Gun (simplified Chinese: 鲧; traditional Chinese: 鯀; pinyin: gǔn; Wade–Giles: Khun; Jyutping: Gwan2) was a figure in Chinese mythology, sometimes noted as the father of Yu the Great, the founder of the Xia dynasty. Gun was appointed to the task of controlling the Great Flood by Emperor Yao on the advice of the Four Mountains. Gun used dykes to try to stop the flooding but the dykes collapsed, killing many people.
In many versions of the mythology, Gun appears as a demi-god. In legends, he even discovered some of the secrets of the gods. In order to make dykes that would ward off floods, he stole Xirang (Chinese: 息壤) (self-renewing soil) from the gods. After the dykes were finished, when the water levels rose, the magical earth of the dyke also rose to keep the water out. It worked very well at first, but when the dykes rose too high (in the legend, they rose to nine ren 仞, an ancient Chinese measure of between 1 to 3 meters), they collapsed, resulting in the death of many people in the subsequent flood. Some legends say that Gun was executed by Shun on Feather Mountain, and others say that he committed suicide. Before his death he told his son, Yu the Great, to finish his job.
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