A Chinese Creation Myth
Andrew Pan created this story based on the Chinese creation myths of Pangu and Nüwa. He compiled the tales into this narrative for his 6th Grade Social Studies class. Enjoy the story here for free, and if you want to grab me a coffee, my Venmo is @agard93.
Without any more waiting, here is A Chinese Creation Myth!
There once was a large golden egg. Around the egg was nothing, above the egg was nothing and below the egg was nothing. All of the cosmos, the universes, the galaxies, and the worlds were packed together inside this egg. For 18,000 years, the egg grew and swelled. Then, rocking back and forth, the egg began to form the first living creature: Pangu.
Pangu broke through the egg with his solid hands and emerged into the nothingness, freeing the entire universe. Pangu was squat and hairy, with stubby horns growing out of the top of his head. Pangu was strong and clever. He wanted to create balance in the universe and came up with a plan to complete the whole world.
Pangu took a giant ax and sliced through the shell that contained the universe, splitting it in half. He sent one half upward and molded it into the sky. In the sky, he put other planets and stars to light them. The cosmos broke from the egg and spread out evenly in the sky.
The other half of the shell he cast down and formed the earth. Then, to balance with the planets and stars, he piled the world together in mountains, took his ax, and carved out valleys. Pangu did all of this with perfect balance and harmony through his knowledge of yin yang, the idea that everyone should find balance in all things.
When Pangu finished, he laid to rest on the earth and passed away in his sleep. The ground took his body and grew from it. His eyes became the sun and moon, circling the globe to give light and life. His blood flowed and became the rivers of the world. From his hair grew the trees and his body the soil. The parasites that devoured his body became the people, animals, and other creatures that would come to rule the earth.
One such creature to emerge from Pangu’s body was Nüwa. Nüwa was a lovely woman with the tail of a fish. Her beauty was like none other in the world. She spent her days roaming the world Pangu had created, searching for something as beautiful as her to share her life with. As she looked, she found nothing in the world to keep her company. She tried to enjoy her life alone, spending her days lying in the sun and searching for other creatures. Soon though, her loneliness got the better of her. An idea came to her to create companions to enjoy the earth with her.
On the first day, she created chickens. She enjoyed the chicken’s company and how it clucked and plucked around the earth. That is until the little bird plucked at Nüwa’s tail. After that, Nüwa distanced herself from the chicken and became lonely again.
On the second day, Nüwa created dogs. They were lovely and cuddly creatures, always happy and full of energy. Nüwa enjoyed these creatures very much until they gobbled up and stole her dinner. After that, she kept the dogs as close friends but knew this was not the companion she had wished for.
On the third day, Nüwa created pigs. These creatures were pink like the tip of Nüwa’s tail and almost as bright as she was. They talked for hours about life and other clever things. When the day grew hot, though, Nüwa went for a swim, but the pigs decided to wallow in a great mud pit. Nüwa could not stand their filthiness. She had not yet found her companion.
On the fourth day, Nüwa created sheep. She pulled them straight from the clouds and plopped them into the meadows. Their wool was soft as a pillow, and their voices sweet and peaceful. She laid with them most of the day, counting them one by one until she fell asleep. When she woke, she discovered they were easily persuaded and had found another leader to follow. The sheep was not the companion for her.
On the fifth day, Nüwa created cows. Coming in all colors and patterns, she loved the creativity the cow brought to the world. These new creatures kept the grasses short and provided milk for Nüwa’s table. However, when Nüwa invited them for dinner, she realized she could not stand their smell. They were not suitable companions for Nüwa.
On the sixth day, Nüwa created horses. These intelligent and beautiful creatures were almost as large as Nüwa was herself! Better yet, the larger horses were able to pull Nüwa from her waters and take her all across the land. On her journey, Nüwa saw how far her creations had spread out. This brought her joy. No matter how happy though, the horses could not communicate with Nüwa, which made her sad. The horse was still not the right companion for her.
On the seventh day, Nüwa paused at the banks of the Yellow River. She stared at her reflection in the water, consumed by her loneliness. She longed for a friend. The chicken was fun but lacked wisdom, the dogs were friendly but were wild at heart, the pigs were smart but unclean, the sheep were peaceful but were easily fooled, the cows were helpful but lacked manners, and the horses were majestic but unable to speak. How would she ever find the companion best for her?
Through her reflection in the water, Nüwa saw the soft clay at the river’s bottom. An idea popped into her head. What if she molded her favorite things about her creations together with some aspects of herself thrown in also? She grabbed a handful of clay and shaped it with all the desired qualities. She made a head with a brain for wisdom. She carved lips for which they could speak. She made a heart for them to feel at peace and legs to allow them to run free. Their hands could help her care for the others and their eyes to look at her fondly.
She set down the art piece and looked at it lovingly as she finished. It was a human being. She washed it with water from the river and breathed life into it. It sprang from its spot and immediately began dancing around her with glee. So pleased with her creation, she made more and more from the clay until they covered the whole earth. Soon, Nüwa surrounded herself by the companions she had wanted all along.