Vietnamese Culture - A 1970's Perspective Copyright 1996 Andinhton Issue 26. The hero of Phu Dong Please direct all questions to [email protected] ==================================================================== 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 - July 24, 1996 =================================================================== Foreword With issue #24 we have essentially finished the Vietnam Bulletin series that I have originally in mind. In the next set of issues, we will be presenting adaptations of a series of Vietnamese legends by An Dinh Ton. ADT has graciously agreed to make these available to us. If any member of the audience has any English articles that would be interesting to publish in this series, I wish they would contact me and let us share our cultural heritage. Tran Thong [email protected] ==================================================================== This series is dedicated to all the children of Vietnam, wherever they may be. The hero of Phu Dong Adapted by AnDinhTon One of the earliest hero of Vietnamese prehistory is Phu` DDo^?ng Thie^n Vu+o+ng, a boy of three who answered the call of his country under the threat of an invasion from the North. In the reign of the fourth Hu`ng Vu+o+ng king, the first Vietnamese dynasty that lasted from 2879 BC to 258 BC, the kingdom was at peace. One day, there was the news that the A^n king was preparing his army for an invasion of the Viet kingdom. The king met with his cabinet to discuss our options. An official made the following suggestion: let us ask the dragon god for advice. Thus, the king set up an altar and for three days prayed to the gods. Suddenly a storm broke out. After that, an old man appeared at the gate of the city, sat down and started laughing and acting strangely. The people reported this to the king. The king personally came out to welcome this old man and brought him to the altar and had food and wine brought to feast the old man. He refused all food and did not say anything. The king came before the old man, bowed and asked the A^n invaders are about to arrive. Would you have any strategy that would help us to defeat them? The old men, pulled out from his pocket a set of tablets and after shuffling them and examining them he said The invaders are very strong. You need to stockpile supply, increase the vigilance of the guards, train your soldiers thoroughly, prepare the people psychologically, then search throughout the kingdom for a hero that would lead the fight. Let him command your army! After those words, he flew off. The king knew that this was the dragon god. As the A^n invaders came close to the gates of the kingdom, the king sent his emissaries throughout the land to find a hero to lead the fight. In the village of Phu` DDo^?ng, district of Vu~ Ninh, province of Ba('c Ninh, there was a rich farmer family who did not have a child until they were in their 60's. The son was three year old and he still could not sit nor speak, but laid on the bed all day long. As the royal emissary passed through the village, the mother kidded her son and said: You can only eat. You cannot fight so that your parents can receive rewards from the king. The youth suddenly said The emissary has come. Mother, can you please invite him in so that I can ask him questions. The mother was very happy and went out and told her neighbors. My son can speak! The neighbors were curious and they invited the king's emissary. He asked the youth: You just started speaking. Why did you invite me here? The youth sat up and instructed the king's emissary: You go back and tell the king to make me an iron horse 18 meter high, a sword 7 meter long, an iron rod, and an iron helmet. And I will go out and fight the invaders. When the emissary reported back to the king, the latter said happily: I no longer have to fear the invaders! Members of the court asked him: But a 3 year old youth, how could he defeat the invaders? The king replied: The dragon god has instructed me, don't you doubt anything! And then the king ordered the items that the youth asked be cast. The king emissary brought forth the items. The mother was afraid of the penalties of misleading the king, so she asked the youth. He laughed and replied: Don't you worry. I'll destroy the invaders! Then he had the iron horse brought to him. He slapped the horse, which collapsed since it was hollow. He instructed the emissary Would you please request that the king cast me a solid iron horse. The emissary brought back a solid iron horse. After the youth checked it out, he told his mother: Would you please prepare a very big dinner so that I can have the strength to go and fight the invaders. But the mother could not satisfy his hunger. And as he ate, he grew bigger. The whole village had to pitch in and slaughter a number of buffalos, pigs and brought to the youth wine and fruits. But he was still hungry. And all the bolts of cloth in the village were not sufficient to cover him as he grew, they had to patch his clothes with straw. The A^n invaders have reached Cha^u So+n. When the youth heard the news, the stood up, lifted his shoulder and he became a 10 meter high person. He drew his sword, took his rod and jumped on the horse: I am the General from Heaven! After that shout, he took off with his horse and entered battle with his horse blazing flame. The A^n invaders lost the battle, losing many many lives. The A^n king was killed at Cha^u So+n. His soldiers bowed their head and asked to surrender. The victorious youth turned around and when he reached So'c So+n, he took off his armor, and rode his iron horse to the heavens, leaving only his footprint in the mountain rocks. To honor him, the king, gave him the title of "Phu` DDo^?ng Thie^n Vu+o+ng", "Heavenly prince of Phu` DDo^?ng", had a temple built in his home village so that he can be honored annually, and gave his parents 100 acres of public land. Since, the barbarians A^n had not dared entertain any thought about our contry. The neighboring countries, upon hearing of the big victory, sent their ambassadors with presents to King Hu`ng Vu+o+ng court and asked to become his vassals. ================================================================= BACK ISSUES Pkzipp'ed back issues can be anonymously ftp'ed from ftp.teleport.com from directory private/trant/vb. The files are labelled vbxx.zip, where xx is the number of the issue as indicated at the top of this article. Or you can send me an e-mail at [email protected].