Zaofu

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Zaofu (Chinese: 造父; pinyin: Zàofù), formerly romanized Tsao Fu, was an exceptionally-skilled charioteer who is said to have lived around 950 BC. He was counted as a relative of Qin and Zhao's House of Ying, but his exploits made him a figure of Chinese mythology.

The Chinese tell the story of King Mu of Zhou, who was determined to visit paradise. He wanted to taste the peaches of immortality there. He found a very brave charioteer named Zaofu, who drove eight amazing horses with great skill. Zaofu was afraid of nothing—he carried the emperor across the Earth and into the heavens. The emperor finally reached Mount Kunlun and tasted the peaches of immortality. His brave charioteer Zaofu was carried up to the stars, where both he and his eight horses can be seen among the stars of the constellation Cepheus. The star Zeta Cephei is specifically named after him.

Another story explained Zaofu as a horseman who brought King Mu to see the Goddess of the West. After arriving, they learnt of an invasion of China and immediately left to defend the country. Following the victory, for Zaofu's services, the king granted him a city for his descendants called Zhao (). He is counted as the ancestor of the people of the surname Zhao, despite many of them simply descending from residents of the state. Zaofu's clan subsequently led the State of Zhao.

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