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1000-year-old Well Still Gives out Clear Water

Cultural workers recently found a magical well in Lingchuan County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which dates back 1,000 years ago. The well has never dried up and its water is still clear and chilly.

The well is in Shankou Village, Tanxia Town of Lingchuan County, 20 km from Guilin, a famous scenic spot in the autonomous region. The well mouth was circled with slab stones, while the rest was surrounded by processed stones.

To the east of the well is an ancient memorial arch, which is 3.88 meters high, with four pillars and three gates. On top of each pillar is a squatting stone lion. On the arch are inscribed four Chinese characters "Si Fang Ling Quan," meaning a magic spring for all directions. The writing style is natural and pungent. The end of each stroke is carved into a form of a claw. The words were written by Cheng Jichang, the last Leading Scholar title winner under China's former imperial civil examination system.

About three meters away from the well mouth is a 3.5-meter-high and 5-meter-wide screen wall. Two stone tablets are engraved on it. The left side tells the story of the well building in detail, while the right carries the names of donors to the well construction.

According to the tablet inscriptions, the well was set up in the early period of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and its former name was "Si Fang Quang", meaning a spring for people from all over China.

There are many legends about this well. For example, some believe the water has magical powers to forecast drought or flood. Each time the nearby Gantang River rises, a great sound will be heard from the well. Then the water drops by over three meters but immediately recovers. If, on a sunny morning, people see a rainbow at the mouth of the well, they will have a good harvest that year.

(新华网 [Xinhua News Agency], translated by Li Jinhui for china.org.cn, June 20, 2002)


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