The founder of the Xia Dynasty, Emperor DA-YU was a historical figure who lived in the 23rd Century B.C.
His father GUN had been commanded by SHUN, the previous ruler, to control the Great Flood, but various Godly machinations prevented him doing so. Which meant that DA-YU, the dutiful son, felt honor-bound to take up the task in his place.
A brilliant engineer, DA-YU conceived dams like you’ve never seen and dedicated his entire life to getting the waters under control. Legend tells that he abandoned his wife, transformed himself into a bear and scared half the country before he’d done.
We also understand that he subdued the Yellow River by beating it into submission with a gigantic iron staff. This implement was originally used by Heaven to hammer the Milky Way into shape and eventually found its way into the treasury of AO-KUANG, where it caused quite a few headaches thereafter.
For his unceasing labors, DA-YU received popular acclaim and was rewarded with the title of Emperor. Rapidly followed by Godly status. He is still revered to this day, and his name is a byword.