Blood and Wrath
The Making of the Great Wall
Now, although Chien Fu had defeated the horse barbarians many years before, they were a stubborn people; wild like their desert homes and high tundras. And they swept down each year upon the helpless provinces of Chukei and Ma Yuan, ravaging and kill- ing as they wished. The border garrisons were often outnumbered, and to serve in the northern armies was as if to be given a death sentence.
My empire is being bled dry, spoke Tan Chin to his best friend, the poet Kar Wuan one night. If only there were a way to hold back the horsemen without this grevous price! Now Kar Wuan also hated this bloodshed, and together, the two cleverly devised a way which to end it for all time.
In those days, there dwelt under the sea a great dragon, whose name was Pao Hu Jen, the Guardian. His length exceeded that of a thousand li, and his task was to guard the Jade Mirror of Shih. From his stud- ies, Kar Wuan knew of this, and he also knew that the Jade Mirror had the power to turn life into stone and stone to life. He advised the young Emperor to join him, and together, they took sail one night, far out into the Celestial Sea to where Pao Hu was said to sleep.
With Kar Wuans spells to aid them, they swam to the bottom of the ocean. Soon, they came upon the huge dragon, sleeping with his many coils wrapped around the stone pillars which hold up the land of Shou Lung from the sea. Between his paws, there rested the Jade Mirror. With craft and spells, they stole the mirror from Pao Hu.
Now, when the great dragon awoke and found the mirror gone, he rose to the surface of the sea in a fury. His breath scored the clouds with steam, and his bel- low of anger rocked the heavens! But to his surprise, he found only the Emperor Tan Chin waiting for him, sitting fishing in his small boat. For Kar Wuan had
already fled to Shou Lung with his sorcerous arts.
Man Emperor! roared the Dragon. Have you seen the thief who took my Mirror? Tan Chin smiled. Indeed I have, he replied. He has gone westward, to the land of the horse barbarians, to sell your mirror to their great Khan. If you hurry, you will surely stop him! And so the dragon rushed along the clouds to the west, his tremendous body stretching out for miles behind him.
When he reached the west, he found Kar Wuan standing on a high mountaintop, facing the north and the east. And as the dragon swept around in a great curve, to snatch off Kar Wuans head with his claws, the clever wu jen raised the Magic Mirror to face him. Lightning crashed, and the dragon Pao Hu turned to stone! His huge body crashed to earth as if so many mighty bricks, stretching the length of many miles, and forming a huge wall over hill and plain! His one hundred spines became guardhouses, his great claws mighty fortresses, and his fanged mouth the tremen- dous gate which forbids entry to those who would enter Shou in anger. The horse barbarians could not go over his great stone body, and in rage, turned west to seek easier prey.
And this is why the great span that runs from the high Plateau to the great river of Chukei is known as the Great Dragons Wall.