Meng Jiangnu 11-21-2005 16:07

In this lesson we heard about the tale of Meng Jiangnu, perhaps the most famous tale about the Great Wall. Like many fables, there are slightly different versions that have been told over the years. The story dates from the Qin Dynasty, when China was first unified into one country over 2000 years ago. This is the time when smaller walls from various kingdoms were joined into one Great Wall under the orders of Qin Shihuang, the first Emperor of China. He is regarded in Chinese history as a great military leader who unified China, but a very cruel and harsh leader as well. At this time, many soldiers were conscripted into the army against their will and treated as slave labour.

Meng Jiangnu was a beautiful woman who lived in Jiangsu province, far from the capital of China at the time and far from the Great Wall, which ran along the northern boundary of the empire. She had just been married a few days when her husband was suddenly conscripted into the army and taken away by force. Their young marriage was torn apart, and Meng Jiangnu cried every day.

Months later, as winter arrived, she prepared some winter clothing for her husband and started off to find him. It was a long journey to the northern regions so far from her home, and at first she had no idea where she might find him. Eventually, she met some labourers who told her they had worked with her husband building the Great Wall nearby. When she asked of his whereabouts, she was told that he had died just a month ago from exhaustion and starvation. So many workers had died during the building of the wall that they were forced to simply bury the bodies inside the wall as it was built.

Meng Jiangnv went to this place along wall and cried and cried for several days. Suddenly there was a loud crack and the wall broke open. She found the remains of her husband along with all the other workers, and was thus able at least to give him a proper burial. It鈥檚 a story of undying love, and the power of love to overcome all obstacles.

Editor:Wang Ping

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