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Great Yu Controlled the Great Flood

Legend says that some four or five thousand years ago, in the Yellow River Valley there occured a terrible flood. The great flood washed away whole villages and inundated large areas of cropland. There are few people who were fortunate enough to survive,and they were forced to abandon their homes, go and live on hillsides or migrate to places far away.

So, Yao, the leader of the confederation of tribes, summoned together thechieftains of all the tribes to discuss hrow to get the flood under control. At the meeting, a man named Gun was elected by unanimous vote to take charge of the fight against the flood.

Under Gun's leadership, the people spent nine years building dams and dykes to stop the flow of the river, but their efforts always ended in more disastrous floods. It happened more than once that no sooner was a dam or dyke built that it was destroyed by flood. The flood carried sands and mud downstream to the mouth of the Yellow River. The afflicted area became larger and large.

Yak was getting older and older, so he decided to yield his place to Shun. Shun attached great importance to flood control and often went to the worksites for a personal inspection. When he found that Gun had failed in the mission, he killed the Gun and ordered Yu, Gun's son, to carry on the work of fighting the flood.

Yu's birth has many mythical stories. One is that Yu was bounded from the dead body of Gun after three years of his death. Another one is that Yu's mother gave birth to him after eating a kind of wild fruit. Anyway, everyone seemed to believe Yu was the Son of God, an ingenious and peerless hero.

When Yu received Shun's order , it was just four days after he got married . Determined to have the flood under control and remove the menace to the people, he left his wife behind and set off for the worksite.

Yu made a study of the failure of his father, then made a careful survey of the afflicted areas and asked for advice from experienced workers. Instead building dams and dykes to stop the flow of water, he decided to dig ditches and cannals to divert the flood and dredging the river channels.

Yu worked with the men whether it rained or shined. It was said that he had three times refrained from entering the door of his home when passing by. One story said that he happened to pass the door when his wife was giving birth to his son.

After thirteen years continuous efforts, Yu and his men succeeded to control the river . Those struggled their lives on hillsides came back to their native places. They tilled the land and planted crops and developed agricultural production. People began to lead a good life.

Yu was held in great reverence by all the tribes who now addressed him as Great Yu. Having fine qualities and great competence , Yu was recommended as the successor of Shun. Yu became the head of the tribal confederation after the death of Shun. Later Yu's son, Qi , was voted to be his successor who set up the first slave-owning state - Xia Dynasty.