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Publicists for Short Stories, Books, Poems and Songs
Long Island, New York 11971
| “Passing His Own Door”
By Su Chang-Wu
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Rated "G" by the Author.
A wise man can charm a raging river.
[Taotang-shi was born Yi Fangxun, or Yi Qi, as the second son to Emperor Ku and Qingdu. He is also
known as Tang Yao.]
According to legend, the Yellow River was prone to flooding and overflowed into a huge flood during
the “Yao Period” (23rd Century BCE).
At a time prior to the great flood, Shun-lee Gun a civil engineer was place in control of the frequently
flooding Yellow River to curtail its raging waters. Gun built earthen dikes all over the land in the hope
of containing the waters. But during a period of heavy flooding, the earthen dikes collapsed
everywhere and the project failed miserably. All too soon the smoking Gun was summoned before
King Shun, the successor to Tang Yao, and executed.
King Shun then called upon Yu, son of Gun, as the successor to flood-control efforts. Drawing lessons
from his father’s failure, Yu used methods of channeling and dredging instead of blocking and
damming the waters up. To better handle the people and eliminate the catastrophe, Yu divided the
people into nine sections and dispatched them into nine different regions. Under his leadership, the
floodwaters of the Yellow River then flowed easily to the sea through nine newly dredged rivers.
Although important time had passed, and after more than a decade of arduous works, the disastrous
situation was finally brought under the control of Yu.
It is written that Yu spent thirteen years of hard labor at this task with the help of some 20,000
workers. At the beginning, when Yu was given the task of fighting the flood, he had been married only
five days. He had then said goodbye to his wife, saying that he did not know when he would return.
His wife then asked him what name to give if a son was born. Yu replied, "Qi," a character meaning
five days in ancient Chinese.
And so it was that during his thirteen years of fighting the flood, Yu passed by his own family's
doorstep three times. The first time he passed by hearing that his wife was in labor. The second time
he passed by, his wife was holding his son's hand as he was learning his first steps. The third time, his
son greeted him and enjoined him to come in for a rest. Each time, Yu refused to go in the door, saying
that the flood was rendering countless people homeless, and he could not rest in his own home.
Later, for his engineering feat, Yu was remembered as an example of perseverance and
determination and was revered as the perfect civil servant. Stories continue even today that dwell on
his single-minded dedication. In spite of passing his own home three times during those thirteen
years, he never once stopped in for a family visit, reasoning that a personal reunion would distract
him from dealing with the public crisis at hand.
Upon learning of Yu's passion, King Shun was so impressed by his engineering work and diligence that
he passed the throne to Yu instead of to his own son, following King Yao's example in rewarding merit.
Thus did Yu, son of a beheaded civil engineer, eventually become known as The Great Yu in Chinese
At the end of The Great Yu's life, his ministers favored passing the throne to Yu's son Qi, instituting a
hereditary monarchy. Thus creating China's first hereditary dynasty, the Xia Dynasty (2070 BCE -
©2015 Su Chang-Wu [All Rights Reserved]