In summer, the sweltering heat worsened the episode of sickness in Ding village. A hundred thousand suns burned up the sky.
The Ten Suns in Chinese Mythology
Chinese people once believed that there existed ten suns that appeared in turn in the sky during the Chinese ten day week. Each day the ten suns would travel with their mother, the goddess Xi He, to the Valley of the Light in the East. There, Xi He, would wash her children in the lake and put them in the branches of an enormous mulberry tree called fu-sang. From the tree only one sun would move off into the sky for a journey of one day, to reach the mount Yen-Tzu in the Far West. Tired of this routine, the ten suns decided to appear all together. The combined heat made the life on the Earth unbearable. To prevent the destruction of the Earth emperor Yao asked Di Jun, the father of the ten suns, to persuade his children to appear one at a time. They would not listen to him so Di Jun sent the archer, Yi, armed with a magic bow and ten arrows to frighten the disobedient suns. However Yi shot nine suns, only the Sun that we see today remained in the sky.
A similar plot can be traced in our story. Grandpa tried to tame his son but his son continued to test his limits. He had been responsible for the episode of sickness in the village in the first place but, like the sweltering heat of summer, he continued to aggravate their situation, seeking personal profit from coffin business and conducting extra-humous marriages. The death threats from the villagers, conveyed by his father, bothered him very little.
By marrying his dead son off to another place, the father was destroying whatever was left of their family heritage. Before this could happen, Grandpa had to kill him. The end of summer and the death of the thousand suns signals spring. The “puddle of blood” from when Grandpa’s son died “bloomed on the ground as red as a blossom in the spring”.