46 Bazar / Chinese Mythology /

Chinese Myth: Houyi Shot Down the Suns

One morning in the ancient China, instead of taking turns travelling the sky one by one a day, ten sun brothers decided to have an outing together. Intensive heat generated by the ten suns quicky vaporized water and cracked the ground, crops were killed because of drought, beasts started attacking villagers as they couldn't stand the heat. People were thirsty, starving and their lives were threatened by ferocious beasts, they were feeling no hope.

Yao(Chinese name: 尧, Pinyin: yáo), the ruler of the mortal world, felt upset as nothing he could do to help his people, he turned to the Tiandi (Supreme God, Chinese name: 天帝, Pinyin: tiān dì) for help. Tiandi quickly sent his best archer, Houyi (Chinese name: 后羿, Pinyin: hòu yì) to hunt the beasts and drive the suns back.

Houyi was tall, mascular and strong, together with his beautiful wife Chang'e (Chinese name: 嫦娥, Pinyin: cháng é), rushed to the place where the ten playful suns were mingling. That place was so hot, no signs of wind and cloud, once lively villages had become ghost towns, abandoned farmlands and dried up rivers were seen everywhere.

Houyi urged the suns to go home immediately but the suns ignored him. Knowing that the suns were not going nowhere Houyi had no choice but took out bow and arrows and shot. One of the ten suns got hit and crashed to the dry lake bed like a meteor, blood of the slain sun evaporated into cloud, there was rain again.

Houyi didn't stop there, he continued shooting, the other eight suns were soon shot down, more clouds appeared, so did rain. The last surviving sun was terrified, he cried and begged Houyi to spare his life, Houyi refused and aimed the last sun. Yao stopped Houyi at this very moment, he told Houyi that without a sun, the world would fall to eternal darkness, Yao urged Houyi to spare the last sun. Houyi convinced, he let go the last sun.

Beasts returned to their nests, crops thrived, the world was fully recovered to what it had been.


Kuafu Chasing the Sun


Chang'e Flew to the Moon