Once a upon time, two old men lived as good neighbors at the foot of the Great Wall, Mr. Meng and Mr. Jiang, with only a wall as division. In spring, Mr. Meng sowed a gourd seed in his courtyard, which grew very quickly and climbed over the wall to the Jiang’s through Meng’s meticulous care, bearing a big gourd weighting over 50 kilograms.
As the gourd become ripen, Mr. Jiang couldn’t wait to cut it into pieces and surprisingly found that a lovely baby girl lying inside, so he run around the village spreading the news. All the villagers came to see her, followed by a big quarrel between Mr. Meng and Mr. Jiang, both of whom claimed the baby. Mr. Meng firmly said that: “I sow the gourd seed, so I’m supposed to have a baby”, while Mr. Jiang argued that: “The gourd grows in my courtyard, so the baby is mine.” The quarrel continued for over 3 days, resulting in no resolution, so they took turns to raise the baby after reconciliation, and they named her Mengjiangnv.
18 years later, Mengjiangnv grew into a charming woman. One day, she found a man hiding behind the gourd trellis when picking up gourds, and the man called himself Fan Qiliang said that he did so to avoid to being captured by court soldiers to build the Great Wall. Out of pity, Mengjaingnv pleaded his father, Mr. Meng, to allow Fan Qiliang to live with them. Having been together for a long time, the two youths came to have a tender feeling for each other and got married with the consent of both Mr. Meng and Mr. Jiang.
Accident will happen, and Fan Qiliang was captured by court soldiers on his big day and dispatched to build the Great Wall. Mengjiangnv hadn’t heard from her husband for over 2 years, and she was too worried to lose her appetite and be sleepless, so she determined to seek her husband after discussion with her dads.
Taking dried grains and winter clothes with her, Mengjiangnv went on her way through wind and rain and managed to reach the destination, unluckily, she was told that her beloved husband had been dead for a long time owing to physical exhaustion, but she could barely find his body. The news about Fan’s death struck her like a bolt from the blue, and she could not believe it and burst into tears along the Great Wall. Wherever she walked, the Great Wall just collapsed. So heartily she cried that the fallen length of Great Wall reached over 800 kilometers, which worried the overseers of the Great Wall a lot, so they hurried to report the oddity to Emperor Qinshihuang. Emperor Qinshihuang sent his men to arrest Mengjiangnv, however, he was obsessed by her charm as soon as he saw her and bestowed on her the title of imperial concubine of the highest rank.
Choking down her anger, Mengjiangnv had a brainwave and knew an approach to find her husband’s body, and she pretended to be willing to agree with the Emperor on three conditions: “first of all, the corpse of Fan’s must be found; secondly, a national funeral must be held for Fan; thirdly, Emperor Qinshihuang must put on mourning apparels for Fan.” Emperor Qinshihuang thought for a while with his eyes shut and reluctantly approved her request in order to gain this beautiful woman. After Fan Qiliang deserved a decent symbolic funeral, Mengjaingnv felt so relieved that she threw herself headlong into the water, dead.
As time flies, the legend of Mengjiangn Weeping over the Great Wall remains, which has passed down from one generation to another, symbolizing the great sacrifice the common people had offered for the Great Wall of China.
Author: Yang Qingwei