Vietnamese Culture - A 1970's Perspective
                        Copyright 1996 Andinhton

Issue 27. The Genie of Ta?n Vie^n

Please direct all questions to trant@teleport.com
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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 - August 9, 1996
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                   The Genie of Ta?n Vie^n
                    Adapted by AnDinhTon

Towards the end of the reign of Hung Vuong XVII, in a deep cave under a 
small mountain that pushes out into the South China Sea, there was a 
monster with numerous feet like a centipede and with the ability to 
transform itself into many shapes. Whenever this sea monster moves around 
it will generate storms. It also likes to eat human flesh.
Coastal vessels that cross this stretch of the ocean have a hard time 
escaping this monster since there was no alternate route.

One night the gods came down to earth and tried to dig a canal to provide 
another route for ships. Just before they completed the canal, the 
monster transformed itself into a rooster in the mountain and he started 
crowing. Thinking that morning has come, the gods withdrew, leaving the 
canal unfinished.

In the Long Vuong cave, in the district of Thanh Chau, province of Hung 
Hoa, there lived a relative of Lac Long Quan, the legendary founder of 
the Viet tribe, by the name of Dao Kinh Long. He was a woodcutter. He was 
very respectful of his parents and was a good citizen.

Dao Kinh Long was very upset by the evil behavior of the monster. He 
built a bamboo raft and set out to sea. He took along a very sharp knife 
and a block of red hot iron. When he arrived in front of the cave of the 
monster, he called out to the monster and told it that he was bringing a 
human sacrifice for it. The sea monster opened its mouth wide and Kinh 
Long threw the block of red hot iron in. The sea monster writhed in pain 
and destroyed his raft. He was able to cut it in half with his sharp 
knife and blood tainted the whole blue sea.

A few days after his exploit with the sea monster, Kinh Long went into 
the forest to cut wood. He met a god with a bamboo cane who told him:
  I cherish you for your devotion to your parents and your heroic act on 
  behalf of your country. Thus, I would like to give you a present. This 
  magic cane will cure all illness from whomever you point it to.

The god then vanished.

On his way home, Kinh Long ran into a snake that was beaten to death by a 
group of youth. On the head of the snake was the word "Vuong" (King). Dao 
Kinh Long decided to test his bamboo cane and hit lightly the head of the 
snake with his cane. The snake was revived and crept down the river and 
disappeared. 

A few days later, a young man brought gold and other valuables to the 
home of Dao Kinh Long  to thank him and told him that he was the Crown Prince 
of the Dragon Kingdom. The snake that Kinh Long has saved the week before 
was the Dragon King. The Prince invited Long  to their undersea kingdom. 
Dao Kinh Long accepted the invitation.  The Dragon King welcomed him 
warmly and feasted him for three days. Before he returned to the surface, 
the Dragon King gave him a book with blank pages and told him:
  This is a wish book. Each time you have a wish, put it on you head and 
  your wish will be fulfilled. However you can only have three wishes.

Dao King Long returned to his village. He decided to settle himself and 
his parents on Mount Tan Vien because of the spectacular landscape and 
because the people living in this area were honest and hard working.

A short time later, he heard that King Hung Vuong was looking to marry 
his youngest daughter, Ba'ch Hoa (100 flowers) My. Nu+o+ng (all 
princesses of the Hung Vuong dynasty had this title). She was reputed to 
be of incomparable beauty.

Dao Kinh Long came to ask for her hand at the same time as Thu?y Tinh 
(Water Spirit) of the Dong Dinh Lake (in what is now southern China).

King Hung Vuong faced a difficult choice with these two equally qualified 
young men. But he had but one daughter to marry. So, he declared
  The first one to bring back wedding gifts will get the hand of my 
  daughter!

Dao Kinh Long, thanks to his wish book, was able to bring almost 
immediately to the King his gift of gold and silver, precious stones, and 
rare animals. True to his promise, the King gave Princess Bach Hoa My 
Nuong away to Dao Kinh Long. He took his bride back to Mount Tan Vien.

Thuy Tinh was late. He became furious and created a storm to raise the 
water and mobilize his underwater creatures to attack Dao Kinh Long to 
try to steal the Princess.

Dao Kinh Long stretched a metal net across Tu Liem river to ward off the 
underwater creatures. Thuy Tinh dug a small canal from the Ly Nhan river 
to the Hat and Da rivers to attack from the rear, and even opened another 
way from the Tich river toward Tan Vien. These canals were needed for his 
underwater creatures to attack Tan Vien.

These were good tactical maneuvers. However, Dao Kinh Long, thanks to his 
wish book, was able to raise Mount Tan Vien above the water level. He 
also gathered able bodied man on the mountain and had them armed with 
bows and arrows to shoot the soldiers of Thuy Tinh. Many of the soldiers 
were killed and dead they reappeared in their natural fish forms. 
Dead fishes were floating all around the rivers and lakes as a result.

Confronted with heavy losses, Thuy Tinh had to retreat. However, every 
year, in August and September, he will bring back his troops and raise the 
water levels to attack Mount Tan Vien. To this day he has only met 
defeat.

Dao Kinh Long was comfortable that Thuy Tinh will not be able to bring 
harm to him or his family. Remembering that he had only one wish left, he 
put the book on his head and wished for immortality and to become the 
spirit of Mount Tan Vien.

Thus Dao Kinh Long became the genie of Mount Tan Vien with powerful 
magic. He was known as So+n Tinh (Mountain Spirit).
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