While she was still quite at a loss as to what to do, a crow suddenly alighted before her. It cawed twice and flew on a short distance, then sat down again in front of her and cawed again twice. Meng Chiang-nu decided that the bird was inviting her to follow its direction and so she resumed her travel, a little cheered because of the company of this living thing, and she began to sing as she walked along:
Thick and fast swirl round the winter snows:
I, Meng Chiang-nu, trudge, bearing winter clothes,
A starveling crow, alas, my only guide,
The Great Wall far, and I far from his side!
Thus she walked past mountain ranges, crossing big rivers as well as small streams.
And thus many a dreary day had passed before she at last reached the Great Wall. How excited she was when she caught sight of it, meandering like a huge serpent over the mountains before her. The wind was piercingly cold and the bare mountains were covered with dry grass only, without a single tree anywhere. Clusters of people were huddling against the Great Wall; these were the people who had been driven here to build it.
Meng Chiang-nu walked along the Great Wall, trying to find her husband among those who were toiling here. She asked after her husband, but nobody knew anything about him, so she had to go on and on inquiring.... She saw what sallow faces the toilers had, their cheekbones protruding through the skin, and she saw many dead lying about, without anybody paying any attention. Her anguish over her husband's unknown fate increased, so that she shed many bitter tears as she continued her search.