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The Toulao River

2020-03-17

Originally named `Danlao River' or Laoshize River, the Toulao River (literally, `the river into which lao was poured') is situated to the south of the town of Shaoxing.Though fairly small, it has a long history of 2,000 years. The mention of it may naturally remind people of a touching story.

After Goujian, King of Yue, suffered a disgraceful failure and was captured, he set his mind to revenge. In order to prevent comfort from wearing down his determination,he slept on a firewood pile and hang a gall bladder from the roof so that he could see it before sleep, taste it before having meal and remind himself of the inglorious defeat.Under his leadership, the State of Yue spent 10 years in multiplying the population and another ten years in summarizing the previous lessons. Its troops were well-equipped and well-trained with high morale. Then Goujian decided that the time had come for him to avenge his previous defeat and recover his lost land.In the Spring & Autumn Period, Wu and Yue, two neighboring states, were at war.

Before Goujian's troops set out, the people of Yue offered their king a jar of good wine to wish him victory in the upcoming war. Having accepted the gift, Goujian thought, in order to defeat Wu and regain the glory of the state, I must share weal and woe with my men.' In order to inspire his soldiers, he threw a swearing-in ceremony, at which he opened the jar and poured the content into the river. Then he ordered all his men to drink from the river. As a result, the morale of his troops was immensely boosted.

And the troops departed and went to war. Appreciating their king for the grace he gave them, the soldiers fought bravely and finally routed the troops of Wu. Since then,the Toulao River has been known far and wide. This story is recorded in the part on Yue in History of the Spring and Autumn Period by Lv Buwei sponsored by Lv Buwei.

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