Taiwanese Folk Tale: The Legend of Sun-Moon Lake

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Sun-Moon Lake (Pixabay)

The following is a legend from Taiwan’s aboriginal Thao people.

Once there was a loving and hardworking couple named Dajiange and Shuishe. One day, when the couple was working in the field under the sun, the earth moved and the mountains shook, and the sky and earth became dark. The tribe’s people waited, but they did not see the sun, and their hearts were consumed by fear.

In the evening, the moon came out, and there was just enough moonlight for everyone to finish their incomplete work from the day. But the unfortunate happened again, and the moon also disappeared. Thus, everyone decided to have a meeting and discuss how to resolve this problem. Dajiange and Shuishe volunteered to find the sun and the moon for the tribe, so that they could return to their normal lives.

Carrying simple food, they traveled for days and finally found the moon and the sun under a large pool of water. However, when they looked closer, it turned out that two colorful dragons were playing with the moon and the sun in the water. They stopped and looked at one another with concern, because they did not know how to subdue these two dragons and recapture the sun and the moon.

Just as they became worried, an old man who was captured by the dragons to perform their labors, told them to find a pair of golden scissors and a golden axe in Ali-shan, and with these they could subdue the dragons. Of course, finding the treasures was no simple task. After listening to the old man, the couple rushed to Ali-shan with their shovels to dig into the ground, inch by inch. After a great deal of effort they found the two treasures, returned to the pool, and killed the dragons.

Just as the couple were wondering how to return the sun and the moon to the sky, the old man appeared again. He congratulated them on eliminating the dangerous creatures and told them that they could become giants if they ate a dragon’s eye. Then, the moon and the sun could be put back into the sky. So each of them ate an eye from the dragons and became a giant. They then picked up the sun and moon and threw them upward. After several tries, they finally returned the sun and the moon to their original position in the sky, and the heavens and the earth returned to normal.

From then on, the water pool where the sun and the moon had fallen down was called “Sun-Moon Lake.” There were two large mountains on both sides of the lake named Dajian-shan and Shuishe-shan—the incarnation of the husband and wife guarding Sun Moon-Lake. To this day, the Thao people hold a “throwing the ball dance” every year at the lakeside to express their appreciation for the couple’s righteous act.

Translator: Yi Ming
Editor: Derek Padula

https://docs.google.com/document/d/13tcFLWkcRbZtplEHdk8qXkX-Pj_Qme0hfpdmigZkog4/edit

台灣民間故事:日月潭的傳說

台灣的原住民邵族有一個美麗的傳說,有一對非常恩愛且勤勞的夫妻,叫做大尖哥及水社姐。 某一天,這對夫妻如同往常般頂著大太陽在田裡工作著,忽然間,地動山搖,緊接著天地一片黑暗。大家等了又等,仍不見太陽的蹤影,人們的心裡慢慢地籠罩在恐懼的氣氛中。

直到晚上月亮出來後,仍有一絲月光下,大家趕緊完成白天未完成的工作。但不幸的事再次發生,月亮也不見了。大家為了這件大事,族裡召開會議討論要如何解決。而這對夫妻自告奮勇,要為族人找尋太陽和月亮,恢復到從前正常的生活。

他們揹著簡單的食物,經過一連數天的長途跋涉後,終於在一個大水潭下發現月亮及太陽,可是走近一看,竟然是兩條五彩巨龍正在水中把玩著月亮及太陽,他們愣住了,不知該如何制服這兩條巨龍,並奪回太陽及月亮。

正當他們在發愁時,一位被巨龍抓來做雜事的老爺爺告訴他們一個方法,只要在阿里山上找出金剪刀和金斧頭各一把,就能制服了巨龍,但找出寶物卻不是件簡單的事。

夫妻倆聽聞後,奮不顧身的帶著鏟子直奔阿里山,一寸一寸地朝地底下挖去。找了許久,終於被他們找到這兩件寶物,並成功殺死兩隻巨龍。

正當夫妻倆正想著要如何將太陽及月亮送回天上時,老爺爺又再次現身,除了恭喜他們除掉大害外,並告訴他們只要將巨龍的眼睛吃下,便可變身成巨人,可把月亮、太陽放回天上去。他們各服一顆眼睛後,瞬間成了巨人,便將月亮和太陽往上拋,經過幾次拋擲後,終於讓太陽及月亮回到原本天空中的位置,而天地也恢復正常運轉。

從此,那個太陽及月亮曾掉落下的水潭便被稱為「日月潭」,而潭兩旁有兩座大山——大尖山和水社山,就是他們夫妻倆的化身,守護著日月潭。直至今日,邵族每年都會在潭邊舉行「托球舞」,以感念他們的義行。

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