Collection of Folklores

Beautiful legends and intriguing folklores are an indispensable part of the Yangtze Civilization. These tales enhance the enchantment of the Yangtze River. Many of these have become engaging stories through the trial of time. Some talk of specific gorges, one a grotesque stone and yet others a mysterious river. The following is a sampling of some of the more well-known tales.

Zongzi and the Dragon Boat Racing
When Qu Yuan died for his country by drowning in the Miluo River, people threw rice into the river as a sacrifice in order to commemorate death of the great patriotic poet. One night, however, people in Zigui (Qu Yuan's hometown) dreamt that Qu Yuan was back at home. 'Why are you in such poor health?' the people asked. Qu sighed, 'The rice you sacrificed was eaten by the fish.' 'Then what should we do?' they asked anxiously. Qu suggested that the rice should be wrapped in lotus leaves and formed in the shape of tined millet. Fish are said to be afraid of the tined millet. Today, these rice filled lotus leaves called 'Zongzi' are eaten at the time of the Dragon Boat Festival each year to represent the original tined millet referenced in this legend.

The Dragon Boat Festival came about because at the news that Qu Yuan had drowned, people desperately rowed their boats on the river in the hope of finding him and saving his life. Rowing on the river is now carried out each year on the day Qu Yuan died. Later, the shape of the boat was changed to that of a dragon so that the fish would not dare to attack Qu Yuan's Body.

Peach-blossom Jellyfish 
A legend has it that one day Wang Zhaojun was washing her face in a river, near Zigui (her hometown), when her necklace broke off. When the pearls scattered in the swift river current, the water became crystal clear and began to emanate a sweet new fragrance. This is why people now call this river the Fragrance Stream.

The beautiful story goes that before the day Wang Zhaojun set off to the remote Hun Tribe in north of China, she was back at home to bid farewell to her parents and villagers. While boarding the Emperor's ship, she played her lute. The melody was so sorrowful and touching that the peach petals began falling down. Wang was all in tears at the scene. Her tears fell on the petals; the petals became colorful fish and swam after the boat. Wang gave the fish the name Peach-blossom Fish. Today we also call them Peach-blossom Jellyfish.

The Goddess Peak
Among the Twelve Peaks of Mt. Wu, Goddess Peak, also known as Wang Xia Peak, is the one most commonly photographed by passers-by. This peak has a famous story about it as well.

Yao Ji, the twenty-third daughter of Xi Wang Mu (Queen Mother of the West), was not only kind and lovely but also courageous. One day, she persuaded her eleven sisters to go with her and they secretly left home. They had never been more excited than to see the sub-celestial world. However, when halfway in the Wu Gorge they saw that twelve evil dragons were causing trouble for Yu the Great, who was besieged by flood water. Moved by Yu's determination for surviving the flood, Yao Ji decided to help him out. She presented a book to Yu and breached the rules of the time by not returning back home. Although the flood was brought under control, Yao made up her mind to live in the Three Gorges forever to prevent disasters and protect the people there. Year after year, she is reincarnated as the Goddess Peak and respected by the people always.

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