“During the Qin dynasty China, there was a kind and beautiful woman named Meng Jiang Nv. One day, she discovered a young man hidden between the grapevines in her backyard–turned out that his name is Fan Xi Liang, and he is hiding from Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di’s guards, for they are going everywhere, capturing people to go build the Great Wall where many starved and died of exhaustion. Meng Jiang Nv saved him and sheltered him and eventually the two fell in love.
On their wedding night, when everything was going so well, guards suddenly barged inside their house and took Fan Xi Liang away to go be labor for the Great Wall. Meng Jiang Nv was so sad and angry that she decided she is going to go to the Great Wall herself and to find her husband. She spent many days, going through steep mountains and rivers, suffering through terrible conditions with no complaint till she reached the Great Wall.
She asked everywhere for her husband, but no one seemed to have seen him till finally, someone told Meng Jiang Nv that her husband’s been long dead and that his bone are buried at the bottom of the Great Wall. Under great pain, Meng Jiang Nv started to cry for 3 days and nights and she cried so much that eventually part of the Great Wall collapsed, exposing the bloody bones of her husband. She finally got to see her beloved husband again, but he will never get to see her again, due to the tyrannical request of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di.”
CM learned this folktale growing up in China. It expresses the problems in everyday life under the horrible conditions when ruled by the tyrant. The tale shows corruption and the people’s frustration with the Qin dynasty. It also relies on a national landmark, the great wall, and is a very country-specific folktale.