Two tablets read Dang He and He Dang are displayed in the Yongding River Forest Park. [Photo/Qianlong]
There were two tablets to the north of Shijingshan: The one in the east was around the west gate of the Shougang factory. It read He Dang, a river barrier in Chinese. The other one in the west was not far from the gate of the Gaojing Power Plant. It read Dang He, with the same meaning. Why did the two tablets lie there? There is a tale behind.
During the reign of Zhengde (1505-1521) , Liu Jin, head of eunuchs, lived on the Shijingshan. In his early years, he was loyal to the emperor, and rendered meritorious service. Having found favor to the emperor, he was dubbed a 9,000-year-longevity title, who was the second most powerful at the time. But he was not satisfied about it. He was so greedy that he attempted to be equal to the emperor.
Liu’s mansion on the Shijingshan was as the same as the Forbidden City in building formation but merely smaller in scale.
A snapshot of the pagoda on the mountain of Shijingshan [Photo/Qianlong]
Back at home, he came up with a venomous scheme: pull open the levee of Yongding River, and flood the city of Beijing. He chose a spot around today’s Beixin’an Subdistrict in the Shijingshan District to open the levee and from which he managed to dig a river he called Jingou to the city of Beijing. When water rose, it was expected to flood the Forbidden City for terrain in Beixin’an of Western Beijing is higher. He thought: “I, the only 9,000-year-old, will be the emperor by then.”
The levee at the spot he chose was at the middle section of the Yongding River, it was as tough as a piece of metal. In order to have the Jingou River gotten connected at an early date, Liu Jin issued an order that anyone who dug out a bucket of stones shall be rewarded the same amount of sliver. Overnight, the Jingou River was almost done. It went through the Beixin’an and Yangzhuang subdistricts from the Jinding Road and entered the Haidian District where is not far from the city of Beijing. When the river was about to be connected, the crowds of workers became confused and raised a lot of noises. Liu Jin came ahead and became furious when he saw two children from nowhere blocking the river month with gravel that was just removed from the riverbed. No one had succeeded in driving away or caught the pair. Liu Jin scolded: “Whoever are making trouble here?” “We are not making trouble, but having fun,” the children replied naughtily. “What are your names?” Liu Jin asked. “My name is He Dang.” “My name is Dang He.” “Whatever He Dang or Dang He, kill them!”Liu Jin ordered.
The Yongding River [Photo/Qianlong]
Executioners went up to cut off the heads of the two children in no time. But the crowds were astonished at what they saw next: there was not at all blood bleeding from the heads. There was smiling kept on their faces. Their bodies were functional as usual. Liu Jin freaked out and shouted: “Shoot arrows, shoot arrows!” The arrows were shot like a blast of hails, after the noises made by the colliding of arrow heads, the crowds shock again as soon as they saw two children became huge stones were standing over there. The stone in the east read He Dang, the stone in the west read Dang He. At the time, the Sun rose and thus Liu’s scheme came to nothing.
But in mid night, where did the two children come from? They were immortal fair children who were dispatched to prevent the river digging by the god of Jade Emperor.
Liu Jin was killed the next day when the emperor was informed of his scheme.
A tale is a tale, but the two tablets did exist. They symbolized two ancient hydraulic constructions: the Liling Dam and the Chexiang Channel, both of which prevent the flood from the Yongding River and benefit the farming.
The original two tablets cannot be found, their replicas now sit in the Yongding River Forest Park.
If you go to the park:
Take Subway Line 1 and get off at Bajiaoyouleyuan (八角游乐园)Station. Then transfer to the Bus line No. 327 and get off at the Shuitun（水屯）Stop.
The west gate of the Yongding River Forest Park [Photo/Qianlong]
Bikes are parked in the Yongding River Forest Park on October 12. [Photo/Qianlong]
A tablet reads Dang He is displayed in the Yongding River Forest Park on October 12. [Photo/Qianlong]
A tablet reads He Dang is displayed in the Yongding River Forest Park on October 12. [Photo/Qianlong]
Tourist center of the Yongding River Forest Park [Photo/Qianlong]
A rail track winds its way through the Yongding River Forest Park. [Photo/Qianlong]