Great Wall Of China Legends

great wall of china legendsThere are numerous popular legends and tales in China about the Great Wall. Though many are based on historical facts, they have survived the centuries because they expressed the wisdom and feelings of the ancient Chinese working people.

1) Brick at Jiayuguan Pass
Jiayuguan Pass is located at the western end of the Great Wall in Gansu Province and was a strategic point on the ancient Silk Road.
A single gray brick is fixed on the back wall of the western gate tower in the pass. It is said to be a souvenir left from a bet between a crafts man and a supervisor when the Great Wall was being built. A contractor named Yi Kaishan was so good at working out plans he could accurately calculate the number of men and materials needed without any waste.
The supervisor, who bore him a personal grudge, didn’t believe him and challenged him with a bet. “I’ll allow you just one brick more than you say you need,” he said. “If there is one left over, I’ll put it on the tower myself to leave a good name for you. If you need more, you’ll be punished.”
Yi agreed. When the construction was finished, just as he predicted only one brick remained. This can be seen on the gate tower at Jiayuguan Pass today.

2)A Bird Spirit’s Call
In the city of Xiluo near Jiayuguan Pass, the base of the wall is wider than the top for strength and solidity. Strangely, when the high-quality bricks of a corner are struck with a stone, a clear and melodious sound like the song of a swallow can be heard.
People say that the wall was so heavily guarded that even a swallow could not get through. One evening years ago, a swallow trying tore turn to its nest was killed when it flew into the wall. Today, the sound is said to be the plaintive voice of the birds spirit.

3) Length of the Great Wall
There are various measurements of the length of the Great Wall because in China’s history, more than twenty dynasties and states of dukes or princes built their own walls at different places. Of these, ac-cording to historical documents, three exceeded 10,000 li (5,000 kilometres). One was built during the reign of Emperor Qin Shihuang, starting from Lintao at the west end to Liaodong at the east end. The second one was built in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) from pre-sent-day Xinjiang to Liaodong, consisting of inner and outer walls with beacon towers and bulwark, measuring more than 20,000 li(10,000 kilometres) in total. The third, built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), was from Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu at the west end to the Yalu River at the east end. If added together the length of the walls built by various dynasties would amount to 100,000 li (50,000kilometres) or more. The ruins of these walls are scattered over six-teen provinces, cities and autonomous regions. In Inner Mongolia alone, the ruin of the Great Wall extends to 30,000 li (15,000 kilometres).

Most of the walls built in the early historical periods are damaged or in a state of decay. Now only the one built in the Ming Dynasty is comparatively well preserved. So, the Great Wall we mention today is the Ming Great Wall which is in total 12,000 li (6,000 kilometres). However, this figure is based only on historical records, and, as a matter of fact, in some places double or triple walls were built. With its meanderings and loops the actual extent of the structure might be even longer.

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