Heaven and Earth1 min read


很久以前,没有天和地, 只有一个很大的蛋。蛋里头睡着一个叫盘古的神。盘古在那个蛋里睡了一万八千年。

有一天,盘古睡醒了,他睁开眼睛,想看看世界是什么样子。可是蛋里很黑,什么也看不见。盘古用力一踢, 蛋破了,从里头流出来了很多东西。这些东西有的轻有的重,有的干净有的不干净。那些轻的、干净的东西慢慢地上升,变成了天。那些重的、不干净的东西,慢慢 地下沉, 变成了地。

天和地分开以后,盘古就在天和地的中间站着。天一天一天地变高;地一天一天地变厚;盘古的身体也一天一天地变高变大。又过了一万八千年, 天和地不变了,这时候盘古就死了。


A Primer for Advanced Beginners of Chinese: Volume 1, Lesson 5, Edited by Irene Liu and Hailong Wang (Columbia University Press, 2004)

Heaven and Earth

A long time ago, there was no Heaven and no Earth, there was only a very large egg. A god name Pangu was sleeping inside the egg. Pangu slept inside that egg for eighteen thousand years.

One day, Pangu woke up and opened his eyes. He wanted to see what the world looked like. However, the inside of the egg was very dark, and he couldn’t see anything at all. Pangu kicked with all of his strength and the egg broke [causing] many things to leak out from inside. Some of these things were light and some of them were heavy, some were clean and some were unclean. The light, clean things slowly floated upwards and became the heavens. The heavy, unclean things slowly floated downwards and became the earth.

After Heaven and Earth had split apart, Pangu stood up between them. Day by day the heavens grew higher, and day by day the earth grew thicker [while] Pangu’s body became taller and more robust. After another eighteen thousand years, Heaven and Earth had finished changing and it was at this time that Pangu died.

After Pangu had died, the air in his body became the wind and clouds, his voice became the sound of thunder and his eyes became the sun and the moon. His hands, feet and body became the mountains, large and small. His hair became the trees and plants and his blood became the rivers. His sweat became the rain. Pangu died, but his body was transformed into a new world.

(Translation my own)

Nick Stember
Nick Stember is a translator and historian of Chinese comics and science fiction, currently working on his PhD in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. In 2016 he completed his Master of Arts in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia with his (very readable and not at all obscure) thesis on the formation of the Shanghai Manhua Society in the mid-1920s.