八達嶺長城傳說 Legends of the Great Wall of Badaling
Inscribed list: National List, Second Batch
Inventory no.: I-32
Nominating unit(s): Beijing, Yanqing County
Legends of the Great Wall of Badaling are folk stories centered on the area of Badaling, a part of the Great Wall near Jurong Pass. Mythic, historical or romantic in style, these stories reveal the local culture in Badaling.
Due to the two-thousand-year history of the Great Wall of Badaling, the stories are rich in content. Some stories are regarded as references to official history, and have become symbols of the Great Wall. Legends involving miraculous elements include “The Fairy Magicked Gold Bricks” (仙女點金磚), “The Origins of the Three Passes of the Great Wall” (長城三關的來歷), “Zhang Guoluo building the Turning Spine Tower” (張果老修拐脊樓), and so forth. Legends concerning the Lady Meng Jiang (孟姜女) include, “Why Was Rice Dumpling Triangular?” (粽子為啥是三角的), “Lady Meng Jiang Weeping at the Great Wall” (孟姜女哭長城), and more. The story of “Lady Meng Jiang Weeping at the Great Wall is itself one of the Four Great Folktales of China, and is about a woman whose husband was pressed into corvee labor to build the Great all of China. Seeking to find out news of her husband, the woman arrived at the Great Wall and learned of her death. Hearing the news, she wept so bitterly that a part of the Great Wall collapsed, revealing his bones. Legends about the naming of Badaling include “Ayurbarwada Buyantu Khan Was Born in Yanqing” (元仁宗誕生於延慶), “The Ridge of Defensing Tatar” (把韃嶺), and more.
The following is a brief story of “The Fairy Magicked Gold Bricks”:
A long time ago, it rained in Badaling for more than twenty days. The heavy rain created landslides that washed away the people’s houses. They could only stay on the hill, hungry from the lack of food. Yet the assisting officer, Lu Rui, did not distribute the food and kept it for himself. A pretty young lady appeared one day, whom Lu saw and immediately desired. When he invited her to be his wife, she demanded that she first build a copy of the Great Wall at his house, using a small chisel to take away the bricks from the Great Wall of Badaling. The next day, Lu took away the bricks from the Great Wall with donkey carts. Suddenly, the carts broke, and he discovered that all the bricks had turned to gold. Lu Rui then distributed all the food to the people with wild joy, even forgetting to receive the commissioner from the central government. The commissioner punished him until Lu told him about the gold. However, all gold bricks returned to normal when the commissioner checked the carts. In anger, the commissioner broke through Lu’s head with the chisel. After a few seconds, Lu’s corpse was suddenly ablaze with fire, and on his back appeared the words “those that oppress the people must die.” The commissioner was frightened into leaving immediately. Thereafter the people in the area enjoyed peace, and were able to eat and sleep well. One night, some people spotted spots of light on the Great Wall. The very next day, they found that the Wall that had been damaged by Lu had been fixed, leading the people to believe that it was the magic of the fairy.
The stories have traditionally been passed on orally, but now most of them have been collected for organization and publication, for better preservation of this kind of intangible cultural heritage. In 2016 the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture approved Chi Shang-ming to be the inheritor of Legends of the Great Wall of Badaling. For 36 years, Chi has researched, interviewed and recorded more than 200 legends, of which 150 have been published in different periodicals. Moreover, he has participated in many promotion events, such as talks and training courses on folk literature.
Since 2008, the item of Legends of the Great Wall of Badaling has been included in the second batch of the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of China, applied by Yanqing county in Beijing.