Houyi and Chang'er

Updated: 2011-09-07 13:54

(chinaculture.org)

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Houyi and Chang'er

Legend says that there were once ten suns in the sky, which made plants wither, water in rivers and lakes run dry. It was too hot to live under the sun. Houyi, a young man who was good at archery was sympathetic of people's torture and decided to save them. He took out his bow, ascended up to the peak of the Kunlun Mountain and shot down nine of the ten suns one by one. He might have shot the last one if it was not called off by others. The severe drought was gone.

Houyi was respected and honored by people as a hero. Young men who were fond of archery flocked to him to learn his techniques.
 
Houyi later married a pretty lady called Chang'er and lived a happy life with her. One day on his way to a friend's home on the Kunlun Mountain, Houyi came across the Heavenly Empress. He was enamored of the happy life with his wife and wanted to be with her forever so he asked the Heavely Empress to give him some elixir. The elixir was strictly controlled off mortals. The Heavely Empress, however, moved by Houyi's contribution and love, decided to give him one. The drug was said very powerful and people who took it can fly to the heaven and became an immortal immediately. However, the content was only enough for one person and Houyi was reluctant to leave his beloved wife alone on the earth so he gave the elixir to Chang'er to keep the bottle and looked for another one for his wife. Chang'er carefully stored it in a wooden box, without knowing that Fengmeng - one of Houyi's adherents - kept an eye on her actiosn.
 
Three days later, Houyi led his disciples for hunting but Fengmeng, who wanted to steal the elixir while Houyi was way, stayed at home deliberately. As soon as Houyi left his house, Fengmeng knocked into the courtyard where Chang'er was working. He wielded his glitter sword and threatened Chang'er to give him the elixir. Chang'e had no other choice but to swallow the elixir herself. As soon as she took it, Chang'er flew from her house toward the heave and finally landed on the moon. Houyi was told what was happening in the evening when he returned home. He was astonished and anguished and decided to kill the evil man. But Fengmeng fled away. Chang'er was transferred to the moon and has lived there ever since.
 
Editor: Shi Liwei