Chinese mythology is a collection of cultural history, folktales, and religions that have been passed down in oral or written tradition, including creation myths and legends and myths concerning the founding of Chinese culture and the Chinese state. Like many mythologies, it has in the past been believed to be, at least in part, a factual recording of history.

One of the major vernacular Chinese epic fantasy novels written about myths and legends is Fengshen Yanyi, translated as The Investiture of the Gods or The Creation of the Gods.

There all altogether 100 stories in Fengshen Yanyi, in which numerous elements of Chinese mythology are intertwined, including gods and goddesses, immortals and spirits.

One story is about a little boy named Nezha. The story about him is called Nezha Riots the Seas, also called also known as Nezha Conquers the Dragon King. It is an exciting classical Chinese folk tale that has been known and loved by generations of Chinese children.

The story opens with Nezha’s father Li Jing, a powerful general of Chentang Pass. His wife, after a three-year long pregnancy, gives birth to a ball of flesh shaped like a lotus bud. Believing this to be an ill omen, Li Jing chops open the lotus bud with a single swipe of his mighty sword. A beautiful baby boy springs out. He can speak and walk immediately after birth.

The Great Monad comes to offer his congratulations. He finds the boy to his liking, so he takes him as a disciple and teaches him magical arts. He then gives him two magic weapons: the Universe Ring and the Red Armillary Sash.

When Nezha is seven years old, the region is struck by a long drought, and the greedy ruler of the East Sea, who is in charge of rain, shows little mercy to the people. Instead, he demands children to be sacrificed.

The master then gives Nezha two more magic weapons: the Wind Fire Wheels and a Fire-tipped Spear. Nezha returns to Chentang Pass and gives a sound lesson to the Dragon King who swears that he will never again bring disasters to the people.

In order to save the people, Nezha kills the Dragon King’s third and favorite son. Dragon King came to Cehntang Pass and confronted Nezha and his family. He vowed to bring the matter before the Jade Emperor himself.

Sensing trouble, Nezha seeks the advice of his master, who suggests Nezha to intercept the Dragon King at heaven’s gates. Nezha follows Master’s advice and overpowers Dragon King, forcing him to surrender and to leave without complaint.

However, the Dragon King forges an alliance with his brothers, Kings of the North, South, and West seas, to take revenge, threatening to flood the General’s palace and orders torrents of rain to pour down from the sky for three days and nights.

In order to save the people from the flood, Nezha has to sacrifice himself, and then his ghost goes to his old master, to bewail his fate. Nezha is later brought back to life by his master, who uses lotus roots to construct a human body for his soul.

The master then gives Nezha two more magic weapons: the Wind Fire Wheels and a Fire-tipped Spear. Nezha returns to Chentang Pass and gives a sound lesson to the Dragon King who swears that he will never again bring disasters to the people.

Nezha has frequently appeared in Chinese mythology and ancient Chinese literature. Sometimes, he is shown having three heads and six arms. He has the ability to spit fire in some legends.

In Journey to the West, Nezha was a general under the leadership of his father Li Jing. He fought the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, when the latter rebelled against the Jade Emperor. They became friends later. Nezha made some appearances in the novel to help the four protagonists defeat powerful demons.

The best way to enjoy the story Nezha Riots the Seas is to watch a 1979 wide-screen animated feature film produced by Shanghai Animation Film Studio. The film displays Chinese characters in traditional clothing and features marvelous landscapes and superb special-effects photography.

The film was praised by critics for its elegance in style and richness in imagination. It was rewarded an outstanding film prize in 1980 and a special prize at the Second Manila International Film Festival in 1982.

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Related post:
Chinese mythology: Pangu and Nüwa
Fairy tales for children, now in Chinese
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Tags: , , , , , | categories Bilingual Baby, From Lina | | datetime October 12, 2010 11:12 am | comments Comments (4)

Comments

  1. 2
    eastlandgrl // October 18th, 2010 at 2:35 am

    interesting, thanks

  2. 3
    badmash // October 22nd, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

  3. 4
    Lina // October 27th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Yes, more posts concerning Chinese mythology will come up once a month. Thank you for following me!

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