Emperor Yao was not in effect a human emperor of the Chinese but a sky deity. In his rule a deluge occurred as a result of water escaping out of a hole in the sky. He was also associated with many other wondrous events.
Rens van der Sluijs is back on song at www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2014/09/24/wizards-and-sourcerers/ … which is a brilliant pun on the use of source material by scholars. He looks at four misquotes of original material and notes that going back to the original is always a worthwhile exercise.
Three concern Rens favourite subject, aurora and the earth's magnetic field. The last one is a misquote by Velikovsky in Worlds in Collision, one that has been repeated by many others. The quote is, 'the Sun during a span of ten days did not set, the forests were ignited and a multitude of abominable vermin was brought forth'. He asks, 'did Velikovsky ventriloquise the Chinese records? …' i.e., did he quote them correctly. Rens ventures forth and after looking at Velikovsky's German sources discovered they went back to a Jesuit missionary in 17th century China who said, 'they write that during this period the sun did not set for ten days and it was feared the disc would incinerate mortals, for great fires had burned … They affirm that various portents of snakes were produced overhead … (a meteor shower) and so on. He assumes Velikovsky derived his quote from the Jesuit but actual Chinese sources say something quite contrary – they refer to ten suns (rather than one sun shining for ten days). This is distinctly different (see the Chinese wikipedia for example). In the reign of Yao (usually dated towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC but this is an arbitrary number for if he was a deity the date is wide open) ten suns burst forth into the sky at once, producing a life threatening and intense amount of heat that caused a severe drought etc. An archer was brought forth by Yao and he eliminated all except the real Sun. It would seem the Jesuit missionary obtained a garbled version of this Chinese tradition and Velikovsky embellished it further, and perpetuated a myth of his own in that the Sun did not set for ten days.
On reflection I wondered what others might have said of events in the time of Yao. Paul Dunbavin, in 'Under Ancient Skies' said the Chinese historical epic 'Shu Ching' has a semi mythical chronology that commences around 2950BC. Its early kings were involved in catastrophic events such as devastating floods. The deluge is Dunbavin's primary interest and how it involved a tilt of the Earth. However, on page 9 he has an illustration of the ten suns of Chinese legend (reproduced by permission of Penguin Books).
Moe Mandelkehr (page 674 of his book, 'The 2300BC Event' noted the appearance of ten suns associated with a great flood. He theorises the ten suns were ten rings illuminated by the Sun, and later, on page 806, associates the ten suns with emperor Yao. He is at pains to point out the traditional date for Yao was around 2300BC – the main focus of his book.
Trevor Palmer in 'Perilous Planet Earth', page 345, also mentions the story of the ten suns – but dates them to the transition between Xia and Shang dynasties (in mid second millennium BC). He claims the event was associated with the Yellow Emperor (probably another form of Yao). The yellow emperor, we may note, was associated with a sulphurous and noxious yellow cloud. Something similar is associated with Maelgwyn, a Welsh prince, in the 6th century AD – so we are talking about a recurring phenomenon. On page 347 he mentions a talk by Douglas Keenan at the General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics which took place in Birmingham in 1999. Talking about the environmental disaster towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC (end of EB age and end of OK Egypt) and how it also affected various other countries around the world including the Indus civilisation and China (where disastrous floods took place).
Bob Forrest in 'Velikovsky's Sources' (the Best of Stonehenge Viewpoint, a journal published in California in the 1970s and 1980s) says virtually the same thing as Rens – almost word perfect (without the Jesuit missionary) and also comes to the conclusion Velikovsky was referring to the ten suns legend (but from a German source rather than a Chinese one). Forrest can't see any correspondence between the ten suns legend and Velikovsky's scenario in Worlds in Collision (but many others might disagree). He suggest the ten suns were parhelia or sun haloes, quoting a mainstream science source. This response of Forrest was pretty poor as clearly the ten suns of Yao involved more than atmospheric phenomena as the story involves a terrible flood, excessive heat and drought that killed trees in the ground, and caused famine and death as a result of crops being dried up. In addition, the ten suns were exterminated by the archer Yi who appears to have wielded a thunderbolt or electric discharge. Hence, Velikovsky was probably right to quote the event but he should have verified it with genuine Chinese legendary material – some of which is explicitly catastrophic.