*ctales*

Chinese myths, legends, and tales: Butterfly Lovers

Zhu Yingtai, a girl, disguised as a boy to go to school. During her time at the school, she fell in love with Liang Shanbo. As the school years pass, she fell deeper and deeper for him, but he was made to believe that she was a boy. One night, she left a note for him telling him that she will meet him at the riverbank at night. She planned to tell him that she is actually a girl, because her parents asked her to go home through a letter. Instead, the note was found by Ma Wencai, who later showed up at the riverbank. Zhu accidentally shows her true identity to Ma, and he was determined to marry her for her beauty. Later that same night, Zhu told Liang that she was actually a girl.
The next day, Zhu ran back home with her servant only to find that Ma has already delivered marriage gifts to her parents, and had threatened them to let their daughter marry him. Zhu has no choice but to marry Ma. After hearing that the woman he loves most will be marrying another man, Liang shows up at Zhu’s doorsteps and drinks himself to death the day before Zhu and Ma’s wedding.
On the carriage ride to the wedding, Zhu asked to stop at Liang’s grave to pay her respects. Zhu breaks into sobs and begs for the grave to open. Suddenly, the grave opened up, and Zhu jumped into the grave without hesitation. After the grave closed back up, flowers sprang to life around the grave and the pair of spirits emerged as butterflies from the grave. They flew away and were never separated again.

Chinese Myths, Legends, and Tales: Pan Gu

The sky and the earth was said to be one, in the shape of a sphere, filled with darkness. In the sphere, there was a man in slumber that dreamed of what the world would look outside.
One day, he woke up, and saw nothing but darkness; the opposite of what he saw in his dreams. In a state of panic, he tried to break open the sphere, but the sphere wouldn’t budge. Then, he felt an ax, and with it, he made a crack in the sphere. A ray of light shined through the crack, and Pan Gu used his hands to rip the sphere in half. However, the sphere tried to repair itself. Pan Gu then stood up, separating the top half and the bottom half, which then became the sky and the earth.
Pan Gu continued holding the halves apart for ages, until they finally stopped pushing towards each other. Only then did Pan Gu lies down on the ground to rest, and because of the hard work, he slept for year after year, and in the end, his body connected with the earth. His breaths became clouds and wind, his snores became thunder, his eyes became the sun and the moon, his sweat became stars in the sky, his body became the ground that we walk on, his limbs became mountains, his blood became bodies of water, his hair became forests, and his teeth and bones became all kinds of jewels and metals. The world became beautiful, just as he saw in his dream.

Chinese Myths, Legends, Tales, and Real Stories: Staircase to the Sky

In Chongqing, Jiangjin Zhongsan village during 1950s, 20-year-old Liu Guojiang fell for the widow, Xu Chaoqing, who was 18 years older than him. Because Xu was a widow, and was 18 years older than Liu, negative rumors spread about their relationship. In 1956, the couple, with Xu’s four children, moved into the woods to be separated from society.
In order for Xu to go to the village and home, Liu spent half a century to build a staircase just for his wife. The staircase has more than six thousand steps, with an elevation of about 1,500 meters.
Xu did not move in with her son until December 18th of 2007, when Liu died. On October 30th of 2012, Xu passed away as well. Later, the couple’s love story was adapted into a song, movie, drama, and a documentary, and their staircase became a national attraction for couples.