Zhuan to death. But before Zhuan could be killed older Zoa’sbrother beheaded him when he facing his son.
Zoa was killed by his ownbrother who was ashamed of what his younger sibling had become. What themagician didn’t tell Zoa was which close relative would kill him. Zoa whohad become overconfident wasn’t as great as he thought he was. And he wastoo arrogant to not know that the gods should not be challenged.
This mythtells that becoming overconfident will eventually hurt you and that no onecould beat their destiny. The Chinese in this story believed in the gods,they were very religious people and this myth tells that the gods should notbe challenged.Both of these myths were written a long time ago and I don’t think that thepeople today still believe in these myths as strongly as the people who wrotethem did. I think it’s like Halloween in our culture.
We still practice thecustom as the ancient people did but we don’t have as much as a strong believein ghosts and goblins as our ancestors did.BibliographyBirch, Cyril. Chinese Myths And Fantasies. Great Britain: London, 1992.Fei, Charles.
Strange Creatures. New York, 1990Ke, Yuan. Dragons And Dynasties.
China: Beijing, 1993*Chinese Myths.* Grolier Encyclopaedia, 12th ed. 1996.Category: English