Ten Brothers

The informant gave out the following piece of folklore at my request. They are of Chinese descent, and the setting was casual.


They told me about a Chinese legend, called “Ten Brothers.” This, as the title suggests, is about ten brothers who each developed supernatural powers. They say they do not not remember all of the brothers and their associated ability, but the ones that they did recall are as listed:

  • A brother that can tunnel through ground
  • A brother that can blow large gusts of wind
  • A brother that can hear things from far away
  • A brother that can see things far away
  • A brother that can cry enough tears to drown people

The powers of the other brothers are as followed:

  • A brother that has great strength
  • A brother that has the ability to stretch, as well as invincibility
  • A brother that can grow incredibly tall
  • A brother that can fly
  • A brother that has an iron head

What attracted me to this legend was how the brothers’ powers looked like modern day superpowers. While strength enhancement and such is something quite common— Heracles from Greek mythology easily comes to mind— I am not aware of other Chinese legends where the protagonists have powers.