Gun (simplified Chinese: 鲧; traditional Chinese: 鯀; pinyin: gǔn; Wade–Giles: Khun, and Gwan2 in jyutping) 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 Yao, on the advice of the Four Mountains. Gun used dikes to try to stop the flooding; but, the dikes collapsed, killing many people.
In many versions of the mythology, Gun appears as a demi-god. In legends, he even discovers some of the secrets of the Gods. To make the dikes, which can stop the rising water, he stole Xirang zh:息壤 (Earth which can reproduce itself) of the Gods. After the dikes were finished, when the water levels rose, the magical earth of the dike also rose to keep the water out. It worked very well at the first, but when the dikes rose too high (In the legend, it was nine Ren, an ancient Chinese measure of length) 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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