Great Yu in Chinese Myth – The Earth Rebuilder
The story of Yu the Great is predicated on a king of the identical title who dominated in Chinese legend from 2205 to 2197 B.C. Like all demigods of historic instances, Yu the Great adjustments into completely different shapes at any time when mandatory, together with the types of bears, people, and dragons. Unlike the demigods of historic instances, Yu is the primary to move on his standing as ruler to his descendants and thus create a dynasty, or ruling household. He named his dynasty the Xia [Sheah]. It nonetheless stays a legendary dynasty, since archaeological proof has not but confirmed its existence. The dynasty that adopted, the Shang (1523–1027 B.C.), has a wealthy heritage of pottery, bronzes, and artifacts, which locations it as the primary historic dynasty of China. 1
The Chinese dragon shouldn’t be an evil creature. On the opposite, he brings rain and guards the lakes and waterways. He is a composite creature with the horns of a deer, the ears of a cow, the eyes of a lobster, the top of a camel, the whiskers of a cat, the physique of a snake, the stomach of a frog, the scales of a carp, the talons of an eagle, and the paws of a tiger. Dragons love to make vibrations in the sky by rolling large pearls, creating thunder. Lesser dragons are used as driving steeds by the gods of heaven.
The ruling king in this story is the Yellow Emperor, a very good chief who struggled with the mighty rivers that flooded the nation annually. According to historic myths, the Yellow Emperor had a pile of magic filth that would take in water. His grandson Kun stole the magic earth and dropped little balls of filth wherever he went. The dirtballs swelled into large, fertile mounds of soil as they absorbed water. The peasants then scooped up the fertile soil and unfold it over their sopping fields. Kun additionally constructed dams to management the flooding of the nation’s unpredictable rivers. Unfortunately, the dams usually burst and reflooded the land. When the emperor discovered in regards to the theft, he was livid and despatched Zurong the fireplace god, now the chief executioner, to monitor down and kill his grandson Kun. Zurong chased Kun to the ice glaciers of the arctic and struck him useless with a flaming sword. Kun’s physique lay trapped and frozen in the ice.
Three years later, the Yellow Emperor despatched Zurong the fireplace god to test on his grandson Kun’s physique. When he reached the spot the place Kun was buried in the ice, the fireplace god was amazed to discover that Kun’s physique was completely preserved in the ice. As he hacked open the glacier along with his sword, Zurong unintentionally break up open Kun’s physique. An enormous darkish dragon flew out of the corpse. Terrified, Zurong fled to warn the Yellow Emperor. The large dragon grew to become Yu the Great, son of Kun, who was born with all of the recollections and data of his father.
Like his father, Yu was full of compassion for the farmers. However, in contrast to his father, he didn’t want to incur the wrath of the Yellow Emperor. Immediately, he hurried to the Yellow Emperor’s court docket. Bowing earlier than the ruler, Yu pleaded for the lives of the farmers, “Your majesty, I beg you to pity the people for their suffering. Please help them restore their land.” The Yellow Emperor was not impressed with Yu’s pleas. He bellowed, “Do not forget that your father stole my magic earth and tried to restore the land without my permission!”
Yu replied, “Then give me some magic earth and your permission, and allow me to complete my father’s work.” Secretly, the Yellow Emperor agreed that the world was a giant, muddy mess. None of his gods had any concepts about how to cease the raging rivers that flooded the nation 12 months after 12 months. Kun had tried to divert the rivers with dams however had failed. Therefore, each spring, the rivers continued to burst their banks, drown harmless people, and destroy property. Furthermore, the emperor was happy that Yu had requested for the magic earth, relatively than try to steal it. At final, the emperor stated to Yu, “Pile the magic dirt on the back of this tortoise and go forth to control the floodwaters. With the help of this tortoise and a winged dragon, rebuild the world in your father’s vision.”
Yu was curious in regards to the measurement and form of the earth. Therefore, earlier than leaving the emperor’s court docket, he dispatched one of many lesser court docket gods to measure the nation north/south and one other god to measure the nation east/west. Each returned to report precisely the identical quantity: 233,500 li (three li make one mile) and 75 paces. Delighted, Yu created a map from the gods’ descriptions, which made the earth an ideal sq.. Then Yu divided the nation into 9 areas, or provinces. Only then did he start his building work.
Unlike his father, Yu was not content material merely to construct dams to management the rivers. Instead, he studied the form of the land in every space. He noticed the course of the rivers and deliberate their most pure route to the ocean. To information the rivers, Yu dug canals, carved tunnels, leveled hilltops, created dams, and fashioned lakes. In every space, Yu used the tail of the dragon to gouge out new channels for the rivers.
As he plodded across the nation, Yu discovered 233,559 giant holes in the earth. Year after 12 months, water had bubbled up in these cavities and flooded the world. Now Yu plugged up the gaping holes with filth and reeds, and dropped in magic filth balls from the tortoise’s again to dry up the soggy earth brought on by the floods.
When he labored, Yu usually used the type of a human to keep away from scary the farmers. Even in his human kind, he had an unpleasant face like an insect, with a mouth like the underside of a crow’s beak and an extended neck like a snake. The farmers didn’t care about his look, nonetheless. They beloved him for his efforts on their behalf.
As Yu traveled across China, he named the tribal teams and recorded their customs: Leather-Skin people; Goat-Fur people; Oyster-and-Pearl people; KingfisherGreen-Silk people; Grass-Skirt people; Felt-Tent people; Mountains-of-Jewels people; Dew-Drinkers; Red-GrainGrowers; Lacquer-Makers; Winged people; Short people; Deep-Set-Eyes people. He charted their land and picked up samples of their soil as he traveled across the fifty rivers and mountains of China.
Wherever he went, Yu discovered glad households. Their happiness solely made him conscious of his personal loneliness. Although Yu was married briefly, his spouse and son each deserted him as a result of that they had no fondness for digging filth. With neither spouse nor son by his facet, Yu continued his work alone, with solely the tortoise and the dragon for firm. His palms have been coated with sores and calluses. His pores and skin was blackened and blistered from the solar. One leg shriveled and twisted as Yu limped across the tough terrain. Wherever he traveled, farmers hailed him because the Great Yu.
Their widespread affection brought about the ruling emperor to select Yu as the subsequent emperor. It was thus that Yu grew to become the founder and ruler of the Xia [She ah] dynasty. Soon plentiful grain harvests blessed the land. The rivers ran peacefully to the ocean and didn’t overflow. The people lived fortunately in their villages and blessed the title of Yu in their pleasure and contentment.