IN 1277 the Mongol hordes of Kublai Khan swept through southern China. Yi Wong, the boy Emperor fled to Lantau island and set up court at Mui Wo (Silvermine Bay), where he died the next year. He was succeeded by his brother, seven-year-old Wei Wong, who was the last emperor of the Sung dynasty. Wei Wong and his court moved from Lantau to the mainland. Legend has it that one day the boy emperor stood overlooking Lei Yue Mun. 'I have counted eight mountains,' said the child. 'So there must be eight dragons hereabout.' 'In reality there are nine dragons in this locality Your Majesty,' replied his favourite courtier, grovelling at his feet. 'There are only eight dragons,' retorted the indignant child. 'I have counted them.' 'Your Majesty's sacred person is the ninth dragon,' explained the fawning toady. Kowloon means 'nine dragons' in Chinese, and that, according to legend, is how Kowloon got its name. The emperor lived for a time in a cave under a giant rock in Kowloon. This great boulder was known as the Sung Emperor's Terrace. When the British acquired the New Territories from the Manchu emperor, it was required to preserve this sacred site under the terms of the lease. The Hong Kong Government built a splendid granite balustrade around the boulder and it became a holy place for pilgrims. On January 9, 1945, during World War II, the rock was broken up by the Japanese and the stones were used to enlarge Kai Tak airport. Poor little Wei Wong's army was no match for the Mongol hordes. After a series of defeats he was cornered by Kublai Khan's Mongol fleet and his forces destroyed in a ferocious sea battle in the Pearl River delta. The boy emperor was drowned trying to escape. For the next 150 years China was ruled by the Mongols.