Humans lived in dishonor, and this greatly angered the Heavenly Emperor. As punishment, he sent the water spirit Kun-Kun, which caused a great flood. The rivers filled with even more water and came out of their beds, water flooding the whole land. People were forced to make their nests in the trees high up, and the fields were flooded and their crops were ruined – there was no food.

The grandson of the Heavenly Emperor Gun, he felt sorry for the people after seeing the terrible flood and took some of the soil in the Heavenly Palace. The magical soil served Gun by using it to dry up flooded regions and fields, which in turn sucked up the water. Where there was water there was a drought, where there were lakes – swamps.

People rejoiced at Gun’s mercy. They came down from their nests and resettled their old homes. There was hope that everything would go to the old days.

Revenge of the Heavenly Emperor

However, the Heavenly Emperor was angry because Gun stopped the flood without his grandfather’s permission. So it rained again and life on earth began to flood again. As for his grandson, the Heavenly Emperor sent the fiery spirit Zhurong to kill him.

The fiery spirit found Gun and pierced him deadly with his sword. However, Gun did not decompose as a mortal, on the contrary, his body remained intact, and a new life was born in him. The Heavenly Emperor saw this and knew that Gun was not really dead, so he ordered another spirit to stab him with his sharp sword and finish him off.

The spirit carried out the order, aimed, and stabbed him. However, no blood gushed from the torn body, but a young dragon appeared, spread its wings and flew straight to the palace of the Heavenly Emperor.

The Deeds of Yu

The dragon reached the palace of the Heavenly Emperor, stood before him and introduced himself as Yu, the son of Gun, and asked the emperor to stop the flood, thus saving the people. The emperor was moved by the dragon’s intercession, thought a little, and decided that punishment was enough. The emperor allowed the flood to end. The dragon Yu took from the magic soil that his father Gun had used the previous time to dry up the floods, and descended straight to the land of the people.

He arrived to see how the Kun-Kun water spirit turned roads into rivers, fields into lakes, rivers into rapids, and lakes into raging seas. To stop him, the dragon Yu summoned all his faithful spirits from the height of the top of a mountain, and pointed out to them Kun-Kun what he was doing. The spirits became indignant and drove the water spirit from the earth.

The dragon Yu also directed his attention to the floods. He built new mountain ranges, unfolded fields where people could grow the new crop. He built drainage dikes, built new riverbeds with his tail, taking the water to flow into the seas. From all this, Yu gave people new high mountains and long rivers like the Yangtze and the Yellow River. It took the dragon thirty years to reshape the earth, control floods, and provide new living conditions for humans.

The banished Kun-Kun water spirit no longer appeared. Neither in heaven, nor on earth did they know where he had gone. But even today, during floods, the Chinese, like the industrious dragon Yu, set out to drain, dig dikes and drive away the essence of Kun-Kun.

Yu and his assistants, relief in front of Wuhan University of Water Resources