This is the seventh part to our series on Myths and Legends. Now in China, this the legend behind the Great Wall.
What’s the first thing that pops out in your mind when you think about China? Exactly. We all think of Meng Jiangnü. Or perhaps not, but the Great Wall is one of the things that might have come up. The Great Wall, like the Pyramids in Egypt, is one of the great wonders of the world. It was first built by each of the many Chinese states during the Spring and Autumn seasons to protect their territory. Then the first emperor of China, QinShihuang unified the country, connected and rebuilt the former wall to make it a complete fortification. There are many legends and stories about the Great Wall that embody the power and wisdom of the Chinese nation. The most popular is the legend of Meng Jiangnü.
During the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. – 206 B.C.), a man named Fan Xiliang accidentally ran into Meng Jiangnü’s private garden when escaping from forced labor to work on the Great Wall. Fan was a handsome and good-mannered man. Meng Jiangnü’s parents liked him and arranged for him to marry Meng Jiangnü. But not long after their wedding, Fan Xiliang was taken away to build the Great Wall. Meng Jiangnü waited and waited, but Fan did not come back.
When winter came, Meng JiangNü made some warm clothes for her husband and decided to take them to him. It was a long journey. She walked day and night, climbed over mountains and went through the rivers, slipping and falling many times. When she finally got to the construction site, she found out that her husband had died from exhaustion, and his body, like that of many other men, was built into the Great Wall. Meng Jiangnü could not stop weeping. She sat by the wall and cried for days. Her bitter wail moved the heaven and the earth. Strong wind started to blow; heavy rain fell. Soon, part of the Great Wall collapsed and exposed her husband’s body, which provided her with some relief.
Though the legend behind the Great Wall is not factual, it does tell one truth: Many people have given their lives building the Great Wall, and many more defending it. When you join one of our service programs in China, you can plan for a stop in Beijing, the best place to see this wonder of the world.