Netting their food without hands
Limited in natural physical gifts, humans kept learning from what was around them. Apart from making tools to collect food, ancient Chinese also believed in the balance between man and nature.
Gathering food was always an urgent matter in primitive times.
To relieve hunger, people first picked wild fruit from the trees and later learned to hunt wild animals. Yet, there came a time when there was not enough wild fruit for the growing population. It saddened Fuxi, leader of the humans.
One day, Fuxi discovered a spread of fish and shrimps left on the beach as tide had receded. He took them back to his people, happy about finding a new food source. But the fish and shrimps were still not enough for everyone.
Resting under a tree during a hunt, Fuxi saw a huge spider creeping in circles and spin silk between the branches of a tree. It completed a web quickly afterward and hid alongside. Insects flew into the cobweb one after another. Then the spider crawled out and ate them all.
Inspired, Fuxi cut some soft vines and wove them like a cobweb. He cut two sticks, fastened them across to the net and tied a long stick between them, which then composed a tough fishing net.
Fuxi made two nets. Two robust men, Zhumao and Mang, were in charge of the nets. In excitement, people rushed to the seaside with nets in hands. Just as they were ready to cast their nets, Fuxi stopped them.
He bowed deeply to the sea and said: “Dear Dragon King, please give me some food for my people.”
Suddenly, high waves rose up, and a huge turtle rushed to the Dragon King to report. The king was enraged: “Who dared to catch my posterity?”
Twirling his beard, the Dragon King decided to give Fuxi a difficult task rather than simple rejection.
The turtle returned to Fuxi and delivered the king’s message: “You are allowed to catch fish and shrimp, but not with your hands.”
“No problem,” Fuxi replied with a smile. As he waved, Zhumao and Mang cast the nets into the sea.
The duo held the long stick on the net, watching it going up and down in the waves. After a while, the two men shouted: “Wow, that’s heavy!”
All the people at the seaside helped pull up the net and saw countless fish and shrimps in the net, fresh and alive.
Fuxi bowed again and said: “My respectful Dragon King, we kept our promise of not using hands in catching. Thank you so much!”
Just then, the Dragon King showed up in the waves, “You are a worthy son of God. It is God’s truth for eating and drinking. Human beings must keep your words to only catch seafood to relieve hunger, rather than kill indiscriminately.”
Fuxi gave his word to the king.
The good news went around quickly, and more and more people learned to weave nets and use them to fish.
From then on, Fuxi was honored as the creator of net, while Zhumao and Mang were taken as gods of the net.