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Home History and Culture Meng Jiangnu's Bitter Weeping
Meng Jiangnu's Bitter Weeping
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Meng Jiangnu TempleThis story happened during the Qin Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝, 221BC-206BC). There was once an old man named Meng (孟 mèng) who lived in the southern part of the country with his wife. One spring, Meng sowed a seed of bottle gourd in his yard. The bottle gourd grew up bit by bit and its vines climbed over the wall and entered his neighbor Jiang’s yard. Like Meng, Jiang (jiāng 江) had no children and so he became very fond of the plant. He watered and took care of the plant. With tender care of both men, the plant grew bigger and bigger and gave a beautiful bottle gourd in autumn. Jiang plucked it off the vine, and the two old men decided to cut the gourd and divide it by half. To their surprise when they cut the gourd a pretty and lovely girl was lying inside! They felt happy to have a child and both loved her very much, so they decided to bring the child up together. They named the girl Meng Jiangnu (mèng jiāng nǚ 孟姜女), which means Meng and Jiang’s daughter.

As time went by, Meng Jiangnu grew up and became a beautiful young woman. She was very smart and industrious. She took care of old Meng and Jiang’s families, washing the clothes and doing the house work. People knew that Meng Jiangnu was a good girl and liked her very much. One day while playing in the yard, Meng Jiangnu saw a young man hiding in the garden. She called out to her parents, and the young man came out.

At that time, Emperor Qin Shihuang (qín shǐ huáng 秦始皇, the first emperor of Qin) announced to build the Great Wall (cháng chéng 长城). So lots of men were caught by the federal officials. Fan Xiliang (fàn xǐ liáng 范喜良) was an intellectual man and very afraid of being caught, so he went to Meng’s house to hide from the officials. Meng and Jiang liked this good-looking, honest, and good-mannered young man. They decided to wed their daughter to him. Both Fan Xiliang and Meng Jiangnu accepted happily, and the couple was married several days later. However, three days after their marriage, officials suddenly broke in and took Fan Xiliang away to build the Great Wall in the north of China.

Meng Jiangnv's Bitter WeepingIt was a hard time for Meng Jiangnu after her husband was taken away - she missed her husband and cried nearly every day. She sewed warm clothes for her husband and decided to set off to look for him. Saying farewell to her parents, she packed her luggage and started her long journey. She climbed over mountains and went through the rivers. She walked day and night, slipping and falling many times, but finally she reached the foot of the Great Wall at the present Shanhaiguan Pass (shān hǎi guān 山海关).

Upon her arrival, she was eager to ask about her husband. Bad news came to her, however, that Fan Xiliang had already died of exhaustion and was buried into the Great Wall! Meng Jiangnu could not help crying. She sat on the ground and cried and cried. Suddenly with a tremendous noise, a 400 kilometer-long (248-mile-long) section of the Great Wall collapsed over her bitter wail. The workmen and supervisors were astonished. Emperor Qin Shihuang happened to be touring the wall at that exact time, and he was enraged and ready to punish the woman.

However, at the first sight of Meng Jiangnu Emperor Qin Shihuang was attracted by her beauty. Instead of killing her, the Emperor asked Meng Jiangnu to marry him. Suppressing her feeling of anger, Meng Jiangnu agreed on the basis of three terms. The first was to find the body of Fan Xiliang, the second was to hold a state funeral for him, and the last one was to have Emperor Qin Shihuang wear black mourning for Fan Xiliang and attend the funeral in person. Emperor Qin Shihuang thought for a while and reluctantly agreed. After all the terms were met, Emperor Qin Shihuang was ready to take her to his palace. When the guarders were not watching, she suddenly turned around and jumped into the nearby Bohai Sea (bó hǎi 渤海).

This story Meng Jiangnu's Bitter Weeping tells of the hard work of Chinese commoners, as well as exposes the cruel system of hard labor during the reign of Emperor Qing Shihuang. The Ten-Thousand-Li Great Wall embodied the power and wisdom of the Chinese nation. In memory of Meng Jiangnu, later generations built a temple, called the Jiangnu Temple (jiāng nǚ miào 姜女庙), at the foot of the Great Wall in which a statue of Meng Jiangnu is located. Meng Jiangnu’s story has been passed down from generation to generation.


孟姜女哭长城
      秦始皇统一中国后,征集了数十万民夫,于公元前214年将秦、燕、赵三国北边的城墙连通、修缮合一,这便是举世闻名的万里长城。孟姜女万里寻夫送寒衣,哭倒长城八百里的传说就发生在那个时候.
  古时候,孟老汉和姜老汉互为邻居,仅一墙之隔。一年春天,孟老汉在自己院中种了一颗葫芦籽,经过浇水、施肥精心培育,葫芦秧长得肥壮、高大,从墙头爬过去,到姜老汉的院里结了个很大的葫芦,有几十斤重。等葫芦熟后,姜老汉拿刀把它切开,突然见里边躺着个又白又胖、非常可爱的女娃娃,姜老汉喜台望外,奔走相告,村里人听说后,纷纷前来观看这新鲜事,可是孟、姜两老汉却因此产生了矛盾,吵得不可开交。孟老汉非常坚定地说:"这葫芦是我亲自种下的,胖女孩该归我。"姜老汉却固执地说:"这葫芦结在我的院子里,这女娃该是我的。"吵了三天三夜,难解难分,毫无结果,后经村里人调解为:女娃娃属于两家共同的,轮流居住,共同扶养,并取了个"孟姜女"的名字。
  光阴似箭,日月如梭,转眼间十多年过去了,孟、姜两家老人为现已长大成人的孟姜女选了个女婿叫范喜良,选定良辰吉日,准备成亲。天有不测风云,成亲之日,新郎、新娘正要拜堂,突然从门外闯进几个衙役,一拥而上把新郎范喜良当民夫抓走了。
  原来,当时由于秦始皇在全国各地抽调大批民夫修筑长城,日日夜夜拚命干,民夫们被累死、饿死的不计其数,为了加快工程速度,他们又到处抓民夫补充,范喜良也被发配去充当修长城的民夫了。
  转眼一年过去了,范喜良杳无音信,急得孟姜女饭吃不下,觉睡不着,不知如何是好,跟两家老人商量后,决定去找丈夫,发誓找不到丈夫绝不回家。她带上干粮和给丈夫特制的御寒衣服上路了。一路上,风吹雨淋、日晒风寒、饥寒交迫、步履艰难,经过千难万险的万里跋涉,终于找到了修长城的地方,一打听才知道,为修长城死了许多人,丈夫范范喜良早就累死了,并被埋在长城下,尸骨都找不到了。这一消息如同晴天霹雳,孟姜女顿时就伤心地恸哭起来,泪如泉,声如雷,哭得惊天动地,天昏地暗,眼看着长城一段段的倒塌,哭到哪里塌到哪里,足有八百里长。这下可急坏了工程总管,急忙去报告正来此巡查工程进展的秦始皇。
      秦始皇赶忙去见孟姜女寻问根由。一见之后,便被她的美貌迷住了,非要封她为"正宫娘娘"。孟姜女虽然怒火满腔,但还是压住心头仇恨,灵机一动,将计就计地非要秦始皇答应她三个条件,才能当"正宫娘娘"。一要找到丈夫范喜良的尸体;二要为其丈夫举行国葬;三要秦始皇为范杞梁披麻戴孝、打幡送葬。秦始皇听罢孟姜女提的三个条件,思索片刻,为了得到美貌的孟姜女,便硬着头皮答应下来,孟姜女戴着孝拜了为筑城而死的范喜良坟墓后,宿愿已偿,面对滚滚的渤海,纵身一跃,投海自尽了。
      孟姜女哭长城的故事,很快就被人们所传颂,人们为纪念她,在山海关附近的一个山头上,给她修了坟、建了庙,取名为"姜女庙"。 孟姜女万里寻夫送寒衣,哭倒长城八百里的故事家喻户晓,流传至今。

 

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