Vietnamese Culture Copyright 1996 Tran Thong Issue 30. Tu+` Thu+'c and Gia'ng Hu+o+ng Please direct all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org ==================================================================== Here is the proposed schedule of this column. Issue #1: Tet 1971 in Vietnam! by Phu Si, VB710118 Issue #2: The Unicorn dance at Tet, by Minh Tam, VB710118. Issue #3: The origin of Tao Quan, the three kitchen gods, by George F. Schultz, VB710118. Issue #4: 1971 - The year of the Pig, by Van Ngan, VB710118. Issue #5 The Joy of "first writing of the new year", by Thuy Ngoc, VB710208. Issue #6: Traditional Vietnamese male attire, by Van Ngan, VB710208 Issue #7: The legend of Princess Lieu Hanh, George F. Schultz, VB710215 Issue #8: The dialogue on Mount Na-Son, George F. Schultz, VB710222 Issue #9: The secret housewife, George F. Schultz, VB710301 Issue #10: The golden axe, George F. Schultz, VB710308 Issue #11: Golden age of Viet Nam under the Hung Kings, Pham Tung, TAS720506. Issue #12: The legend of Chu Van Dich, George F Schutlz, VB701221 Issue #13: The sandalwood maiden, George F. Schultz, VB7010?? Issue #14: Legend about Emperor Ly Thai-To, George F Schultz, VB7010?? Issue #15. Chu Dong-Tu and Princess Tien Dung, George F. Schultz, VB701005 Issue #16. The husband's most difficult task: teaching his wife, Van Ngan, VB 691216 Issue #17: Superstition in Viet Nam, Van Ngan, VB6911?? - May 8, 1996. Issue #18: Hair: VN style, VB7007?? - May 15, 1996 Issue #19: Funeral rites in Viet-Nam, Van Ngan, VB7006?? - May 22, 1996. Issue #20: "Non Bai Tho" or the "Poetical Leaf", ???, VB7011??. Issue #21: The different systems of writings in Viet-Nam, ???, VB710201. Issue #22: Vietnamese literature in "Chu Nom", ???, VB710201. Issue #23: The boat of illusion, Nguyet Cam, Heritage Sept/Oct 1995. Issue #24: Tran Hung Dao's proclamation to his officers, George F. Schultz, VB 710201. Issue #25: The refined pleasure of tea-drinking, Tuong Minh, The Saigon Times Weekly, No. 238. Issue #26: The hero of Phu Dong, ADT Issue #27: The genie of Ta?n Vie^n, ADT Issue #28: The magic crossbow, ADT Issue #29: The legend of Tra^`u Cau, ADT Issue #30: Tu+` Thu+'c and Gia'ng Hu+o+ng - November 29, 1996. =================================================================== Tu+` Thu+'c and Gia'ng Hu+o+ng Adapted by AnDinhTon During the Tran dynasty, there was a scholar in Ho'a Cha^u by the name of Tu+` Thu+'c, who, thanks to his parentage, was appointed the Chief of the district of Tie^n Du, in the province of Ba('c Ninh. Next to the district office is a famous pagoda with a big and beautiful peony tree. Each year at blossom time, pilgrims of both sexes will come and enjoy the flowers. In February of the Bi'nh Ty' year, in the group of revelers, a beautiful girl, about 16 year old, who inadvertently broke a branch of the tree. The tree keepers detained here and tied her to the tree. The sun has set and nobody came by to claim her. Tu Thuc who attended the flower festival, was moved and took off his silk dress and offered it to the temple guardians as compensation for the damages. The girl thanked Tu Thuc and left. The people who saw this, praised Tu Thuc as a good district chief. Tu Thuc, because of his love of wine, poetry and music, would frequently be late in discharging his duties. So much so, that one day his superior called him in and reprimanded him for neglecting his duties: Your father was a pillar of the empire and you cannot even handle the affairs of a small district! Tu Thuc took this reprimand badly and told himself Because of this pittance in rice I have become tied to fame and this governmental world. Why don't I just drop everything and enjoy a simpler life with my small boat and the open water ... which are my joys. With that, he tendered his resignation and moved to the district of To^'ng So+n in the province of Thanh Ho'a. He built himself a small hut by the entrance to a cave. From then on he would take his boat out and visit all the beautiful landscapes of the country. Wine and poetry were his constant companions. One morning of a peaceful clear day, he was rowing his boat to the Tha^`n Phu` bay when he saw multicolor clouds coming together to form a lotus flower on the surface of the water. He rowed towards this flower. A beautiful mountain island appeared. He said I have traveled throughout this land. But I have never seen such a beautiful island suddenly appear. Could this be a fairy land? He stepped on the island. It was impossible to climb the straight cliffs of the island. As he was walking around sightseeing, he suddenly spotted the entrance of a cave. He stepped in a few steps. The mouth of the cave closed and everything was pitch dark. He thought that he might have stepped into a deadly trap. He moved forward by feeling the walls of the cave. As he progressed he felt that the cave was becoming wider. Suddenly the cave lit up and he found himself in front of splendid palace. He was still shocked by this sudden change when he saw two girls in blue dresses speak: Here comes the groom! They turned around and as the were moving away told him Our lady would like to invite you to the palace. He followed them to a chamber where a lady in a white dress sat on a small sandalwood bed. She asked him to take a seat and then said You have wandered around the land these many years. Is your wandering lust satisfied. Do you remember your fateful meeting? Do you know where you are? Tu Thuc replied I have retired from worldly affairs to my home in Tong Son. I wander with my small boat, at the pleasure of the winds here and there. I do not pay attention where I am. This beautiful palace must be in the heavens. As far as fateful meeting, my worldly mind is foggy. May I ask you for a reminder? Of course you would not know. This is the Phu` Lai cave, one of 36 such caves that float on the ocean and like the silt come together under an auspicious wind and get dispersed by another gust of wind. Paradise that floats with the wind, we are. I am Lady Ngu.y of the Southern Sky. It was moved by your gallantry and readiness to help people in distress. Thus, I have invited you here. With those words, she had one of her maid lead a young lady out from the back room. Tu Thuc in a glance recognized her as the young girl who broke the branch of the peony tree in the pagoda garden. The lady pointed to the young women and said This is Gia'ng Hu+o+ng, my daughter. She attended the festival in Tien Du and inadvertently broke a branch of the flower tree. Thanks to you she was saved. This favor is not forgotten. Now, I would like to give you her hand in marriage as a reward. The next day the Immortals from all over the world came to celebrate the wedding. Some flew in on the back of cranes, some on dragons, some on chariot of jade, some on wind palanquin. They were all beautifully dressed in silk and brocade. The banquet was held in the Dao Quang wing which was draped with curtains and tapestry made out of pearls. The Immortals after greeting each other sat down on a row of chairs on the left. Tu Thuc sat on a small bed on the right. In the middle was a crystal chair that remained empty. Kim Tie^n (Golden Immortal) was announced as she made her entry. Everybody stood up and went to greet her as she went up to the crystal chair. The music started and the feast began. The food was served on agate trays, jade plates along with fragrant wine, rare fruits, all sort of exotic food. An immortal in a white brocade dress addressed Tu Thuc: We have lived 80,000 years. During this time the South (China) Sea has changed three times. You have come from afar but you must realize by now that immortals and gentiles are similar. Eternal love is not meant to be disappointed. An immortal in a white dress then addressed Giang Huong: Today you are cheery, and do not look so depressed to have earned the label of “Immortal without husband”! Everybody laughed. An immortal in a blue dress said: This couple looks well matched. However I am concerned that this joining of an immortal and a mortal will be sneered at by our colleagues. Kim Tien stopped her and said: We spend our times in these heavens at the court of God, and even when we have not stepped down to earth, people will invent stories about our adventures and love stories on earth! So let’s forget about these stories, and let’s enjoy the evening with our young groom here. Lady Nguy. added: The mortals can meet us, immortals, but it is difficult for for them to seek us. In history there have been many meetings. But those are old stories and the blames rest on the old folks. Everybody laughed and then continued with the banquet. When night came, the banquet ended and the guests left. Tu Thuc kidded Giang Huong and asked: These immortals have retreated back to their home to spend lonesome lives, my love... Is it because they have no sexual needs or they have to repress their needs? Giang Huong went pale and replied: These immortals are perfection themselves. They have attained nirvana and their mind is clear of all worldly thoughts. They are unlike me. I am too sentimental, too attached to the worldly comfort and vices. Don’t you dare lump them all together with me! Then you are not perfect! With that both husband and wife laughed. Time flies, and soon a year has passed by. Tu Thuc became home sick when the lotus changed color. One day, as he looked out to the ocean, he saw a sail boat heading south. He said to Giang Huong: My home is in that direction. It must be far far away. I am becoming home sick. In these strange parts, I am withering. I would like to make a short trip home, what do you think? As Giang Huong hesitated he added I will go back for a short visit to see friends and relatives. I will settle my affairs quickly and will return back to you so that we can spend the rest of our lives together in these parts. Giang Huong was in tears and said I will not use our love to try to dissuade you. However the world of mortals is small and life there is very short. I am afraid that you will not find the same place that you left. However, she went to here mother and conveyed his wishes. She had Tu Thuc come and said: I am surprised that your worldly ties are still so strong. She had a violet chariot prepared to take Tu Thuc back. Giang Huong wrote a letter on a roll of silk and gave it to her husband and with tears in her eyes she said Please keep this so that you do not forget our love. Then they said their farewell. On his violet chariot, Tu Thuc was home in a blink of an eye. But only the mountains and valleys remain the same. Everything else from the houses to the gardens, the fields, everything else looked strange. He was dazed by this strange land where he knew nobody. He asked a passer-by about himself. He got the following reply: We heard about an ancestor three generations ago by that same name. But he disappeared 60 years ago. This saddened Tu Thuc immensely. He confirmed the date that indeed 60 years have passed. He tried to get on the violet chariot, but it has transformed itself into a phoenix and it has flown away. He opened the roll of silk and read. “Our phoenix (loan phu+o+.ng) love has come to an end here. The portal on the sea is no longer open so hold no hope!” Tu Thuc was struck by this news and regretted his action. He went into the Hoanh Son mountains and disappeared.