Myth – Chinese

Pangu and the Beginning of the Earth

At the beginning of time, only darkness existed and everything was very chaotic. In the darkness, however, there was a large egg in which lived a giant named Pangu. When he became very big, he broke the egg shell, and these shell bits became the heaven and the earth. Pangu was very happy with what he had done, but he was hesitant that the heaven and the earth might fall together. He placed himself between the heaven and the earth, and held up the sky with his hands. After the sky finally became secure, Pangu died. His body decomposed and slowly became all the elements of the world—wind, clouds, thunder, lightning, the sun, the moon, etc.

Many stories about the beginning of the Earth exist. It was actually my roommate who told me this story about the beginning of the universe. I asked her if she knew of any folk stories in Chinese literature, and this was the one she remembered with the most detail. She heard the story from her great aunt. Her great aunt told her and her siblings this story when she was ten because she wanted to pass on her heritage. My roommate and her family like to go camping many times during the year. The whole family goes together, and cousins, aunts, and uncles will often accompany them to Carlsbad, where they usually go to camp. This story was told while they were sitting around a campfire, cooking dinner together. To pass time, each family member told a story that they felt was of great importance to them. My roommate told me that while she does not believe that this story is actually the beginning of the Earth, she does believe is reiterates her heritage. She is a third generation Chinese, so she has been very influenced by Western culture, even more so than others whose parents might still be Chinese native speakers.