Chang’e gets the short end of the immortality stick

a special internet thank you
to comics wizard Tom Siddell
for bringing this mythological personage to my attention with his internet comic

okay so you guys know about the sun right?

it’s this big ball of fire and explosions that flies around giving people cancer
but did you know there used to be TEN SUNS?
it sucked so bad that Di Jun (aka Chinese Zeus)
(aka the father of all these rambunctious suns)
(get it? suns? sons? it’s brilliant)
had no idea what to do
so here’s what went down:

So there’s this really great archer named Hou Yi
and he’s chilling in his heavenly crib with his wife Chang’e
and all of a sudden the phone rings and it’s Di Jun
Hou Yi is like yo Di Jun my man what’s cookin’?
and Di Jun is like my friend the entire earth is cooking
you could fry an egg on a fucking glacier right about now
and it ain’t none of this sous vide bullshit or nothing
this is honest to goodness summer backyard barbecue
except instead of a big plate of watermelon on the back porch
everyone’s skin is melting off
can you solve this problem for me?
and Hou Yi is like you got it buddy

so Hou Yi grabs his trusty arrows and goes outside
and just kills nine out of the ten suns
and then he stares at the tenth sun real hard and he’s like
you best behave, sun
and the sun is like OK DUDE NO PROBLEM
and promptly dives underground and takes the subway home
and Hou Yi is like well that was easy
you’re welcome Di Jun
and Hou Yi is like dude do you know who you called to solve your problem?
you called Hou Yi the immortal archer
what the fuck did you think was going to happen?
you know what they say:
when the only tool you have is a hammer
every problem starts to look like you can solve it by shooting your friend’s sons
until they explode and turn into mutant birds
(oh yeah, they totally turned into birds by the way)
um i think i may have mixed my metaphors a little bit
and Di Jun is like DAMN RIGHT YOU DID
and Chang’e is like hey what the fuck
what did I do?

so now Hou Yi and Chang’e are both mortal
and Chang’e will NOT stop bitching about it
so finally Hou Yi is like GRR FINE
I will go get us some immortality
so he goes all the way the fuck to the west
and he finds Xiwangmu, the good witch of the west
who gives him a couple pills of immortality
and she’s like careful dude
this is some heavy shit
don’t take too much
and Hou Yi is like sure no problem
and then proceeds to go home and leave all the pills with his wife
while he goes out to shoot some things with arrows

so different tellers of this story ascribe different motivations to Chang’e here
some say she was a greedy twank who wanted all the immortality for herself
some say that there were some robbers and she took all the pills to spite them
some say she got hungry and confused
the point is Hou Yi isn’t gone for fifteen seconds
before all the pills are in his wife’s mouth
at which point she proceeds to have

but instead of throwing up and then dying
which would be SILLY
Chang’e becomes TOO IMMORTAL
and apparently Immortality = buoyancy
so she floats to the moon
and her husband comes home and sees her floating to the moon
and he’s about to take out his bow and try to shoot her down
but everyone is all NO HOU YI
and Hou Yi is like seriously?
and then his wife lives on the moon with a rabbit forever
and later another guy named Wu Gang gets sent there
he’s like Sisyphus except with a tree instead of a rock
and chopping it down instead of pushing it up a hill

so the moral of the story
is don’t do drugs
unless you wanna wake up on the moon
with nothing but a rabbit and a deranged lumberjack to keep you company
take it from me


9 thoughts on “Chang’e gets the short end of the immortality stick

  1. good timing. moon festival's right about to roll around!

    unfortunately, i'm pretty sure the sun/son joke is lost in Chinese.

  2. There must be a god. Seriously, that is the only explanation for the phonetic pronunciation of this shit to be so amazing.

    Or, you know, maybe it was just a coincidence. As far as I can tell with the ten minutes I just spent on google (I wasn't researching it very intensely. I'm just a very slow googler when I'm drunk.) they have no etymilogical similarities.

  3. Wait. Why couldn't he shoot her? Worst case scenario, she dies. He can collect the insurance! But the pills made her immortal, right? So she would burst, and fall back to Earth, and bleed horribly, but he'd still have his wife back.

  4. Let's not forget the 'fingerprint on the Moon' is a reference to an earlier story in Gunnerkrigg Court. The trickster god Coyote is showing off to one of the characters, Annie, by plucking the Moon from the sky. She pokes it to see if it's real, leaving her fingerprint on it.

    There's also a short one-page comic that's a re-telling of Coyote as the Moon, with a different take on it as Gunnerkrigg Court does (Coyote is a fairly regular side characters who tends to always be amusing in the comic).

  5. The version I heard growing up was that after Hou Yi shot down the nine suns, the people were so grateful that they made him the king/emperor. However, he became a mega dick as a king and asked a wizard for immortality pills to be an asshole forever, and Chang’e, to spare the people I guess took the pills/drank the potion and turned light as paper and then got blown up to the moon by the wind.

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