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There is not in China, as there is in India and there was in Greece, any dramatization of divine activities--at least, not in literature; there is no Chinese Hesiod, nor Homer, nor Vālmīki. The Chinese people seem to have had no curiosity about their origin which could be thought of as the origin of mankind; the philosophers have concerned themselves with ethics and politics, and the poets with human relations and the influences of nature. According to Confucius's disciples, the subjects on which the master declined to speak were "extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder and spiritual beings." This attitude, transmitted to the literate classes, did away with interest in mythology. Undoubtedly, Chinese popular traditions contain a variety of stories about personages who might be regarded as mythical. But such stories are so prosaic and fantastic, so literal and ingenious, that we have no way of retelling them with becoming seriousness. To literate Chinese the universe has been created and is sustained by impersonal forces; that which makes a mythology--personification of supernatural powers and their identifications with some of the interests of mankind-is not conceived of by them.

The story of the creation by P’an Ku is a popular one, deriving from Taoism: Chinese scholars maintain that it was introduced from some outside country. The Celestial Weaver Maid and the Herdsman is a stellar myth, and has to do with the stars Aquilia and Vega. The personages in the story are honoured by women who practise the crafts of needlework and embroidery. The story is popular in Japan as well as China.

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