Chinese Stories/Nüwa

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Nüwa, Chinese creator goddess

The Bible says that God made people and a great big flood. In Chinese mythology, the goddess Nüwa also made people, but rather than making a big flood, she stopped one.

The story[edit]

Nüwa existed in the beginning of the world. She felt lonely as there were no animals so she began the creation of animals and humans. On the first day she created chickens. On the second day she created dogs. On the third day she created sheep. On the fourth day she created pigs. On the fifth day she created cattle. On the sixth day she created horses. On the seventh day she began creating men from yellow clay, sculpting each one individually, yet after she had created hundreds of figures in this way she still had more to make but had grown tired of the laborious process.

So instead of hand-crafting each figure, she dipped a rope in clay and flicked it so blobs of clay landed everywhere; each of these blobs became a common person. Nüwa still laboriously crafted some people out of clay, who became nobles.

There was a quarrel between two of the more powerful gods, and they decided to settle it with a fight. When the water god Gong Gong saw that he was losing, he smashed his head against Mount Buzhou , a pillar holding up the sky. The pillar collapsed and caused the sky to tilt towards the northwest and the earth to shift to the southeast. This caused great calamities, such as unending fires, vast floods, and the appearance of fierce man-eating beasts. Nüwa cut off the legs of a giant tortoise and used them to supplant the fallen pillar, alleviating the situation and sealing the broken sky using stones of seven different colours, but she was unable to fully correct the tilted sky. This explains the phenomenon that sun, moon, and stars move towards the northwest, and that rivers in China flow southeast into the Pacific Ocean.