In the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. - 206 B.C.), a young man named Liang Fanqi escaped from the Great Wall construction site and hid in a private garden where he came across the owner's pretty daughter, Meng Jiangnü. They fell in love and got married. Unfortunately, Liang Fanqi was found, captured and returned to the construction site.
Meng Jiang Nü waited day and night for her husband. Winter came but Liang Fanqi failed to return. Meng Jiangnü sewed some warm clothes to take to her husband. She arrived at the construction site, but Liang Fanqi was nowhere to be found. She was then informed that Liang Fanqi had died and his body was built into the Great Wall. Meng Jiangnü 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 Jiangnü cut her fingers and let her blood drip on the dead bodies until her blood started flowing when she passed over one particular body. 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 Shanhai Passremains in good condition to this day. If you ever get a chance to visit Shanhaiguan, you can pay a visit to the Mengjiangnü Temple.
Other Great Wall Legends:
This story tells of the construction of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall. The great general who masterminded this section was beheaded wrongly for his high expenditures, but later redeemed and honored. Read the "Metal Soup" Great Wall story.
A story of love between father and son and their reunion at Xifengkou. Read the Xifengkou story.