Myths
Tales /märchen

Hou Yi shoots the Sun

11) Hou Yi shoots the Sun

Once upon a time, there were a total of ten suns; they were the sons of the king of the eastern sky and his wife. Everyday they’d rotate positions and each shine its rays of sunshine on earth. That was a time where everything was peaceful and nice; no one had to worry about other people stealing from them, and animals did not have to worry about people hurting them. Crops are always thriving and there were always enough food and drink for all lives on earth.

One day, the ten suns thought that it would be fun and interesting if they all rose and went out together. Together, they marched across different lands, and thus burned everything; everything dried up, and all lives were dying under the heat. Suddenly everything was changed. The good life was gone, and nothing is thriving anymore.

A young man named Hou Yi, famous for his shooting skills, decided that he will try to save mankind. Thus, he spent many days and nights marching through mountains till he got to the highest point–he shot at the suns. The first 3 arrows took down 3 suns, but there were still 7 other songs that were glaring at Hou Yi. Hou Yi’s next shot took down 4 suns in a row, and the 3 that were left were now really scared. Hou Yi took down two more suns and now only one is left. That one remaining sun was so scared that it hid into the ocean.

Now there were no more sun burning the earth, but without the sun nothing grows; people started praying to the king of “heaven” for the one sun, and thus the next day a gleaming sun rose from the east sea, restoring all life and peace to earth.

Hou Yi was awarded to be a general or his bravery to save the people.

My mother told me this tale, but I’ve known this lore since I was little because every chinese kids know these; if not already told my parents, we read and learnt these in grade school. My mother’s performance really wasn’t anything spectacular since we both already know the tale so well. It’s funny to me that when I tried to think of chinese folklores I couldn’t really think of anything, but with people naming a few, I could remember all the rest.

 

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