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The Legend of Mengjiangnv

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Great Wall of ChinaIn the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. - 206 B.C.), a young man named Fanqi Liang escaped from the Great Wall construction site and hid in a private garden where he came across the owner’s pretty daughter. They fell in love and got married. Unfortunately, Fanqi Liang was found, captured and returned to the construction site.

Meng Jiang Nü waited day and night for her husband. Winter came but Fanqi Liang failed to return. Meng Jiang Nü sewed some warm clothes to take to her husband. She arrived at the construction site but Fanqi Liang was nowhere to be found. She was then informed that Fanqi Liang had died and his body was built into the Great Wall. Meng Jiang Nü stayed by the wall and wept for days and nights. Deeply moved by the girl’s bitter weeping, a 400 kilometer  section of the Great Wall collapsed and exposed the bones and bodies of many dead men. Meng Jiang Nü cut her fingers and dripped her blood on the dead until her blood flowed into one. Knowing that this was her husband, she buried him and then drowned herself.

This is a wide spread legend about the Great Wall. Plays and operas based on the story have been popular through the ages in all parts of China. Temples have been built in her memory. Among the dozen or so major ones, the temple at Shanhaiguan remains in good condition to this day. If you ever get a chance to visit Shanhaiguan (eastern end of the Ming Great Wall), you can pay a visit to the Mengjiangnu Temple.

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