X is for Xi (Greece) & Xi (China)—A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history. You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

Xi (Greece) & Xi (China)-

From Greece-

Xi is a Greek letter. Two Greek gods gave their word—or many Greek letters—to a generous husband and wife named Philemon and Baucis. Yes, a little stretch for the letter “x,” but I enjoyed the connection.

50-word-or-less summary:

Zeus and Hermes disguised as beggars. Poor couple gave best meal they could. Gods revealed! For kindness, couple received two wishes. They wanted to serve the gods in their temples and die at same time. Couple had long health, died together, reborn as linden and oak tree by temple.

Finding the Story: http://classictales.educ.cam.ac.uk/stories/metamorphoses/baucisphilemon/explore/Baucis%20&%20Philemon%20transcript.pdf

Compare to History:

Joe and Helen Auer had been together for 70 years. When Helen passed on at the age of 94, Joe whispered to her to “Call me home.” About 28 hours later, 100-year-old Joe died of an aneurism. People wonder if science could explain such happenings. Emotional shock/broken heart is usually partial reason for the surviving spouse to pass not long after. Though is it broken heart or a heart-felt promise made from the heavens above?

More on the History: https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/life-after-death/the-science-behind-a-broken-heart

From China-

Xi is the name of a river in southern China and the western tributary of the Pearl River. This story involves a river in China…so we can let this count as “x.” The four dragons in the story represent the four great rivers of China: Heilongjian (Black Dragon), Huanghe (Yellow Dragon), Changjiang (Yangtze/Long River), and Zhujiang (Pearl River). Now you see the Xi/Pearl connection?

50-word-or-less summary:

Four dragons beg Jade Emperor over heavens/earth/hell for rain. Humans suffering. Some people ate bark, more sickness. Emperor promised to send rain. Distracted! Dragons attempt to cause rain by borrowing from sea. Sea god complained. Emperor transformed dragons to mountains. Dragons/mountains caused rivers to flow. Healing!

Finding the Story: https://wyrmflight.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/the-four-dragons-a-chinese-folk-story/

Compare to History:

The people suffer when there is no rain and when there is too much. Little rain causes famine though too much rain (perhaps when dragons steal water from the sea), can cause more insects and diseases to spread across the land. Lately, we have experienced global climate change and precipitation has increased from Taiwan to Bangladesh to the United States. Yet, even when there are floods or monsoons, people rally together to get through it and become closer in the end. Dragons and humans are there for each other.

More on the History: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3380951/ and https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)32393-0/fulltext

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19.Our 2020 Festival has been transformed into Story Crossroads Spectacular, a virtual experience. See here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/spectacular on May 13, 2020 starting at 9am MDT with events all day.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by donating today!

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