Long before the emergence of the written word, ballads, accompanied by music and dance,and myths, passed around by word of mouth, were widely popular. Chinese literature finds its origins in these traditions. However, ballads were what people improvised out of daily life, and due to lack of means to record and preserve them in ancient times, they quickly disappeared without leaving much of a trace. Today, we can only deduce their existence from ancient books, which recorded some time-honored ballads, though most of these are belived to be derivatives of later generations. Ballads in the Book of Songs are the earliest writings that can be dated. From this point of view, ancient mythology obviously has had a great influence on Chinese literature.