|10 Legends and Stories of the Great Wall of China (2)
6. the Widows’ Tower
At the Tai Ping Zhai section of the Great Wall near Huang Ya Guan, there is a well-known tower called the Widows’ Tower. It is said that when building Huang Ya Guan, 12 soldiers from Henan Province lost their lives. Their wives, upon learning the news, were all heart-broken. Later, they used the compensation they got to build the tower in memory of their husbands.
7. the Story of the Ten Brothers
People look at the Great Wall of China full of admiration, but the sufferings of the people in ancient times were not appreciated at all. In fact, people were angry of all these unfair forced labour. People suffered and endured all the time. They had to fight the harsh climate, the continual attacks from Xiongnu, one of the tribes to the North of China. People died while building the wall and more people still came to build it.
Once upon a time, there were ten special brothers. The eldest can hear voices from a long distance, the second could see objects a thousand lis (500km) away, the third had the strength of an ox, the fourth had a head as hard as steel, the fifth had a body as hard as steel, the sixth had very long legs, the seventh had a very huge head, the eighth had extremely large feet, the ninth had a large mouth while the tenth had enormous eyes big enough to scare everybody.
When they were working on the farm one day, the eldest brother heard somebody crying. The second brother took a look and found out that the Great Wall builders were crying because of hunger. The third brother grew anxious and angry and immediately went to the place to help. When the officials saw him coming, did not bother to ask who he was and to what purpose he came for, they decided to chop off his head. The second brother saw this on the farm and informed his brothers. The fourth brother rushed to the rescue. The officials chopped his head with all their might in vain. They then came to the decision of beating his body. The fifth brother came to the rescue and the officials tried once again in vain. They then wanted to throw him into the sea. The sixth brother arrived just in time and stood easily and comfortably in the sea. He caught about thirty kilograms of fishes by the way. The seventh brother then came and used his hat to take the fishes. The eighth brother went to the mountain to chop some firewood to cook the fishes. The ninth brother devoured the fishes in one mouthful. The tenth brother became angry and cried. His tears then made a flood and left part of the Great Wall in ruins.
8. Wangxiao Temple
Once upon a time, there was a young boy of twelve years old. He had special abilities in his strength. He was still young but could exceed the strength of a normal grown-up. His name was Wangxiao. At that point of time, the construction of the Great Wall had started. Strong males were forced to unpaid labour along the Great Wall. Wangxiao could not escape it. He was still naïve and did not comprehend much of the human world. During his day works, his fellow workers who were all grown-ups, took advantage of his youth. They let him do the works for them while they could relax a little bit. Wangxiao did as he was told to willingly. Unfortunately, he was still a small kid. He died soon because of overworking.
People took pity on him after that and built a temple for him so as to remember him and named the temple, Wangxiao Temple. It is very near to the Great Wall.
9. Yanmen FortressYanmen fortress, or the Wild Goose Fortress, is an essential part of the defense of the Great Wall of China. It was formerly called the Xijing Fortress. There is a story of why the name was changed as recorded here.
There was a monk who was then travelling around the world to help himself in his studies of Buddhism. He came by the fortress one day and felt quite hungry. Nobody lived around the place and therefore, he could not get any food from the local people. Some wild geese were flying pass him in the sky. He looked up and saw not only the geese but also the meat. He was lured. However, it is a big offense to kill a living creature and consume the meat for a monk. The idea simply flashed past his mind and he apparently did not take much notice of it. Unfortunately, one of the wild geese knew this and sacrificed himself for the monk. He dropped to the ground right in front of the monk and died on the spot. The monk was amazed. When he realized that the wild goose had taken his own life to satisfy his hunger, he was touched. He could not eat the goose, not only because of the seriousness of the offence and his determination of following the Buddha instead of giving up half way, but also because of his respect to the goose for self-sacrifice. He buried the goose and built a small pagoda beside the grave.
10. Special Custom Along Jiayu Fortress
Jiayu Fortress is the Western end of the Great Wall of China. It is a huge fortress that marks the end and the beginning of the Great Wall. Beyond it, lay the barren Gobi desert in which nobody lived. Only travelers and traders risked their lives in passing the great fortress and their lives depended on destiny.
In ancient China, and perhaps in present day also, people had the habit of testing their luck which they believed would predict the outcome of their travels. Travelers and traders had the custom of throwing stones on the walls of the Jiayu Fortress. If the stone created noise, no matter loud or not, it would be a good sign that they would at least be safe out of the fortress. On the other hand, if no noise came about, they would probably be lost in the vast unknown world and should never return. If the sign is good, they might make a fortune and most importantly, return safe and sound. If the sign is a bad one, they might be hindered of their decision of venturing out. Such habit existed along the Jiayu Fortress.
Great Wall Hiking, trekking and camping
Great Wall Hiking
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The Great Wall around Beijing
Legends and Stories of the Great Wall of China (1)
Legends and Stories of the Great Wall of China (2)
The Functions of the Great Wall of China
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