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May 9, 2010

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Home » Sunday » Now and Then

Jingwei tests the sea (jing1 wei4 tian2 hai3)

ABOUT 4,000 years ago, Emperor Yandi had four daughters, of whom the youngest, called Nuwa (not the Goddess Nuwa, who created human beings), was the smartest and loveliest. The emperor loved her very much and she was the apple of his eye.

Emperor Yandi ruled over not only an immense piece of land, but also the East Sea where the sun rises every morning.

One day, the emperor took Nuwa with him on a trip to the East Sea. Seeing the vast, blue, open sea for the first time, the little girl became excited.

She ran along the beautiful beach, picked seashells in tidal pools and played in the gentle waves. When it was time to go home, she just couldn't tear herself away from the fascinating sea.

Back home, Nuwa missed the sea and wanted to go back there. But her father was so busy with his work he didn't have time to return with her. So one day, Nuwa sneaked out of the palace and went all the way to the East Sea by herself.

The calm blue sea surface glittered under the beautiful sunshine. The air was so fresh and Nuwa became intoxicated by the peaceful and serene atmosphere.

She took a boat and started drifting to the spot from which she believed the sun would rise out of the ocean.

While Nuwa was enjoying boating on the calm water, she didn't realize that a fierce storm was gathering around her until it was too late.

Suddenly, the blowing gales churned up mountain-high waves on the sea and the boat capsized. Nuwa fell into the ocean and drowned.

But immediately, her spirit was turned into a bird darting into the dark sky out of the billowing waves.

The bird looked like a crow but had a colorful head, a white beak and two red claws and was just as beautiful and lively as Nuwa. Its call sounded like "jingwei, jingwei," which later became its name.

After learning of the tragedy, Emperor Yandi was devastated. He repeatedly returned to the East Sea to sit on a rock and grieve alone.

But no matter how powerful he was, the emperor could not bring his lovely baby girl back to life.

The bird Jingwei first flew to Fajiu Hill in the north, where there were a lot of mulberry trees.

In order to revenge herself against the sea and to prevent it from harming innocent people in the future, Jingwei vowed to fill it up.

So every day, Jingwei carried bits of twigs and pebbles all the way from Fajiu Hill to accomplish her mission.

At first, the East Sea was amused by the little bird's act. But day after day, it never stopped dropping twigs and pebbles into the water and the East Sea became annoyed. It said to the bird: "Don't be silly. You will never be able to fill me up in a million years."

Jingwei replied: "I will, even if it takes longer than several million years." Now, the bird Jingwei continues to drop twigs and pebbles into the East Sea every day.


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