5 Most Famous Legends of the Great Wall of China

A man-made wonder over time, the Great Wall of China is now one of the most iconic landmarks on earth. It is a symbol of China's rich history and culture, and has been a source of inspiration and wonderment for millennia. The Great Wall is not only a feat of ancient engineering, but it also has a rich collection of legends and stories that have been passed down from generation to generation.

In this article, we will explore the most famous legends of the Great Wall of China. These legends and stories have been a part of Chinese folklore for centuries and are still popular today. They provide a glimpse into the history of the Great Wall, and showcase the enduring spirit and perseverance of the Chinese people.

The Story of "Meng Jiangnv Bringing down the Great Wall with Tears"

Legends of the Great Wall
The story of Meng Jiangnv is an enduring legend that has captured the hearts and minds of people in China when talking about the construction of the Great Wall of China. It is a story that speaks to the power of love, loss, and the human spirit. According to the legend, during the reign of Emperor Qin Shi Huang in Qin Dynasty, the people were forced to do the hard labor.

Fan Xiliang and Meng Jiangnu were newlyweds for three days. The groom was forced to set out to build the Great Wall. Soon he died of hunger, cold and fatigue, and his bones were buried under the Great Wall. Meng Jiang Nü carried her winter clothes on her back and went through great hardships to find her husband at the Great Wall, only to receive the sad news of his death.

Meng Jiangnv was devastated by her loss, and cried for three days and three nights. Her grief was so intense that she wept tears of sorrow that shook the very foundations of the Great Wall. The legend goes that her tears were so powerful that they caused a section of the wall to collapse, revealing her husband's bones.

The legend of Meng Jiangnv has become an integral part of Chinese folklore, and it is often told to children as a cautionary tale about the dangers of neglecting the human spirit. The story has also been the subject of countless works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and operas.

The Story of “the Crow of the Bird Strikes the Stone”

Story of the Great Wall
Another famous legend of the Great Wall of China is the story of the crow of the bird strikes the stone.

According to legend, in ancient times, a pair of swallows nested in the Ruyuan Gate of Jiayuguan Pass (part of the Great Wall). One morning, the two swallows flew out of the gate. At sunset, the female swallow flew back first, but when the male swallow flew back, the gate was closed and he could not enter the gate, so he hit the wall and died. The female swallow was so distraught that she chirped from time to time and continued to do so until she died.

After death, her soul does not disperse and still haunts the Great wall. Whenever someone strikes the wall with a stone, the swallow makes a chirping sound and tells people about the story.

In ancient times, people regarded the sound of swallows chirping in the Jiayuguan Pass as auspicious, and when a general left for battle, his wife would pray by hitting the wall.

A Brick on the Jiayuguan Pass

Jiayuguan Great Wall legends
There is another legend of the Great Wall of China that happened on the Jiayuguan Pass, one of the most famous and well-preserved sections of the wall.

According to legend, the fixed city brick is the bricks at the back edge of the west urn gatehouse of Jiayuguan. During the reign of Emperor Zhengde of Ming Dynasty, there was a craftsman who repaired the pass called Yi Kai Zhan, who was well versed in the 9-9-9 algorithm. All the buildings were very accurate according to his calculations and the usage fees could be saved.

Because the local government did not trust the supervisory control of the Guan repair supervision, they asked Yi Kai Zhan to calculate the number of bricks for Jiayuguan. After a detailed calculation, Yi Kai Zhan said to the supervisory board, "Ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine bricks are needed."

Only one brick remained after completion. In the corridor behind the west gatehouse. When the supervisor was discovered, he was very happy and wanted to use it to take away a lot of money from the craftsmen, but the brick was put there by the gods, and if it was moved, the city would collapse.

When the supervisor heard this, he dared not pursue the matter any further, and then the brick remained where it was, and no one moved it. Now this brick is still left on the Jiayuguan Citadel.

Carry Stones via Ice Roads to Build the Great Wall

The Great Wall legends
The Great Wall of China was built in some of the most inhospitable terrain in the world, including high mountains and wild deserts. According to legend, during the construction of Jiayuguan Pass of the Great Wall, thousands of thousands of stone strips 2 metres long, 0.5 metres wide and 0.3 metres thick were needed. The craftsmen cut the strips in Black Mountain, which however could not be lifted by people, pulled by carts, or transported because of the high mountains and long roads. Everyone was troubled while cutting the stone strips. The winter season was coming soon. The stone bars had not yet been brought out of the mountains. If the work was delayed, they wouldn’t receive any money for the work.

Everyone sighed and groaned. At that moment, there was a sudden gurgling of thunder from the top of the mountain and from the white clouds came floating brocade fabric, which many craftsmen soon caught. Hidden on it were a few lines of writing.

Later when winter came, people built a road from the mountain to Guancheng, sprinkling water on the road to make an icy path and then put stone bars to skate on the ice.

As a result, the stone bars were successfully transported to Jiayuguan City. Not only was the work was completed ahead of schedule, but the construction period was also saved. Many craftsmen built temples near the pass city to thank the gods for their blessings and worshipped the gods, which became compulsory for craftsmen to worship when they left the work.

The General's Orders

The General's Orders is also one of the most popular legends of the Great Wall of China. The story goes that during the construction of the Great Wall, a general ordered that a bell be placed at the highest point of the wall. The general's orders were that if the wall was ever breached, the bell would be rung to alert the troops. The bell was never rung during the construction of the wall, but it is said that on quiet nights, you can still hear the bell ringing in the distance. The story is a reminder of the importance of vigilance and the need to be prepared for the unexpected.

These legends are just a few of the many stories of the Great Wall of China that have been passed down through the ages. They serve as a reminder of world’s largest military defensive project, so far, and showcase the enduring spirit and perseverance of the Chinese people. The Great Wall of China is not just a physical structure, but it is also a symbol of the strength and resilience of the Chinese people, and a testament to the human spirit.

Keep reading:

  • How Long is the Great Wall of China?
  • Fun facts about the Great Wall

  • Leave a Comment