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Four Great Folklores

Four Great Folklores

Chinese four great folklores refer to the four floklores which have come down with the greatest influences upon Chinese verbal and literal forms. With other folklores, Chinese four great folklores compose the essential part of Chinese folk culture. All the four great folklores are concerned people's recognition of true love from different profiles.

Chu Ci

In Qin Dynasty, there was a virtuous and beautiful girl whose name was Mengjiangnu. She and Fan Xiliang fell in love at first sight, and ready to get married after asking for parent's consent. At that time, for the constrution of Great Wall, the first Emperor of Qin Dynasty drafted people to serve as labors. the day just after they were getting married, Fan was caught and forced to go to build Great Wall, which was thousands of miles away from Fan's home. Mengjiangnu was full of grief and indignation, missing her husband day and night. The weather became colder and colder, Mengjiangnu made fine cotton-padded clothes, and went to Great Wall to look for her husband.

Going through misery and hardships, Mengjiangnu finally arrived at Great Wall. For her disappointment, what Mengjiangnu found was not her living husband but the icy Great Wall of which the begining and ending could not be seen at all. Finally, she was told that her husband had died and his body was burried underneath the Great Wall, Hearing this sad news, Mengjiangnu could not help herself but cry beside Great Wall for three days and nights. Finally, the Great Wall collapsed for about eight hundred miles, some bones of the dead appeared and they were just Fan Xiliang's, Thus, Mengjiangnu finally saw her husband.

Lady White and Xu Xian
On Pure Brightness Day, on the banks of West Lake, there were red flowers and green willow everywhere, and there was the reflection of green hills on the surface of the West Lake. The whole scene was very beautiful. Two snake spirits, Bai Suzhen and Xiaoqing, came here to play. On a rainy day, taking the chance of borrowing an umbrella, they became acquainted with the young intellectual Xu Xian. Lady White and Xu Xian fell in love with each other. Soon after they got married, and opened a herbal shop to save people who were in need. In a word, they led a happy life.

Unexpectedly, Monk Fahai from Jinshan Temple witnessed Xu Xian living with the snake spirit and attempted to break them up. First, he told Xu Xian that Lady White was a snake spirit by stealth. Furthermore, Monk Fahai used machinations to make Lady White lose her superior magic skills and become a large white snake. Later, Monk Fahai enjailed Xu Xian in Jinshan Temple. Lady White and Xiaoqing came to beseech Monk Fahai for release of Xu Xian, but their request was refused. In order to save her husband, Lady White summoned up a surging flood to Jinshan Temple. But finally she failed in fight due to the pregnancy and was suppressed by Fahai under Leifeng Pagoda beside the West Lake. So this loving couple was broken down.

Afterwards, Xiaoqing fled from Jinshan Temple and involved herself with practice of her magic skills. Finally, Xiaoqing defeated the Monk Fahai, forced him to retreat into the stomach of a crab and helped Lady White out of the bottom of Leifeng Pagoda. thus, Lady White and Xu Xian was reunited.

The story concerning Lady White figured an image of snake spirit with beauty, goodness and adamancy, paying a tribute to true love.

Chu Ci

The Cowherd and the Girl Weaver
According to the legend, there was a laborious and virtuous cowherd in old times. He led a poor life. One day, with the help of and old cow, the cowherd got to know the Girl Weaver, who had descended from the heaven to the secular world. The Girl Weaver fell in love with the Cowherd, who was so sincere and cute, and they got married. Later, they had a son and a daughter, leading a happy life.

When the Queen Mother of Heaven noticed, she was outraged so she asked the Girl Weaver to return to the Heaven. Although the Girl Weaver was so reluctant to leave her husband and children, she had to return to the Heaven. As for the Cowherd, he was even more reluctant to apart with his wife. For this reason, with the help of the old cow, he went to the Heaven with his children to look for his wife.

The Queen Mother of Heaven had no way to discourage them from reunion, therefore she had no choice but to draw a wide river (the Milky Way) in Heaven between the Girl Weaver and the Cowherd.

From then on, the Cowherd and the Girl Weaver had to look into the distance at each other on different banks of the Milky Way. But the affection between them would not be obstructed due to a heavenly river. On every seventh day of seventh month of the lunar calendar, thousands of magpies would fly to form a long bridge for the couple to reunited. Currently, such a date has became the day when many lovers date with each other and show their affection. Thus, this day can be considered as the oriental Valentine's Day. As the story goes, if you sit under the grapevine on this day and listen silently, you may hear the couple and their children having a private conversation.

Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai - The Butterfly Lovers: Leon and Jo
Once upon a time, there was a clever and beautiful girl named Zhu Yingtai. Although girls were not allowed to study in the school, Zhu Yingtai persuaded her parents into permitting her to study and disguised herself as a male with her servant girl, then went to Hangzhou to pursue her studies.

In the school, Zhu Yingtai met Liang Shanbo, who was simple and honest as well as having a profound acquirement. Therefore, they became blood brothers and had a profound affection for each other.

After three years of study, Zhu Yingtai finished studies and retruned to her hometown. At that time, she actually fell in love with Liang Shanbo. Although Liang Shanbo was unaware of Zhu's real identity, he also adored Zhu Yingtai. On departure, they were so reluctant to apart with each other. Zhu invited Liang to visit her family, and told him, she would ask parents to marry her sister to Liang. Zhu hoped that Liang could marry her sister as early as possible. However, when Liang Shanbo visited Zhu's family, Councilor Zhu betrothed Zhu Yingtai to the child Ma Wencai, a moneyed Procurator Ma's son. Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai met each other at the balcony and there remorseful when they realized that they couldn't get married. After Shanbo returned home, he was utterly disheartened and therefore fell ill and soon succumbed to disease.

Zhu Yingtai was unable to resist reality and was forced to get married with child Ma. On the day of the wedding, Zhu Yingtai asked carriers of the bridal sedan to pass Liang's tomb so that she could hold a memorial ceremony for Shanbo. When Zhu arrived at Liang's tomb, there came a fresh gale, which caused the waved to surge. Suddenly, the skies fell and the earth cracked, Liang's tomb split open. Seizing this opportunity, Zhu happily jumped into the tomb. Immediately, the rain passed off and the sky cleared up; the wind abated and waves calmed down; flowers bloomed. Zhu Yingtai and Liang Shanbo became a couple of butterflies, dancing gracefully among the wild flowers.

The story of "Leon and Jo" reflects the courage of young people who were pursuing true love in ancient times, showing that most people hate arranged or forced marriages and long for lives of happiness and liberty.

Reference data

The Queen Mother of Heaven is the goddess of the Heaven with great power in Chinese ancient folklores.
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