The Legend of Sun-Moon Lake
Once upon a time, a native tribe called Shao lived in the mountains near the central part of Taiwan. The people planted corn, taro, and rice on their farmlands. Sometimes they would go fishing and hunting. They lived a peaceful and carefree life.
On a sunny morning while the Shao people were working diligently, they heard a huge sound. "Boom!" and the land shook violently. "Oh no! The sun is gone," everyone cried fearfully. They could not believe that the bright, shiny sun had disappeared before their eyes. They could not do anything else except help each other find his/her way home in the midst of darkness.
Fortunately, the moon came out at night. Everyone could see again in the moonlight and was able to do some work. Suddenly, another huge sound was heard. "Boom!" The houses were almost knocked down by this huge sound. "Oh no! The moon is also gone. What are we going to do?!" everyone cried desperately. Everyone was so frightened, and no one knew what had caused this incident.
Starting from that day, the sky did not have the sun or the moon. Darkness covered the entire world. The crops in the fields gradually wilted; the fish hid in deep water; the flowers were not blooming; and the animals seemed lifeless. People kept asking, "How can we live a life without sunlight? Without sunlight, nothing grows."
A young couple, DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie, depended on growing corn for a living. Since the sun had disappeared, the crops had wilted; the corn did not have golden kernels anymore. One day, ShuiSheJie told her husband, "If the sun does not come out immediately, everyone in the village is going to die from hunger. We need to think of a plan." DaJianGe nodded his head and said, "The sun and the moon must have fallen into a deep valley. Let us go and search for them."
On the second day, both of them started toward the deep forest and were determined to find the sun and the moon. Each of them held a torch and started the journey bravely. They climbed and crossed numerous mountains, rivers, and forests. They also used countless torches but they could not find any sign of the sun and the moon. The whole world was still in darkness.
Finally, the couple arrived at a big mountain top. ShuiSheJie saw a dim light in front of her.
She pointed to a lake opposite the mountain and said to DaJianGe, "Look! There is a shiny light on top of that lake. I bet the sun and the moon are in that lake."
DaJianGe cried excitedly, "Yes! Yes! That must be the sun and the moon. Ha...Ha....We've found them." They ran towards the lake and discovered two fierce dragons playing with the two fire balls which were the sun and the moon.
"No wonder the sun and the moon disappeared. These two dragons stole the sun and the moon to be their playthings," cried both of them. DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie were really mad. They wanted to take the sun and the moon back from the dragons but were afraid of them. The couple sat on a big rock to think of a plan. However, they could not come up with any ideas.
Suddenly, white smoke came out from under the rock that they were sitting on. DaJianGe used his strength to push the rock away. They discovered a long, deep, and narrow underground passageway. The smoke was coming from the passageway. DaJianGe said, "There is someone living beyond the passageway. Let us go check and see."
They cautiously stepped down the passageway. As the curvy passageway got deeper, the atmosphere got damper and darker. After a while, they came upon red light emitted by a fire.
The smoke got thicker. The young couple realized that they were in a kitchen; an old white haired woman was standing in the kitchen and cooking.
ShuiSheJie asked softly, "Old lady, how are you?"
The old woman was surprised. She raised her head and found two young people standing in front of her. She put down her cooking pot and said, "Ah! Where did you come from? I've not seen humans for a long time."
The old lady also said, "Many years ago when I was working in the field, the dragons captured me and brought me here. They would not let me leave this place. They also forced me to cook them meals."
The young couple told the old lady the whole story of finding the sun and the moon. The old lady shook her head and said, " Both dragons are cruel and fierce. You two cannot defeat them."
"No matter what, we are going to take the sun and the moon from the dragons," said the couple with determination.
"I know," the old lady said, "I have heard someone mention before that the dragons fear the golden scissors and the golden ax which are hidden under Ali Mountain. If you throw both items into the lake, the scissors and the ax will kill the dragons immediately. Then, you can bring back the sun and the moon."
DaJianGe said confidently, "We will find the golden ax and the golden scissors. After we kill the dragons, we'll come and save you."
DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie left the old lady and started toward Ali Mountain.
When they arrived at the foot of Ali Mountain, DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie found two strong wooden sticks and started digging. They dug day and night. They wouldn't stop until they found the golden scissors and ax.
After many days, Ali Mountain looked like a big hole. Suddenly, two shiny golden things jumped out from the ground.
"That must be the golden scissors and the golden ax !" the couple yelled.
They picked up the scissors and ax immediately and proceeded toward the lake. When they arrived at the lake, the dragons were playing with their "Fire Balls." ShuiSheJie threw the golden scissors, which flew straight toward the first dragon and cut its body into many sections.
Blood sprung out like spring water. DaJianGe hurriedly threw the golden ax toward the other dragon. The dragon let out two horrible screams and its head was cut off.
The lake was dyed by the dragons' blood. The sun and the moon floated on the shiny red lake.
After killing the dragons, the young couple saved the old lady. However, DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie faced a major problem: how were they going to send the sun and the moon back into the sky? They were very puzzled.
At this time, the old lady said. "I heard that if one ate the dragon's eyeballs, one would become very tall and very strong. After you two eat the dragon's eyeballs, you will have the strength to send the sun the moon back to the sky.
The young couple immediately dived into the lake to search for and remove the dragon's eyeballs. After they ate the eyeballs, DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie began to grow. Their heights increased inch by inch. When they got out of the water and stood on the shore, they were like two mountains.
Together, the young couple held the sun and threw it into the sky with a strong force. The sun stayed in midair for awhile, then fell back down. They threw the sun once more but it fell back again. The situation with the moon was the same. The old lady yelled at the bottom of their feet, "Children, there are two big palm trees next to the lake. Use those trees to hold the sun and the moon up."
Each of the giants bent down and grabbed a tree. They put the sun on top of the palm tree and began holding it up slowly. Slowly the sun was raised higher and higher. After a day of hard work, the shiny red sun began to function normally in the sky. They also used the same method with the moon.
When the world regained its light, the plants began to bloom and the people started to smile again. When the sun gradually finished its course, the moon started its own course in the sky.
As for DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie, they were afraid that the dragons might return; therefore, they stood guard beside the lake. After many years, their huge bodies eventually became two mountains. Those mountains are now called DaJian Shan and ShuiShe Shan. The lake is now called "SunMoon Lake".
To show their gratitude to the young couple, the people of Cao Zu dedicated an annual dance to the brave DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie. This dance is now called "The Holding Ball Dance." In this dance, people throw a beautiful and colorful ball into the air and then try to use a bamboo stick to hold it; this dance symbolizes the brave actions of the young couple who saved the world.