Considered the most symbolic construction of China and its culture, the Great Wall of China has gone through numerous years of history. For that reason, it’d be absolutely strange if there is no mysterious legend behind this masterpiece. And in reality, numerous myths were created along with centuries of construction and the sacrifice of many workers. These myths are transmitted from generation to generation and through many dynasties until today. They are also one of the main reasons that attract visitors to come to the Great Wall.
Meng Jiangnu’s tears
This tale is really popular among Chinese people and it’s also the most well – known legend about the Great Wall. Originated from Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 B.C), “Meng Jiangnu’s tears” is about Phan Qi Liang – Jiangnu’s beloved husband, who is forced by the Court to join other corvee labors and build the Great Wall. When the winter came, Jiangnu made clothes for her husband and started a long journey to find him. After many exhausting days of travelling and asking, she was shocked and utterly desperate when she found out her husband was dead and his body was enshrouded by the heavy bricks. It was so hurtful that she cried for 3 long days. Her cry was loud enough to spread 800 miles and eventually revealed the Qi Liang’s dead body. After carefully burying her husband, Jiangnu suicided by jumping into a lake.
Meng Jiangnu’s tear’s popularity is seriously significant. It appears in numerous songs, books, traditional plays and even films. It’s an inspiration for many people and most of Chinese know this amazing story.
Jiayuguan (Jiayu Pass)
Jiayuguan is about a man called Yi Kaizhan who lived in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). He’s a very talented man and his strength is arithmetic. During the process of building Jiayu Pass, Yi Kaizhan’s job was the main designer. He calculated that the number of bricks needed to build Jiayu was 99,999, no more or less. The supervisor doubted his calculation; therefore, he said that after finishing the Pass, if there was any redundant brick, workers would be severely punished. When the day of the answer came, the supervisor was super happy and ready to satisfy his evilness as there was one brick left. However, Yi Kaizhan immediately came up with a solution. He said that the redundant brick was put there by the higher power and if it was removed, the pass would collapse. Hence, until now, the brick is still existence on Jiayuguan. A lot of curious visitors have come to Jiayuguan to see the brick with their own eyes.
Composed in Western Zhu Dynasty (1122 – 711 B.C), this legend retold the collapse of Western Zhu Court. According to the legend, King Zhu’s wife was Bao Zi – a spectacularly beautiful woman who had never smiled before. King Zhu tried multiple ways to make Bao Zi smile, but they were all useless. Eventually, the king’s passionate love for his wife was made use of by dishonest mandarins. A mandarin suggests that if the King set fire on Beacon Tower to fool the masses, the Queen would smile. King Zhu followed that mandarin’s advice unconditionally and started making fun of his people and vassal countries. Bao Zi finally smiled when she witnessed that scene. However, King Zhu’s action led to the loss of people’s trust. As a result, when Western Zhu was really under an attack conducted by its enemy, the country received no help from vassal countries and it was totally occupied.