At the very beginning of the world, there was the sun, the moon and stars in the sky; there were mountains, rivers, grasslands and forests with animals on the earth. However, there were no human beings.
Nǔ Wa was a goddess with magnificent magic. One day, when she walked along the road, she saw very beautiful scenery around her, but she felt so lonely. She thought something should be added into this world to make it lively. But what?
She felt tired after walking so long, so she knelt down to rest by a pond. Then through the limpid water, she saw the reflection of her face and body. When she smiled, the reflection smiled back, and when she scowled, the reflection scowled back. Enlightened by the reflections, she said to herself, Why don’t I make some living creatures like me for this world?!
At the same time, she scooped some mud from the side of the pond, mixed it with some water, and then made it into a small sculpture. To her amazement, once the sculpture touched the ground, it became alive, and started to call Nǔ Wa “mum.” Then the child danced and cheered to show happiness for its new life.
Nǔ Wa was happy when the creature she’d just created said, “Mum.” She named her beloved child “People.” The body of people was tiny, but as it was created by the goddess, its appearance and mannerisms resembled hers, and were very different from other animals.
As Nǔ Wa was satisfied with her creature, she continued to make more adorable small people with mud. Being surrounded by these small people singing and cheering around her, Nǔ Wa felt delighted and since then, she never felt lonely anymore.
Nǔ Wa intended to fill up the whole world with these creatures, but the planet was too huge for her to finish her mission. And she was already exhausted before she even got halfway to realising her dream. At last, she came up with an amazing idea to create people. She dragged a rusty rattan and reached it into a muddy pond, then whisked the water into the slurry before splashing it onto the ground. Once the splash touched the ground, clusters of small people appeared, and they were exactly the same as what she made by hand before. Every small creature was jumping, cheering and calling Nǔ Wa, “mum!”
Well, now, there were human beings in the world, but Nǔ Wa’s work was not finished quite yet. She started to consider another situation: What if human beings died, do I have to create other clusters of them again? Hm, that’s too much work. How to ensure human beings’ continual survival? It is such a tricky situation!
After a long time thinking, she finally got an idea! She made all human beings into men and women, then matched them so they could reproduce. In that way, human beings could continue to be in the world without her intervention forever.
Sue Su is a Cambridge CELTA-qualified teacher with fluent English and Mandarin currently teaching Mandarin as a modern foreign language in the British School of Nanjing whilst tutoring English and Chinese privately.