Saturday, 27 December 2008

The story of Watermelon

Mai An Tiem was an adopted son of 17th King Hung. He was talented and that was why he was highly considered by people and received many favors from the king. Once he said " Present means worry, gift means dept" and that provoked his father's anger. In spite of many pieces of advice from the whole court officials, there was an order that An Tiem and his family had to be deported to an isolated island in the far, far ocean without any belongings.

Fade came to those unlucky people. An Tiem's family was left in the island with nothing but a blunt sword, a clay pot and food that was only enough for them in five days. The wife sunk in sorrows and sobbed while the husband were releasing her and manly declared that they could make everything by their hands.

Life in remove place was so hard that both young and adult in the unfortunate family had to catch fish, oyster and also wild greens to remain life. Later the fruit was out of the season, fish in the sea could not be caught without net, bird was watchful over the trap. What they owned at this time was just some wild greens cultivated by the husband.

One early morning, An Tiem heard the sounds of birds in a distance then he just walked out to see the scene but the birds were frighten and flew high above in confusion and left a small piece of melon with bright red pulp and black tiny seeds. " It was absolutely good for birds. It must be the same for Man" he thought " Why don't I do something with those tiny seeds?" Its fresh and sweet taste seemed to make him believe that his decision was right. With a blunt sword he ploughed a small piece of land and sowed it with the seeds.

Time passed by; the man now was look happy and hopeful when travelling his eyes over the verdant and luxuriant plants sprawling on the sand. All people in the family looked for the coming day that their lianas bear fruit and the fruit got bigger and bigger... One morning the family was woke by the sounds of bird. An Tiem came out into the sand and found one of the melon was half-eaten and showing the bright red color of its pulp. He brought it home then and cut a small piece to each person in the family. The melon taste was so good that everyone liked it but the rest of it was only consumed at noon when they felt that what they had eaten in the morning was unharmful to them.

Thank to this kind of fruit, life in the island now was much better. Melon was cultivated, harvested season by season. Every time An Tiem himself also dropped some fruits with his name curved over their skin into the ocean for the desire of sharing the happiness and looking for a way to the mainland.

Later there were some merchants who got into the island and asked for exchanging tools as well as food for the kind of fruit they had picked up in the sea.
Hung king somewhat felt regretful that he had put his son a death until the day he was offered a melon and broken the news that An Tiem and his family weren't only alive but also cultivated a precious melon in the island. After that a favor was granted to bring An Tiem and his family back to the court as an honor to the country.

From that time on this kind of fruit - Watermelon - was commonly planted but it was said that those melons from Nga Son Island where An Tiem first cultivated it were the best ones.

Friday, 26 December 2008

The golden star fruit tree

Once upon a time, there was a very rich man who lived in a village. When he died, he left his two sons a huge fortune. But the two brothers were entirely different. The elder was greedy, but the younger was very kind. So after the parents' death, the elder claimed the fortune and left his younger brother only star fruit tree. (A very productive tree that gives sour fruit.) The younger brother took good care of his tree, watering it every day and hoping that it would give him a lot of fruit so that he could make a living by selling it. The elder brother, on the other hand, was so happy with his inheritance that he had nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately for the younger brother, when the fruit was ripe, a raven flew by and stopped in the tree to eat it. He was very sad to see this happen every day, but he did not know what to do. So one day, he decided to stand beneath the tree an speak to the raven: "Raven, please don't eat my fruit." he called. "This fruit tree is my only fortune. If you eat the fruit, my family will starve."

"Don't worry," the raven answered. "I'll pay you back in gold. Go and make yourself a bag 60 centimeters long to keep the gold."

Hearing those words, he was very excited and told his wife to make a bag of 60 centimeters. The next day, the raven came as he had promised. He landed by the gate, let the younger brother sit on his back, and took off for a place filled with gold. There the younger brother filled the bag with gold. Then he flew back home on the raven's back. And so he became very rich. But he still loved and respected his elder brother.

So one day he told his wife to prepare a good meal for his brother and his family. But when he invited his brother, the latter refused to come at first. The brother only accepted after he had begged him again and again. When the older brother arrived at his house, he was surprised to see it all changed. It was no longer the poor house that he had seen before. So he asked his younger brother the reason. The latter told him everything that happened. After he heard it all, he offered to trade all his fortune for the fruit-tree. The kind brother gladly accepted the offer.

The raven came as usual. The greedy brother spoke to the raven the same words as his brother and received the same answer from the raven. But he was so greedy that he made a much larger bag instead of a 60 centimeter bag. The next day, the raven came to take him to place of gold. After he had filled the bag, he filled all his pockets, too, before he climbed onto the raven's back to go home. But the load was so heavy that when they flew over the sea, the raven tilted his tired wings and dropped him off into the sea.

His wife and younger brother waited and waited but did not see him come back. So they decided to ask the raven and learn all the facts.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

The moon boy - Cuoi

Long, long time ago there was a clever boy whose name was Cuoi. He did nothing with his cleverness but to play trick on people around him. He lived with his uncle and aunt who were usually suffered from his cheats.
Once day Cuoi came to the field and broke the bad new to the uncle that his wife had fell down from the ladder and bled. The man was so frighten that he ran to his home without saying a word. Cuoi at that time reached the house before his poor uncle by a short cut then broke another bad new to his aunt that her husband was collided by the buffalo and was going to died. The poor woman was scared and immediately ran out to the field. Suddenly she bumped to a man and recognized that it was her husband who was panting and sweating like her. The poor couple came back with anger and decided to imprison him into a bamboo cage then drifted him in the river.
In the afternoon when Cuoi was carried to the river's bank, he regretfully said sorry to them and asked them to come back home to bring him a book hidden behind the basket of rice that taught him telling lie as the last favour. They both agreed and returned home to satisfy their curiosity without saying a word.
After that Cuoi saw a blind man passed by. He then asked the man to untight the cage if he wanted to have his eyes cured. At last Cuoi was free and hid himself in a bamboo grave and luckily found a jar of gold. He came back and gave it to his uncle and his aunt to atone for faults while the poor blind man was waiting for his eyes treated.
Later Cuoi got married with a girl in the village and went on pulling people's leg.

Once morning he came into the forest and saw a tiger mother picking leaves from a kind of tree to cure her son's wound. Immediately the wound was recovered and the tiger baby could follow his mother to continue their trip.

Cuoi grasped the opportunity to uproot the tree and rose it in the garden behind his house. He called the tree Banyan and took good care to it. He always reminded his wife that the tree was magic one so it was impossible to pour dirty water or dump the garbage at its root otherwise it would fly to the heaven. His poor wife sometimes envied with the tree so she dumped garbage at the tree root once day.

When Cuoi came home he found the tree was shaking and flying higher and higher in the sky. He tried to hold its root to pull it back but he couldn't.

The tree actually pulled him farther and farther from the earth until it reached the moon.

It is said that there is still image of Cuoi sitting at the root of Banyan tree and looking down to see the world and there is also a Vietnamese saying " lie as Cuoi".

Poem - Myself, don't give up (Trinh Cong Son)

Don't give up, myself don't give up
Autumn leaves why fell in winter
Don't give up, honey, don't give up
You are mine and I'm also yours
Flying kite like whose soul chearless
Down a kite that gulf get more grieved

Who I were, shedding tears myself
Who I am, why exists in world
who am I, then who, and who
So much love the life

Don't give give, myself don't give up
Lost sunshine like my own story
Don't give up honey dont give up
You refresh and u get sunrise
Farther road and late sun quiet
Those whose soul now tiptoes sadden

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The Wait-For- Husband Stone


Once upon a time, there was a poor couple who had 2 children: an 11-year-old son and a 6- year-old daughter. They often leave their children at home when they worked in the field or go. One day, the mother gave the children one sugar cane and told the boy to cut it for his sister to eat and took her out for some fun. She often said:

- Don't make her cry or else our father will hit you hard.

The boy took his sister to the front yard and they broke branches off a tree to build a house with their neighbour's friends. After playing, he took his sister home and looked for a knife to cut the sugar cane. When he cut the sugar cane, the knife blade suddenly slipped from knife handle and hit his sister on the head. She fell down and fainted, blood was spilled on the ground.

He was very scared and ran away. He ran and ran and ran. He didn't know where he was running, how many houses he was there to have lunches and dinners for 15 years. Until the last one, a fisherman who lived in Binh Dinh seaside adopted him. Fishing kept him over there. The days went by. Then he married a girl.

His wife was good at knitting fish net. When his boat landed, she brought his fish to market to sell. After 2 years, they had a son and were very happy. One day, he was at home mending the net because of the stormy sea. After lunch, his wife flowed down her hair and had him caught louses. He was so surprised to see the big round scar on her right ear. He asked her about it. She told him happily:

- 20 years ago, my elder brother cut sugar cane and that harmful knife blade hit my head. I fainted at that time. Later, I just knew my brother went away because he was fearful. My parents looked for him everywhere but there wasn't any news about him. Since then, my parents were so upset that they passed away because of their sadness. As for me, nobody raised me and they sold me to a business boat. I hadn't settled down anywhere till I met you.

Behind her back, his face was paler and paler when he knew he married his own sister. His heart was broken by her words. But he tried to repress his feelings and didn't let her know about them. His boat set sail, furrowed the waves and headed for the high sea again but he never came back to her anymore. She was waiting for him at home. Every afternoon, she took her child to the mountain at sea mouth, watching the horizon for her husband coming back. Days passed by, she still climbed the mountain to look for her husband although her eyes were dry because of much crying. Later, she and her child turned into a stone, it becomes a symbol of wife's faith.

Translated by Mai Anh Tuyet

Truong Chi's Obsessive Love

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl who was named My Nuong. She was a daughter of a King's first minister. She lived in a mansion near the river. A young fisherman often cast his net at that part of the river. His name was Truong Chi, and he had a sweet voice. He often sang when he was rowing his small boat. The songs and the voice were so attractive that My Nuong was addicted to listening to them every day. One day the young fisherman did not come to cast his net and this made My Nuong feel sad. Then he appeared again. My Nuong was so happy to open her window, and to look down and listen to his sweet songs. Gradually, those songs and his magic voice entered her heart. It made her lovesick, and no medicine could cure her sickness. Her family was very worried because her sickness became ever more serious. Her father asked her about what was making her so ill and after learning about her feelings, he called Truong Chi to come in the mansion to meet her. Truong Chi extracted the essence of some herbs by simmering them and sang lovely songs for her. But sadly, when she saw his very ugly face, all of her sickness disappeared and she didn't want to see him again. But Truong Chi had fallen in love with her. He was so pained that his heart would no longer beat, and he died of lovesickness. Three years after his burial, his family exhumed his body to move his remains to another place. When they opened the coffin hey found a crystal ball – his obsessive love that it was impossible to dispel. The mandarin came to hear about the remarkable crystal ball, and Truong Chi's obsessive love. He bought the ball one day when he was passing by and he had a turner to make a teacup from it. When the cup was filled with tea, people could see in it that young man rowing his boat on the river, as he had done before. My Nuong took the cup, and remembering the old story, tears welled in her eyes. But as her tears splashed into the cup, it melted into water.

Translated by Mai Anh Tuyet

Lizard Story

Long, long ago, a poor man was called lizard. He and his fife were beggars. They saved amount of money then inter their money in a corner of their house. One day he saw 2 buffaloes wade from water and fight to death. He guessed it would have a big flood. So he used his money to buy rice. Of course, there was a big flood and he sold rice with an expensive price. He became rich and used their money to lend on interest. He became a billionaire and he would be arrogant so much. One day, he met another billionaire, they talked about their riches. Gradually they bet who would be the richest. First, he asked that man "Do you have coral?" That man gave a coral was a few meters long. That man asked him " Do you have rhino?" He gave a set tea cup which was made of horns of rhino. They showed many things. At last a man whispered that man and he asked "Do you have soil pot? Lizard man was trembled and told his servants to find it but he didn't have because that pot was often in poor family. He lost and all his property belonged to that man. He was sorry for him and died. He turned into house lizard and often made sound like his name.

Translated by Mai Anh Tuyet

Nam Xuong Lady


A long, long time ago, there lived in Nam Xuong village a girl called Vu Thi Thiet, she was not only beautiful but also well mannered. She got married to Truong Sinh who lived in the same village. Truong Sinh was a so jealous person. He often found her fault but she kept rule of behaviour and there was nothing happened.

They lived in happiness when the war happened at the frontier. He had to say goodbye to his mother and his wife to join the army as mandarin ordered. His wife was pregnant at that time. The goodbye was full of reluctance. The mother wished her son to have hard feet and soft stones, the husband advised his wife to try to take care of their old mother and bring up their child.

After he went to the frontier, she gave birth to a son; she named her child Dan. The child was light-hearted and healthy when his grandmother was sick because of her long fondly to see Truong Sinh.

His wife took care of his mother and invited good doctors to cure her but her sickness became more seriously and she passed away soon. Thanks to neighbourhood, organization her mother in law’s funeral was completed.

Some falls passed, the wife was waiting for the return of her husband. She saw to her household chores, took care of the child and to farm-work as well. There were some nights she had to light oil lamp to sew, mend clothes and played with her son. When the child cried, she often showed him her shadow on the wall and said:

"Don’t cry. Your father comes home, there, there."

The child looked at the shadow and didn’t cry anymore.

Since that, it became a habit. The child often asked to meet his father before going to bed. The black shadow on the wall was like the close person with both of mother and child.

Then the war ended, the frontier was peaceful. Soldiers returned to their home. Truong Sinh was one of them. Their reunion was both sad and happy. He was sad because his mother passed away but he was happy to have a cute son. The child was 3 years old and began to speak.

He let his father carry him but he was cold, The next day, Truong Sinh asked where his mother’ s grave was and carried his child to visit. When coming to the field, the child cried a lot, Truong Sinh soothed:

"Don’t cry, I love you. Then I will buy you presents and snacks."

The child answered right away:
"No, you’re not my father. My father was another one. He only comes home at night."

Truong Sinh felt his heart broken to hear that. He looked at his child and asked his child fast:
"How is your father like? Tell me about that."

The child said to his father:

"My father comes home every night…. My mother goes, he goes, my mother sits, he sits… He never holds me in his arms…."

The child’s unintentional sayings made Truong Sinh believed that his wife adulterous. There was no doubt anymore. Thinking of his wife was in other man’s arms, his jealousy was burst out. He mumbled:

"Everything is so clear. It can’t imagine when I was miserable so much…"

When coming home, he scolded his wife very badly:

"I don’t think you are faithful woman. The mother died, your husband was away, and you invited man to come home every night…"

He continued to scold her but he didn’t tell her about what the child said. His wife insisted to argue:
"Being cut off for 3 years, I have been faithful to you and never been spoilt as you said. Please don’t doubt me badly."

The more she argued, the more he was angry. He began to use brute ways to torture her.

Their neighbours heard about that so they came and tried to stop him not to torture her but they couldn’t stop him beating her at all. He assumed that she was well spoken so they defended her against him. In indignation at his bad behaviour, she held the child and sobbed hard then she ran straight to the Yellow River and jumped into the river when her husband went to the next-door neighbour.

When Truong Sinh came home, he didn’t see her anywhere. Feeling that there was an unlucky thing, he ran to the river but it was late. He couldn't find her anymore. When the night came, the child cried a lot. He lit an oil lamp to soothe him calm. Suddenly the child yelled happily:

"Oh, my father came here."

Truong Sinh was surprised and asked:

"Where was he?"

His son showed Truong Sinh's shadow appear on the wall and said:

"There, there…"

Truong Sinh remembered what the child said when they visited his mother’s grave. He knew his terrible fault and he understood that his wife had to suffer a terrible thing by his jealousy. How could he redeem his big offence anymore?

He only knew to hold his son in his arms, looking down to the river and cried every day. Since then, he was single to bring up his son. Later, people built a temple in Yellow River's bank to worship Vu Thi Thiet; it was called Truong’s wife temple.

Translated by Mai Anh Tuyet