Houyi the Archer: The Legend of the Hero Who Saved the Earth



Chinese mythology is an intricate and fascinating part of Chinese culture. Its stories are infused with ancient beliefs, moral lessons, and spiritual teachings that have been passed down for generations.

These tales are often full of mythical creatures, gods and goddesses, heroes, and villains that reflect the values and beliefs of Chinese society. One such legendary figure in Chinese mythology is Houyi – also known as the Archer.

His story portrays bravery, humility, love, betrayal, and even tragedy. He is revered as a symbol of strength and valor in Chinese culture.

The Significance of Chinese Mythology

Chinese mythology plays a vital role in shaping the cultural landscape of China. It has influenced various aspects of life – from art to literature to religion to philosophy. These mythologies have been used as a foundation for many traditional practices such as Feng Shui (the art of placement), traditional medicine (herbs), martial arts (Kung Fu) among others.

The stories from this genre serve as a medium for teaching morals and values within families and communities. They provide an insight into ancient traditions that form the foundation upon which modern-day China was built.

The Legend of Houyi

Houyi is one such legendary figure whose story has been passed down throughout history. He lived during the time when there were ten suns in the sky causing chaos on earth. People were suffering due to extreme heatwaves caused by these suns.

Houyi’s archery skills came to the rescue when he managed to shoot down nine out of ten suns with his bow and arrow. This made him famous throughout China.

The Archer’s Birth And Early Life

Houyi was born in a humble village in China during a time of great social and political upheaval. His parents were farmers, and he grew up working on the farm. From a young age, Houyi showed great promise as an archer – he had a natural talent for it.

He practiced his skills every day, honing his technique until he became one of the best archers in the village. His skills caught the attention of the emperor who was looking for someone to save his people from the sweltering heat caused by ten suns in the sky.

The Marriage to Chang’e

After Houyi’s heroism in shooting down nine suns, he met Chang’e, a beautiful woman with incredible beauty and grace. They fell in love and got married soon after. Chang’e was known as one of the most beautiful women in all of China – her beauty was unmatched.

She was also known for her kind heart and her love for nature. Their union symbolized love, trust, and mutual respect between two extraordinary individuals who shared an unbreakable bond.

The Archer’s Legacy

Houyi’s bravery and heroism have made him an influential figure in Chinese culture. He has become a symbol of strength and courage over time – revered by many as one of China’s greatest heroes.

His story serves as a reminder that even ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things through hard work, determination, and selfless acts. As we continue to learn about Chinese mythology – we find great value in appreciating these legendary figures’ stories that help us understand ancient culture better while providing insight into what makes us human beings at our core.

Chinese mythology is a rich tapestry woven with colorful characters that reflect the values, beliefs, and traditions of the Chinese people. Houyi’s story is a testament to the power of love, bravery, and selflessness that continue to inspire generations of people today.

His story reminds us that we should all strive towards greatness, no matter how small or insignificant our roles in life may seem. To remain principled, passionate, and motivated throughout our lives – for it is through these qualities that we can make a difference in the world.

The Birth and Upbringing of Houyi

Houyi was born during the reign of Emperor Yao, one of the three sage kings in Chinese mythology. According to legend, he was born in the province of Youxiong and grew up in a poor family. Despite his background, he showed a natural talent for archery from a young age.

His parents recognized this skill early on and encouraged him to pursue it. Houyi’s upbringing was not without its struggles.

His family often went hungry, and as the oldest son, he felt responsible for providing for them. He worked hard and practiced his archery skills every day in hopes that one day he could use them to make a better life for himself and his loved ones.

As he got older, Houyi’s skills improved rapidly, and he quickly became known as one of the best archers in all of China. It wasn’t long before people started seeking him out for help with various problems that could be solved with his talents.

Early Accomplishments and Skills

Houyi’s first official accomplishment came when he saved an entire village from being destroyed by a ferocious tiger that had been terrorizing the area for months. The villagers were so grateful that they offered him food, shelter, and anything else he might need as thanks.

Over time, Houyi became known as more than just an archer – he was also a skilled strategist who could come up with creative solutions to complicated problems. This led to him being hired by wealthy merchants to protect their goods during long journeys across dangerous territory.

Houyi’s most impressive feat came when the Emperor himself called upon his services. At that time there were ten suns which appeared together on earth causing droughts and famine across China – this is where Hou Yi took center stage; standing at the top of Mount Kunlun using incredible aim shot down nine of the ten suns, thereby saving China from the devastating heat.

Houyi’s early accomplishments and skills would propel him into a life of fame and success. His natural talent for archery combined with his intelligence and strategic thinking made him one of the most formidable figures in all of Chinese mythology.

Marriage to Chang’e

The Moon Goddess

In Chinese mythology, Chang’e is known as the beautiful goddess of the moon. She is often portrayed as a symbol of femininity, elegance and grace.

According to legend, Chang’e was born in the heavens and lived among the gods. She is often depicted holding a jade rabbit, who is her trusted companion.

Falling in Love

Houyi and Chang’e fell in love at first sight. Houyi was captivated by her beauty and grace, while Chang’e admired his archery skills and bravery. They would often meet on a bridge that connected the human world with the heavens to talk about their dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Over time their friendship blossomed into love, which was not approved by all those around them. The gods were not pleased with their relationship because Houyi was a mere mortal while Chang’e was an immortal goddess.

The Marriage Ceremony

Despite opposition from some of the gods, Houyi proposed to Chang’e with a bouquet of flowers made from moonbeams. She happily accepted his proposal and they had a grand wedding ceremony that lasted for days. The wedding ceremony involved many rituals such as lighting candles on lotus flowers which were set adrift on waterways to symbolize hope for longevity in marriage.

Red candles were also used to bring good luck for fertility between husband and wife. After their wedding day, they returned to earth where they lived together as husband and wife until tragedy struck when Houyi’s apprentice Fengmeng became jealous of him.


Houyi’s marriage to Chang’e is one that has inspired countless stories throughout Chinese history. Their love story has become famous for its symbolism of true love conquering all obstacles regardless of differences in social status or background.

Their union serves as an example of the power of love and how it can overcome all obstacles. The story of Houyi and Chang’e is a reminder that true love knows no bounds and that it is worth fighting for, even against the gods themselves.

The Ten Suns

Chaos on Earth

According to Chinese mythology, there were once ten suns that rose in the sky each day, causing extreme heat and drought. The people of China suffered greatly as a result of the suns’ intensity, with crops and livestock dying off in large numbers. In desperation, the Emperor of China called upon the archer Houyi to use his skills to solve the crisis.

Houyi’s Archery Skills

Houyi was known throughout China for his incredible archery skills – he could shoot arrows with incredible accuracy and speed, and was rumored to be able to hit targets from impossible distances. When he was tasked with bringing an end to the chaos caused by the ten suns, Houyi accepted without hesitation.

Taking up his bow and arrows, Houyi traveled deep into the mountains where he could get a clear view of all ten suns in the sky. With steady hands and keen eyesight, he took aim at each sun in turn and fired arrow after arrow until nine of them had been shot down.

The Last Sun

The tenth sun, however, proved to be more difficult than any of its predecessors. It refused to succumb to Houyi’s arrows no matter how many times he tried shooting it down. realizing that brute force would not succeed against this stubborn star, Houyi came up with a plan.

He borrowed an elixir from a celestial being that would make him immortal and drink it when time comes or when Chang’e will be in danger since it can save her or allow him to join her if something terrible happens. After drinking this elixir which made him strong enough for his last challenge which is why he shot down the last sun saving China from catastrophic droughts forever.


Houyi’s incredible feat of archery made him a legend throughout China, and he was celebrated as a hero who had saved the people from an enormous crisis. His name became synonymous with bravery, skill, and selflessness, and he was revered for his dedication to others. To this day, Houyi is still remembered in Chinese culture as one of the greatest archers that ever lived.

His story is told and retold to new generations throughout China, inspiring them to be brave, compassionate, and responsible in all that they do. He will always be remembered as a hero who risked everything to save his people from certain doom.

Jealousy and Betrayal

It is often said that fame comes with a price, and for Houyi, this was certainly the case. His great achievement of shooting down nine of the ten suns had made him famous throughout China, earning him acclaim as a hero who saved humanity. With this fame, however, came jealousy and betrayal from an unexpected source – his own apprentice.

Fengmeng had been Houyi’s most devoted student for years, learning everything he could from the master archer. However, as word spread about Houyi’s incredible feat of archery, Fengmeng began to feel overshadowed by his teacher’s success.

No longer content to be a mere apprentice, Fengmeng began to plot against Houyi in secret. At first, Fengmeng tried to undermine Houyi’s reputation by spreading rumors and lies about him throughout their community.

He tried to make others doubt that it was truly Houyi who had shot down the suns and tried to take credit for himself. When these tactics failed to have the desired effect on people, Fengmeng decided that more drastic measures were necessary.

The Betrayal

One day during a training session with Houyi in which they practiced their archery skills together as they often did before practicing on separate targets on different sides of a hillcrest; Fengmeng pulled out an arrow poisoned with a deadly toxin and aimed it directly at his master’s back. Fortunately for Houyi, he sensed something was amiss just in time and quickly turned around before instinctively dodging the incoming arrow skillfully avoiding being hit by the poisoned arrow.

After dodging each other arrows both men stood at opposite ends panting heavily from pure adrenaline pumping through their bodies until finally one of them broke silence: “Why would you do this?” asked an perplexed and disappointed looking Houyi. Fengmeng replied, “Master, I am sick of living in your shadow. You have become famous for shooting down the suns while I remain nothing but a mere apprentice. I want to be remembered too.”

Houyi’s Response

Houyi was deeply hurt by Fengmeng’s actions, which seemed to come out of nowhere. He had always thought of his apprentice as a loyal and devoted student, and the betrayal cut him deeply.

Instead of taking revenge on Fengmeng or seeking punishment for him from their village leaders, Houyi chose to take the high road. He saw that his apprentice was misguided by his own desires for personal glory and recognition so he decided to offer guidance instead.

Houyi took Fengmeng aside and spoke with him privately about how there is no shortcut to success; one must work hard and earn their accomplishments through patience and dedication without resorting trying shortcuts that are unethical or harmful. The conversation seemed to have an impact on Fengmeng as he became more humble afterwards acknowledging that he should have been more grateful towards his master rather than envious.

Houyi’s ability with a bow not only made him famous but also brought about jealousy from those closest to him even earning death threats from his own apprentice. Yet despite this betrayal Houyi showed why he was revered not only for his skills but also for his wise counsel when dealing with people driven astray by their own desires.

The Elixir of Immortality

Task from the Queen Mother of the West

After shooting down nine suns and becoming known as a great archer, Houyi was tasked with obtaining an elixir of immortality from the Queen Mother of the West. The Queen Mother was known to be the goddess who controlled spiritual pills that could grant eternal life, and Houyi set out on a journey to meet her in hopes of obtaining one. The journey was long and treacherous, and Houyi faced many obstacles along the way.

He had to cross mountains, rivers, and deserts while fighting off mythical creatures sent by enemies who didn’t want him to succeed in his mission. Despite all these challenges, Houyi persevered until he reached his destination.

Accidental Consumption by Chang’e

Upon meeting the Queen Mother of the West, Houyi explained his request for an elixir of immortality. The Queen agreed but warned him that only one pill could be taken per person. She handed him one pill with instructions on how to use it when he returned home.

Houyi returned home with excitement in his heart, eager to share this gift with Chang’e so they could live together forever. However, when he left for a short time out of necessity after returning from his long journey, Fengmeng tricked Chang’e into consuming half of the elixir.

When Houyi found out what happened upon his return home and realizing there was only enough for one person’s immortality left inside it caused severe anger. But seeing her husband’s reaction Chang’e knew there was no going back now as she started lifting up into space going towards Moon where she still resides till date as myth suggests.

Chang’e on The Moon

Chang’e reached the moon and became its guardian deity after consuming half of the elixir. The moon had been considered an unlucky and feared place, but Chang’e made it into a beautiful and peaceful realm filled with music, dancing, and joy.

She was also accompanied by a jade rabbit who is said to make the elixir of immortality for her. On earth, Houyi was devastated by the loss of his wife.

He would look up at the moon every night to see if he could spot her and offer sacrifices to honor her memory. People also started worshiping Chang’e as a goddess in hopes that they could be blessed with good fortune and eternal happiness.

The tale of Houyi obtaining the elixir of immortality from the Queen Mother of West only to have it accidentally consumed by his wife Chang’e is one of the most famous stories in Chinese mythology. It shows how even great heroes can face unforeseen obstacles in their quest for eternal life and how love can drive people to do extraordinary things.

Mourning for Chang’e

The Lonely Archer

After Chang’e consumed the elixir of immortality and flew to the moon, Houyi was left alone on earth, mourning his lost love. He became a recluse and avoided any social interaction.

He would spend his days thinking about Chang’e and practicing his archery skills. Many people tried to comfort him, but he refused to be consoled.

His only solace was shooting arrows at the moon, hoping that they would reach her somehow. The legend says that on the 15th day of every lunar month, Houyi would offer fruits and cakes to the moon in memory of his wife.

The Jealous Apprentice

Fengmeng, who had been Houyi’s apprentice, saw this as an opportunity to take advantage of his master’s grief. He approached Houyi with fake sympathy and offered him some wine that he had poisoned.

Houyi realized too late what had happened and in a fit of rage shot Fengmeng with an arrow before succumbing to the poison himself. This marked the end of a great era in Chinese mythology.


The story of Houyi is one that has been passed down from generation to generation in China for thousands of years. It is a tale that embodies many aspects of Chinese culture such as love, jealousy, loyalty, betrayal and sacrifice.

It reminds us humans how important it is to cherish what we have while we have it because we never know when it could be taken away from us. The story also serves as a cautionary tale against envy because even someone as great as Fengmeng ended up meeting a terrible fate due to jealousy.

Houyi’s legacy lives on not only through his archery skills but also through his love for Chang’e which inspires people around the world to treasure the ones they hold dear. The Archer might be gone, but his story will continue to be told for many generations to come.

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