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Folk Tales

The Legend of the Returned Sword
(Truyền Thuyết Hồ Hoàn Kiếm)

One day, a poor but noble-hearted man named Lê Lợi was fishing in a lake when he caught a sword in his net. No ordinary sword, it's a magical blade called Thuận Thiên meaning "Heaven's Will." The sword gives him the strength and power to rally an army against the Ming invaders.

Empowered by the magic sword, Lê Lợi becomes a capable and charismatic leader. He leads a long and challenging rebellion against the Ming occupiers. The sword grants him great power, and he is able to win many battles.

After years of struggle, Lê Lợi is victorious. He liberates Vietnam from Chinese rule and becomes the emperor, founding the Lê Dynasty. His reign brings peace and prosperity to the land.

One day, while boating on the same lake where he found the sword, a giant golden turtle emerges from the water. The turtle tells Lê Lợi that it was sent by the Dragon King, the god of water, to retrieve the sword now that peace has been restored. Recognizing that the sword was a heavenly gift meant for the purpose of liberating his people, Lê Lợi returns the sword to the turtle, which disappears into the depths of the lake.

The lake is henceforth known as Hoàn Kiếm Lake, which translates to "Lake of the Returned Sword." It's located in the heart of Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, and remains a place of historical significance and a popular tourist attraction.

The Legend of the Golden Turtle
(Huyền thoại Rùa Vàng)

Once, Vietnam was under the rule of the Ming Dynasty from China. Lê Lợi, a nobleman, started a rebellion to free Vietnam. One day, while fishing, he caught a sword blade in his net.

The sword had no handle, but later, when Lê Lợi was walking by a banyan tree, the handle of a sword fell from the sky and fit perfectly into the blade he had found. Named Thuận Thiên meaning "Heaven's Will," the sword gave Lê Lợi the strength and power to drive out the Chinese and become king.

After the war, while boating on Luc Thuy (Green Water) Lake, a giant golden turtle emerged from the water. The turtle, believed to be a god, told Lê Lợi that it had come to reclaim the sword that the Dragon King had given to Lê Lợi to expel the invaders.

Lê Lợi understood that the sword was a heavenly gift meant only for the purpose of defeating the Ming, so he returned it to the turtle. After taking the sword, the turtle dove back into the depths of the lake.

Following this event, Luc Thuy Lake was renamed to Hoàn Kiếm Lake, which means "Lake of the Returned Sword." 

The Legend of the Trung Sisters
(Huyền Thoại hai bà Trưng)

In ancient Vietnam, under the harsh rule of the Eastern Han Dynasty, the Trung sisters, Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị, emerged as leaders of a rebellion. Their father was a powerful lord, and they grew up with a love for their homeland and a keen sense of justice.

The oppression intensified when a Chinese commander, To Dinh, executed Trưng Trắc's husband, Thi Sách, for his defiance. Enraged and saddened by her husband's unjust death, Trưng Trắc, alongside her sister Trưng Nhị, rallied the people of the Vietnamese tribes to rise against the Chinese occupiers.

Demonstrating extraordinary leadership and martial skills, the sisters successfully led a rebellion that liberated Nam Viet from Chinese control in 40 CE. They established an independent state and became queens, with Trưng Trắc as the ruler. Their reign marked a period of prosperity and freedom, with the implementation of policies that benefited their people, including the promotion of women to high government positions.

However, in 43 CE, the Chinese mustered a large army to retake the region. Despite their bravery and strategic prowess, the Trung sisters' forces were eventually overwhelmed due to the Chinese military's superior numbers and resources. Facing defeat, the sisters chose death over surrender. They drowned themselves in a river, a symbol of their unyielding spirit and refusal to be subjugated.

The Story of Tam and Cam
(Tấm Cám)

Tam and Cam were stepsisters who lived with their cruel stepmother after their father passed away. Tam was kind and hardworking, while Cam was lazy and selfish. Despite Tam's efforts to be kind to her stepsister, Cam continued to mistreat and abuse her.

One day, the king announced that he was holding a festival to find a bride for his son. Tam was excited at the prospect of attending, but her stepmother and stepsister were determined to keep her from going. However, with the help of a magical fish and a kind fairy, Tam was able to attend the festival in disguise and capture the heart of the prince.

But when Cam found out about Tam's success, she became consumed with jealousy and plotted to ruin her stepsister's happiness. She tricked Tam into believing that the prince did not truly love her and convinced her to leave the palace and return home.

Tam returned home heartbroken and was forced to endure more mistreatment from her stepmother and stepsister. However, with the help of the fairy and the magical fish, Tam was eventually able to prove her worth and marry the prince.

The Tale of Kieu
(Truyen Kieu)

Kieu, a talented and beautiful young woman, falls in love with a scholar named Kim Trong. However, their love is not meant to be, as Kieu's family is forced to sell her into marriage to pay off their debts. Kieu is devastated by the loss of her love but resolves to make the best of her situation.

Kieu faces a series of trials and tribulations, including being forced into prostitution, encountering treacherous men who try to take advantage of her, and being betrayed by those she trusts. Despite these challenges, Kieu remains steadfast and determined to overcome them.

Kieu is guided by her love for Kim Trong and her unwavering moral compass. She remains true to herself and her values, even in the face of adversity. Ultimately, Kieu's strength and resilience are rewarded, and she is reunited with her true love.


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