Posted: Monday, September 26, 2016
Learning Vietnamese in Ho Chi Minh City– Mị Nương was the daughter of King Hùng XVIIIth. Her beauty was unsurpassed and the monarch was determined that she should marry someone who was exceptional and well matched to her beauty. One day, two suitors arrived at the kingdom to ask for her hand.
The first, who came from the Ba Vì Mountains, was handsome and intelligent and possessed great powers. He pointed his finger to the East, and green rice paddies appeared. He pointed his finger to the West and high mountains rose. He was known as the Prince of the Mountains.
The other hopeful suitor came from the Eastern Sea, and he also had tremendous powers. When he called the wind, it blew as strongly as he commanded. And when he asked for rain, he could have any amount he wished.
Truly, it seemed, both were equally deserving to be the son-in-law of King Hùng, and he had great difficulty in choosing who it would be. After much deliberation, he summoned his advisers to discuss the problem, but as they could not offer a solution he continued to ponder alone. Finally, the king called the two princes to his presence.
“I am pleased with both of you, but I have only one daughter. This is my decision. I will give the hand of Mị Nương to the one who brings these things to me. Firstly, a hundred trays of glutinous rice; next, two hundred bánh chưng; thirdly, an elephant with nine tusks; fourthly, a rooster with nine spurs; and finally, a horse with nine manes.”
The two left to attempt to fulfil the tasks, and early next morning the Prince of the Mountains returned bearing all the precious gifts. King Hùng was most pleased and allowed Mị Nương to follow the prince to his home in the mountains.
Later, smiling happily, the Prince of the Waters appeared with an equal array, but his joy turned to fury when he learned of the victory of the Prince of the Mountains. He pursued the couple, determined to seize the beautiful young woman for himself.
He called on the wind and the rain to assist him and a mighty typhoon arose. The deluge began to drown the earth but the Prince of the Mountains was not afraid. He moved mountains and hills to block the floods, and as the waters rose higher so did the land. The battle raged for months but finally, his powers exhausted, the Prince of the Water retreated to his realm in the east.
Time passed, but his hatred and resentment did not diminish, and when his strength was renewed he attacked once more. Again, after a long and fierce contest, he was repulsed and again he fled to his watery home. Each year since that time the Prince of the Waters has renewed his onslaught, but each year he always loses, and the land is left in peace for a time.