- from China's Empires
We can trace the beginning of Chinese civilization to the Huang He River valley. In English, Huang He means “yellow river” — and the river got its name from the large amounts of soft, sandy yellow soil it carries.
This soil makes the surrounding areas good for farming. But the river itself has both benefits and dangers. Its flooding often brings death to the people who live near it. For this reason, it has been called China’s Sorrow. One legend, or story handed down from earlier times, tells of a period when the flooding was so bad that it even covered the nearby hills. No one could find food, so King Shun, who ruled several villages, ordered a government official named Yu to find a solution. According to the legend, Yu organized the villages to cut channels to drain the water away to the sea. It took 13 years, but his plan succeeded. In gratitude, King Shun passed his throne on to Yu. Yu the Great has long been known as a legendary ruler of ancient China. Many Chinese people still say, “If it were not for Yu, we would all be fishes.”