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The Moon Goddess in Chinese Folktales

The moon goddess is a well-liked people story that dates from the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618–906). Each province in China has its personal model of her story. She is related to the mid-autumn competition, a harvest celebration that happens in mid-September.

When the Archer Yi shot down the 9 suns, the solar god Dijun banished him. Dijun had anticipated Yi merely to self-discipline, not to kill, his sons. In addition to the Archer Yi, Dijun additionally banished Yi’s goddess spouse, Chang-O, to the earth beneath. The banishment suited Yi as a result of he was thought to be a hero on earth, however Yi’s spouse was lonely for her sister goddesses and missed the luxuries of heaven. Chang-O was additionally indignant at her husband for jeopardizing her social standing. Therefore, though the Archer and his spouse beloved one another deeply, they usually quarreled.

In order to hold their our bodies in good situation, each three thousand years, gods should eat the peach of lengthy life and drink the elixir of immortality from the Garden of the Western Paradise. This backyard is tended by the Queen Mother Hsi Wang Mu [She Wong Muh], an outdated lady who has the fangs of a tiger and the tail of a panther. She lives alone and is protected by birds of prey and fearsome beasts. She additionally controls plagues and evil spirits. However frightful her look and her powers, Hsi Wang Mu is a motherly determine to all of the gods in heaven.

In her enchanted backyard develop the coveted peaches which she plucks and serves at a luxurious banquet for the gods. She is an alchemist, or an individual who practices the artwork of mixing substances that may remodel. Hsi Wang Mu can combine many elixirs, or magic potions, together with the one that may insure immortality for the gods. In more moderen variations of the story, the Queen Mother is proven as a swish aged lady.

The fabled Garden of the Western Paradise is assumed to reside in a distant part of the Kunlun Mountains. These spectacular peaks are placed in western China between Tibet and Xijiang and soar as excessive as twenty-five thousand ft. In mythology the mountains are the house of the Chinese gods, in addition to the location of life-restoring herbs. Historically, the Kunlun vary was a part of the Silk Road, a caravan route between China and Persia used for buying and selling silks, spices, and gold.

Because he beloved his spouse very a lot, the Grand Archer Yi reluctantly set out on a journey to the Kunlun Mountains the place the peaches of lengthy life had been grown by Hsi Wang Mu, the Queen Mother of the Western Paradise. The Archer was not sure of the street, and even much less certain of how a lot power he had left. When he lived in heaven, Yi had at all times ridden in the empress’s chariot or straddled the tails of sky dragons to attain the Western Paradise, however now that he lived on earth, he had to stroll. He crossed burning deserts, forded chilly streams, and trekked over excessive mountains for hundreds of miles.

Finally, Yi arrived at his vacation spot and was greeted by Hsi Wang Mu. When Yi informed her that his spouse wished a dosage of the elixir of immortality, Hsi Wang Mu may solely sigh. Unfortunately, she informed Yi, the gods and goddesses had simply feasted on the final batch of peaches. The subsequent peach crop wouldn't ripen for one more three thousand years. When Yi continued to implore her, Hsi Wang Mu took one leftover, very imperfect dried-up peach, pounded some herbs and powders, and stirred them collectively into an elixir. Then the Queen Mother poured the dear liquid right into a small vial. “This potion will take each of you to the heavens.

But be sure you take it on a transparent night time, or you would be trapped midway between earth and heaven,” she warned.
Carefully, the Archer placed the vial in his leather-based pouch and knotted the bag tightly round his waist. Again, Yi trudged over the identical excessive mountains, forded the identical chilly streams, and crossed the identical burning deserts to return to his spouse. When he lived in heaven, he had not cared about its comforts and luxuries. Because of his standing there as a mortal who served the gods, Yi, too, had been invited to luxurious feasts and had eaten the peach of immortality. The magical potion had enhanced his already highly effective physique and made him invincible. Now on earth, nonetheless, he felt his energy slipping daily. Although Yi didn't resent his banishment to earth, he was starting to resent his decaying mortal physique.

When eventually the Archer returned residence and offered the dear elixir to his spouse, Chang-O was delighted. She burned with the anticipation of returning to her sisters in the sky. The goddess begged him to take the drugs instantly, however her husband refused, remembering the warning he had been given by the Queen Mother. Yi stated, “I have undertaken a long journey to fulfill your deepest desire. We must be patient and wait for a clear night when the stars can guide us homeward.”

Chang-O agreed together with her husband’s clear reasoning, however her need to be reunited together with her sisters was far stronger than her appreciation of his logic. When her husband left for his every day hunt, the goddess stared on the elixir. As the day and night time wore on, Yi didn't return. As was usually the case, Chang-O spent the lonely night time ready for her husband’s return. The Archer usually stopped to chat together with his neighbors to whom he gave beneficiant parts of deer, rabbit, quail, pheasant, and duck from his hunt. Chang-O sighed. The goddess knew by its scent that the elixir was already diluted. The dosage was so weak, she reasoned, that the Archer would in all probability by no means get better his full power by consuming his portion, and she or he would in all probability by no means regain her full magnificence by consuming hers. Furthermore, they could by no means even attain heaven.

With these fears in thoughts, the goddess developed a plan. She would drink each of their parts in order that she may return to heaven first, and beg the solar god to forgive her husband for his brashness in having shot down the 9 suns. Then she and her sister goddesses may borrow some sky dragons to go to the Queen Motherof the Western Paradise. There, they'd persuade her to combine up one other dose of the elixir solely for the Archer so he may be a part of his spouse in heaven.

As she swallowed the elixir, Chang-O felt its bitterness burn her throat. Immediately, her physique grew to become lighter, and she or he felt dizzy. As she ran out into the night time, her physique floated upward to the celebrities. Unfortunately, the night time was not clear. Chang-O wandered among the many stars and misplaced her means. She lastly got here to relaxation, trapped in the chilly moon.

The Archer Yi was simply returning when he noticed his spouse drifting up to the sky. He referred to as out to her and ran after her shadow, however she was too distant to hear him. Yi was heartbroken and wept for days. No one may console the grieving hunter.

The gods took pity on the Archer. Yi had served the gods nicely and at all times did their bidding faithfully. The Archer by no means complained in regards to the numerous petty duties assigned to him by the lesser gods of heaven. Furthermore, Yi had saved the earth from droughts and monsters when the gods couldn't be bothered.

Therefore, annually, the gods grant the Archer the suitable to ascend to the skies to be together with his spouse. On that one night time, the harvest moon shines the brightest and fullest of the year, reflecting the Archer Yi’s love for Chang-O.