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鲧盗息壤(gun4 dao4 xi1 rang3) Gun steals Magic Soil

AFTER Shun, the God of Archery, shot down nine of the 10 suns in the sky, the resulting flood lasted more than 22 years. Many people starved to death and heart-break was experienced throughout the territory.

Saddened by his people's misery, Emperor Yao summoned all tribe chieftains in an attempt to figure out a way to harness the waters. Eventually they elected Gun, one of the chieftains, to solve the big problem.

Gun was the grandson of the God of Heaven and he felt extremely sorry for the suffering endured by his people, determining to help them.

After long deliberation, he decided to use soil to stop the floods. But the next question was where to find enough soil since all lands were already submersed under water.

While he was raking his brain for a solution, an owl and a tortoise came by and asked Gun if he needed any help.

Gun told them his plan to use soil to stop the floods and admitted he couldn't find enough of it.

The owl and tortoise immediately told him there was a kind of magic soil called Xirang in the heaven. A small lump of the magic soil, they said, could easily be turned into mountains and long levees once it was thrown onto ground or into the water.

Gun was overjoyed at the news. So one day he sneaked into the heaven and stole a lump of the magic soil then quickly returned to his home in the east.

He threw the magic soil into the water and it instantly turned into levees which blocked the floods. As the water levels rose, the magic soil levees would also grow higher.

Eventually the waters were contained and people were able to find dry land on which to live and grow crops.

But the God of Heaven soon discovered that Gun had stolen the magic soil. He was so angry that he sent a deity to the east to kill Gun.

After a fierce battle, the deity prevailed, killing Gun and bringing the magic soil back to heaven.

With the magic soil being taken away, the waters flooded back with a vengeance and soon inundated the land. But the waters stopped advancing about a mile away from where the body of Gun rested.

Though exposed to the elements, Gun's body remained intact without decomposing for three years. During this time, a life was growing in his belly. It was his son, later known as Yu the Great.

The God of Heaven felt uneasy when he learned about the unusual phenomenon and worried that his dead grandson might be transformed into some kind of demon to avenge himself. So he again sent a deity to the east to destroy Gun's corpse.

When the deity slit open Gun's belly, a small dragon with thousands of golden rays suddenly jumped out of it. Immediately, the small dragon flew up to the heaven.

Before the deity could recover from his shock, Gun's corpse turned into a yellow dragon and jumped into the nearby waters.

Although Gun failed to stop the waters, he was still revered by his people for his unremitting endeavor in trying to ease their plight.


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