Vietnamese Culture
                        Copyright 1996 Tran Thong

Issue 30. Tu+` Thu+'c and Gia'ng Hu+o+ng

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
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.
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                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.