In the old street there is a very special spot called Four-Eyed Well, a super-famous attraction almost all visitors shall not miss.
With a very long history, the Four-Eyed Well has emerged in the middle Ming Dynasty, with a history of 400 years! The Four-Eyed Well was not in the shape as shown today at the very beginning, it is a considerable large well used by all people living around the Central Street of Magong City. It is a particular legend that this well is always filled with abundant water, never dry even after many times of great drought in Penghu, this well still poured out cool sweet water to Penghu residents. It’s said that Penghu Central Street was originally called Large Well Street, which originated from this well.
In fact, to avoid children and women accidentally falling into the well, the Four-Eyed Well we see now was reconstructed by increasing the height of the well mouth and the four eyes were used to maintain the order to draw water. In the past, to collect water from the well, people often raised dispute over the order, therefore, the well was divided into four directions each with a well mouth. After that, people from four directions to collect water shall stand in a line in front of corresponding well mouth. It is really a very clever idea! If possible, take the change to carefully observe the size of each well mouth. Each of the well mouth is 36cm in diameter, slightly narrower than an adult’s shoulder width, in order to avoid the danger of falling into the well. So, this Four-Eyed Well proved the wisdom of their ancestors in ancient times!
In fact, this well also contains the environmental significance! You may not know that at that time there fed small fishes at the bottom of Four-Eyed Well! Why? Because if the water is contaminated, the small fish only surviving in clear water must be unable to afford and would die, so as long as people saw killed fishes floating on the surface of well water, it can be deduced that the well water has been contaminated and can no longer be use! It is quite a brilliant and environmental protection idea to test the water quality through fishes in such a natural way in the early times when there was no water quality detector.
In addition, it’s heard that locals also relied on this Four-Eyed Well to choose a wife!
Because the well mouth is small, so when the unmarried girls must bend and exert force to draw out the bucket full of water then some elders or matchmakers would sneakily observe the girls in a hidden place around the Four-Eyed Well, because as long the girl squatted down, they could clearly see the girl’s hip. In ancient times the elders put the most emphasis on whether the daughter-in-law could give birth to a fat baby! According to the idea of elders, the wider the hip is, the more possible for the girl to give birth to baby besides, they would observe whether the bucket the girl draw out was full of water if full, it meant that the girl has enough arm strength and able to help the family on heavy farm work, becoming an important pillar to assist the production. Of course, in present social view, the above statement seems irreverent to the women, but it indeed represents the culture and tradition of the old times, and is also quite a fun! From the cultural perspective, we can laugh at the legend of Four-Eyed Well and experience it as a legendary story!
The well water is free for local people and visitors. You can throw a bucket into it and then draw water up with it. The well water is very cold in the hot Penghu, if you sweat, it will be very comfortable to wash your face with water drawn from this well! But I appeal here that when using the precious water resource the God gifts to Penghu, do not throw garbage and dirty items into the well, in order to maintain the living heritage and natural treasure which had a history of over 400 years.
Look down from the well mouth, the well water is very abundant and immeasurably deep. Because the well water is so famous, every passenger will watch down. Every year when the county government cleans up the well, the most things taken out from the well are passengers’ sunglasses, lighters, pens, wallets, and even cameras! So, when come here to probe the well water, please pay attention to your article to avoid falling into the well!