Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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King You of Zhou -- Kingdom Terminator and His Queen the Lady of Ice

Ji Gongsheng (795 B. C. — 771 B. C.), also respected as King You of Zhou or Zhou You Wang, was the 12th king of the Zhou Dynasty in the history of China, the grandson of Ji Hu the King Li of Zhou.

An Incapable King Encountered His Beloved Woman

The second year after Gongsheng's enthronement, many natural disasters happened around his capital city, including earthquake, dried up rivers, landslide and famine.


In ancient Chinese culture, those were signs of bad ruling and a huge decline of the royal family.


However, the King You of Zhou didn’t listen to any useful suggestions; instead, he assigned very important positions to people who knew nothing but to please him. 


When a lord of a vassal state was put in prison for having committed a crime, people from this state sent a beautiful woman to King You of Zhou in exchange for their lord’s freedom.


This woman Bao Si was incredibly beautiful and made the king madly fell in love with her at the first sight. The King You of Zhou immediately released the lord, and then tried everything he could to make his beautiful woman happy.

Efforts that King You of Zhou Did to Make Icy Queen Smile


However, this stunningly gorgeous woman, who was picked up in a forest by her adopted parents, never smiled. No matter how many precious clothes and jewelry the king gave her, or how many fancy palaces were built for her, or how many hilarious people were hired to make her laugh, she just never smiled and stayed as a Lady of Ice.


Soon the king imperiously abrogated his former queen who came from a very powerful state, as well as their son, the crown prince; then he nominated Bao Si as the new queen and her son the crown prince.


This behavior made lots of ministers and lords of vassal states worried and displeased, especially the former queen’s clan. Even though, Bao Si still didn’t raise her lovely lips for her king. 


Later, a person suggested the king to light fires on the beacon tower, to try and see if Bao Si would like that.


The official function of the beacon tower was to send signals to nearby armies and vassal states when Zhou’s capital city was attacked.


When large numbers of lords and soldiers from other places in China hurried there and saw nothing happened, Bao Si found it was hilarious and finally smiled.


The King You of Zhou was quite happy and then did this for several times, until no one would show up to amuse this couple again.

Useless Beacon Fire and the End of Empire Zhou

Soon a nomadic army actually invaded the capital city, allied with the former banished queen’s state.


When the actual threaten came and the King You of Zhou let people ignite the fire on the beacon tower for several times, no one ever showed up to protect him.


Though his royal army was brave and loyal, they couldn’t win over such outnumbered invasive alliances.


Finally the king got caught and assassinated, and his queen Bao Si was captured by the nomadic army. 


When nearby armies and lords finally realized that this threaten was for real this time, it was already too late. Still, they did lead their armies came to the capital to fight back.


Rebuilt and Division of Zhou Dynasty  

Soon, those nomadic invaders ran away; the King You of Zhou’s previous crown prince, son of the former abolished queen, was supported as the new king by his powerful grandfather and some other lords.


However, many other lords and ministers supported the King You of Zhou’s second son to become the new king, since they believed that the abolished queen and crown prince led their state’s army attacked the capital; as a betrayer, the former crown prince had already lost the legitimacy to be the heir. 


Consequently, there were two kings co-existed for quite a long time, until years later, the King You of Zhou’s second son was defeated and killed.


His first son, the former crown prince, led people moved out of the destroyed capital and established the Zhou Dynasty again in a new city. 


Rise of Other Powerful States

During this large-scale moving, a vassal state named Qin successfully protected the new king from nomadic regimes; so lord of Qin got king’s permission to occupy as many lands as possible from nearby nomadic regimes, as long as they could win.


Since then, the state of Qin kept expanding and became stronger in the history of China. 


As a king who buried his own empire, the King You of Zhou was only famous for his obsess to Bao Si.


He never tried to do anything regarding politics or the economy, like some other failed, but controversial monarchs who at least tried to make a change.


He spent lots of time and energy trying to love his new queen and make her laugh; ironically, however, he still couldn’t protect her in the end and even perished his kingdom and himself because of those absurdities.