Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Too hot?

To me it has felt so hot over the last several days, it has almost been too hot! The sunshine and the heat have reminded me of a Chinese story I’ve told in this blog before. Back in 2013 in fact. (Phew! Have I been doing blogs since then?) Anyway, I think the story is worth retelling today since in the context of today’s concerns, the overheating of the earth is very much a current concern.

Too too hot

A long time ago, there wasn’t just one sun in the sky. There were six. In summer, in consequence, the earth became extremely hot. Too hot!

One summer, so hot did it become that it felt like the whole earth was dying. People decided something had to be done.

The hero, Yang, offered to help. Renowned as a brilliant shot with his great bow and arrow, he said he would try and shoot down the suns that were making the world too unbearably hot.

Yang adopted a clever tactic. Instead of aiming directly at the suns in the sky, he aimed his arrows at their reflections in water. The intelligence of his ploy succeeded.  But as each of five suns were put out of the sky, the sixth sun felt more and more frightened. Was she going to be shot down too? In fear and trembling, she finally fled behind a mountain and the following morning that’s where she stayed. She simply would not come back out.

When the day stayed dark, the people knew that without the sun they would not survive. They tried calling up to her to come back out of hiding but their voices did not reach her. They were not loud enough. So the people persuaded those of earth’s animals with the loudest voices to try calling to the sun to come back out. Unfortunately, their noises only made the sun more frightened. Not until the cockerel called his call did the sun begin to show interest.

Cock-a-doodle-doo! called the cockerel. And as the sun heard him calling again and again, she felt curious to see for herself what kind of creature could be making this noise. So she peeped over the edge of the horizon to try and get a good look. And when she did that, the people began to cheer in delight as they saw the sun’s light return. That’s when the sun knew she was safe to come back into the sky.

Since that time, the sun has never been afraid to rise. Each day, the cockerel has told her she is safe and to thank the cockerel, the sun gave him his splendid red comb for his head. That comb should remind us of the story for the comb is crimson as if stained with the blood of dead suns and its jaggedness is like the peaks of the mountains behind which the sun had hidden.


So there we are. That’s the story. Yet you can’t help wondering if, symbolically, those five dead suns aren’t perhaps coming back into the sky in this new era of global warming. Perhaps that’s a good reason to be retelling the old Chinese story! It may warn us to be more aware of the problems we have as the people of this world.

End of story. But who knows? By the time you read this blog, the weather might have changed. It might have become much, much less hot and all thoughts of the consequences of global warming might have gone completely out of our heads. But I think the story is worth remembering whatever happens to our current weather.

PS: When I wrote up the above story in my blog back in 2013, I illustrated it with photos of some objects in my study. Looking round me now, I have no idea where those objects have got to. So I’m reusing one of the old photos as my second photo as I think it’s just right! The first photo is quite simply a real live cockerel.

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One Response to “Storytelling Starters ~ Too hot?”

  1. Mary Steele Says:

    The hot weather has gone at your command, but the almost gale that has replaced it is very bad for the garden. Could we tell ‘The North Wind and the Sun’ instead? The north wind and the sun compete as to which of them can make a man take off his cloak. The sun wins with its gentle (not too much) warmth.

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