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Lesson 51 The Great Wall 1

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(The family are discussing about going to the Great Wall.)

Xiao: Dad, do you know the story of Meng Jiangnv?

H: Of’ course I do.

M: You know what, since she learned the story in class, she keeps asking about it.

Xiao: Dad, can you take me to the Great Wall, since you know this story? I’ve been in Beijing for a while but I haven’t been to the Great Wall.

X: Dear, I was wondering wher to go at the weekend. Then, how about we take Xiaojie to the Great Wall?

Xiao: Great. Dad, do you think we can still find the place wher Meng Jiangnv’s tears swept away the Great Wall?

X: That’s only a legend. Don’t take it seriously.

H: Come, Xiaojie. Let me test you. Do you know which dynasty Meng Jiangnv was from?

Xiao: Let me see. Qin Dynasty. You won’t get me.

H: Right. But the part of the Great Wall we see today was mainly built in the Ming Dynasty.

Xiao: Then, the Great Wall in the legend and the Great Wall we see today are totally different.

H: Yes. How clever you are!

X: Dear, just now you said that the part of the Great Wall we see today was mainly built in the Ming Dynasty. Does it mean that the wall-building completely stopped after that?

H: It’s generally like that. Starting from the Qing Dynasty, no more of the Great Wall was built.

Xiao: Why?

H: Do you want to know the answer? Let me ask you a question first. Do you know why the Great Wall was built?

Xiao: Our teacher told us that it was used to help people in battle.

X: Frankly speaking, I really doubt the role the Great Wall played in war.

H: The Great Wall was very helpful before the Qing Dynasty. But after that, with the coming of guns and cannons, it became useless.

X: Oh, no wonder the wall-building stopped in the Qing Dynasty.

Xiao: Dad, how long is the Great Wall? It is said you can even see it from the moon.

H: If you really want to know, go and see it for yourself.

X: After what you’ve said, I can’t wait. I have an urge to fly there right away.

H: Fly? Haha, look, how excited you are!

Xiao: I don’t care what you say, as long I see the Great Wall as soon as possible.

X: Go and do your homework. There are several days to go before the weekend.

Xiao: It’s no fun.


1)的确,确实 really, indeed


Sichuan food really is quite hot.


It ’s really interesting to go to a temple fair.

2)根本 simply, fundamentally


It’s not cold at all this winter.


His cooking is really bad.

Sign Posts

Meng Jiangnu

In this lesson we heard about the tale of Meng Jiangnu, perhaps the most famous tale about the Great Wall. Like many fables, there are slightly different versions that have been told over the years. The story dates from the Qin Dynasty, when China was first unified into one country over 2000 years ago. This is the time when smaller walls from various kingdoms were joined into one Great Wall under the orders of Qin Shihuang, the first Emperor of China. He is regarded in Chinese history as a great military leader who unified China, but a very cruel and harsh leader as well. At this time, many soldiers were conscripted into the army against their will and treated as slave labour.

Meng Jiangnu was a beautiful woman who lived in Jiangsu province, far from the capital of China at the time and far from the Great Wall, which ran along the northern boundary of the empire. She had just been married a few days when her husband was suddenly conscripted into the army and taken away by force. Their young marriage was torn apart, and Meng Jiangnu cried every day.

Months later, as winter arrived, she prepared some winter clothing for her husband and started off to find him. It was a long journey to the northern regions so far from her home, and at first she had no idea wher she might find him. Eventually, she met some labourers who told her they had worked with her husband building the Great Wall nearby. When she asked of his wherabouts, she was told that he had died just a month ago from exhaustion and starvation. So many workers had died during the building of the wall that they were forced to simply bury the bodies inside the wall as it was built.

Meng Jiangnv went to this place along wall and cried and cried for several days. Suddenly there was a loud crack and the wall broke open. She found the remains of her husband along with all the other workers, and was thus able at least to give him a proper burial. It’s a story of undying love, and the power of love to overcome all obstacles.

Substitution and Extension



Is Peking Duck really as good as you say? I can hardly wait to taste it.


Hurry up! Otherwise, we will miss the train.

2)......而已 nothing more


I was just speaking casually. You took it seriously.


Don't be angry. We were just kidding.