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The Shang Yang is a magical bird from Chinese mythology.


The Shang Yang resembles a large water bird, its most distinctive feature its single leg. Its appearance was said to cause or predict rain, and it was both respected and feared for its power to create and destroy. Farmers would call on it to help water their crops, and children would hop on one leg and imitate the Shang Yang in hopes of causing it to appear.


It was said that the Shang Yang would drink water from lakes and rivers and blow it out again on the land as rain. However, in other sources it simply functioned as an omen of a coming rainstorm, appearing before leaders to warn them of possible flooding.


In one legend, the Shang Yang came to the Prince of Chi'i, hopping and flapping its wings in an agitated way. The Prince called for Confucius to explain the omen, and he said that a great storm was coming and there would be bad flooding in local villages. Roads and dykes were built, averting the disaster.

See Also


  • Borges, Jorge Luis. The Book of Imaginary Beings.