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Nüwa Creates People

One day, the Goddess Nüwa came down upon the Earth, and found it to be enchanting, but empty. She sat by a river and felt very lonely. She gazed at her reflection in the water, and suddenly she knew what was missing: She wanted the world to be filled with thinking, laughing creatures like herself.

The river stretched out before her, its waves slapping the shore. The cloudy green waters left a rim of thick yellow earth along its banks.  Nüwa felt its slippery texture with her fingertips and scooped out a ball of clay. The cool, sticky earth deposited by the river was perfect for her task, and she rolled the damp clay into a doll, giving it a head, shoulders, chest, and arms like her own. Finally, she attached two legs to the new creature so it could both walk on land and paddle about in the sea.

From the many shades of yellow earth,  Nüwa made all kinds of dolls: tall and short, thin and fat, curly-haired and straight-haired, dolls with eyes as round and large as cherries, or as long and narrow as a mosquito’s wing. She made some with eyes so dark they looked like the midnight sky, others so light they looked like liquid honey. Each creature was different, so the goddess could recognize her creations. Then, as she breathed on each doll, it sprang to life, giggling and hopping about.

 Nüwa was so delighted with her handiwork that she wanted to make more. But she needed a quicker method. Along the riverbanks, slender reeds arched their graceful stems over the water.  Nüwa rolled up her sleeves, cut a reed, and dipped it into the river mud like a spoon. Expertly, she flicked her wrist and dropped blobs of mud on the ground. When they dried, she breathed a huge puff of air into each blob, and instantly they became round, smiling creatures.

The cheerful laughter of her creatures filled the goddess with happiness and pride. However,  Nüwa was tired. As much as she loved her new creations, she knew she could not watch over these humans every second. What would happen to these creatures when they grew old and died?  Nüwa did not wish to repeat the tiring task of making new people. She thought and thought. How could these creatures reproduce without her?
With a twist and a poke, she made some of the clay creatures male and some of them female. Then she gathered up all the noisy creatures and told them to find their companions, how to make children and how to raise them. She wished them a long and joyful existence on their Earth.

Then Nüwa seated in a thundering chariot pulled by six winged dragons, and ascended back to the Heaven.


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