A long time ago in a quiet and peaceful village, there lived two best friends. One was named Thiên Nhãn (Heavenly Eyes); she came from a family of expert archers who used their bows to hunt wild animals for skins and meat. The other friend was named Hùng Lâm (Brave Forest) and he came from a family of proud foresters who explored the dense jungles around the village to gather plants and mushrooms for the village elder to turn into medicine.
Growing up, Heavenly Eyes and Brave Forest spent all their time together, playing games, watching clouds, picking fruits, catching fireflies, and even trained together when they can.
Brave Forest’s job was quite dangerous. While the wild animals can be fought off or avoided, the thick jungle is dangerous because it’s very easy to get lost among the ancient trees. The deeper you go in, the harder it is to find your way out. Even with their training, many foresters were never seen again after going into the jungle.
But because they spent so much time playing and training together, the two friends were able to come up with a way to solve this problem. Whenever Brave Forest went into the jungles, Heavenly Eyes would climb up the village watchtower at night, light some arrows on fire, and shoot them high into the sky. She made a special bow which helped her shoot arrows higher than anyone. Wherever Brave Forest is in the jungle, he can climb up a tree and look for the fire arrows to know which way is home.
With his friend’s help, Brave Forest was able to go farther into the jungles than ever before. He was able to collect hard to find plants and mushrooms for new medicine to better help the villagers. One unfortunate day, it was Heavenly Eyes who fell ill with a grave sickness. The village elder asked Brave Forest to bring her a rare grass from deep in the jungle.
Brave Forest went off at once after telling other villagers to send arrow signals like Heavenly Eyes. But back in the village, no one else was able to use Heavenly Eyes’ special bow. They tried and tried but still couldn’t shoot fire arrows as high into the sky as she did.
After several days of nonstop searching in the jungle, Brave Forest found the grass the village elder asked for. Tired and weary, he climbed up the nearest tree and waited for the fire arrows in the sky. But night after night, he did not see any. He was too far and the arrows did not fly high enough. Brave Forest was completely lost and his health was fading. With his last bit of energy he prayed to the Jade Emperor in the sky. The Jade Emperor, touched by Brave Forest’s great compassion, appeared and said that he would help bring the grass to village but in exchange, Brave Forest has to become a nature spirit to watch over the jungles.
The village elder was able to cure Heavenly Eyes with the grass but Brave Forest was nowhere to be found. After she recovered, Heavenly Eyes climbed up the watchtower every night and shot fire arrows higher and higher into the sky, hoping that her friend would be able to find his way home. To this day, people say that shooting stars are her arrows for Brave Forest. They help faraway friends find each other again.