Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little girl living in the palace of the Jade Emperor in Heaven. Her name was Chang’E 嫦娥. One day, she broke the Jade Emperor’s favorite porcelain jar. Angered, he banished her to live among the mortals on Earth.
Now an ordinary human, and not a goddess, Chang’E became a simple farm girl in a well-to-do family. She grew up to be stunningly beautiful young woman. A farm boy, HouYi, fell in love with her, and they became friends. Then one day, a strange thing happened. Ten suns appeared in the sky, which would scorch the Earth and kill all the people. HouYi was an expert archer. He climbed to the top of the highest mountain, and shot down nine of the suns with his arrows. He became a hero, was made the king and of course, he married Chang’E.
But fame and fortune made HouYi a little crazy. He was a cruel king, and greedy. He wanted to be immortal, like the gods. So, he spent a lot of money to get a magic pill to preserve his life. Being a little careless, King HouYi left the pill on his bedside table. Chang’E, thinking it was a sweet, ate the pill. Just then, the king entered his room, and ran toward Chang’E in anger. Fearing for her life, she jumped out the window!
Chang’E did not fall. Because she was born in heaven, she already had been an immortal. The pill gave immortality back to her, but it also made her very light. She kept rising and rising and rising. HouYi tried to shoot her down, but he failed. Chang’E kept flying up and up until she reached the Moon!She had always worn a jade rabbit around her neck. Once she arrived on the Moon, the rabbit came alive, to keep her from feeling lonely living on the Moon by herself. Even today, you can see the rabbit on the Moon’s face.
As for HouYi, he felt very bad at what he had done. He tried to join his beautiful Chang’E on the Moon, but he failed. Instead, he rose up to the Sun, and built a palace there. Now, the two of them circle around the Earth, sometimes passing by each other, but never meeting.
[In Taoism, Chang’E and the Moon represent yin, and HouYi and the Sun represent yang.]