The Candle Dragon

“My grandpa loved to tell my this story of the Candle Dragon. He told it to me many times when I was younger. It explains why there are four seasons and day and night. There was a mysterious mountain in a rural part of China, where this serpent or dragon type creature with a human head lived. He was almost like a god for the people. His eyes were fiery and bright and when he had them open it was day. When he closed his eyes, it was nighttime. He created seasons when he breathed. So he would breathe in to create the summertime and blow out to make it cold during winter winter. Some versions say he had a sort of candle in his mouth, which is where he got the name of the Candle Dragon. When my grandpa told it, it was more story like, but I’m just stating the main facts of the tale.”

The informant has relatives in China who are very knowledgeable about Chinese folklore, although she was born here in the US. She said that she first heard this story from her grandpa, but other family members knew it as well. It’s a Chinese creation myth basically, describing what makes night and day and the seasons. Of course a dragon is involved, since dragons are respected in the Chinese culture.

I think this story is a cool version of another culture’s explanation for the seasons. It’s interesting how each culture has different aspects that make their creation myths unique to that region, like I mentioned earlier, as this story uses a dragon for example. It’s clever too, with the use of his eyes being the source of the sun and the moon.