The legend of Tam Dao Mountain Genie

If you visit Tam Dao you’re to hear of this Kinh and San Diu legend in which a young girl of the wild became a Vietnamese herione as well as pioneer of women’s rights.

Legend has it that by the end of the Sixth Hung King’s reign, in the Tam Dao Mountain by the left side of the Do River there was a holy bamboo tree that gave birth to a girl from a bamboo shoot. She was as beautiful as a fairy, so the locals called her Mang Thi Tien (Mang means bamboo shoot ang Tien means fairy).

As she was born into the wild, she had no clothes. She used leaves to cover herself and made a nest to sleep in. She could jump from branch to branch like a bird and shot down animals with stones, or else picked fruit from the trees.

Then came the time when the An army (from present day China) attached the capital city of Van Lang (now Viet Tri city) in Vietnam. The Hung King’s messengers broadcast the bad news by banging on bamboo tocsin.

As a bamboo tree was her mother, Mang Thi Tien immediately heard the news and left to appear before the king. Knowing she was talented, the king granted her the right to guard Tam Bao Mountain.

When the enemy’s army flocked to the capital city, Mang Thi Tien used large stones, bamboo spikes and javelins to fight. When they ran into retreat, she used trees to sweep them away.

Thanks to Mang Thi Tien and other heroes like Giong from Phu Dong village, the battle was soon over.

After the war, the Hung King nominated Mang Thi Tien to be Tay Thien My Nu Son Than (The Beautiful tay Thien Mountain Genie), like Tan Vien, the Genie of the Ba Vi Mountain.

Despite her new role, Mang returned to her natural life as a bird would returning to the forest. But sometimes, she went to Phong Chau capital city to join in the festivals, which is how she met a handsome boy. She caught a five coloured ball from him when they played a game called nem con (throwing cloth balls among boys and girls to express their hopes and wishes for good luck & prosperity).

She hurled the ball back to the boy & it flew past him glancing his chest. When he looked back she had disappeared lind a wind. The boy was Lang Lieu, the youngest son of Hung King, and he had instantly fallen in love with her. He asked the king to allow him to go find her but the king was not impressed. But no one in the royal court could talk the boy out of this perceived folly. Worked up into a frustrated rage the king expelled his own son from the capital city.

So Lang Lieu went to Tam Dao, though he was not familiar with life in the wilds. But with a determined will, Lang Lieu managed to grow rice to eat while he tried to find the girl. In fact he did not like weapons or hunting, so all year round he ate only rice & vegetables.

Moved by his sincerity, Mang came to him when he was eating a bowl of rice. She wore flowers and leaves and carried a fox on her shoulders. Meeting him, she placed the fox before him and bent her head in a shy gesture. That meant she was prepared to be his wife.

Lang Lieu asked her if they needed to return to the capital city to have a wedding or not. She said no, explaning that on Tam Dao Mountain a girl had the right to ask the boy to be her husband.

Of course, this went againts a ruling ordained by King Duong Vuong, the Grandfather of the first Hung King. So the couple decided to continue living in Tam Dao and in following generations where they settled developed into a large village on one side of the mountain. Today, if you visit Tay Thien tourist side, you will see many temples built worshipping the Genie.


Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: