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Meng Jiangnü's Bitter Weeping

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Meng Jiangnü's Bitter Weeping  is one of the top four Chinese love legends, along with Niulang and Zhinv (cowpuncher and weaving maid), White Snake’s Biography and Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai.  Meng Jiangnü's faithfulness has been written about in Chinese poetry, folk songs, and plays for tens of thousands of years.

It's said that during the reign of Qinshihuang, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221 - 207BC), there were two next-door neighbors, Meng and Jiang, separated only by a wall. One day, a gourd sprouted in the Meng's courtyard, and grew so abundantly that it climbed up the wall and reached into the Jiang's yard. However, it only bore one fruit. Thus, the two families decided to share it. When the fruit was ripe in autumn, it cracked itself, and a lovely little girl came out of the gourd. The Meng and Jiang families both loved the girl a lot, and decided to make her their common daughter. They named her Meng Jiangnü based on their family names.

Meng Jiangnü grew up and was well-known for miles around for her beauty. The Meng and Jiang families considered her the apple of their eyes. At that time, Qinshihuang began to conscript able-bodied men throughout the country in order to build the great wall. It's said that since those men were forced to build the great wall day and night, a lot of them died of exhaustion. A young scholar, Wan Xiliang, fled his home to escape the hard labor, and wound up in Meng’s courtyard. After being discovered, Wan Xilaing told the truth to Meng's family and asked to keep his secret. Impressed with his honesty and courteousness, the Meng's allowed Xiliang to hide in their home. The old couple found that Xiliang was a fine and smart man, so they decided to make him their son-in-law. To their pleasure, both Meng Jiangnü and Xiliang agreed and  on an auspicious day they were soon married . 

Unexpectedly, Xiliang was taken away less than three days after their marriage to build the great wall. Meng Jiangnü cried and waited for a whole year for Xiliang's return although she knew clearly that Xiliang's leaving was filled with darkness and doom. Hearing nothing not even one word from Xiliang, she made some padded clothes and set off alone to look for her husband.

Crossing mountains and rivers, she walked day and night, overcoming danger and countless hardships on her journey. Finally, she arrived at the construction site, where she was told that Xiliang had died several months ago and was buried under the wall. That news struck her like a thunderbolt. She fell to her knees and began to crying. She cried and cried for many days, hoping to move the God. One day when she was crying, a section of the wall collapsed, and her husband’s body appeared in the rubble.

The collapse of the wall made Qinshihuang very angry, and he led his army to the construction site to publish Meng Jiangnü in person. When he saw her, he was immediately smitten with her beauty and forced her to his concubine. In great sorrow, she pretended to agree but asked for a grand funeral for Xiliang. To Qinshihuang's disappointment, after burying her husband she jumped into the sea.

Later, people built a Memorial Hall of Meng Jiangnü’s Former Residence based on the Meng's house at the Yongquan Qi State Great Wall Scenic Area in Shandong to memorize the faithful goddess of love. Also built In the scenic area were Wangfushi (Waiting-Husband Rock), sculptures and Temple of Meng Jiangnü and Dressing-Table-Like Platform. Not far from the attractions, on the shore of the Bohai Sea, beyond Shanhaiguan Pass, stand two rocky reefs which are said to be the tomb and tombstone of Meng Jiangnü. These legendary scenic spots add to a Shanghaiguan tour.

 More Great Wall Legend:   A Legend about Beacon Tower 

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