Skip to main content

The Story of Yin Dynasty.

Chien Ti and the Dark Bird

Hsieh of Yin's mother was Chien Ti, who was one of the daughters of Yusung and the secondary wife of Emperor Ku. She was going with her two sisters to bathe, when she saw a dark bird drop its egg. Chien Ti picked it up, and swallowed it, and thus being with child gave birth to Hsieh.

When Hsieh grew up, he was succeseful in assisting Yü to control the flood, and the Emperor Shun, directing Hsieh, said: "The people are wanting in affection for one another, and do not observe the five orders of relationship. You, as Minister of Instruction, should reverently inculcate the lessons of duty belonging to those five orders, but do so with gentleness." He held in fief the principality of Shang, and was given the surname of Tzŭ (son). Hsieh flourished in the reigns of Yao, Shun, and the great Yü. His services were manifest to the people, who were accordingly at peace.

Hsieh died, after twelfth generations, Emperor T‘ien Yi or T‘ang the Completer came to the throne.

Emperor T‘ang the Completer

From Hsieh to T‘ang the Completer there were eight changes of the capital. T‘ang at first dwelt in Po, choosing the residence of the first king, and the 'Emperor's Announcement' was written. When T‘ang made an expedition against the princes, the chief of Ko was not offering the proper sacrifices, and T‘ang began by punishing him. T‘ang said: 'I observe that if a man looks at the water he sees his reflection; if he seeks to make an impression on the people, should he not know how to govern?' Tang’s Prime minister I-yin said: 'That is clear! If you say that you will listen to reason you may offer yourself as ruler of the State. Whether the people do right or not depends entirely on the king and his ministers. Rouse yourself to action!' T‘ang said: 'If you cannot respect my commands, I will inflict upon you the extreme penalty death. You will not obtain forgiveness.' "The punitive expedition of T‘ang" was written.

I-yin's name was Ahêng. Ahêng wanted to meet T‘ang, but had no opportunity of doing so; he therefore became cook to the prince of Hsin, and while bringing T‘ang dishes to taste urged him to perfect himself in the way of the ancient kings. Some say that when I-yin was living in retirement T‘ang sent five times to invite him to a meeting before he would obey him, and talk about matters connected with the guileless king and the nine rulers. T‘ang promoted Jên to the administration of affairs. I-yin went from T’ang to Hsia. Being indignant with the sovereign of Hsia, he returned to Po, and as he entered by the north gate met Juchiu and Jufang, and the 'Juchiu' and 'Jufang' were written.
T‘ang went out and saw a rustic, who was spreading nets in every direction, and vowing that every bird in the sky should go into his net. T‘ang said, 'What! all?' Then, taking away the nets on three sides, he vowed that those which wanted to go to the left should go left, and those which wanted to go right should go right, and that only those which were the victims of fate should be caught in the net. The princes, hearing of it, said, 'T‘ang's kindness is extreme, and extends even to birds and beasts.'

At this time Chieh of Hsia was oppressive, and his rule dissipated, and one of the princes K‘unwu rebelled, so T‘ang, levying an army, put himself at the head of the princes. I-yin followed T‘ang, who, grasping a halberd, marched against K‘unwu, and then attacked Chieh. T‘ang said: 'Come, ye multitudes of the people, listen ye all to my words. It is not I, the little child, who dare to raise a rebellion. The ruler of Hsia has committed many crimes. I have indeed heard the words of you all, but the Hsia ruler is an offender, and, as I fear the Supreme god, I dare not but punish him. Now, as the Hsia ruler has committed many crimes, Heaven has charged me to destroy him. Now, ye multitudes, you are saying, 'Our sovereign does not compassionate us; he disregards our husbandry, and his government is a cruel one.' You say, 'As to his crimes, what remedy have we?' The king of Hsia does nothing but exhaust his people's strength, and treat the kingdom of Hsia oppressively. His people have all become idle, and are not in harmony with him, saying, 'When will this sun set? We shall all perish together.' Such being the conduct of the sovereign of Hsia, I must advance. If you help me, the one man, to carry out the punishment decreed by Heaven, and I will greatly reward you. On no account disbelieve me. I will not retract my words. If you do not carry out the words of my speech, I will put you and your children to death; you shall not be pardoned." This being announced to the army, "the speech of T‘ang was written." T‘ang then said, 'I am very warlike'; and he was styled the 'warlike king.'

Chieh was defeated in the wilds of Yusung, and fled to Mingt‘iao. The army of Hsia being entirely defeated, T‘ang smote Santsung, where he captured the precious jewels. I-po and Ch‘ungpo wrote the 'Statutes and Jewels.' When T‘ang had conquered Hsia, he wished to remove the altars to the spirits of the land, but was unable to do so, and the 'Altar of Hsia' was written." I-yin made a report, and the princes being satisfied, T‘ang ascended the Imperial throne, and tranquillized the country within the four seas.

When T‘ang returned he came to T‘aichüant‘ao, and Chunghui wrote his announcement. Having made an end of the sovereignty of Hsia, T‘ang returned to Po and wrote the 'Announcement of T‘ang.'" In the third month the king came himself to the eastern suburb and made the following announcement to the princes and nobles: 'If you do not perform meritorious service for the people and be diligent in your business, I shall inflict the extreme punishment of death. Do not murmur against me.' He also said: 'Formerly Yü and Kaoyao laboured long in distant regions. They performed meritorious service for the people, who dwelt in peace. On the east there was the Great river, on the north the Chi, on the west the Yellow river, and on the south the Huai. These four streams were kept within bounds, and the people dwelt in safety. Prince Millet told them how to sow and cultivate the various kinds of grain. These three chiefs all performed meritorious service for the people, and were therefore ennobled. Formerly Ch‘ihyu and his officers raised a rebellion among the people but the [Yellow] Emperor disapproved, and his crimes were exposed. The words of the former kings cannot but rouse you to action. If you are unprincipled you shall not rule in the State. 'Do not murmur against me.' Thus he directed the princes. I-yin wrote the book 'Both possessed pure Virtue,' and Chiutan wrote the 'Illustrious Abode.'

T‘ang altered the day of the New Year, and changed the colour of the dresses, white being uniformly worn at State functions.

Emperor T’aichia Banished in the Dryandra Palace

T‘aichia was T‘ang the Completer's eldest legitimate grandson. In the first year of Emperor T‘aichia. I-yin wrote the 'Instructions of I-yin,' the 'Declaration of the Appointment of Heaven,' and the 'Deceased Sovereign.'

After Emperor T‘aichia had been on the throne three years, he proved unintelligent and cruel. He did not obey T‘ang's laws, and his conduct was disorderly, so I-yin placed him in the Dryandra palace. For three years I-yin administered the government, and as ruler of the State gave audience to the nobles.

After the Emperor T‘aichia had dwelt in the Dryandra palace for three years, he repented of his errors, blamed himself, and amended his ways. Whereupon I-yin met the Emperor T‘aichia and resigned to him the reins of government. Emperor T‘aichia became virtuous, the princes all returned to the Yin capital, and the people were tranquil. I-yin praised him, and wrote the 'Instructions to T‘aichia' in three books. Commending Emperor T‘aichia, he honoured him with the title of 'Great Master.'

Emperor T‘aimou and the Ominous mulberry

In the reign of Emperor T‘aimou, I-chih became prime minister, when there were omens in Po, for a mulberry tree and a stalk of grain grew up together in the court. They attained full size in one evening, and Emperor T‘aimou, being alarmed, questioned I-chih on the subject. I-chih said: 'I, your servant, have heard that virtue is not overcome by evil omens. There may be defects in your Majesty's government, but let your Majesty cultivate virtue.' T‘aimou followed his advice, and the ominous mulberry withered away. I-chih consulted with Hsien the wizard, who governed the king's household admirably, and wrote the 'Hsien-ai' and the 'T‘aimou.'

Pankêng Moved the Capital Back to Po

In the reign of Emperor Pankêng, the Yins had their capital on the north of the Yellow river, but Pankêng crossed to the south of the river, and reoccupied the old palace of T‘ang the Completer. This made the fifth change of capital, and, as they had no fixed place of abode, the people of Yin murmured and repined," for they did not like moving about. Pankêng made the following announcement to the princes and ministers: 'Formerly our exalted sovereign T‘ang the Completer, in conjunction with your ancestors, decided what laws and regulations of the empire should be attended to or set aside, but if you do not make an effort how can you attain perfection?' He then crossed over to the south of the river, set up his capital at Po, and having adopted T‘ang's system of government, the people were thereby tranquillized, and the fortunes of Yin were again in the ascendant. The princes came to court, and were influenced by the virtues of T‘ang the Completer.

Emperor Wuting did not speak for three years

When Emperor Wuting was on the throne, he pondered how the Yin dynasty could be revivified, but as he had not obtained an assistant he did not speak for three years, government affairs having to be conducted by the prime minister, who examined into the customs of the country. Wuting dreamed one night that he had found a holy man named Yue, and, in order that he might secure the man he had seen in his dream, he passed under review his officers and ministers of State, but not one of them was the right man. He then made all his officers search for him in the wilds, and Yue was discovered at the crag of Fu. At this time Yue was a builder at the crag of Fu. He had an audience of Wuting, who said, 'That is the right man.' Having talked with him, and finding that he really was a holy man, Wuting promoted him to be his prime minister. The kingdom of Yin was well governed in consequence, and he was named after the crag of Fu, being called Fu Yue.
Wuting was sacrificing to T‘ang the Completer the next day, when a pheasant flew up, lighted on the ear of a tripod, and crowed. Wuting was alarmed, but his son Tsuchi said: "the king should not be anxious; he must first rectify the administration of affairs. " Tsuchi accordingly lectured the king, saying, 'In its superintendence over men below, Heaven pays special regard to their proper behaviour, and bestows on them accordingly length of years or the reverse. Heaven does not cut short men's lives; they bring them to an end themselves. Some men may not have conformed to virtue, and will not acknowledge their crimes; Heaven then charges them to correct their conduct, but they say, 'What shall we do?' Ah! the king should continuously treat the people with respect. Are they not Heaven's descendants? Be constant in sacrificing, and do not worship with the rites of a discarded religion.'" Wuting instituted a government reform, and practised virtue. The whole nation rejoiced, and the fortunes of Yin again flourished.

The Unprincipled Emperor Wuyi

In the reign of Emperor Wuyi, the Yins again left Po, and crossed to the north bank of the river.
The Emperor Wuyi was unprincipled and made images, which he called 'Heavenly gods.' With these he played chess, ordering some one to make the moves for them; and when the 'celestial gods' did not win he abused them, and making a leather bag, filled it with blood, threw it up and shot at it. This he called shooting at Heaven. While Wuyi was hunting between the Yellow and Wei rivers, there was a clap of thunder, and Wuyi was struck dead by lightning.

Emperor Chou the Tyrant

Emperor Yi's eldest son was Ch‘i, viscount of Wei. Ch‘i's mother being of low caste, he could not be heir to the throne. His younger son was Hsin, whose mother was the principal consort, and so he became the heir-apparent. Emperor Hsin was called by everybody in the empire Chou (the tyrant).
Emperor Chou's discrimination was acute, his hearing and sight particularly good, his natural abilities extraordinary, and his physical strength equal to that of a wild beast. He had cunning enough to evade reproofs, and volubility enough to gloss over his faults. He boasted that he was above his ministers on the ground of ability, and that he surpassed the people of the empire on account of his reputation. He indulged in wine, women, and lusts of all sorts. His partiality for Tachi (Actress F) caused him to carry out whatever she desired, so that his ministers had to devise new forms of dissipation, the most depraved dances and extravagant music; he increased the taxation in order to fill the Stag tower with money, and to store the granary at 'Big bridge.' He made a collection of dogs, horses, and curiosities, with which he filled his palaces; and enlarging his parks and towers at Shach‘iu, procured numbers of wild beasts and birds and put them therein. He slighted the spirits, assembled a great number of play actors at Shach‘iu, made a pond of wine, hung the trees with meat, made men and women chase each other about quite naked, and had drinking bouts the whole night long.

The people murmured, and when the nobles rebelled Chouhsin increased the severity of his punishments, instituting the punishment of roasting. He appointed Ch‘ang Chief of the West, the prince of Chiu, and the prince of Ou his three principal ministers. The prince of Chiu had a beloved daughter who was sent in to the emperor, and when she disapproved of his debaucheries the tyrant killed her in his rage, and made mincemeat of her father. The prince of Ou objected, and vehemently remonstrated with him, whereupon he was sliced to pieces. Ch‘ang Chief of the West, hearing of all this, sighed furtively, but 'Tiger' the prince of Ts‘ung, being aware of it, informed the tyrant, who thereupon cast Chief of the West into prison at Yuli. His servant Hungyao and others procured a pretty girl, rare curiosities, and fine horses, which they presented to the tyrant, who thereupon pardoned Chief of the West. The latter went forth and gave the country to the west of the Lo river to the tyrant, and begged that he would abolish the punishment of roasting. The emperor agreed to this, and gave him bows, arrows, axes, and halberds, with a commission to start on a warlike expedition. He was appointed Chief of the West, and Feich‘ung was employed in the government. Feich‘ung was fond of flattery and greedy of gain, so the men of Yin were not attached to him. The tyrant also gave Alai an appointment, but Alai was fond of vilifying persons, so the princes became more and more estranged from the court.

Now Chief of the West, on returning from his expedition, secretly cultivated virtue, and was charitable; many of the princes revolted from the tyrant and gave their allegiance to Chief of the West, who from this time gained in influence, while the tyrant rather lost his authority. The monarch's son Pikan remonstrated with his father, but he was not listened to. Shangyung praised his worth, and the people loved him, but the tyrant set him aside. Chief of the West marched against and conquered the Chi State, and the tyrant's minister Tsu-i heard of it, and blaming [the house of] Chou hurried off in alarm to report it to the tyrant. He said: 'Heaven is bringing to an end the destiny of our dynasty of Yin; great men and the ancient tortoise do not venture to foretell good fortune. It is not that the former kings do not aid us men of this later time; but you, O king, by your dissoluteness and oppression are cutting yourself off. Heaven has therefore rejected us; we do not eat our meals in peace, we do not consider our heavenly nature, we do not follow and observe the statutes. Our people are now all longing for the destruction of the dynasty, saying, Why does not Heaven send down its awe-inspiring authority? Why is not its great decree manifested? What remedy is there against the present king?' The tyrant said: 'Is not my life secured by the decree of Heaven?' Tsu-i returned, and said," 'The tyrant cannot be remonstrated with.' Chief of the West having died, King Wu of Chou in his march eastward arrived at the ford of Mêng. The princes revolted, and 800 princes of the house of Chou having assembled declared that the tyrant ought to be attacked. King Wu said, 'You know nothing of Heaven's decree,' and retired.

The tyrant abandoned himself all the more to lust and dissipation, and the viscount of Wei3 remonstrated with him several times, but he would not heed, so having consulted with the senior and junior tutors the viscount p. 614 of Wei withdrew from court. Pikan said, 'A minister cannot but argue to the death'; he accordingly remonstrated vehemently with the tyrant, who in a rage said, 'I have heard that the heart of a holy man has seven apertures,' and cut Pikan open to look at his heart. The viscount of Chi, in terror, then feigned himself mad, and 1"became a slave," and the tyrant again imprisoned him. The senior and junior tutors of Yin, accordingly, taking the sacrificial and musical implements, hastened to the Chou State, and King Wu of Chou upon this marched at the head of the princes to attack the tyrant, who also sent out an army to withstand him in the plain of Mu. On the day Chia-tzŭ the tyrant's troops were beaten, and he himself fled to the Stag tower, which he ascended, and, putting on his gorgeous robes and jewels, burnt himself to death. King Wu of Chou then cut off the tyrant's head and exhibited it on a pole; he also slew Tachi, 2"released the viscount of Chi from prison, raised a tumulus over the grave of Pikan, and made a eulogy to the memory of Shangyung." His sons, Wukêng and Lüfu, were appointed to continue the sacrifices to the Yins. He restored Pankêng's mode of administration, and the people of Yin were greatly rejoiced. Whereupon King Wu of Chou became Son of Heaven (emperor). His descendants abolished the title of Ti (divine emperor), and called themselves kings (Wang); and the descendants of the Yins were made princes subordinate to the house of Chou.

After the death of King Wu of Chou, Wukêng, Kuanshu, and Ts‘aishu rebelled. King Ch‘eng ordered the duke of Chou to execute them, and the viscount of Wei was established in the Sung State to continue (the ancestral worship as) a descendant of the Yins.


Popular posts from this blog

The wonderful pear-tree

Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry." "Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The o

The Legend of The Three-Life Stone

The Buddhist believe metempsychosis, or the migration of the souls of animated beings, people's relationships are predestined through three states of life: the past, present, and future life. Legend has it that there's a road called Yellow Spring Road, which leads to Fogotten River. Over the river there's a bridge called Helpless Bridge (Naihe Bridge), at one end of the bridge sits a crimson stone called Three-life Stone. When two people die, they take this route to reincarnation. if they carve their name on the Three-life Stone together while they pass the stone, they are to be predestined to be together in their future life. Although before their rebirth they will be given a MengPo Soup to drink and thereby their memory of past life are obliterated. In reality, San-Sheng Shi (三生石), or Three-Life Stone is located beside Flying Mountain near the West Lake, Hangzhou. On the stone, there is seal with three Chinese characters that say "The Three-life Stone," and a de

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.' The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away. Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.' Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away. The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance. [This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'.  Osers noted that this story was