Monday, September 26, 2011


Adapted by Quy Nguyen
from oral tales and traditional, non-official history
of the Vietnamese Peoples
Written in June-July 2005
in Federal Way
1. The Legend of the Origin of the Vietnamese Peoples
2. The Legend of the Heavenly King of Phu-Dong Village
3. The Legend of Betel Leaf and Areca Nut of the Vietnamese
4. The Tale of the Thick Round and the Square Glutinous
Rice Cakes
5. The Greedy Brother and the Star Fruit Tree
The Legend of the Origin
of the Vietnamese Peoples
Legend has it that Lac Long Quan was born to King Kinh Duong Vuong and
Long Nu, a dragon incarnate; and Lady Au Co was a daughter of King De Lai and a Fairy
in a northern country. Lac Long Quan was king of the immense region, which is now the
whole area of South China and the northern part of Vietnam.
Lac Long Quan married Lady Au Co, and she gave birth to a huge sac containing
one hundred eggs. On the day the eggs hatched, one hundred healthy boys walked out of
their shells. The hundred boys grew up quickly. When they were ten years old, they
already looked like young men.
One day, Lac Long Quan told his wife, “I came from the line of the Dragon, and
you are from the line of the Fairy. We cannot live together forever. Therefore, you will
take our fifty sons and go up to the highland and mountains and teach them a trade so
they can feed themselves and take care of their families. I will take the other fifty sons to
the sea and its adjacent low lands and teach them how to work to sustain themselves so
they can raise their own families.”
No sooner said than King Lac Long Quan and his wife parted. Each spouse took
fifty sons to their new lands. In the mountainous areas, the young men made their living
by hunting and gathering at the beginning, then they practiced nomadic farming, and
finally they settled down permanently whether in natural, limestone caves, called dong or
in many mountainous villages called soc or buon. The fifty sons later became the leaders
of the ethnic, minority tribes in the highlands.
Among the other fifty young men, who went to the sea 1 with their father, some
settled in the lowlands 2 and later became peasants, artisans, or merchants. Others went to
live and work on the rivers or at sea. They became fishermen, who lived whether on their
boats most of their lives or built their permanent houses by the riverside or on the sea
shore. A group of twenty houses was called xom chai (a fishing sub hamlet,) and a much
larger group was called lang chai (a fishing village).
Later, Long Quan made his eldest son King of Van Lang3. Through the ups and
downs of history during the course of over thirty centuries, the Viet people and their
kings moved steadily south to their present geographical location.
The number one hundred used to count the eggs has caused many heated debates
among the Vietnamese. Some believed that the number one hundred accounted for the
Bach Viet4 of the time. Others believed that it matched the number of one hundred
powerful clans who lived there at the time.
However, every one is unanimously agreed that the Vietnamese peoples are the
descendants of the Dragon and the Fairy in the legend. In fact, in Vietnamese literature
whether oral or written, the phrase “con Rong chau Tien” (descendants of the Dragon and
the Fairy) was used over and over for centuries. Moreover, the picture of the dragon has
long been used in national emblems, logos, and many other designs to represent Vietnam
and its peoples.
Adapted from Vietnamese oral literature
and traditional belief by Quy Nguyen
1 South China Sea
2 The Yangtze Basin
3 One of the oldest names of Vietnam
4 The Hundred Viets
The Legend of the Origin of the Vietnamese
Huy􀓃n Tho􀒣i v􀓃 Ngu􀓕n G􀓓c
Các Dân T􀓛c Vi􀓉t Nam
Truy􀓅n thuy􀓃t Vi􀓋tnam nói r􀒵ng L􀒥c-Long-Quân là con c􀓫a vua King-D􀑭􀑫ng-
V􀑭􀑫ng và Long-N􀓳 (là r􀓗ng hóa-thân). Bà Âu-C􀑫 là con c􀓫a vua 􀄈􀓃-Lai và m􀓝t tiên-n􀓳
􀓣 m􀓝t n􀑭􀓟c ph􀑭􀑫ng B􀒳c. L􀒥c-Long-Quân là vua c􀓫a m􀓝t vùng 􀃿􀒩t r􀓝ng l􀓟n mà ngày nay
là mi􀓅n nam n􀑭􀓟c Trung-Hoa và mi􀓅n b􀒳c n􀑭􀓟c Vi􀓋t-Nam.
L􀒥c-Long-Quân l􀒩y Bà Âu-C􀑫 sinh ra 􀃿􀑭􀓧c m􀓝t cái b􀓑c trong có m􀓝t tr􀄃m qu􀒧
tr􀓭ng. Ngày tr􀓭ng n􀓣, m􀓝t tr􀄃m c􀒱u bé kh􀓓e-m􀒥nh 􀃿􀒥p v􀓓 tr􀓭ng b􀑭􀓟c ra. Các c􀒱u l􀓟n lên
r􀒩t nhanh. Khi các c􀒱u 􀃿􀑭􀓧c m􀑭􀓡i tu􀓙i trông 􀃿ã gi􀓕ng nh􀑭 nh􀓳ng chàng thanh-niên v􀒱y.
M􀓝t ngày kia L􀒥c-Long-Quân nói v􀓟i v􀓧 r􀒵ng: “Ta là gi􀓕ng R􀓗ng, nàng là gi􀓕ng
Tiên. Mình không th􀓇 s􀓕ng mãi v􀓟i nhau 􀃿􀑭􀓧c. Vì v􀒱y nàng s􀓁 􀃿􀑭a n􀄃m m􀑭􀑫i ng􀑭􀓡i con
c􀓫a chúng ta lên núi và d􀒱y chúng m􀓝t ngh􀓅 􀃿􀓇 t􀓵 nuôi s􀓕ng 􀃿􀑭􀓧c b􀒧n thân và gia 􀃿ình.
Còn ta, ta s􀓁 􀃿em n􀄃m m􀑭􀑫i 􀃿􀓭a kia xu􀓕ng bi􀓇n và vùng ven bi􀓇n d􀒱y chúng ngh􀓅 nghi􀓋p
làm 􀄃n và gây d􀓵ng gia 􀃿ình.”
Nói xong hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng chia tay nhau, m􀓛i ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿em theo n􀄃m m􀑭􀑫i ng􀑭􀓡i con
􀃿􀓃n vùng 􀃿􀒩t m􀓟i. 􀓢 trên núi, tho􀒥t 􀃿􀒫u, các chàng trai s􀓕ng b􀒵ng ngh􀓅 s􀄃n b􀒳n và nh􀒻t
hái qu􀒧, h􀒥t. Sau 􀃿ó, chuy􀓇n sang du-canh du-c􀑭, nay 􀃿ây mai 􀃿ó. Cu􀓕i cùng s􀓕ng 􀃿􀓏nhc
􀑭 trong các hang 􀃿á vôi thiên-nhiên g􀓑i là 􀃿􀍡ng ho􀒻c s􀓕ng chung thành làng 􀓣 chân núi
g􀓑i là sóc hay buôn. N􀄃m m􀑭􀑫i ng􀑭􀓡i con này v􀓅 sau thành th􀓫-lãnh các s􀒳c-t􀓝c mi􀓅n
Trong s􀓕 n􀄃m m􀑭􀑫i ng􀑭􀓡i con theo cha xu􀓕ng bi􀓇n, m􀓝t s􀓕 􀃿􀓏nh-c􀑭 t􀒥i vùng 􀃿􀒩t
th􀒩p. V􀓅 sau, h􀓑 tr􀓣 thành nông dân, th􀓧 th􀓫-công, hay nhà buôn. M􀓝t s􀓕 khác sinh s􀓕ng
trên sông ho􀒻c trên bi􀓇n và tr􀓣 thành dân chài. Ng􀑭-dân ho􀒻c s􀓕ng luôn trên thuy􀓅n 􀃿ánh
The Legend of the Origin of the Vietnamese
cá ho􀒻c làm nhà c􀓕-􀃿􀓏nh 􀓣 ven sông hay trên bãi bi􀓇n. M􀓝t nhóm kho􀒧ng hai m􀑭􀑫i nhà
􀃿􀑭􀓧c g􀓑i là xóm chài. Nhóm nhi􀓅u h􀑫n hai m􀑭􀑫i nhà thì g􀓑i là làng chài.
V􀓅 sau L􀒥c-Long-Quân phong cho ng􀑭􀓡i con tr􀑭􀓣ng làm vua n􀑭􀓟c V􀄃n-Lang.
Theo bi􀓃n-thiên th􀄃ng-tr􀒫m c􀓫a l􀓏ch s􀓱 qua h􀑫n hai m􀑭􀑫i th􀓃-k􀓹, các vua Vi􀓋t và ng􀑭􀓡i
Vi􀓋t ti􀓃n d􀒫n v􀓅 ph􀑭􀑫ng nam cho 􀃿􀓃n v􀓏-trí 􀃿􀓏a-d􀑭 hi􀓋n nay.
Con s􀓕 m􀓝t tr􀄃m dùng 􀃿􀓇 􀃿􀓃m s􀓕 tr􀓭ng trong b􀓑c 􀃿ã gây nên nhi􀓅u cu􀓝c
tranh- lu􀒱n sôi-n􀓙i. M􀓝t s􀓕 ng􀑭􀓡i cho r􀒵ng con s􀓕 􀃿ó 􀃿􀓇 ch􀓍 tr􀄃m s􀒳c dân s􀓕ng trên 􀃿􀒩t
Vi􀓋t c􀓙 x􀑭a. M􀓝t s􀓕 ng􀑭􀓡i khác tin r􀒵ng con s􀓕 m􀓝t tr􀄃m dùng 􀃿􀓇 ch􀓍 h􀑫n m􀓝t tr􀄃m
th􀓏-t􀓝c hùng-m􀒥nh1 s􀓕ng trên 􀃿􀒩t n􀑭􀓟c Vi􀓋t c􀓙 ngày 􀒩y.
Tuy nhiên m􀓑i ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿􀓅u 􀃿􀓗ng ý r􀒵ng các dân t􀓝c Vi􀓋tnam th􀓵c s􀓵 là giòng-gi􀓕ng
R􀓗ng Tiên. Th􀒱t v􀒱y, trong v􀄃n-ch􀑭􀑫ng Vi􀓋tnam dù là truy􀓅n-kh􀒭u hay thành v􀄃n, nhóm
t􀓯 “con R􀓗ng cháu Tiên” 􀃿􀑭􀓧c dùng liên-t􀓩c qua r􀒩t nhi􀓅u th􀓃-k􀓹. H􀑫n th􀓃 n􀓳a, hình 􀒧nh
con r􀓗ng 􀃿ã 􀃿􀑭􀓧c dùng r􀒩t ph􀓙-bi􀓃n trên huy-hi􀓋u qu􀓕c-gia, trên phù-hi􀓋u quân-ch􀓫ng,
binh-ch􀓫ng, kh􀒭u-hi􀓋u, và trong m􀒯u mã qu􀒧ng cáo 􀃿􀓇 ch􀓍 Vi􀓋tnam, thu􀓝c Vi􀓋tnam,
và các dân t􀓝c Vi􀓋tnam.
Vi􀍇t ph􀍗ng theo v􀄃n-ch􀋱􀋯ng truy􀍉n-kh􀌱u
và truy􀍉n-thuy􀍇t dân gian.
Qúy Nguy􀍍n
1 nh􀓳ng ng􀑭􀓡i dân Bách Vi􀓋t
The Legend of the Heavenly King
of Phu-Dong Village
During the reign of King Hung1 the Old Kingdom of Vietnam was peaceful and
prosperous. Peasants and farmers often harvested two good crops a year. So, the country
became richer and richer everyday, and that made the poor neighboring tribal countries
crave strongly for its wealth.
Meanwhile, the An Barbarians in the north of his kingdom had lost their crops
several years. Facing inevitable starvation, they organized a huge army to invade this rich
kingdom to rob of its food and resources.
Wherever the An came, they killed people, burned their houses, and robbed
whatever they could eat and take away. Animals of burden and domestic fowls were
slaughtered for food to eat right on the spot or to bring along with their army. The whole
country suffered a lot from this war inflicted destruction.
King Hung had to call up his reserved troops to strengthen a strong army and sent
many special envoys to all parts of the country to look for a man or woman with
extraordinary, military skills to lead this army to defend the country and to kill foreign
1 The Old Kingdom of Viet of the time had 18 Hung Kings
Many years before the An Barbarians invaded Vietnam, at Phu-Dong village
lived a young female peasant. She was not married yet because she had not found a man,
who could match her idealized picture of a husband. In fact, she had refused many good
marriage proposals in her region.
She had a small thatch roof house facing east. The walls of the house were made
of yellow clay and the door of hard wood. Many kinds of flowering plants, flowery
bushes, orchids, dahlias, lilies, chrysanthemums, and roses abounded the front garden
yielding her humble abode the beauty of a fairyland.
The scenery of the back side of her house was also as beautiful as that of the front.
Banana trees clustered around her two bamboo windows rending the whole house a
pleasant coolness during the summer.
She was quiet, diligent, and very active. In the morning she came to work in her
rice field. In the afternoon, she worked around her house tending her flowers, two
vegetable beds, and a few fruit trees. At night, she practiced some kung fu, took a bath,
and went to bed.
Early one morning when she came to her rice paddy to weed the rice plants, she
was aware of two new, huge footprints left on the soft mud. She came close to look at
them and wondered, “Who was that that had such big feet?” Curiously, she stepped right
on those footprints to compare how much bigger they were than hers. As soon as she was
standing inside those footprints, she felt a strange frisson, which made her feel both at
ease and sick.
And at the end of that year, she gave birth to a chubby baby boy. She fed her son
with her milk and rice gruel. Her son grew like all other normal children. But he never
cried, cooed, smiled, sat up, walked, or talked at all. The superstitious villagers believed
that her son was a ghost or a devil incarnate. And they dared not venture near her house.
Even though her son never talked, she really loved and cherished him.
The boy just lay on his back and did not say a word until when he was three. The
day he began to talk was the day the king’s envoy came to his village. The Royal Crier
cried aloud the king’s decree as follows,
“I, King Hung request all the people of this beautiful country stand up to fight
foreign invaders. Whoever had special talent or strategy that could help defeat the
invaders and protect his fatherland would be made Commanding General of my
army. All requests concerning defending our fatherland will be satisfied by my
A long while before the Royal Crier read the decree; the boy had already sat up,
called his mother in, and told her, “Mom! In a short while when the Royal Crier has
finished reading the king’s decree, please tell the envoy to come in to meet me, so I can
give him my order.”
His mother was astonished that he could speak so clearly. But she just stood there
staring at him in awe for she dared not tell the envoy what her son wanted. She knew
from all along that any one, who dared lie to the king, would be beheaded.
To calm down her fear, he said,
“Don’t be afraid, Mom! I am your own son, and I will do you no harm at all. I am
“truly a general from Heaven. I am here to defend our country and to destroy the
“invading enemies.”
Half doubtful, the mother came out and told the envoy all his words. On hearing
this order, the envoy became very confused, but he decided to come in to see for himself.
Inside the house, the boy had the envoy stand in front of him and asked,
“Are you the Special Envoy of King Hung?”
“That’s true!”
“Yes, Sir!” The boy corrected.
“Yes, Sir!”
“Are you sure that the king and you will satisfy all my requests concerning killing the
foreign invaders?”
“Yes, Sir! I believe so because the decree says that.”
“That’s great!”
“Hmm …”
“You tell the king I want a giant, iron war horse and a fighting stick, which is two armstretches
long exact and made of pure iron.”
“Yes, Sir.”
“Now, you may leave!”
The envoy had his blood up, but somehow he did what he was told.
Meanwhile, in the capital, the king had sat up several nights to think of a possible
way2 to save the people from the calamity of war. One night, he dozed off for a while and
heard a voice telling him that in the very near future, a general from Heaven would help
him defeat the enemies.
When the king heard of the boy Giong3 and his strange demand for war material,
he was still thinking of the voice in his dream. As a consequence, the king himself
supervised the making of the iron horse and the fighting stick.
2 Strategy
3 Name of the boy
While the king’s army camped on the open rice fields of the village of Phu Dong
waiting for its Commander in Chief, a bach (a group of 100 soldiers) was carrying the
iron horse and the fighting stick to the boy’s house.
The villagers were astonished at the news that Giong was able to sit up and talk.
In addition, he had already given order to the king’s envoy, and he would go to war to kill
the enemies. The villagers packed their small court to witness their own village’s historic
On hearing that everything was ready for the war, Giong walked out of his house
to greet his village people and the king’s envoy.
When the boy walked out, he had a stately carriage. He bowed at the people and
stated gravely, “My fellow-countrymen! Please don’t be afraid of me or my mother! I
will kill the enemies and stamp out the disaster of war.” His voice rang sonorously like
the rings of a pagoda bell. “Now I need you to feed me before I can go to war,” he said.
The crowd began to discus noisily because they did not know how and what the
boy wanted to eat. Finally, an old man ventured a question.
“What do you want to eat and how much is enough?”
“Rice, I want rice! I will eat fifty bowls of rice,” answered the boy.
People were whispering again, “How could a boy eat fifty bowls of rice?”
When the rice was cooked and brought in, Giong sat down and began eating.
After a while, the fifty-cup cooker was empty. When he had eaten all the rice, he stood up
and stretched. The whole crowd could not believe in what they saw: The little boy stood
ten feet tall after his rice eating. He bowed to the villagers and thanked for the rice.
Giong, the young general approached his mother and quickly knelt down and
solemnly gave his mother three kowtows.4 Then he picked up his iron fighting stick as if
he picked up a straw and mounted his iron horse. The horse gave out a merry, sonorous
neigh and trotted toward the king’s army. The whole village followed closely behind his
miraculous horse.
Giong stopped his horse in front of the king’s army and said briefly.
“To all my soldiers, you don’t be afraid of me. I am a general from Heaven. And
“today, I am your Commanding General. I will lead you to kill and defeat our
“enemies in one single battle and then you will go home to your wife and
“Don’t be afraid of the enemies! We will kill them as easily as chopping the
“banana trees.
“Now, follow me and charge at the enemy lines!”
As soon as he stopped, he prodded his horse on. His horse gave out a thunderous
neigh, spat out fire, and charged at the enemies. The whole army fought with great
fortitude closely by their saintly leader.
Wherever Giong’s army came, the enemies were killed, their camps burned.
Within one day, the invaders and all the stationed occupying troops were destroyed.
Some time during the course of his mighty fight, his iron fighting stick broke.
Giong had to uproot many bamboo clusters on the sides of the roads to strike the enemies
down. The bamboo trunks could not stand so many repeating impacts and broke to
Each time his army left a battlefield, the ground was almost covered with enemy
corpses and strewn with countless pieces of yellow bamboo.
4 The long bow with the forehead touching the ground while kneeling. Here the kowtow was and act of
reverence and apology of Giong to his mother.
After the enemies and their invading forces were totally destroyed, he rode his
horse into the mountains. At the foot of Mount Soc, he shed off his bloody war dress.
Then his horse gave out a long, thunderous neigh, kicked hard on its hind legs, and
soared into the sky belching out fire. Then they disappeared in the heavenly clouds.
Legend has it that after having saved his motherland, Giong and his horse
returned to their previous positions in Heaven.
To honor his glorious feat of arms and to observe his services rendered to his
peoples and to his mother land, King Hung had sumptuous temple built for him.
He also issued a decree to award him the title “The Heavenly King of Phu-Dong.”
The villagers venerated this name and preferred to address him as Saint Giong.
Post Script
At present, there are two large depressions on the huge rock of Mount Soc, which
people believed to be the vestiges of the hind hooves the holly horse left when he took off
to Heaven.
In addition, the species of big, straight, yellow bamboo with several green stripes
running along its body abounded in many villages in North Vietnam. Tradition has it that
when Giong killed the enemies with yellow bamboo clusters, he broke a huge number of
bamboo trunks. As a consequence, where a broken piece of yellow bamboo hit the
ground sprang up a large, yellow bamboo bush.
From now on, if you see such phrases as Phu Dong Youth, growing as fast as Phu
Dong, or growing as fast as Thanh Giong in a Vietnamese written work, you will know
that the author wants to mention the ability without bound of Vietnamese youth.
Adapted from Vietnamese oral folk tales
and non-official oral history
by Quy Nguyen. July 2005
The Legend of the Heavenly King of Phu Dong
Truy􀓅n Thuy􀓃t Phù-􀄈􀓙ng Thiên-V􀑭􀑫ng
D􀑭􀓟i tri􀓅u 􀃿􀒥i Hùng V􀑭􀑫ng,1 V􀑭􀑫ng Qu􀓕c Vi􀓋t (V􀄃n-Lang) r􀒩t thanh-bình,
th􀓏nh v􀑭􀓧ng. Nhà nông và nhà v􀑭􀓡n th􀑭􀓡ng thu ho􀒥ch hai v􀓩 mùa t􀓕t m􀓛i n􀄃m. Vì v􀒱y
􀃿􀒩t n􀑭􀓟c càng ngày càng gi􀒫u. Chính 􀃿i􀓅u này làm cho các n􀑭􀓟c b􀓝-l􀒥c lân-c􀒱n
thèm-khát c􀓫a c􀒧i c􀓫a v􀑭􀑫ng-qu􀓕c này.
Trong th􀓡i gian 􀃿ó, R􀍫 Ân 􀓣 phía b􀒳c v􀑭􀑫ng-qu􀓕c này 􀃿ã b􀓏 m􀒩t mùa nhi􀓅u n􀄃m.
Tr􀑭􀓟c n􀒥n 􀃿ói không th􀓇 tránh 􀃿􀑭􀓧c, chúng t􀓙 ch􀓭c m􀓝t 􀃿􀒥o quân th􀒱t l􀓟n 􀃿i xâm chi􀓃m
và c􀑭􀓟p phá 􀃿􀒩t n􀑭􀓟c gi􀒫u có này.
N􀑫i nào gi􀒻c Ân 􀃿􀓃n, chúng gi􀓃t ng􀑭􀓡i, 􀃿􀓕t nhà, và c􀑭􀓟p bóc t􀒩t c􀒧 nh􀓳ng gì
chúng có th􀓇 􀄃n và l􀒩y mang 􀃿i. Trâu bò 􀃿􀓇 cày b􀓯a và gia-c􀒫m b􀓏 gi􀓃t 􀃿􀓇 chúng 􀄃n t􀒥i
ch􀓛 và mang theo. Toàn th􀓇 􀃿􀒩t n􀑭􀓟c ch􀓏u 􀃿au kh􀓙 vô cùng vì chi􀓃n h􀓑a này.
Vua Hùng ph􀒧i g􀓑i thêm quân tr􀓯 b􀓏 và c􀓫ng c􀓕 quân 􀃿􀓝i. Ngài g􀓱i các 􀃿􀒻c-s􀓭 􀃿i
kh􀒳p mi􀓅n 􀃿􀒩t n􀑭􀓟c 􀃿􀓇 tìm ng􀑭􀓡i tài gi􀓓i, không k􀓇 􀃿àn ông hay 􀃿àn bà mi􀓉n là có tài
􀃿i􀓅u-binh khi􀓇n-t􀑭􀓟ng 􀃿􀓇 b􀒧o-v􀓋 􀃿􀒩t n􀑭óc và gi􀓃t gi􀄃c ngo􀒥i-xâm.
Nhi􀓅u n􀄃m tr􀑭􀓟c khi gi􀒻c Ân xâm l􀒩n n􀑭􀓟c ta, 􀓣 làng Phù-􀄈􀓙ng có m􀓝t ng􀑭􀓡i
nông dân tr􀒿. Bà ch􀑭a l􀒱p gia 􀃿ình vì bà ch􀑭a ch􀓑n 􀃿􀑭􀓧c ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓯a ý gi􀓕ng nh􀑭 hình 􀒧nh
ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng lý-t􀑭􀓣ng trong tim bà. Th􀒱t v􀒱y, bà 􀃿ã t􀓯 ch􀓕i r􀒩t nhi􀓅u l􀒫n mai m􀓕i t􀓕t
trong vùng.
Bà có m􀓝t ngôi nhà tranh nh􀓓 quay m􀒻t v􀓅 h􀑭􀓟ng 􀃿ông. T􀑭􀓡ng nhà làm b􀒵ng 􀃿􀒩t
sét vàng, c􀓱a làm b􀒵ng g􀓛 t􀓕t. Có r􀒩t nhi􀓅u cây hoa, khóm hoa, lan, th􀑭􀓧c-d􀑭􀓧c, hu􀓋, cúc
1 N􀑭􀓟c Vi􀓋t c􀓙 có 18 Vua Hùng V􀑭􀑫ng
The Legend of the Heavenly King of Phu Dong
􀃿􀒥i-􀃿óa, và h􀓗ng trong v􀑭òn nhà phía tr􀑭􀓟c khi􀓃n cho n􀑫i 􀓣 􀃿􀑫n-s􀑫 c􀓫a bà gi􀓕ng nh􀑭
c􀒧nh th􀒫n-tiên v􀒱y.
C􀒧nh-t􀑭􀓧ng phiá sau nhà bà c􀇊ng 􀃿􀒽p nh􀑭 c􀒧nh phía m􀒻t tr􀑭óc nhà. Nh􀓳ng b􀓩i
chu􀓕i vây quanh phía ngoài hai cái c􀓱a s􀓙 làm b􀒵ng tre 􀃿ã khi􀓃n cho ngôi nhà mát-m􀒿 d􀓉
ch􀓏u trong su􀓕t mùa hè.
Bà là ng􀑭􀓡i ít nói, c􀒫n-m􀒯n, và r􀒩t n􀄃ng-􀃿􀓝ng. Bu􀓙i sáng, bà ra ru􀓝ng làm vi􀓋c.
X􀓃 tr􀑭a và chi􀓅u, bà làm vi􀓋c quanh nhà; ch􀄃m sóc hoa, hai lu􀓕ng rau, và vài cây 􀄃n qu􀒧.
Bu􀓙i t􀓕i, bà luy􀓋n võ-công, 􀃿i t􀒳m, r􀓗i 􀃿i ng􀓫.
M􀓝t bu􀓙i sáng kia, khi bà ra ru􀓝ng tính làm c􀓓 lúa thì bà nh􀒱n th􀒩y có hai v􀓃t chân
th􀒱t to in trên l􀓟p bùn m􀓅m. Bà 􀃿􀓃n g􀒫n 􀃿􀓇 xem cho rõ và th􀒳c-m􀒳c, “Ai kìa mà có v􀓃t
chân to nh􀑭 v􀒱y?” Tò-mò, bà b􀑭􀓟c vào trong v􀓃t chân 􀒩y 􀃿􀓇 􀑭􀓟m th􀓱 xem v􀓃t chân 􀒩y to
c􀓥 nào. Khi bà 􀃿ã 􀃿􀓭ng trên hai v􀓃t chân 􀒩y, bà th􀒩y ng􀑭􀓡i rung 􀃿􀓝ng; n􀓱a nh􀑭 b􀓏 b􀓏nh,
n􀓱a nh􀑭 khoan-khoái.
Cu􀓕i n􀄃m 􀒩y, bà sinh 􀃿􀑭􀓧c m􀓝t bé trai b􀓩 b􀒯m. Bà nuôi con b􀒵ng s􀓳a m􀒽 và b􀒵ng
cháo g􀒥o. C􀒱u bé l􀓟n lên nh􀑭 nh􀓳ng 􀃿􀓭a tr􀒿 khác. Tuy nhiên c􀒱u không khóc, c􀑭􀓡i, hóng
chuy􀓋n, ng􀓗i d􀒱y, 􀃿i, hay nói n􀄃ng gì h􀓃t. Nh􀓳ng ng􀑭􀓡i mê-tín trong làng tin r􀒵ng con bà
là ma quái hay qu􀓹 hi􀓋n-thân. Và h􀓑 không dám bén-b􀒧ng 􀃿􀓃n nhà bà. Dù r􀒵ng 􀃿úa bé
không bi􀓃t nói, bà v􀒯n yêu qúy c􀒱u.
C􀒱u bé v􀒯n n􀒵m ng􀓱a không nói m􀓝t l􀓡i cho t􀓟i n􀄃m c􀒱u lên ba. Ngày mà c􀒱u b􀒳t
􀃿􀒫u nói là ngày s􀓭-th􀒫n c􀓫a vua 􀃿􀓃n làng. V􀓏 Quan X􀑭􀓟ng-Ngôn 􀃿􀓑c to s􀒳c-l􀓋nh nh􀑭 sau:
“Tr􀒯m là Vua Hùng yêu c􀒫u toàn th􀓇 dân chúng c􀓫a 􀃿􀒩t n􀑭􀓟c t􀑭􀑫i 􀃿􀒽p này 􀃿􀓭ng
lên ch􀓕ng ngo􀒥i-xâm. Ai có tài n􀄃ng l􀒥 và chi􀓃n-l􀑭􀓧c t􀓕t có th􀓇 􀃿ánh b􀒥i gi􀒻c xâm-l􀑭􀓧c
The Legend of the Heavenly King of Phu Dong
và b􀒧o-v􀓋 􀃿􀑭􀓧c quê cha 􀃿􀒩t t􀓙 s􀓁 􀃿􀑭􀓧c phong làm Nguyên-Soái 􀃿􀒥o quân c􀓫a tr􀒯m. T􀒩t c􀒧
yêu c􀒫u liên-quan 􀃿􀓃n vi􀓋c ch􀓕ng ngo􀒥i-xâm s􀓁 􀃿􀑭􀓧c s􀓭-th􀒫n c􀓫a tr􀒯m gi􀒧i quy􀓃t.”
Tr􀑭􀓟c khi Quan X􀑭􀓟ng-Ngôn 􀃿􀓑c s􀒳c-l􀓋nh m􀓝t h􀓗i lâu, c􀒱u bé 􀃿ã ng􀓗i d􀒱y, m􀓡i
m􀒽 mình vào, và nói v􀓟i bà: “M􀍁 􀋯i! Lát n􀍷a 􀃿ây khi Quan X􀋱􀍣ng-Ngôn 􀃿􀍕c s􀌷c-l􀍏nh
c􀍯a vua xong, xin m􀍁 hãy m􀍥i ngay v􀍓 s􀍱-th􀌯n vào cho con ra l􀍏nh.”
M􀒽 c􀒱u r􀒩t ng􀒥c nhiên khi th􀒩y c􀒱u có th􀓇 nói rành-r􀓑t nh􀑭 v􀒱y. Nh􀑭ng bà ch􀓍
􀃿􀓭ng yên nhìn c􀒱u ng􀓥-ngàng, vì bà v􀓕n bi􀓃t là b􀒩t k􀇤 ai n􀓃u dám nói d􀓕i nhà vua thì s􀓁
b􀓏 ch􀒻t 􀃿􀒫u. Bà th􀓵c không dám nói l􀒥i nh􀓳ng gì con mình 􀃿ã nói.
􀄈􀓇 tr􀒩n-an m􀒽, c􀒱u nói: “Xin m􀍁 􀃿􀍳ng s􀍫! Con là con trai c􀍯a m􀍁, con s􀍅 không
làm gì h􀌩i m􀍁 􀃿âu! Con th􀍹c s􀍹 là T􀋱􀍣ng Nhà Gi􀍥i xu􀍙ng 􀃿ây 􀃿􀍋 tr􀍳 gi􀌿c ngo􀌩i-xâm
và b􀌫o v􀍏 quê h􀋱􀋯ng.”
N􀓱a tin n􀓱a ng􀓡, bà 􀃿i ra và nói l􀒥i v􀓟i v􀓏 s􀓭 th􀒫n nh􀓳ng l􀓡i con bà nói.
Nghe xong, v􀓏 s􀓭 th􀒫n r􀒩t phân-vân, nh􀑭ng ông quy􀓃t 􀃿􀓏nh 􀃿i vào xem cho rõ s􀓵 tình.
Trong nhà, c􀒱u bé b􀒧o v􀓏 s􀓭 th􀒫n 􀃿􀓭ng tr􀑭􀓟c m􀒻t mình và h􀓓i ông:
- “Ph􀌫i ng􀋱􀋯i là 􀄈􀌿c-S􀍱 c􀍯a Vua Hùng không”?
- “􀄈úng v􀌵y!”
- “Th􀋱a Ngài, 􀃿úng v􀌵y!” C􀒱u bé ch􀓍nh l􀒥i.
- “Th􀋱a Ngài, 􀃿úng v􀌵y!”
- “Ng􀋱􀋯i có 􀃿oan ch􀌷c r􀌹ng nh􀍷ng yêu c􀌯u c􀍯a ta 􀃿􀋱􀍫c Vua Hùng và ng􀋱􀋯i thi
“hành không?”
- “Th􀋱a Ngài, 􀃿úng v􀌵y! Tôi tin-t􀋱􀍧ng th􀍇 vì s􀌷c-l􀍏nh có nói rõ nh􀋱 v􀌵y.”
- “Tuy􀍏t”!
- “H􀍳m…”
- “Ng􀋱􀋯i hãy nói v􀍣i nhà vua, ta c􀌯n m􀍡t con chi􀍇n-mã kh􀍝ng-l􀍛 􀃿úc b􀌹ng s􀌷t và
“m􀍡t roi dài 􀃿úng hai s􀌫i tay b􀌹ng s􀌷t ròng.”
- “Th􀋱a Ngài, vâng!”
- “Bây gi􀍥 Ng􀋱􀋯i có th􀍋 lui!”
V􀓏 s􀓭 th􀒫n t􀓭c sôi gan, nh􀑭ng không bi􀓃t sao ông l􀒥i làm 􀃿úng nh􀑭 􀃿ã nghe l􀓡i d􀒻n.
The Legend of the Heavenly King of Phu Dong
Trong khi 􀃿ó 􀓣 kinh 􀃿ô, nhà vua 􀃿ã th􀓭c nhi􀓅u 􀃿êm tìm cách c􀓭u dân chúng kh􀓓i
th􀒧m-h􀓑a chi􀓃n tranh. M􀓝t 􀃿êm, vua ch􀓧p m􀒳t và nghe th􀒩y có ti􀓃ng ng􀑭􀓡i nói bên tai
r􀒵ng: “Trong t􀑭􀑫ng lai r􀒩t g􀒫n, m􀓝t v􀓏 T􀑭􀓟ng Nhà Gi􀓡i s􀓁 giúp ông 􀃿ánh tan quân gi􀒻c.”
Khi nhà vua nghe tin v􀓅 c􀒱u bé tên Gióng và nh􀓳ng yêu-c􀒫u l􀒥-lùng v􀓅 chi􀓃n-c􀓩
c􀓫a c􀒱u, ông v􀒯n còn 􀃿ang ngh􀆭-ng􀓧i v􀓅 nh􀓳ng l􀓡i nói 􀃿ã nghe trong m􀑫.
K􀓃t qu􀒧 là 􀃿ích-thân nhà vua trông coi vi􀓋c ch􀓃-t􀒥o ng􀓵a s􀒳t và cây g􀒱y.
Khi quân 􀃿􀓝i c􀓫a vua 􀃿óng ch􀓡 􀓣 nh􀓳ng 􀃿ám ru􀓝ng tr􀓕ng c􀓫a làng Phù-􀄈􀓙ng,
thì m􀓝t toán g􀓗m m􀓝t tr􀄃m ng􀑭􀓡i lính khiêng ng􀓵a s􀒳t và roi 􀃿􀓃n nhà Gióng.
Dân làng r􀒩t ng􀒥c nhiên khi nghe tin là Gióng 􀃿ã có th􀓇 ng􀓗i d􀒱y và bi􀓃t nói.
Ngoài ra, c􀒱u 􀃿ã ra l􀓋nh cho s􀓭-th􀒫n là mình s􀓁 ra tr􀒱n 􀃿ánh gi􀒻c. Dân làng kéo 􀃿􀓃n ch􀒱t
ních cái sân nh􀓓 tr􀑭óc nhà Gióng 􀃿􀓇 xem bi􀓃n-c􀓕 l􀓏ch-s􀓱 c􀓫a chính làng h􀓑.
Khi nghe tin là m􀓑i vi􀓋c 􀃿ã s􀒹n-sàng cho chi􀓃n tr􀒱n, Gióng b􀑭􀓟c ra kh􀓓i nhà 􀃿􀓇
chào m􀓯ng dân làng và s􀓭-th􀒫n.
Khi b􀑭􀓟c ra, c􀒱u có dáng uy-nghi l􀒥 lùng. C􀒱u cúi chào dân làng và nói m􀓝t cách
long-tr􀓑ng: “ Kính th􀋱a 􀃿􀍛ng-bào! Xin quý v􀍓 􀃿􀍳ng s􀍫 hãi tôi hay m􀍁 tôi! Tôi s􀍅 gi􀍇t h􀍇t
gi􀌿c và d􀍁p tan chi􀍇n-n􀌩n.” Gi􀓑ng c􀒱u r􀓅n vang nh􀑭 chuông chùa. R􀓗i c􀒱u nói: “Bây gi􀍥,
tôi xin 􀃿􀍛ng-bào cho tôi 􀄃n 􀃿􀍋 tôi có th􀍋 ra tr􀌵n.”
􀄈ám 􀃿ông b􀒳t 􀃿􀒫u bàn-tán 􀓗n-ào vì h􀓑 không bi􀓃t c􀒱u mu􀓕n 􀄃n gì và 􀄃n thì 􀄃n ra
sao. Sau cùng m􀓝t c􀓩 già 􀃿ánh b􀒥o ra h􀓓i m􀓝t câu.
- “C􀌵u mu􀍙n 􀄃n gì và 􀄃n bao nhiêu thì 􀃿􀍯?”
- “C􀋯m, tôi mu􀍙n 􀄃n c􀋯m! Tôi mu􀍙n 􀄃n n􀄃m m􀋱􀋯i bát c􀋯m!” C􀒱u bé tr􀒧 l􀓡i.
􀄈ám 􀃿ông l􀒥i bàn-cãi rì-r􀒫m n􀓳a, “Làm sao mà m􀍡t c􀌵u bé l􀌩i có th􀍋 􀄃n 􀃿􀋱􀍫c n􀄃m m􀋱􀋯i
bát c􀋯m?”
The Legend of the Heavenly King of Phu Dong
Khi c􀑫m 􀃿ã chín và 􀃿􀑭􀓧c mang t􀓟i, Gióng ng􀓗i xu􀓕ng và b􀒳t 􀃿􀒫u 􀄃n. Ch􀒷ng m􀒩y
ch􀓕c, cái n􀓗i n􀄃m m􀑭􀑫i 􀃿ã h􀓃t s􀒥ch. Khi 􀃿ã 􀄃n c􀑫m xong, c􀒱u 􀃿􀓭ng lên và v􀑭􀑫n vai. T􀒩t
c􀒧 m􀓑i ng􀑭􀓡i trong 􀃿ám 􀃿ông không th􀓇 tin 􀓣 m􀒳t h􀓑 n􀓳a: C􀒱u bé 􀄃n c􀑫m xong, 􀃿ã cao
m􀑭􀓡i b􀓝. Anh cúi chào dân làng và cám 􀑫n 􀃿ã hi􀓃n c􀑫m.
Gióng, v􀓏 t􀑭􀓟ng tr􀒿 tu􀓙i ti􀓃n 􀃿􀓃n g􀒫n m􀒽 ông và l􀒱p t􀓭c qùy xu􀓕ng, long-tr􀓑ng l􀒥y
bà ba l􀒥y. Xong ông c􀒫m cây g􀒱y s􀒳t lên nh􀑭 th􀓇 c􀒫m m􀓝t c􀓑ng r􀑫m v􀒱y và nh􀒭y lên l􀑭ng
ng􀓵a s􀒳t. Con ng􀓵a hí lên m􀓝t ti􀓃ng hí vui, vang l􀓯ng và 􀃿i n􀑭􀓟c ki􀓋u v􀓅 phía 􀃿oàn quân.
Gióng d􀓯ng ng􀓵a và nói ng􀒳n g􀓑n:
“H􀓥i các binh s􀆭 c􀓫a ta! Các ng􀑭􀑫i không nên quá s􀓧 hãi ta! Ta v􀓕n là T􀑭􀓟ng Nhà
“Gi􀓡i. Hôm nay, ta là Nguyên Soái c􀓫a các ng􀑭􀑫i. Ta s􀓁 h􀑭􀓟ng d􀒯n các ng􀑭􀑫i gi􀓃t
“và 􀃿ánh b􀒥i k􀒿 thù trong m􀓝t tr􀒱n 􀃿ánh thôi. R􀓗i, các ng􀑭􀑫i s􀓁 tr􀓣 v􀓅 v􀓟i v􀓧 con.
“􀄈􀓯ng s􀓧 hãi k􀒿 thù! Ta s􀓁 gi􀓃t chúng d􀓉 nh􀑭 ch􀒻t chu􀓕i v􀒱t thôi.
“Bây gi􀓡, hãy theo ta và t􀒩n-công phòng-tuy􀓃n c􀓫a gi􀒻c!”
Ngay khi ng􀓯ng nói, ông thúc ng􀓵a ti􀓃n t􀓟i. Con ng􀓵a hí vang nh􀑭 s􀒩m r􀓅n, phun
l􀓱a và phóng th􀒷ng vào quân 􀃿􀓏ch. C􀒧 􀃿oàn quân anh-d􀇊ng chi􀓃n-􀃿􀒩u sát bên v􀓏 ch􀓫-soái
th􀒫n-thánh c􀓫a h􀓑.
N􀑫i nào quân c􀓫a Gióng 􀃿􀓃n, 􀃿􀓏ch b􀓏 gi􀓃t h􀓃t, doanh-tr􀒥i b􀓏 􀃿􀓕t s􀒥ch.
Trong vòng m􀓝t ngày, toàn b􀓝 quân xâm-l􀑭􀓧c và quân chi􀓃m 􀃿óng b􀓏 tiêu-di􀓋t s􀒥ch.
Trong tr􀒱n chi􀓃n oanh-li􀓋t này, cây roi s􀒳t b􀓏 gãy, Gióng ph􀒧i nh􀓙 nh􀓳ng b􀓩i tre
moc ven 􀃿􀑭􀓡ng 􀃿􀓇 􀃿􀒱p ch􀓃t quân gi􀒻c. Nh􀓳ng thân cây tre không ch􀓏u n􀓙i ch􀒩n-􀃿􀓝ng
liên-t􀓩c 􀃿ã g􀒯y v􀓩n t􀓯ng khúc.
M􀓛i l􀒫n quân Gióng lìa chi􀓃n tr􀑭􀓡ng, m􀒻t 􀃿􀒩t ph􀓫 􀃿􀒫y xác 􀃿􀓏ch, và vô-s􀓕 nh􀓳ng
m􀒧nh tre v􀑭􀑫ng-vãi kh􀒳p n􀑫i.
The Legend of the Heavenly King of Phu Dong
Sau khi toàn b􀓝 quân xâm-l􀑭􀓧c b􀓏 tiêu-di􀓋t, Gióng phóng ng􀓵a vào núi. T􀓟i chân
núi Sóc-S􀑫n, ông c􀓣i b􀓓 chi􀓃n-bào 􀃿􀒯m máu. Con ng􀓵a hí lên m􀓝t ti􀓃ng r􀓅n tr􀓡i, 􀃿􀒥p
m􀒥nh hai chân sau, bay th􀒷ng lên tr􀓡i v􀓯a bay v􀓯a phun l􀓱a; r􀓗i khu􀒩t h􀒷n sau l􀓟p mây
Truy􀓅n-thuy􀓃t nói r􀒵ng sau khi gi􀓃t xong gi􀒻c c􀓭u n􀑭􀓟c, Gióng và con ng􀓵a c􀓫a
mình tr􀓣 v􀓅 nh􀒱n l􀒥i ch􀓭c c􀇊 n􀑫i thiên-􀃿àng.
􀄈􀓇 ghi nh􀓟 chi􀓃n-công hi􀓇n-hách và công-􀃿􀓭c c􀓫a ông 􀃿􀓕i v􀓟i dân v􀓟i n􀑭􀓟c, Vua
Hùng-V􀑭􀑫ng 􀃿ã l􀒱p 􀃿􀓅n th􀓡 th􀒱t tráng-l􀓋 cho ông. Vua c􀇊ng ban s􀒳c-l􀓋nh s􀒳c phong cho
ông danh-hi􀓋u Phù-􀄈􀓙ng Thiên-V􀑭􀑫ng t􀓭c Vua Tr􀓡i làng Phù-􀄈􀓙ng. Dân làng tôn-tr􀓑ng
danh-hi􀓋u này và ch􀓍 thích g􀓑i ông là Thánh Gióng.
Ghi Thêm
Hi􀓋n nay còn có hai v􀓃t lõm sâu trên m􀓝t kh􀓕i 􀃿á l􀓟n t􀒥i núi Sóc-S􀑫n mà ng􀑭􀓡i ta
tin r􀒵ng 􀃿ó là hai v􀓃t chân ng􀓵a th􀒫n 􀃿ã 􀃿􀓇 l􀒥i tr􀑭􀓟c khi bay v􀓅 tr􀓡i.
Thêmn􀓳a, tre 􀃿􀒵ng-ngà là gi􀓕ng tre màu vàng l􀓟n và th􀒷ng có nhi􀓅u v􀓋t dài màu
xanh ch􀒥y d􀓑c su􀓕t thân tre, m􀓑c r􀒩t nhi􀓅u 􀓣 các làng 􀓣 B􀒳c Vi􀓋t. T􀓩c truy􀓅n r􀒵ng khi
Thánh Gióng gi􀓃t gi􀒻c b􀒵ng các b􀓩i tre, ông 􀃿ã làm gãy r􀒩t nhi􀓅u tre. H􀓉 n􀑫i nào có m􀓝t
khúc tre r􀑫i xu􀓕ng 􀃿􀒩t, n􀑫i 􀃿ó m􀓑c lên m􀓝t b􀓩i tre 􀃿􀒵ng-ngà l􀓟n.
T􀓯 nay v􀓅 sau, n􀓃u b􀒥n trông th􀒩y nhóm t􀓯 “tu􀓙i tr􀒿 Phù-􀄈􀓙ng,” hay “l􀓟n nhanh
nh􀑭 Phù-􀄈􀓙ng,” ho􀒻c “l􀓟n nhanh nh􀑭 Thánh Gióng” trong các tác-ph􀒭m Vi􀓋t-Nam, b􀒥n
s􀓁 hi􀓇u ngay r􀒵ng tác gi􀒧 mu􀓕n nói 􀃿􀓃n kh􀒧-n􀄃ng vô-t􀒱n c􀓫a tu􀓙i tr􀒿 Vi􀓋t-Nam.
Phóng tác t􀍳 truy􀍏n truy􀍉n-kh􀌱u
và ngo􀌩i-s􀍵 Vi􀍏t-Nam.
Qúy Nguy􀍍n, July 2005
The Legend of Betel Leaf and Areca Nut
of the Vietnamese Peoples
Once upon of time, in a poor, small village of the Ancient Vietnam lived two
brothers. The elder brother was Tan Sinh, who was only one year older than his brother
Tan Lang. Their father was a widower, but he did not want to remarry for he wanted to
muster all his effort and wealth to raise his two sons to become educated peasants. One
day, knowing that he would not live long, the peasant summoned his two sons to his
dead-bed and ordered them to fulfill his last three wishes.
The first wish was that his sons would continue to work on their land for a living.
The second wish was that they would go to the famous teacher in the neighboring village
to study. And the third was that they had to love and take care of each other forever.
No sooner was the old man buried properly in the village burial-ground than the
two brothers began to realize their father wishes. They ploughed the wetland to cultivate
water rice and grew fruit trees on their dry land while taking lessons with the teacher in
the neighboring village. Their diligent work, their love to study, and their fraternal love
and care for each other were widely known and praised throughout their region.
Time passed swiftly, and three full years had passed before the two young,
handsome men realized that they were both deeply in love with the beautiful, only
daughter of their teacher. The girl was aware of their feelings from all along, but she
waited until they both went out of mourning1 and told her father and asked for his
On hearing this news, the old teacher became undecided: He was wavering
between choosing one of the two brothers. During the previous three years, the teacher
always treated his two special students equally because either of them was really correct
and decent in his words, deeds, and manners. In short, they were both educated men and
1 When one of the parents or grandparents died, children and grandchildren would be in mourning for
twenty seven months (capital mourning). During this period of time they should wear clothes of plain, dark
color and were not allowed to organize or attend any joyful activities. Weddings were strictly prohibited
when one of the future spouses was in mourning.
excellent in all aspects. Finally, the teacher had to marry his beloved daughter to the elder
brother because the social norms and tradition of the time required that all elder brother
and sister should be married before any of their younger siblings could.
Even though Tan Lang felt very sad at the news that the girl he loved could not
marry him but would marry his brother Tan Sinh instead, he still helped his brother
enlarge their paternal house for the wedding.
Tan Sinh married the girl he loved, and the couple lived happily in their enlarged
house2. Sinh indulged himself with love so much that he practically forgot that he had a
younger brother, who lived under the same roof.
Tan Lang, the silent sufferer and admirer could no longer bear the pain of seeing
the happy couple enjoying their conjugal life. But he did not want to destroy the
happiness of his beloved, who were his own brother and his dream woman. The only
thing he could do to conserve their fraternal love, save his own virtues and conducts, and
protect their happiness was that he would leave them forever.
His determination to sacrifice was adamant: He left his native land without
leaving a word for any body at all. Tan Lang aimed at the highest mountain peak, and
towards it he went. After many, many days of going up and down hills, crossing many
desert fields, swarms, and virgin woods; he came to a wild, big river. There was no boat
to cross the river, and there was nobody in sight or houses nearby to buy anything to eat
or to work in exchange for food. Worst of all was that there was nothing edible in that
immense region. Finally, Tan Lang sat himself down at an even and flat place near the
riverside to take a rest and to think of his beloved.
No one knew for sure how long Tan Lang had sat there before he died. But legend
has it that he sat there and died and that his corps changed into a huge limestone seam on
the riverside.
2 Right after the wedding, the daughter-in-law came to live with her husband in his parents’ house.
Several weeks later in his native village, the newly-wed couple became aware of
his absence. When they recognized that their negligence had driven him away from
home, they knew that they could no longer enjoy their happiness if their brother had to
drift about in strange lands to make ends meet. The husband repented of his mistake and
decided to go searching for his brother to bring him home. His wife packed ten days of
dry food, threaded a string of copper coins,3 and urged him to begin his search as soon as
Judging from his geographical knowledge of the region, Tan Sinh surmised that
his brother had gone to the direction of the highest mountain. Therefore, Tan Sinh aimed
at the highest mountain and began his search. After many, many days of plodding up and
down hills and crossing many desert fields and swarms, and virgin woods; he came to the
same wild, big river. There was no boat to help him cross the river. There was nobody in
sight or houses nearby to buy anything to eat or to work in exchange for food. Worst of
all was that there was nothing edible in that immense region. Dead tired and hungry, Tan
Sinh found the limestone, and onto which he lay down and rested.
No one knew for sure how long Tan Sinh had lain there before he died. Legend
has it that he lay down and died and that his corps changed into a huge areca tree standing
by the limestone seam.
After many weeks of waiting in vain for her husband and his brother to return, the
wife planned to go and search for her husband and her brother-in-law. She forced herself
to believe that her husband had found his brother, but the latter might have been sick.
Therefore, her husband had to stay longer to take care of him. This time the faithful wife
packed enough dry food for three people to use and brought along all the strings of coins
they possessed in case of need.
Knowing that her husband had taken the bearing on the highest mountain, she
began her search in that direction. After many, many days of plodding up and down hills
and crossing many desert fields and swarms, and virgin woods; she came to the same
wild, big river. There was no boat to help her cross the river. There was nobody in sight
3 Ancient money
or houses nearby to buy anything to eat or to work in exchange for food. Worst of all was
that there was nothing edible in that immense region. Desperate, tired, and hungry, the
faithful wife sat on the limestone, leaning against the areca tree. She tried not to cry, but
tears kept falling down all over her pale cheeks. Her strength waned, and she died.
Legend has it that the woman sat on the limestone leaning against the areca tree
and wept incessantly to her death. Her corps changed into a luster twiner, which climbed
up and embraced the trunk of the areca tree with its many enter-twining vines. That
twiner was later known as the betel vine.
When the king went on an inspection tour in this region of his country, the wild,
immense region had become populous and wealthy. One day, the king happened to stand
on the limestone seam and gazed at the spectacle of a luster vine intertwining a strange
tree bearing bunches of green nuts. He wanted to stay there longer to study the tree and
the vine.
The king talked to the elders in this region about the strange vine and the tree.
They told him the legend of the couple and their brother. The king was deeply moved by
the story of their tragic fate, and he ordered to camp there for a time. He wanted to do
something for the three lovers.
After much thinking the king ordered that chunks of limestone be baked in the fire
then mixed with water to make a soft, lime gel. This lime was to be used to test the betel
leaf and the areca nut. The king employed several prisoners under dead sentence to test
his new mix, which was comprised of. a piece of an areca nut, a half of a betel leaf, and a
dash of lime gel. Each prisoner was to chew that mix to see what would happen. The king
told the prisoners if they survived the chewing test, their dead penalty would be reversed.
After chewing that mix (the quid), the prisoners looked merrier. Because of their
chewing the betel leaf and areca nut; their cheeks turned pink, their eyes were brilliant,
and their lips crimson red. They became more vivid than ever. Seeing such a result, the
soldiers and the villagers asked the king if they could volunteer to chew the quids, and
the king granted them his permission.
At the end, the king also chewed the quid, and he became very fond of the new
taste and enjoyed the pleasant mood ensuing from the chewing. He ordered the local
authorities to grow more areca plants from the ripen nuts and more betel vines from short
lengths of the old vines.
The king himself wrote a pair of parallel sentences in big characters to praise the
spirits of the three good brothers and sister in this tragedy. The royal sentences for them
were as follows, “Harmonious Brothers” and “Faithful Couple”.
Later the king issued a decree that ordered betel leaf and areca nut be offered in
all worship and sacrifice. By and by, betel leaf and areca nuts were chewed in all
festivities of all the peoples in Vietnam. Finally, betel leaf and areca nuts have become an
essential engagement present in a traditional Vietnamese wedding.
Today, betel leaves and areca nuts are being sent by air freight to all parts of the
world because the Vietnamese living abroad still consider them the symbol of faithful
love. Therefore, the presence of betel leaves and areca nuts in a Vietnamese traditional
wedding is a must.
Adapted from Vietnamese oral tales
By Quy Nguyen
The Legend of Betel Leaf and Areca Nut
S􀓵 Tích Tr􀒫u Cau V􀓟i Vôi
􀄈􀍥c xong truy􀍟n này b􀌹n s􀍕 hi􀍛u
vì sao trong m􀍱t 􀃿ám c􀌁􀍳i Vi􀍟t-Nam
luôn luôn có tr􀌿u và cau
Ngày x􀓱a ngày x􀑭a, trong m􀓝t làng nh􀓓 bé c􀓫a n􀑭􀓟c Vi􀓋t Nam c􀓙, có hai em nhà
h􀓑 Cao. Ng􀑭􀓡i anh là Tân Sinh l􀓟n h􀑫n em là Tân Lang m􀓝t tu􀓙i. Cha c􀓫a h􀓑 hóa v􀓧 s􀓟m
nh􀑭ng ông không t􀓩c-huy􀓅n1 vì ông mu􀓕n t􀒱p trung s􀓭c l􀓵c và ti􀓅n c􀓫a 􀃿􀓇 nuôi d􀒥y hai
con thành ng􀑭􀓡i nông dân bi􀓃t ch􀓳. M􀓝t ngày kia, bi􀓃t mình không th􀓇 s􀓕ng thêm n􀓳a,
ông g􀓑i hai ng􀑭􀓡i con 􀃿􀓃n bên gi􀑭􀓡ng và b􀒳t h􀓑 h􀓭a v􀓟i ông hai 􀃿i􀓅u.
􀄈i􀓅u th􀓭 nh􀒩t là h􀓑 ti􀓃p t􀓩c canh-tác 􀃿􀒩t 􀃿ai ông 􀃿􀓇 l􀒥i 􀃿􀓇 sinh-nhai. 􀄈i􀓅u thú hai
là h􀓑 s􀓁 sang xin h􀓑c ch􀓳 v􀓟i ông th􀒫y n􀓙i ti􀓃ng 􀓣 làng bên. 􀄈i􀓅u th􀓭 ba là h􀓑 ph􀒧i
th􀑭􀑫ng yêu ch􀄃m sóc nhau mãi mãi.
Ngay sau khi chôn c􀒩t cha 􀃿àng hoàng 􀓣 ngh􀆭a 􀃿􀓏a làng, h􀓑 b􀒳t 􀃿􀒫u th􀓵c hi􀓋n l􀓡i
􀑭􀓟c nguy􀓋n c􀓫a cha. Hai anh em cày ru􀓝ng th􀒩p 􀃿􀓇 tr􀓗ng lúa n􀑭􀓟c và tr􀓗ng cây 􀄃n qu􀒧
trên 􀃿􀒩t v􀑭􀓡n.; 􀃿􀓗ng th􀓡i h􀓑 xin h􀓑c ch􀓳 v􀓟i ông thày 􀃿􀓗 􀓣 làng bên. S􀓵 làm vi􀓋c siêng
n􀄃ng, vi􀓋c h􀓑c-hành ch􀄃m ch􀓍, và tình anh em c􀓫a h􀓑 􀃿􀑭􀓧c truy􀓅n xa và khen-ng􀓧i kh􀒳p
Th􀓡i gian qua th􀒱t là mau, và ba n􀄃m tròn 􀃿ã qua 􀃿i tr􀑭óc khi hai chàng trai tr􀒿
nh􀒱n bi􀓃t r􀒵ng h􀓑 cùng yêu say-􀃿􀒳m ng􀑭􀓡i con gái xinh 􀃿􀒽p 􀃿􀓝c nh􀒩t c􀓫a thày mình.
Cô gái 􀃿ã bi􀓃t tình c􀒧m c􀓫a h􀓑 t􀓯 lâu, nh􀑭ng cô 􀃿􀓧i 􀃿􀓃n khi hai ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿ã mãn tang cha2
m􀓟i th􀑭a v􀓟i cha mình 􀃿􀓇 xin ông quy􀓃t 􀃿􀓏nh.
1 l􀒩y v􀓧 khác
2 Khi cha m􀒽, ông bà ch􀓃t 􀃿i, con cháu ph􀒧i 􀃿􀓇 tang 27 tháng g􀓑i là 􀃿􀒥i tang. Trong th􀓡i gian này h􀓑 ph􀒧i
m􀒻c qu􀒫n áo s􀒱m m􀓝t màu và không 􀃿􀑭􀓧c t􀓙 ch􀓭c ho􀒻c tham d􀓵 m􀓝t cu􀓝c vui nào c􀒧. Vi􀓋c c􀑭􀓟i g􀒧 hoàn
toàn c􀒩m 􀃿􀓕i v􀓟i nh􀓳ng ng􀑭òi 􀃿ang có tang.
The Legend of Betel Leaf and Areca Nut
Nghe tin này, ông thày già không th􀓇 quy􀓃t 􀃿􀓏nh 􀃿􀑭􀓧c. Ông phân-vân trong vi􀓋c
ch􀓑n m􀓝t trong hai ng􀑭􀓡i. T􀓯 ba n􀄃m qua, ông luôn luôn 􀃿􀓕i x􀓱 th􀒱t công-b􀒵ng v􀓟i hai
ng􀑭􀓡i h􀓑c trò 􀃿􀒻c bi􀓋t c􀓫a ông b􀓣i vì c􀒧 hai ng􀑭􀓡i ai c􀇊ng hoàn-h􀒧o t􀓯 l􀓡i 􀄃n ti􀓃ng nói
􀃿􀓃n hành-vi c􀓱-ch􀓍. Tóm l􀒥i c􀒧 hai 􀃿􀓅u 􀃿􀑭􀓧c giáo d􀓩c t􀓕t và hoàn-h􀒧o trên m􀓑i ph􀑭􀑫ng
di􀓋n. Cu􀓕i cùng ông ph􀒧i g􀒧 con gái cho ng􀑭􀓡i anh vì theo chu􀒭n-m􀓵c xã-h􀓝i th􀓡i b􀒩y
gi􀓡, anh, ch􀓏 l􀓟n ph􀒧i có v􀓧 có ch􀓗ng r􀓗i thì các em nh􀓓 tu􀓙i h􀑫n m􀓟i 􀃿􀑭􀓧c l􀒱p gia 􀃿ình.
Dù r􀒵ng Tân Lang r􀒩t bu􀓗n vì ng􀑭􀓡i mình yêu không th􀓇 l􀒩y mình mà s􀓁 l􀒩y
ng􀑭􀓡i anh ru􀓝t c􀓫a mình, anh v􀒯n giúp ng􀑭􀓡i anh c􀑫i nhà cho r􀓝ng l􀓟n thêm ra 􀃿􀓇 làm
􀃿ám c􀑭􀓟i.
Tân Sinh c􀑭􀓟i 􀃿􀑭􀓧c ng􀑭􀓡i mình yêu, và 􀃿ôi v􀓧 ch􀓗ng s􀓕ng trong ngôi nhà 􀃿ã c􀑫i
r􀓝ng. Sinh chìm 􀃿􀒳m trong tình yêu và th􀓵c s􀓵 quên m􀒩t là mình còn có m􀓝t ng􀑭􀓡i em
cùng s􀓕ng chung d􀑭􀓟i m􀓝t mái nhà.
Tân Lang, ng􀑭􀓡i âm-th􀒫m 􀃿au kh􀓙, không còn ch􀓏u n􀓙i n􀓛i 􀃿au hàng ngày nhìn
th􀒩y h􀒥nh-phúc l􀓭a 􀃿ôi cu􀒧 anh mình. Nh􀑭ng anh không mu􀓕n phá-ho􀒥i h􀒥nh-phúc c􀓫a
nh􀓳ng ng􀑭􀓡i thân yêu: M􀓝t ng􀑭􀓡i là anh ru􀓝t, m􀓝t ng􀑭􀓡i là ng􀑭􀓡i mình yêu trong m􀓝ng.
Cách hay nh􀒩t mà anh có th􀓇 làm 􀃿􀑭􀓧c 􀃿􀓇 v􀓯a gi􀓳 􀃿􀑭􀓧c tình anh em, v􀓯a b􀒧o-t􀓗n 􀃿􀑭􀓧c
ph􀒭m-h􀒥nh, 􀃿􀒥o-􀃿􀓭c c􀓫a mình, và gìn-gi􀓳 􀃿􀑭􀓧c h􀒥nh-phúc c􀓫a h􀓑 là anh ph􀒧i v􀆭nh-vi􀓉n
ra 􀃿i.
Quy􀓃t-􀃿􀓏nh hy-sinh c􀓫a anh th􀒱t c􀓭ng r􀒳n: Anh b􀓓 làng 􀃿i không nói v􀓟i ai m􀓝t
l􀓡i nào. Tân Lang nh􀒳m h􀑭􀓟ng 􀃿􀓍nh núi cao nh􀒩t và 􀃿i v􀓅 phía 􀒩y. Sau r􀒩t nhi􀓅u ngày lên
d􀓕c xu􀓕ng 􀃿èo, b􀄃ng qua 􀃿􀓗ng v􀒳ng, 􀃿􀒫m hoang, và r􀓯ng nguyên-sinh3; anh g􀒻p m􀓝t con
sông l􀓟n n􀑭􀓟c ch􀒧y si􀓃t, ch􀒳n ngang 􀃿􀑭􀓡ng 􀃿i. Không có thuy􀓅n bè 􀃿􀓇 sang sông, không
có bóng ng􀑭􀓡i ho􀒻c nhà c􀓱a trong vùng 􀃿􀓇 mua 􀃿􀓗 􀄃n hay làm thuê làm m􀑭􀓟n 􀃿􀓇 􀃿􀓙i l􀒩y
3 r􀓯ng hoang ch􀑭a có v􀓃t chân ng􀑭􀓡i
The Legend of Betel Leaf and Areca Nut
c􀑫m 􀄃n. T􀓋 nh􀒩t là, c􀒧 m􀓝t vùng r􀓝ng l􀓟n 􀃿ó không có m􀓝t th􀓭 gì 􀄃n 􀃿􀑭􀓧c. Cu􀓕i cùng,
Tân Lang ng􀓗i xu􀓕ng m􀓝t ch􀓛 􀃿􀒩t b􀒵ng ph􀒷ng 􀃿􀓇 ngh􀓍 và suy ngh􀆭 􀃿􀓃n nh􀓳ng ng􀑭􀓡i thân.
Không ai bi􀓃t 􀃿 􀑭􀓧c là Tân Lang ng􀓗i 􀃿ó bao lâu r􀓗i m􀓟i ch􀓃t. Truy􀓅n thuy􀓃t nói
r􀒵ng anh ng􀓗i 􀃿ó r􀓗i ch􀓃t, và xác anh hóa ra m􀓝t v􀓍a 􀃿á vôi l􀓟n n􀒵m trên b􀓡 sông.
Nhi􀓅u tu􀒫n sau n􀑫i làng quê, c􀒻p v􀓧 ch􀓗ng m􀓟i bi􀓃t s􀑭 v􀒳ng m􀒻t c􀓫a ng􀑭􀓡i em.
Khi h􀓑 nh􀒱n bi􀓃t 􀃿􀑭􀓧c r􀒵ng chính s􀓵 th􀓡-􀑫 c􀓫a h􀓑 􀃿ã làm cho ng􀑭􀓡i em ph􀒧i b􀓓 nhà ra 􀃿i.
H􀓑 hi􀓇u r􀒵ng t􀓯 nay h􀓑 s􀓁 không th􀓇 vui h􀑭􀓣ng h􀒥nh-phúc riêng t􀑭 n􀓳a, n􀓃u nh􀑭 ng􀑭􀓡i
em c􀓫a h􀓑 ph􀒧i trôi-d􀒥t tha-h􀑭􀑫ng 􀃿􀓇 ki􀓃m s􀓕ng. Ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng vô cùng h􀓕i-h􀒱n và quy􀓃t
􀃿􀓏nh 􀃿i tìm ng􀑭􀓡i em v􀓅. Ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 s􀓱a so􀒥n cho ch􀓗ng m􀑭􀓡i ngày l􀑭􀑫ng khô và m􀓝t xâu
ti􀓅n 􀃿􀓗ng 4 r􀓗i gi􀓩c ch􀓗ng 􀃿i tìm em càng s􀓟m càng t􀓕t.
Suy t􀓯 s􀓵 hi􀓇u bi􀓃t v􀓅 􀃿􀓏a-th􀓃 trong vùng, Tân Sinh ph􀓓ng 􀃿oán r􀒵ng em mình 􀃿ã
nh􀒳m theo h􀑭􀓟ng núi l􀓟n mà 􀃿i. Vì v􀒱y Tân Sinh b􀒳t 􀃿􀒫u tìm em theo h􀑭􀓟ng 􀃿i 􀃿ó.
Tân Sinh nh􀒳m h􀑭􀓟ng 􀃿􀓍nh núi cao nh􀒩t và 􀃿i v􀓅 phía 􀒩y 􀃿􀓇 tìm em. Sau r􀒩t nhi􀓅u ngày
lên d􀓕c xu􀓕ng 􀃿èo, b􀄃ng qua 􀃿􀓗ng v􀒳ng, 􀃿􀒫m hoang, và r􀓯ng nguyên-sinh; anh g􀒻p m􀓝t
con sông l􀓟n n􀑭􀓟c ch􀒧y r􀒩t m􀒥nh, ch􀒳n ngang 􀃿􀑭􀓡ng 􀃿i. Không có thuy􀓅n bè 􀃿􀓇 sang
sông, không có bóng ng􀑭􀓡i ho􀒻c nhà c􀓱a trong vùng 􀃿􀓇 mua 􀃿􀓗 􀄃n hay làm thuê làm
m􀑭ón 􀃿􀓇 􀃿􀓙i l􀒩y c􀑫m 􀄃n. T􀓋 h􀑫n n􀓳a là, c􀒧 m􀓝t vùng r􀓝ng l􀓟n 􀃿ó không có m􀓝t th􀓭 gì 􀄃n
􀃿􀑭􀓧c. Cu􀓕i cùng, 􀃿ói và m􀓋t, Tân Sinh n􀒵m trên v􀓍a 􀃿á vôi bên b􀓡 sông ngh􀓍 m􀓋t.
Không ai bi􀓃t rõ là Tân Sinh n􀒵m 􀃿ó bao lâu r􀓗i m􀓟i ch􀓃t. Truy􀓅n thuy􀓃t nói r􀒵ng
anh n􀒵m 􀃿ó r􀓗i ch􀓃t và xác anh hóa thành m􀓝t cây cau l􀓟n m􀓑c ngay c􀒥nh v􀓍a 􀃿á vôi.
4 ti􀓅n ngày x􀑭a, thu􀓡ng 􀃿􀑭􀓧c xâu thành xâu cho kh􀓓i b􀓏 r􀑫i.
The Legend of Betel Leaf and Areca Nut
T􀒥i n􀑫i làng c􀇊, sau m􀒩y tháng ch􀓡 􀃿􀓧i hoài công, ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 quy􀓃t-􀃿􀓏nh 􀃿i tìm
ch􀓗ng và em ch􀓗ng v􀓅. Ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 t􀓵 tr􀒩n-an mình b􀒵ng cách tin r􀒵ng ch􀓗ng mình 􀃿ã tìm
th􀒩y ng􀑭􀓡i em nh􀑭ng vì ng􀑭􀓡i em b􀓏 􀓕m n􀒻ng nên ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng ph􀒧i 􀓣 l􀒥i s􀄃n-sóc em.
L􀒫n này ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 􀃿em theo l􀑭􀑫ng khô 􀃿􀓫 dùng cho c􀒧 ba ng􀑭􀓡i và t􀒩t c􀒧 các xâu ti􀓅n
􀃿􀓗ng h􀓑 có, 􀃿􀓇 phòng khi c􀒫n 􀃿􀓃n.
Bi􀓃t ch􀓗ng 􀃿i theo h􀑭􀓟ng núi l􀓟n, ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 b􀒳t 􀃿􀒫u 􀃿i tìm theo h􀑭􀓟ng 􀃿ó.
Sau r􀒩t nhi􀓅u ngày l􀒻n-l􀓝i lên d􀓕c xu􀓕ng 􀃿èo, b􀄃ng qua 􀃿􀓗ng v􀒳ng, 􀃿􀒫m hoang, và r􀓯ng
nguyên-sinh; ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 g􀒻p m􀓝t con sông l􀓟n n􀑭􀓟c ch􀒧y r􀒩t m􀒥nh, ch􀒳n ngang 􀃿􀑭􀓡ng 􀃿i.
Không có thuy􀓅n bè 􀃿􀓇 sang sông, không có bóng ng􀑭􀓡i ho􀒻c nhà c􀓱a trong vùng 􀃿􀓇 mua
􀃿􀓗 􀄃n hay làm thuê làm m􀑭ón 􀃿􀓇 􀃿􀓙i l􀒩y c􀑫m 􀄃n. T􀓋 h􀑫n n􀓳a là, c􀒧 m􀓝t vùng r􀓝ng l􀓟n 􀃿ó
không có m􀓝t th􀓭 gì 􀄃n 􀃿􀑭􀓧c. Cu􀓕i cùng, tuy􀓋t v􀓑ng, m􀓋t, và 􀃿ói, bà ng􀓗i ngh􀓍 trên v􀓍a 􀃿á
vôi, t􀓵a l􀑭ng vào thân c􀒱y cau. Bà không mu􀓕n khóc nh􀑭ng n􀑭􀓟c m􀒳t c􀓭 tuôn trào xu􀓕ng
􀃿ôi má nh􀓧t-nh􀒥t c􀓫a bà. S􀓭c l􀓵c tàn d􀒫n và bà ch􀓃t.
Truy􀓅n thuy􀓃t nói r􀒵ng ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn bà ng􀓗i trên v􀓍a 􀃿á vôi, d􀓵a l􀑭ng vào thân cây
và khóc cho 􀃿􀓃n ch􀓃t. Xác bà hoá thành m􀓝t loài dây leo xanh t􀓕t qu􀒩n quanh thân cây5.
5 Loài dây leo sau này là dây tr􀒫u.
The Legend of Betel Leaf and Areca Nut
Mãi v􀓅 sau, khi nhà vua 􀃿i tu􀒫n 􀃿􀓃n vùng 􀃿􀒩t này thì c􀒧 mi􀓅n hoang-dã r􀓝ng l􀓟n
􀃿ó 􀃿ã thành 􀃿ông-􀃿úc và trù-phú. M􀓝t ngày kia, nhà vua vô tình 􀃿􀓭ng trên v􀓍 􀃿á vôi và
ng􀒳m m􀓝t loài dây leo qu􀒩n quanh m􀓝t thân cây l􀒥 có mang r􀒩t nhi􀓅u chùm qu􀒧 nh􀓓 màu
xanh. Vua c􀒧m th􀒩y l􀒥 và mu􀓕n 􀓣 l􀒥i n􀑫i 􀃿ó 􀃿􀓇 nghiên c􀓭u v􀓅 cái cây l􀒥 và dây leo này.
Vua nói chuy􀓋n v􀓟i các bô lão6 trong vùng và 􀃿􀑭􀓧c bi􀓃t câu chuy􀓋n th􀑭􀑫ng-tâm
c􀓫a 􀃿ôi v􀓧 ch􀓗ng v􀓟i ng􀑭􀓡i em trai này. Vua r􀒩t c􀒧m 􀃿􀓝ng vì th􀒧m-c􀒧nh c􀓫a h􀓑 và
quy􀓃t-􀃿􀓏nh 􀓣 l􀒥i 􀃿ây 􀃿􀓇 làm m􀓝t 􀃿i􀓅u gì 􀃿ó cho h􀓑.
Sau khi 􀃿ã suy ngh􀆭 k􀓻, nhà vua ra l􀓋nh l􀒩y 􀃿á vôi 􀃿em nung trong l􀓱a, r􀓗i hoà v􀓟i
n􀑭􀓟c thành m􀓝t th􀓭 keo m􀓅m dùng 􀃿􀓇 th􀓱 lá c􀓫a dây leo và trái c􀓫a cây l􀒥7 􀃿ó.
Nhà vua dùng m􀒩y t􀓝i nhân t􀓱-t􀓝i 􀃿􀓇 th􀓱 h􀓛n-h􀓧p m􀓟i này. H􀓛n-h􀓧p g􀓗m n􀓱a lá
dây leo, m􀓝t ph􀒫n qu􀒧 l􀒥, và m􀓝t qu􀓋t vôi m􀓅m. M􀓛i ng􀑭􀓡i t􀓱-t􀓝i s􀓁 nhai cùng m􀓝t lúc
h􀓛n-h􀓧p này8. Nhà vua cho các t􀓱-t􀓝i bi􀓃t tr􀑭􀓟c là n􀓃u h􀓑 nhai th􀓱 mà không sao thì
án t􀓱-hình c􀓫a h􀓑 s􀓁 􀃿􀑭􀓧c hu􀓹 b􀓓.
Sau khi nhai xong h􀓛n-h􀓧p (mi􀓃ng tr􀒫u) 􀃿ó, trông nh􀓳ng ng􀑭􀓡i t􀓱-t􀓝i khác h􀒷n
lên: Má h􀓑 􀓱ng h􀓗ng, c􀒻p m􀒳t long lanh, 􀃿ôi môi h􀓗ng th􀒳m. H􀓑 tr􀓣 nên sinh-􀃿􀓝ng h􀑫n
tr􀑭óc nhi􀓅u. Nhìn th􀒩y k􀓃t qu􀒧 nh􀑭 v􀒱y, m􀒩y ng􀑭􀓡i lính c􀓫a vua và m􀓝t s􀓕 dân làng xin
phép vua cho h􀓑 nhai tr􀒫u th􀓱. Vua cho phép h􀓑 􀃿􀑭􀓧c nhai.
6 nh􀓳ng ng􀑭􀓡i nhi􀓅u tu􀓙i
7 cây cau
8 mi􀓃ng tr􀒫u
The Legend of Betel Leaf and Areca Nut
Cu􀓕i cùng nhà vua c􀇊ng nhai tr􀒫u n􀓳a, và ngài r􀒩t thích h􀑭􀑫ng-v􀓏 m􀓟i và tâm-thái
vui v􀒿 do vi􀓋c 􀄃n tr􀒫u 􀃿em l􀒥i. Vua ra l􀓋nh quan dân 􀃿􀓏a ph􀑭􀑫ng tr􀓗ng thêm nhi􀓅u cây
cau n􀓳a t􀓯 nh􀓳ng qu􀒧 già màu vàng và thêm nhi􀓅u dây tr􀒫u t􀓯 nh􀓳ng khúc dây già.
Nhà vua 􀃿ích-thân vi􀓃t m􀓝t câu 􀃿􀓕i b􀒵ng ch􀓳 l􀓟n 􀃿􀓇 khen ng􀓧i tinh-th􀒫n c􀓫a ba
ng􀑭􀓡i trong th􀒧m-k􀓏ch. Câu 􀃿􀓕i nh􀑭 sau: “Anh em hoà-thu􀒱n” và “V􀓧 ch􀓗ng ti􀓃t-ngh􀆭a”
V􀓅 sau nhà vua ra l􀓋nh là t􀓯 nay trong các cu􀓝c t􀓃 l􀓉 nh􀒩t 􀃿􀓏nh ph􀒧i có món cau
tr􀒫u. D􀒫n d􀒫n, m􀓑i ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿􀓅u nhai tr􀒫u trong các d􀓏p h􀓝i hè vui v􀒿 c􀓫a ng􀑭􀓡i Viêt Nam.
Cu􀓕i cùng, tr􀒫u cau 􀃿ã tr􀓣 thành m􀓝t món l􀓉-v􀒱t không th􀓇 thi􀓃u trong l􀓉 􀃿ính-hôn và
􀃿ám c􀑭􀓟i c􀓙 truy􀓅n Vi􀓋t nam.
Phóng tác theo truy􀍏n truy􀍉n mi􀍏ng dân gian
Qúy Nguy􀍍n
Federal Way, tháng B􀌱y, 2005
The Tale of the Thick Round and
the Square Glutinous Rice Cakes
After reading this tale, you will know
why many Vietnamese celebrate their new year
with the round and the square glutinous rice cakes.
Once upon a time in the Old Kingdom of Vietnam lived an old king, who wanted to
chose his crown prince among his many princes; but he could not come to any decision
because all the princes were almost equally good.
One day the king summoned all his sons to his court and declared his decision in front of
his hundreds of mandarins1. The king said he wanted all his princes to participate in a
special food preparing competition.
􀁸 The prince who offered the best food would be the crown prince.
􀁸 The recipe of the awarded dish would be taught to the royal cooks; and on the first
day of spring the king would offer this new food to Providence and to his
The competition was nine months away, so the princes had plenty of time to prepare their
entries. Most of the rich princes sent their chief cooks to far away countries to buy
expensive food materials, special seasoning, and exotic flavors for their dishes for the
food competition. Each tried his best and believed his special dish would win him the
1 Public officials of the king
The king had many wives, and all of them were rich. When the queens were rich, their
sons were rich too. But this was not the case. There was the youngest prince who was
really poor. His name was Lang Lieu.
Lang Lieu was poor because his mother died when he was very young.
In his small palace lived eleven other people. They were his wet nurse, one cook, two
maids, two servants, three gardeners, his assigned body guard, and an old scholar who
was his designated teacher. Twelve people subsisted on his small yearly allowance given
to the whole palace.
Because they did not have enough money, they only had frugal meals all year round.
They led a morally pure life and treated one another as if they were kin relatives.
The scholar taught the prince everything he knew.
And the body guard, who excelled in traditional Vietnamese kung fu, taught the prince
this art on the pretext of keeping him healthy and preventing sickness.
Time went by swiftly. Prince Lang Lieu became a well educated man. In fact, he was
perfect in every aspect. Nobody except the people in his palace knew that he was a man
of letters and an expert in martial art.
On hearing the king’s order about the food competition, the poor prince became very
thoughtful. He did not know what to do because he did not have enough money to think
of any delicatessen at all. In addition, he could not think of any food, which was both
yummy and cheap.
Lang Lieu sat up several nights to think of the food, but he could not find any possible
solution. One night, he saw a kind, respectable old man standing in front of his desk. He
hurriedly rose, bowed his head, and greeted the man.
Prince Lang Lieu asked the old man to sit down and asked him if he could do anything
for him. The man replied that he did not need anything. He only wanted to discuss with
him the art of managing state affairs. They talked and talked for a long time. Finally, they
realized they had many agreeing points of view.
When the old gentle man asked if he wanted to ask him anything, Lang Lieu told him his
worry about the oncoming food competition. The man smiled kindly and advised him to
make many thick and round, plain glutinous cakes and square glutinous rice cakes for the
competition. Then he taught him how to make the cakes.
Lang Lieu woke up and realized he had had a conversation in his dream with either one
of his ancestors or with a good genie. He joined his hands and made three long bows in
the air to show his gratitude to the man. He wrote down all information of the cakes
before he went to bed.
Two days before the competition, Lang Lieu and his folks began to make ten square
glutinous rice cakes. The shell of the cake was made of glutinous rice, and the fillings
were of green bean paste and fat pork. The cakes were wrapped in banana leaves and
cooked in boiling water for eight hours and then were pressed inside square wooden
boxes to get the perfect square shape.
The day before the competition, Lang Lieu and his folks began to make ten thick round
cakes. Thirty cups of new glutinous rice was cooked and pounded until all the grains
blended together making a big mass of dough. The dough was then made into big round
cakes of one inch thick. Each cake was put on a round mat cut from banana leaves and
displayed on a big plate.
On the day of the competition, all kinds of delicatessens were prepared and displayed in
the court in front of the royal palace. Each prince displayed his special dishes on a big
round table.
The king, his many queens, and his high-ranking mandarins would walk around each
table to watch and taste the displays. When the king had finished tasting a piece from a
specific dish, the queens and the mandarins would take turn to taste that same food.
The competitor and his chief cook stood by their table to greet the king and to answer the
questions concerning their food entries.
Slowly, the king led his entourage through all the tables. He stopped at each table and
tasted some of the displayed food. The queens and the mandarins followed the king’s
example and tasted the same food. The king did not taste most of the entries for he had
eaten these delicatessens before.
When the king and his entourage came to Prince Lang Lieu’s table, he said he wanted to
taste his cakes. On hearing that, the queens and many mandarins looked at those simple
looking cakes with their disbelieving eyes.
Prince Lang Lieu cut a wedge from the round plain glutinous rice cake and put it on a
blue ceramic saucer. Then with both hands, he respectfully presented it to his father the
At his first bite, the king with his gifted delicate sense of smell recognized immediately
the scent of delicacy emanated from the new glutinous rice. He ate the portion slowly
while his eyes gleamed with excitement. He wanted a second wedge and finished it with
great pleasure.
Then the king said he wanted to taste his square-shaped cake. Lang Lieu pealed off the
banana leaves from the cake. The banana leaves gave the shell a greenish tinge, which
was pleasing to the eyes. Then he used its own strings to cut it into nine square pieces.
Next he put the middle piece of this bread on a white ceramic saucer and offered it to the
king. During all this time, the king watched his youngest son serving him with
The king tasted the new cake slowly and enjoyed every bit of it. The perfect combination
of the fragrance of the new rice and that of the cooked banana leaves aroused his sense of
smell. Upon his first bite into the portion of the bread, the flavor and the taste of green
been, pepper, salt, and fat pork fully awoke his sense of taste. Consequently, he really ate
two portions of the square bread.
The king was very pleased with Lang Lieu’s cakes. He ordered that a piece from each
cake be served to the queens and his mandarins at once.
While watching his queens and his entourage enjoying the cakes, the king asked his son
about the meaning of each cake. Lang Lieu replied that the white round cake represented
the sky and the square cake represented the earth they lived on.2
He also explained to the king that the greenish color of the cake represented the trees and
vegetables, which covered the earth surface. The green bean paste, pepper, salt, fat pork
found in the fillings represented all the elements and materials found below the earth.
The whole idea3 of making the cakes was that people lived harmoniously in the care of
Father Sky and Mother Earth. Moreover, people could eat these cakes to subsist because
the materials to make these cakes were cheap and easy to get.
2 At the time of this story, the earth was believed to be square.
Overly happy, the king talked to his youngest son about the art of managing state affairs.
Lang Lieu discussed the art with him exactly as if he was discussing with the old man in
his dream. The king was very pleased with his choice: He proclaimed Lang Lieu his
crown prince.
Late that year, the old king resigned after teaching Lang Lieu a lot more about the art of
managing the peoples in his kingdom. Prince Lang Lieu succeeded to the throne and
became the most enlightened king. He led his kingdom to peace and prosperity forever
The recipes of his round and square cakes were taught to all his peoples, so every family
in his kingdom knew very well how to make these cakes and enjoyed eating them.
This practice has been observed for over tens of centuries. The round and the square
glutinous rice cakes have become an indispensable offer among the foods to be offered to
the ancestors of each Vietnamese family during their Tet (New Year Celebration).
Adapted from Vietnamese oral folk tale
and non-official oral history
by Quy Nguyen
July 2005
3 philosophy
The Tale of the Thick Round and Square Glutinous Rice Cakes
Truy􀓋n Bánh Ch􀑭ng và Bánh Dày
􀄈􀍥c truy􀍟n này xong, b􀌹n s􀍕 hi􀍛u vì sao
nhi􀍙u ng􀌁􀍵i Vi􀍟t Nam thích 􀄃n
bánh ch􀌁ng và bánh dày vào d􀍣p T􀍗t.
Ngày x􀓱a ngày x􀑭a 􀓣 V􀑭􀑫ng-Qu􀓕c Vi􀓋t c􀓙 có m􀓝t v􀓏 vua già mu􀓕n nh􀑭􀓡ng ngôi
cho con nh􀑭ng không ch􀓑n 􀃿􀑭􀓧c ai h􀓃t vì t􀒩t c􀒧 các hoàng-t􀓱 􀃿􀓅u tài gi􀓓i và 􀃿􀓭c-h􀒥nh
ngang nhau.
M􀓝t hôm vua tri􀓋u các hoàng-t􀓱 lên tri􀓅u và tuyên b􀓕 quy􀓃t-􀃿􀓏nh tr􀑭􀓟c bá quan
v􀄃n võ r􀒵ng t􀒩t c􀒧 các hoàng-t􀓱 ph􀒧i d􀓵 m􀓝t bu􀓙i thi tài ch􀓃 bi􀓃n món 􀄃n m􀓟i.
􀁸􀀃 Hoàng-t􀓱 nào dâng 􀃿􀑭􀓧c món 􀄃n ngon nh􀒩t s􀓁 􀃿􀑭􀓧c phong làm Hoàng-Thái-T􀓱.
􀁸􀀃 Cách th􀓭c ch􀓃 bi􀓃n món 􀄃n 􀃿ó s􀓁 􀃿􀑭􀓧c d􀒱y cho 􀃿􀒫u b􀓃p c􀓫a vua 􀃿􀓇 ngày m􀓗ng
m􀓝t t􀓃t h􀓑 s􀓁 n􀒩u món ngon 􀒩y 􀃿􀓇 t􀓃 tr􀓡i và cúng t􀓙 tiên nhà vua.
Còn chín tháng n􀓳a m􀓟i t􀓟i ngày thi, vì v􀒱y các hoàng-t􀓱 có 􀃿􀒫y 􀃿􀓫 th􀓡i gian 􀃿􀓇
s􀓱a so􀒥n món d􀓵 thi c􀓫a mình. 􀄈a s􀓕 các hoàng-t􀓱 gi􀒫u có 􀃿􀓅u g􀓱i 􀃿􀒫u b􀓃p chính c􀓫a
mình 􀃿i 􀃿􀓃n các n􀑭􀓟c xa xôi 􀃿􀓇 mua v􀒱t li􀓋u, gia-v􀓏 􀃿􀒻c-bi􀓋t, và các h􀑭􀑫ng th􀑫m l􀒥 cho
cu􀓝c thi n􀒩u 􀄃n. M􀓛i hoàng-t􀓱 􀃿􀓅u c􀓕 g􀒳ng h􀓃t s􀓭c mình và 􀃿􀓅u tin vào món 􀄃n 􀃿􀒻c-bi􀓋t
c􀓫a mình s􀓁 giành 􀃿􀑭􀓧c ngai vàng v􀓅 cho mình.
Nhà vua có nhi􀓅u v􀓧 và t􀒩t c􀒧 các bà 􀃿􀓅u gi􀒫u. Khi hoàng-h􀒱u gi􀒫u thì 􀃿􀑭􀑫ng
nhiên con trai c􀓫a h􀓑 (hoàng-t􀓱) 􀃿􀓅u gi􀒫u. Nh􀑭ng không 􀃿úng nh􀑭 v􀒱y. Có m􀓝t hoàng-t􀓱
tr􀒿 nh􀒩t l􀒥i là ng􀑭􀓡i nghèo nh􀒩t. Tên ông ta là Lang-Liêu.
Lang-Liêu nghèo b􀓣i vì m􀒽 ông m􀒩t t􀓯 khi ông còn bé. S􀓕ng chung trong t􀑭-dinh
nh􀓓 bé c􀓫a ông có m􀑭􀓡i m􀓝t ng􀑭􀓡i n􀓳a. 􀄈ó là bà vú nuôi c􀓫a ông, m􀓝t ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿􀒫u b􀓃p,
hai ng􀑭􀓡i n􀓳-tì, hai ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿􀒫y t􀓟, ba ng􀑭􀓡i làm v􀑭􀓡n, m􀓝t ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓋-s􀆭 do vua c􀓱 b􀒧o v􀓋
The Tale of the Thick Round and Square Glutinous Rice Cakes
ông, và m􀓝t h􀓑c-gi􀒧 già là ng􀑭􀓡i vua ch􀓍-􀃿􀓏nh d􀒱y ch􀓳 cho ông. M􀑭􀓡i hai ng􀑭􀓡i sinh
s􀓕ng b􀒵ng s􀓕 ti􀓅n nho nh􀓓 c􀒩p phát hàng n􀄃m cho c􀒧 t􀑭-dinh c􀓫a ông.
B􀓣i vì h􀓑 không có 􀃿􀓫 ti􀓅n nên h􀓑 ch􀓍 có nh􀓳ng b􀓳a 􀄃n thanh-􀃿􀒥m quanh n􀄃m.
H􀓑 s􀓕ng m􀓝t cu􀓝c s􀓕ng thanh-b􀒫n và 􀃿􀓕i x􀓱 v􀓟i nhau nh􀑭 ng􀑭􀓡i ru􀓝t th􀓏t. V􀓏 h􀓑c-gi􀒧 d􀒱y
hoàng-t􀓱 t􀒩t c􀒧 nh􀓳ng gì ông bi􀓃t. Còn ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓋-s􀆭 v􀓕n d􀆭 r􀒩t gi􀓓i v􀓅 môn võ c􀓙-truy􀓅n
c􀓫a ng􀑭􀓡i Vi􀓋t d􀒱y ông môn ngh􀓋-thu􀒱t này; nh􀑭ng nói tr􀓟 􀃿i là t􀒱p 􀃿􀓇 rèn luy􀓋n thân th􀓇
kh􀓓e m􀒥nh và phòng ch􀓕ng b􀓋nh t􀒱t.
Th􀓡i gian th􀒩m tho􀒳t và hoàng-t􀓱 Lang-Liêu 􀃿ã tr􀓣 thành ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿􀑭􀓧c d􀒱y d􀓛 􀃿􀓃n
n􀑫i 􀃿􀓃n ch􀓕n. Th􀒱t v􀒱y, ông th􀓵c s􀓵 là ng􀑭􀓡i hoàn-h􀒧o trên m􀓑i ph􀑭􀑫ng di􀓋n. Không ai
ngoài nh􀓳ng ng􀑭􀓡i s􀓕ng trong t􀑭-dinh v􀓟i ông bi􀓃t 􀃿􀑭􀓧c là hoàng-t􀓱 v􀄃n võ toàn tài.
Sau khi nghe l􀓋nh vua v􀓅 cu􀓝c thi n􀒩u 􀄃n, v􀓏 hoàng-t􀓱 nghèo tr􀓣 nên tr􀒫m-ngâm.
Ông không bi􀓃t làm gì vì ông không có 􀃿􀓫 ti􀓅n 􀃿􀓇 ngh􀆭 􀃿􀓃n m􀓝t món cao-l􀑭􀑫ng m􀓻-v􀓏
nào. Ngoài ra, ông c􀇊ng không ngh􀆭 􀃿􀑭􀓧c m􀓝t món 􀄃n nghèo nào v􀓯a r􀒿 l􀒥i v􀓯a ngon c􀒧.
Lang-Liêu th􀓭c nhi􀓅u 􀃿êm 􀃿􀓇 suy ngh􀆭 các món 􀄃n nh􀑭ng không th􀓇 tìm ra m􀓝t
gi􀒧i-pháp nào c􀒧. M􀓝t 􀃿êm kia, ông th􀒩y m􀓝t ông già hi􀓅n lành, 􀃿􀒥o-m􀒥o 􀃿􀓭ng tr􀑭􀓟c bàn
c􀓫a mình, ông v􀓝i-vã 􀃿􀓭ng lên cúi 􀃿􀒫u chào h􀓓i ông già.
Hoàng-t􀓱 Lang-Liêu h􀓓i ông già xem hoàng-t􀓱 có giúp gì cho ông 􀃿􀑭􀓧c không.
Ông già 􀃿áp là ông không c􀒫n gì c􀒧, ông ch􀓍 mu􀓕n bàn v􀓅 cách tr􀓏 n􀑭􀓟c v􀓟i Lang-Liêu
mà thôi. Hai ng􀑭􀓡i nói chuy􀓋n và nói mãi. Sau cùng. hai ng􀑭􀓡i cùng nh􀒱n th􀒩y là h􀓑 có
nhi􀓅u 􀃿i􀓇m r􀒩t gi􀓕ng nhau v􀓅 cách tr􀓏 n􀑭􀓟c.
Khi ông già thanh-l􀓏ch h􀓓i Lang-Liêu xem ông có mu􀓕n h􀓓i mình 􀃿i􀓅u gì không
thì Lang-Liêu b􀒫y t􀓓 v􀓟i ông v􀓅 n􀓛i lo l􀒳ng c􀓫a mình v􀓅 cu􀓝c thi n􀒩u 􀄃n. Ông già c􀑭􀓡i
The Tale of the Thick Round and Square Glutinous Rice Cakes
hi􀓅n-hòa và khuyên hoàng-t􀓱 nên làm nh􀓳ng cái bánh dày tròn và nh􀓳ng cái bánh ch􀑭ng
vuông 􀃿􀓇 d􀓵 thi. Sau 􀃿ó ông ch􀓍 d􀒯n cách làm hai lo􀒥i bánh này cho Lang Liêu.
Lang-Liêu t􀓍nh gi􀒩c và hi􀓇u r􀒵ng mình v􀓯a nói chuy􀓋n trong m􀑫 v􀓟i m􀓝t trong
các v􀓏 vua t􀓙 tiên c􀓫a mình ho􀒻c v􀓟i m􀓝t v􀓏 phúc-th􀒫n nào 􀃿ó. Ông ch􀒳p hai tay l􀒥i và vái
v􀓑ng vào kho􀒧ng không 􀃿􀓇 bày t􀓓 lòng bi􀓃t 􀑫n c􀓫a mình. Xong ông ghi l􀒥i nh􀓳ng chi-ti􀓃t
v􀓅 hai lo􀒥i bánh tr􀑭􀓟c khi 􀃿i ng􀓫.
Hai ngày tr􀑭􀓟c cu􀓝c thi, Lang-Liêu và nhóm ng􀑭􀓡i c􀓫a mình làm m􀑭􀓡i cái bánh
ch􀑭ng vuông. V􀓓 bánh làm b􀒵ng g􀒥o n􀓃p m􀓟i, nhân bánh b􀒵ng 􀃿􀒱u xanh chín giã nhuy􀓉n
và th􀓏t l􀓧n m􀓥. Bánh 􀃿􀑭􀓧c gói trong lá chu􀓕i, lu􀓝c tám ti􀓃ng 􀃿􀓗ng h􀓗, r􀓗i ép trong khuôn
g􀓛 􀃿􀓇 t􀒥o dáng th􀒱t vuông-v􀓭c.
M􀓝t ngày tr􀑭􀓟c cu􀓝c thi, Lang-Liêu và nhóm ng􀑭􀓡i c􀓫a mình làm m􀑭􀓡i cái bánh
dày b􀒵ng g􀒥o n􀓃p m􀓟i. Ba m􀑭􀑫i bát g􀒥o 􀃿􀑭􀓧c n􀒩u thành xôi r􀓗i giã nhuy􀓉n t􀓟i khi nh􀓳ng
h􀒥t n􀓃p k􀓃t dính vào v􀓟i nhau thành m􀓝t kh􀓕i b􀓝t m􀓏n l􀓟n. K􀓃 􀃿ó b􀓝t 􀃿􀑭􀓧c b􀒳t thành bánh
tròn, dày kho􀒧ng hai 􀃿􀓕t ngón tay. Bánh dày b􀒳t xong 􀃿􀑭􀓧c 􀃿􀒻t trên 􀃿􀓃 b􀒵ng lá chu􀓕i c􀒳t
tròn r􀓗i bày trên 􀃿􀆭a bàn l􀓟n.
Vào ngày thi, t􀒩t c􀒧 các món 􀄃n trân-quý 􀃿􀑭􀓧c tr􀑭ng bày tr􀑭􀓟c sân r􀓗ng. M􀓛i
hoàng-t􀓱 bày món 􀄃n d􀓵 thi c􀓫a mình trên m􀓝t bàn tròn l􀓟n.
Vua, các hoàng-h􀒱u cùng các quan 􀃿􀒥i-th􀒫n s􀓁 􀃿i vòng quanh t􀓯ng bàn 􀃿􀓇 ng􀒳m
th􀑭􀓣ng và n􀓃m các món 􀄃n 􀃿ó. Khi vua 􀃿ã n􀓃m xong m􀓝t món 􀄃n, các hoàng-h􀒱u cùng
các quan 􀃿􀒥i-th􀒫n s􀓁 l􀒫n l􀑭􀓧t 􀄃n th􀓱 món 􀄃n 􀃿ó. Hoàng-t􀓱 d􀓵 thi và 􀃿􀒫u b􀓃p chính c􀓫a
mình 􀃿􀓭ng g􀒫n bên 􀃿􀓇 chào 􀃿ón vua và phái 􀃿oàn và 􀃿􀓇 tr􀒧 l􀓡i các câu h􀓓i liên-quan 􀃿􀓃n
món d􀓵 thi.
The Tale of the Thick Round and Square Glutinous Rice Cakes
Vua ch􀒱m rãi d􀒯n phái 􀃿oàn 􀃿i n􀓃m qua h􀓃t các bàn. Ông d􀓯ng l􀒥i 􀓣 m􀓛i bàn 􀃿􀓇
ng􀒳m và n􀓃m. Các hoàng-h􀒱u và các 􀃿􀒥i-th􀒫n ai c􀇊ng làm theo. Nhà vua b􀓓 không n􀓃m
r􀒩t nhi􀓅u món cao-l􀑭􀑫ng m􀓻-v􀓏 vì nhà vua 􀃿ã t􀓯ng 􀄃n qua các món 􀃿ó.
Khi nhà vua và 􀃿oàn tùy-tùng 􀃿􀓃n bàn c􀓫a hoàng t􀓱 Lang Liêu, vua nói là vua
mu􀓕n 􀄃n th􀓱 bánh c􀓫a Lang Liêu. Nghe th􀒩y th􀓃, các hoàng-h􀒱u và các 􀃿􀒥i-th􀒫n nhìn m􀒩y
cái bánh trông r􀒩t gi􀒧n-d􀓏 v􀓟i ánh m􀒳t 􀃿􀒫y nghi ng􀓡.
Hoàng t􀓱 Lang-Liêu c􀒳t m􀓝t mi􀓃ng bánh dày, 􀃿􀒻t lên m􀓝t 􀃿􀆭a s􀓭 nh􀓓 màu xanh.
R􀓗i b􀒵ng hai tay, ông kính-c􀒭n dâng lên vua cha.
Ngay mi􀓃ng c􀒳n 􀃿􀒫u tiên, v􀓟i kh􀓭u-giác tuy􀓋t v􀓡i c􀓫a mình, nhà vua 􀃿ã nh􀒱n th􀒩y
m􀓝t mùi h􀑭􀑫ng thanh-tao t􀓓a ra t􀓯 g􀒥o n􀓃p m􀓟i. Ông 􀄃n mi􀓃ng bánh dày r􀒩t t􀓯-t􀓕n, ánh
m􀒳t ông ng􀓡i lên vì thích thú. Ông mu􀓕n 􀄃n thêm mi􀓃ng n􀓳a, và ông 􀃿ã 􀄃n h􀓃t hai mi􀓃ng
bánh v􀓟i s􀓵 ngon mi􀓋ng hi􀓃m th􀒩y.
Ti􀓃p 􀃿􀓃n nhà vua nói là mu􀓕n 􀄃n th􀓱 cái bánh vuông. Lang-Liêu bóc bánh ch􀑭ng.
L􀓟p lá chu􀓕i t􀒥o cho v􀓓 bánh m􀓝t màu xanh dìu-d􀓏u 􀑭a nhìn. Ông dùng dây gói bánh 􀃿􀓇
c􀒳t bánh thành chín mi􀓃ng vuông v􀓭c. 􀄈o􀒥n ông xúc mi􀓃ng bánh 􀓣 chính gi􀓳a, 􀃿􀒻t lên
m􀓝t 􀃿􀆭a s􀓭 nh􀓓 màu tr􀒳ng r􀓗i dâng lên vua. Trong su􀓕t th􀓡i gian này, nhà vua ng􀒳m
ng􀑭􀓡i con trai út c􀓫a mình s􀓱a so􀒥n bánh cho mình m􀓝t cách nôn-nóng.
Nhà vua th􀑭􀓣ng-th􀓭c mi􀓃ng bánh ch􀑭ng m􀓝t cách ch􀒱m rãi và t􀒱n h􀑭􀓣ng t􀓯ng
mi􀓃ng nh􀓓 m􀓝t. Tho􀒥t 􀃿􀒫u, s􀓵 ph􀓕i-h􀓧p hài-hòa c􀓫a h􀑭􀑫ng n􀓃p m􀓟i và h􀑭􀑫ng c􀓫a lá
chu􀓕i kích-thích kh􀓭u-giác c􀓫a nhà vua. 􀄈􀓃n khi c􀒳n vào mi􀓃ng bánh, h􀑭􀑫ng và v􀓏 c􀓫a
􀃿􀒱u xanh, h􀒥t tiêu, mu􀓕i, và th􀓏t heo m􀓥 th􀓵c s􀓵 􀃿ánh th􀓭c kh􀒭u-v􀓏 c􀓫a vua. K􀓃t qu􀒧 là
vua 􀄃n h􀓃t hai ph􀒫n bánh ch􀑭ng.
The Tale of the Thick Round and Square Glutinous Rice Cakes
Nhà vua r􀒩t hài lòng vì bánh c􀓫a LangLiêu. Ông truy􀓅n l􀓋nh các Hoàng-H􀒱u và
các 􀃿􀒥i-th􀒫n, m􀓛i ng􀑭􀓡i ph􀒧i 􀄃n th􀓱 ngay m􀓝t mi􀓃ng bánh dày và m􀓝t mi􀓃ng bánh ch􀑭ng.
Trong lúc ng􀒳m các hoàng-h􀒱u và 􀃿􀒥i-th􀒫n c􀓫a mình 􀄃n th􀓱 bánh, nhà vua h􀓓i con
v􀓅 ý ngh􀆭a m􀓛i lo􀒥i bánh. Lang-Liêu th􀑭a r􀒵ng cái bánh dày tr􀒳ng hình tròn là t􀑭􀓧ngtr
􀑭ng cho Tr􀓡i và bánh ch􀑭ng vuông là t􀑭􀓧ng-tr􀑭ng cho 􀄈􀒩t.
Hoàng-t􀓱 c􀇊ng gi􀒧i thích cho vua cha hay là màu xanh c􀓫a bánh ch􀑭ng t􀑭􀓧ngtr
􀑭ng cho cây c􀓕i hoa c􀓓 trên m􀒻t 􀃿􀒩t. Nhân 􀃿􀒱u xanh, tiêu, mu􀓕i, th􀓏t, m􀓥 t􀑭􀓧ng-tr􀑭ng
cho các ch􀒩t, v􀒱t li􀓋u 􀓣 d􀑭􀓟i và trong lòng 􀃿􀒩t.
Ý ngh􀆭a chính c􀓫a hai lo􀒥i bánh là con ng􀑭􀓡i s􀓕ng hòa-h􀓧p trong s􀓵 ch􀄃m sóc c􀓫a
Cha Tr􀓡i M􀒽 􀄈􀒩t. H􀑫n n􀓳a, ng􀑭òi ta có th􀓇 􀄃n bánh dày và bánh ch􀑭ng 􀃿􀓇 s􀓕ng vì các v􀒱t
li􀓋u 􀃿􀓇 làm bánh t􀑭􀑫ng 􀃿􀓕i r􀒿 và d􀓉 ki􀓃m.
Quá vui m􀓯ng, nhà vua nói chuy􀓋n v􀓟i con v􀓅 ngh􀓋-thu􀒱t tr􀓏 n􀑭􀓟c. Lang-Liêu
th􀒧o-lu􀒱n v􀓟i cha c􀇊ng gi􀓕ng h􀓋t nh􀑭 lúc ông th􀒧o-lu􀒱n v􀓟i ông già trong m􀑫 v􀒱y. Nhà
vua r􀒩t 􀃿􀒳c ý v􀓅 s􀓵 l􀓵a ch􀓑n c􀓫a mình: Ông tuyên b􀓕 Lang-Liêu là Hoàng-Thái-T􀓱.
Cu􀓕i n􀄃m 􀒩y, sau khi d􀒥y thêm cho Lang-Liêu v􀓅 ngh􀓋-thu􀒱t 􀃿i􀓅u-khi􀓇n và
s􀓱-d􀓩ng các s􀒳c-dân trong v􀑭􀑫ng-qu􀓕c, nhà vua truy􀓅n ngôi cho con.
Lang-Liêu k􀓃-v􀓏 cha và tr􀓣 thành m􀓝t v􀓏 minh-quân. Ông 􀃿ã d􀒯n d􀒳t v􀑭􀑫ng-qu􀓕c
c􀓫a mình 􀃿􀓃n thanh-bình th􀓏nh-v􀑭􀓧ng mãi v􀓅 sau.
Cách th􀓭c làm bánh dày và bánh ch􀑭ng 􀃿􀑭􀓧c d􀒱y c􀒻n-k􀓁 cho m􀓑i ng􀑭􀓡i trong
v􀑭􀑫ng-qu􀓕c, vì v􀒱y toàn dân 􀃿􀓅u thích 􀄃n hai lo􀒥i bánh này. T􀒱p t􀓩c này 􀃿􀑭􀓧c l􀑭u-truy􀓅n
qua hàng ch􀓩c th􀓃-k􀓹. Ngày nay, bánh ch􀑭ng và bánh dày 􀃿ã tr􀓣 thành m􀓝t món dâng
cúng không th􀓇 thi􀓃u trên bàn th􀓡 ông bà c􀓫a các gia 􀃿ình Vi􀓋tnam trong nh􀓳ng ngày
vui t􀓃t th􀑭􀓣ng xuân. (Phóng tác t􀍳 truy􀍏n phong t􀍭c truy􀍉n mi􀍏ng. Quy Nguyen ’05)
The Tale of the Thick Round and Square Glutinous Rice Cakes
The Greedy Brother
and the Star Fruit Tree
Once upon a time, there was a rich peasant who lived happily with his two sons
and a daughter-in-law. They always had their meals together on the same table because
the old man paid for everything. His elder son married a girl from the neighboring
village. Even though his daughter-in-law was from a rich family, she was stingy and
hard-hearted. When his younger son was eight, the old man became seriously ill.
Knowing that he would die soon, the sick father summoned the married couple to his
dead bed and asked them to promise him two things. The first thing was that they would
take good care of their younger brother until he was married. The second thing was that
they would give half of the legacy to their younger brother the day he was married. The
elder son and his wife promised solemnly that they would do exactly what their father
wanted. The old man looked very pleased and died.
Right after the old man’s interment, the stingy woman told her husband not to
allow his younger brother to eat with them on the same table in the dining room. Since
then the boy ate only the leftover food with the servants in the kitchen. Time went by
swiftly, and their younger brother learned all the life skills and husbandry with the hired
laborers and their servants.
When their younger brother came of age, the stingy couple told their old maid to
marry her eldest daughter to their brother. Such an arrangement saved them a lot of
money for wedding gifts. The newly wed was happy because they had known each other
and worked together for years.
The greedy couple did not keep their promise, which was to give their brother half
of his father’s property. They only gave him a small rice paddy, which did not yield much
rice and a small tract of exhausted farmland on the far end of their immense farm as their
wedding gift to the couple. On that portion of the land were a small hut by a weakly old
carambola tree and a long, thick bamboo hedge. On their part, the greedy couple had the
big ancestral house, other small houses, many servants, a lot of farmlands, many good
quality rice fields, money, and gold.
The younger couple was pleased with what they were given, because they deemed
their gift to be the heritage of their parents. They believed that the venerated souls of their
parents would be very pleased if they kept working hard on the land. They cut elephant
grass to fix their leaking roof and bamboo to make the sides for their hut.
Every day the husband and wife carried water hauled from a deep well to water
the carambola tree. At first, they earned their living from hand to mouth. Luckily, the old
tree rejuvenated and gave them plenty of good star-shaped fruits to trade for their rice and
corn kernels. Consequently, they had enough to eat year round.
Every year, when the star fruits were ripe, the whole tree turned brilliant yellow
with fruits. Each branch looked heavier than before because it borne many bunches of
shiny, yellow fruits. One year, the poor brother and his wife were happy because of their
imminent, good crop. They planned to pick the fruits and sell and trade them at the next
market-day. They took turn to guard the tree for fear that the bat would come to eat and
damage some of the ripe fruits.
Late one afternoon, the wife saw a huge black bird perching on the top of their
tree. She ran back to the hut to call her husband to help ward off the strange bird. They
hurried to the tree. Her husband carried a long, bamboo pole with the intention to poke at
the bird and shoo it away. When they came, the bird had finished eating a big bunch of
their juicy fruits.
As they approached the tree, the bird soared and made big circles high above the
tree and cried out loudly. The couple stared at the strange big bird and was startled to
hear its call, because it was human speech and rhymed like a poem.
Children of the raven!
of the raven!
Come here quickly!
Eat yummy fruits
Get equal share
Caw! Caw!
When the big black bird stopped calling, a flock of raven arrived and perched on
all the branches of the carambola tree. Soon the tree was covered with black raven, which
started feeding on those succulent, star-shaped fruits. Perhaps the big raven was the
leader of the flock because he circled high above watching his flock eating.
Seeing that heart-breaking sight, the poor couple knew that they could not ward
off or shoo the raven away. They dropped down on their knees, bowed their heads, and
prayed them to stop feeding on their star fruits. Because if all the fruits were gone, they
would have no fruits to exchange for rice and that meant they would be hungry and
starve. The prayers of the couple were very loud, but the hungry raven kept on eating
their fruits.
The leader of the flock heard their prayers, so he chanted clearly to their ears
Eat your star fruits
We pay you gold
Make three-span pouch
To carry gold
Caw! Caw!
The couple did not believe in what they heard. And because they could not stand
seeing their fruits disappear, they cried and lamented loudly.
As thin as a lath
And seedily poor
If fruits were gone
We surely starve!
Again, the biggest of the flock tried to ease their trouble by chanting clearly to
their ears.
Eat your star fruits
We pay you gold
Make three-span pouch
To carry gold
Caw! Caw!
The couple, however, did not hear a word because they were busy crying and
wailing loudly. This time the raven leader shouted at them.
You stop crying!
You stop kneeling!
Nobody starves!
Nobody dies!
Then he sang.
We eat your fruits
We pay you gold
Make three-span pouch
To carry gold.
Caw! Caw!
During all this time, the flock of raven was busy enjoying their feast; sometimes a
raven stopped amid its eating and cried out, “Caw! Caw!” merrily then resumed eating. In
no time, their feast ended. They began to soar, one after another. Soon, they gathered into
a big flock circling above the tree and chanting in chorus.
We eat your fruits
We pay you gold
Make three-span pouch
To carry gold.
Caw! Caw!
Then they flew away. Soon the whole flock resembled a huge black cloud in the horizon.
When the raven left, the poor couple looked at their star fruit tree and cried. It
looked as if a hurricane had hit the tree. In fact, the carambola tree looked destitute. The
branches were almost denuded of their ripe fruits. Here and there, below the tiny green
leaves were some small bunches of green fruits dangling in the evening breeze. The poor
couple could not do anything but crying. The more they cried, the louder their cries.
Even though their cries were loud, they still heard the raven’s last song
completely because every word of his song seemed to be poured directly into their ears.
‘member my words
At first cock-crow
Heaven and Earth
Start to glow
Get on my back
In rice paddy
On raven back
In rice paddy
Caw! Caw!
We eat your fruits
We pay you gold
Bring three-span pouch
To carry gold
Caw! Caw!
Then, the raven leader flew away to catch up with his flock.
During all the while the raven gobbled up their star fruits, the greedy couple was
having dinner with plenty of food and fragrant rice in their big house. They heard the
noisy caws, but they did not mind to go out to see what happened to their brother’s
But on hearing the loud, wailing cries of the poor couple, they came at once to
investigate. Looking at the damaged tree and his brother’s face, the rich man said nothing
and left. But his hard-hearted wife lingered to give the couple a cynical laugh and said,
“Now you have no star fruits to sell and you two will starve!”
Having cried profusely over their lost crop, the poor couple cried again over the
cruelty of their kinfolks. They cried until their tears drained, and they were too exhausted
to cry any more.
When they regained part of their strength, they started to think of the raven leader.
The more they thought of the raven’s songs, the stronger their belief in the bird. They told
each other that they had better prepare the pouch to carry gold in case the raven came
back. At last, they made a pouch from the strong piece of cloth they had saved for many
years. When they measured the finished pouch, it was exactly three spans each side. The
woman sewed a strong neck strap on the pouch, so her husband could wear it on his neck.
When the pouch was finished, they could not sleep. The wife urged her husband
to take a good sleep because he was the one that would ride the raven. Then she lay
awake thinking of the risks her husband would be facing. Long before dawn, she heard
the faint sound of wing flaps and the soft calls, “Caw! Caw! Remember pouch to carry
gold!” They hurried to the rice paddy and saw the raven there.
The raven was much bigger than it looked the previous day. Its huge body scared
the husband, so he trembled. The bird, however, looked very kind when it turned its head
to have a good look at him. It looked as if it were smiling with him.
The skinny husband mustered all his courage and climbed on the raven’s back. He
hung the pouch on his neck and waved his wife good bye. The woman knelt down and
prayed gods to protect him during his adventurous flight with the bird.
The raven flapped its gigantic wings three times and soared smoothly into the sky
carrying the man on its back. His wife stood on tiptoe to have a good look of them until
their silhouette vanished in the clouds at the horizon.
At first, the poor man was so afraid that he would fall to death that he closed his
eyes tightly. But later when his fear waned and his curiosity increased, he opened his
eyes slightly to watch. He saw below him huts, small houses, big houses, gardens,
orchards, rice paddies, ponds, rivers, hills, and mountains move swiftly toward him then
fly away.
With both arms, the man embraced the raven tightly about its strong neck while
his cheek leaned comfortably against the warm down of its neck. He heard the bird ask,
“Are you sleepy?”
“No”, he replied.
“You had better gaze at everything below you”, said the bird.
“It’s the chance of a life time. No one had ever seen these things from the
sky because man had never known how to fly. If you see anything you
don’t know, just ask me!”
“I guess so!”
The bird did not have to flap his wings all the time to fly. It only spread its big
wings fully open, and it glided smoothly in the air. Several hours later, the man saw they
were flying over a large body of water. He wanted to ask the bird, but he did not know
“Er…, er…”
“Er… Mister… Raven!”
“Ha! Ha! Mister Raven! Nobody called me Mister Raven before!”
“Why, why, the Pond down there too big and blue?”
“The Pond? What Pond?”
“The Pond below us, down there.”
“O, the Sea! That is the Sea, Not the Pond!”
“The Sea?”
“Thank you! Mister… Raven!”
“Not at all!”
Several hours later, the man saw a shining huge mountain standing in the middle
of the blue sea in front of them. He asked,
“Mister Raven! Why is that mountain yellow?”
“Yellow? No, it is gold; the color is gold because it is the Gold Mountain”
“The Gold Mountain?”
“Yes, the Gold Mountain!”
When they were very close to the Gold Mountain, the man saw many beautiful
giant trees and strange flower plants on this mountain as the raven make a wide turning
circle and landed on a flat place near the top of the mountain. The raven showed him the
entrance to the gold caves and said, “You can take whatever you like to fill your pouch
while I take a good rest. We will have a long flight home.”
The man found the caves, and he went to see everything inside these caves. There
was gold, and gold was strewn everywhere. There were big chunks of gold, which
resembled the big boulders on the side of the mountain; big nuggets of gold the size of
the loaves of bread, and bars of gold like the blocks of brick. There were also many
beautiful stones of different colors. Each stone was the size of an egg. Finally, he chose
gold coins and filled his pouch with those tiny shiny coins. He drew the drawstring to
close the pouch and hung it on his neck. He went back outside to eat his dry cake and
wait for the bird.
On the way home, the sun was behind them. They did not talk much, so he felt
asleep at first. Then he slept straight to home. When the bird landed in the rice field at
night, his wife was already there waiting for him. When she saw him, she cried because
she was so happy that he was alive.
The man slid off the smooth back of the raven with the gold pouch hung heavily
on his neck. He bowed his head and said to the raven, “Thank you! Mr. Raven” The
raven nodded its head and replied, “Not at all! Mister Good Man! Caw! Caw!”
Then the raven flew away without making a noise. The man and his wife stood
erect, looking in the direction of the bird until it vanished in the clouds and murmured,
“Thank you, my Raven God!” before they went straight home.
Inside their hut, the man handed his wife the pouch of gold in the dark and told
her to put her fingers inside the pouch to feel the coins. They dared not to contemplate the
coins for fear that some thieves might happen to see their coins and they might lose them
to the thieves.
The following morning, the wife worked outside their hut to warn her husband in
case someone approached their hut. The man dug four small holes right below their
bedposts; then he put the bed back on top of the holes. Later they both worked outside
their hut in order to guard their treasure.
The poor couple did not know that coins were counted, not measured by
measuring cup. That night, the woman went to her in-laws and told them she wanted to
borrow their measuring cup to measure the corn kernels they had. Her in-laws did not
believe that the poor couple had any corn to measure. Because they eagerly desired to
know what the grain was, they covered the bottom of the measuring cup with a thick
layer of the sticky sap of the jackfruit before handing it to their sister.
The poor couple measured their coins in the dark for fear that somebody might
see their gold. They knew for sure they had four cups full of gold coins. Each time the
husband poured a cup of gold coins on a piece of rag, the woman put two coins in the
husband’s pocket. He carefully wrapped each cup of gold with that rag and fastened the
packet with bamboo lath. Then, he buried the packets of gold coins in the four holes
below their bedposts. Finally, the woman hurried back to her in-laws’ to return the
measuring cup.
The rich brother and his wife checked their measuring cup immediately, and they
found some glittering spots on the bottom of the cup. It turned out that the four glittering
spots were four shiny, tiny gold coins. They stared at each other in awe because their
poor brother and sister had too many gold coins that they had to measure them by cup.
Their finding made them so unhappy and resentful that they could not sleep at all
that night. However, they pretended not to know anything so that they could spy on the
poor couple in secret. They wanted to find out how and where the couple got their coins.
The poor couple did not know that their in-laws already knew of their wealth from
all along and that they were being watched. They used the eight gold coins to buy new
tools for their agricultural work and some new clothes and good food for them. They did
not need to go out to work for other people as hired laborers anymore. They worked on
their small tract of land and built a small house near their old hut and the tree.
When the rich brother could not find anything, he became so irate that he abused
and threatened them for the source of the gold coins. Finally, the younger brother had to
tell him everything. He told him it was the raven that ate their fruits and carried him to
the Gold Mountain in return for the fruits they had eaten.
The greedy couple could not stand the impact of the news. Their greed grew day
after day without bound. One day, they forced their brother to trade his small tract of land
and the star fruit tree for their big house, lands, rice paddies and all the money and gold
they had. Finally, the younger brother and his wife had to dig up their gold before they
exchanged the tree and their small tract of land for all the property of their rich, elder
* *
The rich couple became real, poor peasants; and they really worked hard on their
small tract of land. They watered the star fruit tree daily hoping that when the raven
returned to eat their fruits, they would be much richer than his brother’s family. They
waited and waited, but there was no sight of a raven. They did not know that the tree only
yielded fruits once a year.
The day the raven came to eat their star fruits, they cried, prayed, and repeated the
same sayings and prayers the poor couple had used in the previous year. The raven songs
were the same. Everything happened almost the same way; and at last, the greedy brother
was inside the gold caves.
In side the gold caves, the elder brother could not decide what to take. He picked
something up and then put it down right away and so on. Finally, he crammed a lot of big
chunks of gold into his pouch, which was not a three-span pouch. The pouch was so big
that he could not carry the half-full pouch, and he had to trail it along to meet the raven.
With all his greedy strength, he pulled the gold bag up on the back of the raven and sat
behind the bag embracing it tightly with both arms. He did not mind to hold on the
raven’s neck.
As soon as the raven took off from the summit of the Gold Mountain, he urged
the man,
Throw away a bit
To save your life
If wings were tired
I could not fly
The man pretended not to hear the raven. Pretty soon, the raven lamented again,
but this time in weaker voice
Too great your greed
You may be drown
The sea is big
My wings are tired
Shore can’t be reached
We all may die.
Release your pouch
So I can fly
Cling to your pouch
We all may die
But the man disregarded the warning of the raven. He closed his eyes and held his
gold bag tightly against his belly. Suddenly the birth cried angrily,
You, greedy head
Will die with gold
I’m now exhausted
And down we fall
Angry and tired, the raven failed to flap its weary wings properly and came into a
rolling dive. At the first instant the raven was flying up side down, the gold bag fell off its
back pulling the man down with it. The man clung to it as they fell. While falling, he
embraced his gold bag tightly and also tried to keep it between his legs. He hit the sea
with a big splash, and sank all the way down to the bottom. He died embracing his gold
with all his arms and legs.
The raven recovered its balance after a few rolls, but it had to run for a while on
the water with its wings spread to cushion the fall. Upon that unwanted, water landing,
the raven was totally exhausted. Finally, on the calm, blue sea, floated the resting raven,
which looked like a fake, gigantic black swan.
At home, the wife of the greedy brother waited and waited in vain for her husband
to return. Finally, she thought that her husband had run away with all his new found gold.
She became severely sick and later was taken care of by her good in-laws.
When she was fully recovered, she resumed working on her small tract of land
and took care of the star fruit tree. She believed that she would have more gold than her
husband and his brother. One year later the raven came, ate her fruits, sang the raven
songs, and took her to the gold mountain.
After the greedy woman found her way to the gold caves, she could not decide
what to take and what not to take. Finally, she came out and told the raven that the gold
mountain was hers and that the raven could eat all the fruits free of charge if there were
any; but from then on, the raven had no right to take anybody to her gold mountain.
Upon hearing this the raven shook its head and sung sadly
Your greed’s so big
You die on gold
Nothing to eat
Can you eat gold?
Your greed’s so big
You die on gold.
Caw! Caw!
Meanwhile at their own village, the good couple found their sister-in-law
disappeared. They hired many people to find her, but nobody knew of her where about.
The couple went on taking care of the star fruit tree. In addition, the hard-working couple
bought more land nearby to plant more star fruit trees. Each year, when the fruits were
ripe, many flocks of raven from all corners of the sky came to their star fruit orchard. The
couple invited them to eat free of charge. Year after year, the couple came to the tree
waiting for the big raven. But the big raven never showed up.
The good couple had a lot of children and grand children and lived happily
forever after. Even though their children and grand children knew by heart the story of
their star fruit tree and their god-like raven, they still asked them to tell their story over
and over again.
Nowadays, few people understand the bird language, but the raven still remember
some human speech. In fact, when they are talking to one another, they often cry Caw!
Caw! Perhaps they are telling this story.
Till today there is one thing nobody knows is that the raven and all other kinds of
bird never pay gold when they eat fruits. Have they the invitation from the good couple
or the order from the woman, who owned the whole gold mountain? Nobody can find the
answer to this question. But I think they have both.
So from now on, if you see a bird or a couple of bird feed on your fruit trees, do
not shoo them away. Stay still, contemplate them, and think of this story. You will be
happy! I guarantee you that.
Adapted from Vietnamese oral tales
by Quy Nguyen
The Greedy Brother and the Star Fruit Tree
Truy􀓋n Ng􀑭􀓡i Anh Tham-Lam
và Cây Kh􀓃
Ngày x􀓱a ngày x􀑭a có m􀓝t ng􀑭􀓡i nông dân gi􀒫u có s􀓕ng r􀒩t h􀒥nh-phúc cùng hai
v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i con trai c􀒧 và 􀃿􀓭a con trai út còn nh􀓓. H􀓑 luôn 􀄃n c􀑫m cùng bàn vì ông
già chi t􀒩t c􀒧 m􀓑i phí-t􀓙n trong nhà. Ng􀑭􀓡i con l􀓟n c􀓫a ông c􀑭􀓟i m􀓝t cô gái 􀓣 làng bên.
Tuy là con nhà gi􀒫u, nh􀑭ng tính cô keo-ki􀓋t và ác-􀃿􀓝c. Khi ng􀑭􀓡i con trai nh􀓓 c􀓫a ông
m􀓟i tám tu􀓙i, ông già b􀓏 b􀓋nh r􀒩t n􀒻ng. Bi􀓃t r􀒵ng mình không th􀓇 s􀓕ng thêm 􀃿􀑭􀓧c n􀓳a,
ông g􀓑i hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i con l􀓟n 􀃿􀓃n bên gi􀑭􀓡ng và b􀒳t h􀓑 h􀓭a hai 􀃿i􀓅u:
􀁸􀀃 􀄈i􀓅u th􀓭 nh􀒩t là h􀓑 s􀓁 s􀄃n-sóc ng􀑭􀓡i em trai cho t􀓟i khi nó l􀒱p gia 􀃿ình.
􀁸􀀃 􀄈i􀓅u th􀓭 hai là ngày mà 􀃿􀓭a em l􀒩y v􀓧 h􀓑 ph􀒧i chia l􀒥i cho ng􀑭􀓡i em m􀓝t n􀓱a
ph􀒫n di-s􀒧n ông 􀃿􀓇 l􀒥i cho hai anh em.
Hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i con c􀒧 long-tr􀓑ng h􀓭a v􀓟i ông là h􀓑 s􀓁 làm y l􀓡i ông d􀒻n. Ông
già có v􀒿 r􀒩t hài lòng r􀓗i ch􀓃t.
Ngay sau khi chôn c􀒩t ng􀑭􀓡i cha xong, ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn bà keo-ki􀓋t b􀒧o ch􀓗ng t􀓯 nay
không cho 􀃿􀓭a em ch􀓗ng ng􀓗i 􀄃n cùng mâm n􀓳a. T􀓯 􀃿ó 􀃿􀓭a em trai ch􀓍 􀄃n 􀃿􀓗 􀄃n th􀓯a
d􀑭􀓟i b􀓃p v􀓟i 􀃿ám ng􀑭􀓡i 􀓣. N􀄃m tháng qua mau, 􀃿􀓭a em h􀓑c cách s􀓕ng và ngh􀓅 nông v􀓟i
nh􀓳ng ng􀑭􀓡i th􀓧 􀃿􀓃n làm thuê và 􀃿ám ng􀑭􀓡i làm trong nhà.
Khi ng􀑭􀓡i em trai 􀃿􀓃n t􀑭􀓙i tr􀑭􀓣ng thành, c􀒻p v􀓧 ch􀓗ng keo-ki􀓋t b􀒧o m􀓝t ng􀑭􀓡i
􀃿􀒫y t􀓟 già g􀒧 􀃿􀓭a con gái 􀃿􀒫u lòng cho em mình. M􀓝t s􀓵 giàn x􀓃p gi􀒧n-d􀓏 nh􀑭 th􀓃 làm
cho h􀓑 􀃿􀓥 ph􀒧i tiêu t􀓕n m􀓝t s􀓕 ti􀓅n r􀒩t l􀓟n cho quà c􀑭􀓟i. C􀒻p v􀓧 ch􀓗ng m􀓟i c􀑭􀓟i r􀒩t vui
m􀓯ng vì h􀓑 􀃿ã bi􀓃t nhau t􀓯 lâu và 􀃿ã làm vi􀓋c chung v􀓟i nhau t􀓯 thu􀓣 nh􀓓.
􀄈ôi v􀓧 ch􀓗ng tham-lam không gi􀓳 l􀓡i h􀓭a v􀓟i cha mình là chia n􀓱a ph􀒫n gia-tài
c􀓫a cha h􀓑 􀃿􀓇 l􀒥i cho 􀃿􀓭a em. H􀓑 ch􀓍 chia cho 􀃿􀓭a em m􀓝t th􀓱a ru􀓝ng lúa nh􀓓, s􀒧n-l􀑭􀓧ng
th􀒩p và m􀓝t m􀒧nh 􀃿􀒩t v􀑭􀓡n nh􀓓, b􀒥c màu n􀒵m 􀓣 tít phía t􀒱n cùng cái nông tr􀒥i l􀓟n c􀓫a h􀓑
và nói 􀃿ó là quà c􀑭􀓟i c􀓫a h􀓑 cho 􀃿􀓭a em. Trên mành 􀃿􀒩t nh􀓓 􀒩y có m􀓝t túp l􀓅u con bên
c􀒥nh m􀓝t cây kh􀓃 già và m􀓝t hàng rào tre dài và d􀒫y. V􀓅 ph􀒫n 􀃿ôi v􀓧 ch􀓗ng tham-lam, h􀓑
giành h􀒫u h􀓃t gia-s􀒧n g􀓗m m􀓝t ngôi nhà t􀓙 l􀓟n, nhi􀓅u nhà nh􀓓 h􀑫n, nhi􀓅u ru􀓝ng lúa
th􀑭􀓧ng h􀒥ng, ti􀓅n, và vàng.
C􀒻p v􀓧 ch􀓗ng tr􀒿 r􀒩t hài lòng v􀓟i nh􀓳ng gì 􀃿􀑭􀓧c cho. B􀓣i vì h􀓑 coi cái ph􀒫n h􀓑
v􀓯a nh􀒱n 􀃿􀑭􀓧c là di-s􀒧n c􀓫a cha m􀒽 􀃿􀓇 l􀒥i. H􀓑 tin t􀑭􀓣ng r􀒵ng h􀑭􀑫ng-h􀓗n c􀓫a cha m􀒽 h􀓑
s􀓁 r􀒩t hài lòng n􀓃u nh􀑭 h􀓑 làm vi􀓋c ch􀄃m-ch􀓍 trên m􀒧nh 􀃿􀒩t 􀒩y. H􀓑 c􀒳t c􀓓 tranh 􀃿􀓇 l􀓧p l􀒥i
mái l􀓅u d􀓝t, và ch􀒻t tre 􀃿􀓇 􀃿an l􀒥i phên vách cho túp l􀓅u c􀓫a h􀓑.
Hàng ngày hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng kéo n􀑭􀓟c t􀓯 gi􀓃ng lên 􀃿􀓇 t􀑭􀓟i cây kh􀓃. Th􀓑at 􀃿􀒫u, h􀓑
s􀓕ng r􀒩t ch􀒱t-v􀒱t1m􀓟i t􀒥m 􀃿􀓫 􀄃n. May-m􀒳n thay, cây kh􀓃 già h􀓗i-sinh, tr􀒿 l􀒥i và cho h􀓑 r􀒩t
nhi􀓅u qu􀒧 ngon ng􀓑t 􀃿􀓇 bán và 􀃿􀓙i l􀒩y g􀒥o, ngô. K􀓃t qu􀒧 là h􀓑 có 􀃿􀓫 􀄃n quanh n􀄃m.
Hàng n􀄃m, 􀃿􀓃n mùa kh􀓃 chín, toàn th􀓇 cây kh􀓃 tr􀓣 nên vàng 􀑭􀑫m vì qu􀒧. M􀓛i
cành cây trông n􀒻ng h􀑫n tr􀑭􀓟c vì chúng mang r􀒩t nhi􀓅u chùm kh􀓃 vàng, 􀓱ng 􀃿􀓓. N􀄃m 􀒩y,
hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em nghèo r􀒩t vui vì h􀓑 􀃿ã nhìn th􀒩y rõ ràng là h􀓑 􀃿􀑭􀓧c mùa kh􀓃. H􀓑
􀃿􀓏nh s􀓁 hái kh􀓃 􀃿em bán và 􀃿􀓙i g􀒥o vào phiên ch􀓧 t􀓟i. H􀓑 thay phiên nhau canh gác cây
kh􀓃 vì s􀓧 l􀇊 d􀑫i 􀃿􀓃n 􀄃n và làm h􀑭 nh􀓳ng qu􀒧 chín.
1 Khó kh􀄃n, khéo l􀒳m m􀓟i kh􀓓i b􀓏 􀃿ói
M􀓝t bu􀓙i chi􀓅u kia, ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 trông th􀒩y m􀓝t con chim 􀃿en th􀒱t l􀓟n 􀃿􀒱u trên ng􀓑n
cây kh􀓃. Ch􀓏 ta ch􀒥y v􀓝i v􀓅 nhà kêu ch􀓗ng ra 􀃿u􀓙i giúp con chim. Ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng ch􀒥y 􀃿􀓃n,
c􀒫m theo m􀓝t cây sào dài 􀃿􀓏nh s􀓁 ch􀓑c và 􀃿u􀓙i con chim 􀃿i. Khi h􀓑 t􀓟i, con chim 􀃿ã 􀄃n
h􀓃t m􀓝t chùm qu􀒧 chín m􀓑ng.
Khi h􀓑 ti􀓃n 􀃿􀓃n g􀒫n g􀓕c cây, con chim l􀓟n bay lên và bay thành vòng tròn l􀓟n
phía trên ng􀓑n cây và kêu g􀓑i 􀒫m-􀆭. Hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng nhìn s􀓳ng con chim l􀒥 và gi􀒱t mình khi
nghe chim nói ti􀓃ng ng􀑭􀓡i và nghe nh􀑭 là nó 􀃿􀓑c th􀑫 v􀒱y.
Con qu􀒥 kêu nh􀑭 sau:
Qu􀒥 con qu􀒥 cháu
Hãy 􀃿􀓃n cho mau
Qu􀒧 ngon qu􀒧 ng􀓑t
Chia s􀒿 cùng nhau
Qu􀒥! Qu􀒥!
Khi con chim 􀃿en l􀓟n ng􀓯ng kêu, m􀓝t b􀒫y qu􀒥 􀃿en bay t􀓟i, 􀃿􀒱u trên các cành cây.
Ch􀒷ng m􀒩y ch􀓕c cây kh􀓃 b􀓏 qu􀒥 􀃿en ph􀓫 kín; chúng b􀒳t 􀃿􀒫u m􀓙 􀄃n nh􀓳ng qu􀒧 kh􀓃 ngon
ng􀓑t này. Con qu􀒥 l􀓟n có l􀓁 là con 􀃿􀒫u 􀃿àn vì nó ch􀓍 bay phía trên canh cho 􀃿àn qu􀒥 􀄃n.
Nhìn c􀒧nh 􀃿au lòng này, c􀒻p v􀓧 ch􀓗ng t􀓝i nghi􀓋p bi􀓃t r􀒵ng h􀓑 không th􀓇 􀃿u􀓙i
􀃿􀑭􀓧c bày chim này 􀃿i. H􀓑 qu􀇤 xu􀓕ng, cúi 􀃿􀒫u, và c􀒫u xin b􀒫y qu􀒥 􀃿􀓯ng 􀄃n kh􀓃 c􀓫a h􀓑
n􀓳a. B􀓣i vì n􀓃u kh􀓃 h􀓃t r􀓗i, h􀓑 s􀓁 không còn gì n􀓳a 􀃿􀓇 􀃿􀓙i g􀒥o. Và 􀃿i􀓅u 􀃿ó có ngh􀆭a là h􀓑
s􀓁 b􀓏 􀃿ói r􀓗i ch􀓃t 􀃿ói. Ti􀓃ng c􀒫u xin c􀓫a h􀓑 th􀒱t to nh􀑭ng b􀒫y qua 􀃿ói v􀒯n ti􀓃p t􀓩c 􀄃n.
Con qu􀒥 􀃿􀒫u 􀃿àn nghe 􀃿􀑭􀓧c l􀓡i c􀒫u xin c􀓫a h􀓑, nên nó hát vào tai h􀓑 nh􀑭 sau:
􀄂n kh􀓃 tr􀒧 vàng
May túi ba gang
􀄈em theo mà 􀃿􀓵ng
Qu􀒥! Qu􀒥!
C􀒻p v􀓧 ch􀓗ng không tin nh􀓳ng gì tai h􀓑 nghe th􀒩y. Và b􀓣i vì h􀓑 không th􀓇 ch􀓏u
􀃿􀑭􀓧c c􀒧nh t􀑭􀓧ng nhìn kh􀓃 c􀓫a h􀓑 c􀓭 bi􀓃n m􀒩t d􀒫n vào b􀓩ng 􀃿àn qu􀒥, h􀓑 gào to và than
khóc k􀓇 l􀓇 nh􀑭 sau:
Nghèo x􀑫 nghèo xác
Nghèo r􀓟t m􀓗ng t􀑫i
􀄂n h􀓃t kh􀓃 r􀓗i
Chúng tôi ch􀓃t ch􀒳c.
M􀓝t l􀒫n n􀓳a, con qu􀒥 􀃿􀒫u 􀃿àn c􀓕 g􀒳ng tr􀒩n-an h􀓑 b􀒵ng cách hát rõ vào tai h􀓑:
􀄂n kh􀓃 tr􀒧 vàng
May túi ba gang
􀄈em theo mà 􀃿􀓵ng
Qu􀒥! Qu􀒥!
Tuy nhiên, 􀃿ôi v􀓧 ch􀓗ng không nghe 􀃿􀑭􀓧c l􀓡i nào vì h􀓑 m􀒧i khóc và kêu gào l􀓟n
quá. L􀒫n này con qu􀒥 to ti􀓃ng quát h􀓑:
Hãy ng􀓯ng khóc lóc!
C􀇊ng 􀃿􀓯ng van xin!
Không ai b􀓏 􀃿ói!
Không ai ch􀓃t 􀃿ói!
R􀓗i nó hát ti􀓃p:
􀄂n kh􀓃 tr􀒧 vàng
May túi ba gang
􀄈em theo mà 􀃿􀓵ng
Qu􀒥! Qu􀒥!
Trong su􀓕t th􀓡i gian này, 􀃿àn qu􀒥 m􀒧i-mi􀓃t vui h􀑭􀓣ng b􀓳a ti􀓋c ngon c􀓫a chúng.
Th􀓍nh-tho􀒧ng, m􀓝t con qu􀒥 ng􀓯ng 􀄃n và kêu lên m􀒩y ti􀓃ng “Qu􀒥! Qu􀒥!” m􀓝t cách
thích-thú r􀓗i l􀒥i ti􀓃p t􀓩c 􀄃n. Ch􀓍 m􀓝t thoáng thôi, b􀓳a ti􀓋c 􀃿ã tàn. Chúng b􀒳t 􀃿􀒫u bay lên,
t􀓯ng con m􀓝t. Ch􀒷ng bao lâu, chúng 􀃿ã h􀓧p thành 􀃿àn bay vòng phía trên cây kh􀓃 và
􀃿􀓗ng thanh hát r􀒵ng:
􀄂n kh􀓃 tr􀒧 vàng
May túi ba gang
􀄈em theo mà 􀃿􀓵ng
Qu􀒥! Qu􀒥!
Hát xong, 􀃿àn qu􀒥 bay 􀃿i. M􀓝t lúc sau, c􀒧 􀃿àn qu􀒥 trông gi􀓕ng nh􀑭 m􀓝t 􀃿ám mây 􀃿en 􀓣
cu􀓕i tr􀓡i.
Khi b􀒫y qu􀒥 bay 􀃿i r􀓗i, 􀃿ôi v􀓧 ch􀓗ng nhìn cây kh􀓃 c􀓫a h􀓑 và khóc. Trông cây kh􀓃
gi􀓕ng nh􀑭 th􀓇 nó v􀓯a b􀓏 m􀓝t c􀑫n bão l􀓟n tàn phá v􀒱y. Th􀒱t v􀒱y, cây kh􀓃 r􀒩t x􀑫-xác.
Nh􀓳ng cành kh􀓃 h􀒫u nh􀑭 􀃿ã m􀒩t h􀓃t các qu􀒧 chín. R􀒧i-rác vài ch􀓛, d􀑭􀓟i nh􀓳ng chùm lá
nh􀓓, còn th􀒩y vài chùm kh􀓃 xanh 􀃿ong-􀃿􀑭a tr􀑭􀓟c gió chi􀓅u. Hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng t􀓝i nghi􀓋p còn
bi􀓃t làm gì h􀑫n là khóc. H􀓑 càng khóc thì ti􀓃ng khóc c􀓫a h􀓑 càng l􀓟n.
D􀒯u r􀒵ng ti􀓃ng khóc c􀓫a h􀓑 r􀒩t to, nh􀑭ng h􀓑 v􀒯n nghe 􀃿􀑭􀓧c bài hát cu􀓕i cùng c􀓫a
con qu􀒥 􀃿􀒫u 􀃿àn b􀓣i vì m􀓛i l􀓡i hát d􀑭􀓡ng nh􀑭 􀃿􀑭􀓧c rót th􀒷ng vào l􀓛 tai h􀓑 v􀒱y.
Nh􀓟 l􀓡i ta d􀒻n
Vào lúc r􀒥ng-􀃿ông
Tr􀓡i 􀄈􀒩t 􀓱ng h􀓗ng
Leo lên l􀑭ng qu􀒥
􀓢 gi􀓳a cánh 􀃿􀓗ng
Leo lên l􀑭ng qu􀒥
􀓢 gi􀓳a cánh 􀃿􀓗ng
Qua! Qu􀒥!
􀄂n kh􀓃 tr􀒧 vàng
May túi ba gang
􀄈em theo mà 􀃿􀓵ng
Qu􀒥! Qu􀒥!
Hát xong, con qu􀒥 l􀓟n bay 􀃿i, bay 􀃿u􀓙i theo b􀒫y qu􀒥.
Trong su􀓕t th􀓡i gian 􀃿àn qu􀒥 􀄃n ng􀒩u-nghi􀓃n nh􀓳ng qu􀒧 kh􀓃 c􀓫a h􀓑 thì c􀒻p v􀓧
ch􀓗ng keo-b􀒭n 􀃿􀑭􀑫ng vui v􀒿 􀄃n nh􀓳ng th􀓭c 􀄃n ngon hi􀓃m v􀓟i g􀒥o th􀑫m. H􀓑 nghe qu􀒥
kêu om-xòm, nh􀑭ng không bu􀓗n ra xem chuy􀓋n gì 􀃿ang x􀒧y ra cho gia 􀃿ình ng􀑭òi em
Nh􀑭ng khi nghe ti􀓃ng than khóc l􀓟n c􀓫a v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em, h􀓑 ch􀒥y v􀓝i ra l􀒱p
t􀓭c 􀃿􀓇 xem. Nhìn vào cây kh􀓃 b􀓏 thi􀓋t h􀒥i và g􀑭􀑫ng m􀒻t ng􀑭􀓡i em, ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn ông giàu có
không nói m􀓝t l􀓡i nào r􀓗i b􀓓 􀃿i. Nh􀑭ng ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 􀃿􀓝c-ác c􀓫a anh ta nán l􀒥i 􀃿􀓇 c􀑭􀓡i kh􀒭y
và nói v􀓟i gi􀓑ng 􀃿anh-􀃿á: “Gi􀓡 thì không còn kh􀓃 􀃿􀓇 bán, và chúng mày s􀓁 ch􀓃t 􀃿ói h􀓃t.”
H􀒥i v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em 􀃿ã khóc quá nhi􀓅u vì m􀒩t h􀓃t mùa kh􀓃, gi􀓡 􀃿ây h􀓑 l􀒥i
khóc n􀓳a vì cách 􀃿􀓕i-x􀓱 c􀓫a ng􀑭􀓡i thân. H􀓑 c􀓭 khóc mãi cho 􀃿􀓃n khi n􀑭􀓟c m􀒳t c􀓫a h􀓑
c􀒥n khô và h􀓑 m􀓋t quá không th􀓇 khóc ti􀓃p 􀃿􀑭􀓧c n􀓳a.
Khi s􀓭c l􀓵c c􀓫a h􀓑 h􀓗i-ph􀓩c 􀃿􀑭􀓧c ph􀒫n nào, h􀓑 b􀒳t 􀃿􀒫u ngh􀆭 􀃿􀓃n con qu􀒥 􀃿􀒫u 􀃿àn.
H􀓑 càng ngh􀆭 􀃿􀓃n nh􀓳ng bài hát c􀓫a con qu􀒥, h􀓑 càng tin l􀓡i con qu􀒥. Hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng bàn
v􀓟i nhau là nên may cái túi, phòng khi con qu􀒥 tr􀓣 l􀒥i th􀒱t. Cu􀓕i cùng, h􀓑 may 􀃿􀑭􀓧c m􀓝t
cái túi t􀓯 m􀓝t mi􀓃ng v􀒧i dày mà h􀓑 􀃿ã 􀃿􀓇 dành t􀓯 lâu. Khi h􀓑 􀃿o cái túi 􀃿ã may xong, m􀓛i
chi􀓅u qu􀒧 th􀒱t là 􀃿úng ba gang. Ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 khâu thêm m􀓝t cái quai 􀃿eo c􀓙 th􀒱t ch􀒳c, 􀃿􀓇
ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng có th􀓇 􀃿eo cái túi lên c􀓙.
Khi 􀃿ã may xong cái túi, h􀓑 không th􀓇 nào ng􀓫 􀃿􀑭􀓧c. Ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 gi􀓩c ch􀓗ng c􀓕
ng􀓫 m􀓝t gi􀒩c ngon vì chính anh ta là ng􀑭􀓡i s􀓁 c􀑭􀓥i trên l􀑭ng qu􀒥. Tr􀑭􀓟c khi t􀒧ng sáng
m􀓝t lúc lâu, ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 nghe th􀒩y ti􀓃ng v􀓛 cánh nhè-nh􀒽 và ti􀓃ng g􀓑i khe-kh􀓁 trên mái nhà:
“Qu􀒥! Qu􀒥! Nh􀓟 􀃿em cái túi 􀃿􀓇 􀃿􀓵ng vàng 􀃿􀒩y!” H􀓑 v􀓝i-vã ch􀒥y ra ru􀓝ng lúa và 􀃿ã th􀒩y
con qu􀒥 􀓣 􀃿ó.
Trông con qu􀒥 l􀓟n h􀑫n ngày hôm tr􀑭􀓟c nhi􀓅u. Cái thân hình th􀒱t l􀓟n c􀓫a nó làm
cho ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng phát s􀓧. Tuy nhiên, con qu􀒥 trông r􀒩t hi􀓅n khi nó quay 􀃿􀒫u nhìn anh ta.
Trông gi􀓕ng nh􀑭 là con chim 􀃿ang c􀑭􀓡i v􀓟i anh ta v􀒱y.
Ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng g􀒫y-gò thu h􀓃t can-􀃿􀒧m leo lên l􀑭ng con qu􀒥. Anh 􀃿eo cái túi lên c􀓙
và gi􀑫 tay ra v􀒯y t􀓯 bi􀓋t v􀓧. Ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 qùy xu􀓕ng 􀃿􀒩t và c􀒫u kh􀒭n th􀒫n-thánh b􀒧o v􀓋
ch􀓗ng mình trong chuy􀓃n bay 􀃿􀒫y b􀒩t-tr􀒳c v􀓟i con qu􀒥.
Con qu􀒥 v􀓛 􀃿ôi cánh kh􀓙ng l􀓗 ba l􀒫n và bay vút lên tr􀓡i th􀒱t êm, mang theo ng􀑭􀓡i
􀃿àn ông trên l􀑭ng mình. V􀓧 anh ta ki􀓉ng chân lên 􀃿􀓇 c􀓕 nhìn anh cho rõ 􀃿􀓃n khi bóng anh
và con chim m􀒩t hút sau nh􀓳ng 􀃿ám mây cu􀓕i tr􀓡i.
Tho􀒥t 􀃿􀒫u, ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn ông t􀓝i nghi􀓋p quá s􀓧 hãi vì anh ta ngh􀆭 r􀒵ng anh ta s􀓁 r􀑫i
xu􀓕ng 􀃿􀒩t và ch􀓃t nên anh ta nh􀒳m nghi􀓅n hai m􀒳t l􀒥i. Nh􀑭ng sau 􀃿ó, s􀓵 s􀓧 hãi tan d􀒫n và
tính tò-mò c􀓫a anh t􀄃ng lên; anh hí m􀒳t ra 􀃿􀓇 nhìn xu􀓕ng. Anh trông th􀒩y phía d􀑭􀓟i b􀓩ng
mình, nh􀓳ng túp l􀓅u, nhà nh􀓓, nhà l􀓟n, v􀑭􀓡n rau, v􀑭􀓡n cây 􀄃n qu􀒧, ru􀓝ng lúa, ao h􀓗,
sông, 􀃿􀓗i, và núi ch􀒥y nhanh v􀓅 phía mình r􀓗i bay tu􀓕t ra phía sau th􀒱t nhanh.
B􀒵ng c􀒧 hai cánh tay, anh ôm ch􀒻t l􀒩y cái c􀓙 c􀓭ng, kh􀓓e c􀓫a con chim và má anh
áp sát vào l􀓟p lông t􀑫 􀒩m 􀓣 c􀓙 nó. Anh nghe con chim h􀓓i:
“􀄈ang bu􀓗n ng􀓫 h􀒧?”
“Không.” Anh 􀃿áp.
“Ng􀑭􀑫i nên ng􀒳m m􀓑i th􀓭 phía d􀑭􀓟i 􀃿i”, con chim nói.
“􀄈ây là d􀓏p may hi􀓃m có 􀃿􀒩y! Ch􀑭a ai 􀃿􀑭􀓧c ng􀒳m c􀒧nh v􀒱t t􀓯 trên tr􀓡i xu􀓕ng 􀃿âu
b􀓣i vì con ng􀑭􀓡i không bi􀓃t bay. N􀓃u ng􀑭􀑫i th􀒩y có gì không hi􀓇u, c􀓭 h􀓓i ta.”
“Tôi c􀇊ng ngh􀆭 v􀒱y”.
Con chim không ph􀒧i v􀓛 cánh liên-t􀓩c 􀃿􀓇 bay. Nó ch􀓍 vi􀓋c xoè 􀃿ôi cánh l􀓟n th􀒱t
r􀓝ng ra, là l􀑭􀓟t nh􀒽-nhàng trên không . Nhi􀓅u ti􀓃ng 􀃿􀓗ng h􀓗 sau, anh ta th􀒩y mình 􀃿ang
bay trên m􀓝t vùng n􀑭􀓟c r􀓝ng l􀓟n. Anh mu􀓕n h􀓓i con chim, nh􀑭ng không bi􀓃t h􀓓i sao.
“􀓠… 􀓠…”
“Gì th􀓃?”
“Ha! Ha! Ông Qu􀒥! T􀓯 tr􀑭óc t􀓟i nay, ch􀑭a ai g􀓑i ta là Ông Qu􀒥 c􀒧!”
“T􀒥i sao, T􀒥i sao… cái ‘h􀓗’ d􀑭􀓟i kia to và xanh quá v􀒱y?”
“Cái h􀓗? Cái h􀓗 nào?
“Thì cái ‘h􀓗’ ngay phiá d􀑭􀓟i b􀓩ng chúng ta 􀃿ó, d􀑭􀓟i kia kìa.”
“􀓖, bi􀓇n! 􀄈ó là bi􀓇n, Không ph􀒧i là h􀓗.”
“Bi􀓇n h􀒧?”
” 􀄈úng v􀒱y!”
“Cám 􀑫n ông! Ông …Qu􀒥!”
“Không có chi!”
Nhi􀓅u ti􀓃ng 􀃿􀓗ng h􀓗 sau, anh ta th􀒩y m􀓝t qu􀒧 núi to, sáng ng􀓡i 􀃿􀓭ng gi􀓳a bi􀓇n
xanh xa xa phía 􀃿􀒵ng tr􀑭􀓟c. Anh h􀓓i:
“Ông Qu􀒥 􀑫i! T􀒥i sao cái núi kia l􀒥i màu vàng?”
“Màu vàng? Không, 􀃿ó là màu vàng-kim, màu 􀃿ó là màu vàng-kim b􀓣i vì 􀃿ó là
Núi Vàng.”
“Núi Vàng 􀑭?”
“􀄈úng v􀒱y, Núi Vàng 􀃿ó!”
“􀓔i Tr􀓡i!”
H􀓑 bay 􀃿􀓃n Núi Vàng. Anh trông th􀒩y nhi􀓅u cây kh􀓙ng-l􀓗 r􀒩t 􀃿􀒽p và nhi􀓅u cây
hoa l􀒥 m􀓑c trên núi này trong lúc con qu􀒥 􀃿􀒧o m􀓝t vòng l􀓟n và 􀃿áp xu􀓕ng ch􀓛 􀃿􀒩t b􀒵ng
g􀒫n 􀃿􀓍nh núi. Con qu􀒥 ch􀓍 cho anh bi􀓃t 􀃿􀑭􀓡ng vào nh􀓳ng cái hang ch􀓭a vàng và nói:
“Ng􀑭􀑫i có th􀓇 l􀒩y b􀒩t k􀇤 th􀓭 gì ng􀑭􀑫i mu􀓕n, còn ta, ta ph􀒧i 􀃿i ngh􀓍 cho kho􀒿. Mình còn
m􀓝t chuy􀓃n bay dài n􀓳a m􀓟i v􀓅 t􀓟i nhà ng􀑭􀑫i.”
Ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn ông tìm th􀒩y nhi􀓅u c􀓱a hang, và anh 􀃿ã 􀃿i vào 􀃿􀓇 xem m􀓑i th􀓭 bên
trong. Vàng! Kh􀒳p n􀑫i 􀃿􀓅u là vàng! Có nh􀓳ng t􀒧ng vàng to nh􀑭 nh􀓳ng t􀒧ng 􀃿á l􀓟n bên
s􀑭􀓡n núi. Có nh􀓳ng kh􀓕i vàng to nh􀑭 nh􀓳ng 􀓙 bánh mì, và có nh􀓳ng th􀓓i vàng to b􀒵ng
nh􀓳ng viên g􀒥ch. Lai còn có r􀒩t nhi􀓅u c􀓩c 􀃿á, 􀃿􀓫 màu s􀒳c khác nhau. M􀓛i c􀓩c 􀃿á màu này
to nh􀑭 qu􀒧 tr􀓭ng v􀓏t v􀒱y. Cu􀓕i cùng, anh ch􀓑n nh􀓳ng 􀃿􀓗ng ti􀓅n vàng; và anh 􀃿􀓙 nh􀓳ng
􀃿􀓗ng ti􀓅n nh􀓓 l􀒩p lánh này vào 􀃿􀒫y túi. R􀓗i anh kéo dây rút c􀓝t mi􀓋ng túi l􀒥i và 􀃿eo cái
túi lên c􀓙. Xong anh 􀃿i ra bên ngoài l􀒩y bánh l􀑭􀑫ng khô ra 􀄃n và ch􀓡 con chim 􀃿􀓇 bay v􀓅.
Trên 􀃿􀑭􀓡ng bay v􀓅 nhà, m􀒻t tr􀓡i chi􀓃u phía sau l􀑭ng h􀓑. Ng􀑭􀓡i và chim không
nói chuy􀓋n v􀓟i nhau nhi􀓅u, vì th􀓃 anh bu􀓗n ng􀓫 và r􀓗i ng􀓫 m􀓝t m􀒥ch t􀓟i nhà. Khi con
qu􀒥 􀃿áp xu􀓕ng ru􀓝ng lúa vào ban 􀃿êm, v􀓧 anh ta 􀃿ã 􀃿􀓭ng s􀒹n 􀓣 􀃿ó ch􀓡 anh. Trông th􀒩y
anh, ch􀓏 ta khóc vì quá m􀓯ng khi th􀒩y anh còn s􀓕ng.
Ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng tu􀓝t kh􀓓i l􀑭ng qu􀒥 v􀓟i túi vàng n􀒻ng tr􀆭u 􀃿eo trên c􀓙. Anh cúi 􀃿􀒫u
và nói v􀓟i con qu􀒥: “Cám 􀑫n Ông! Ông Qu􀒥.” Con Qu􀒥 g􀒱t 􀃿􀒫u và nói: “Không có chi!
Anh Ng􀑭􀓡i T􀓕t! Qu􀒥! Qu􀒥!”
R􀓗i con qu􀒥 bay 􀃿i th􀒱t êm, không gây thêm m􀓝t ti􀓃ng 􀃿􀓝ng nào n􀓳a. Hai v􀓧
ch􀓗ng 􀃿􀓭ng th􀒷ng ng􀑭􀓡i, nhìn v􀓅 h􀑭􀓟ng con chim bay 􀃿i cho t􀓟i khi nó bi􀓃n m􀒩t trong
􀃿ám m􀒱y và nói kh􀓁: “Cám 􀑫n Ông! Ông Qu􀒥 Th􀒫n c􀓫a tôi!” R􀓗i 􀃿i th􀒷ng v􀓅 l􀓅u c􀓫a h􀓑.
Khi 􀃿ã vào h􀒷n bên trong l􀓅u, ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng 􀃿􀑭a cho v􀓧 cái túi vàng trong bóng
􀃿êm và b􀒧o v􀓧 hãy thò tay vào trong túi mà s􀓡 nh􀓳ng 􀃿􀓗ng ti􀓅n vàng. H􀓑 không dám
ng􀒳m nh􀓳ng 􀃿􀓗ng ti􀓅n vì s􀓧 nh􀓥 có k􀒿 tr􀓝m trông th􀒩y thì h􀓑 có th􀓇 b􀓏 m􀒩t tr􀓝m h􀓃t ti􀓅n
Sáng ngày hôm sau, ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 làm vi􀓋c ngay phía ngoài l􀓅u 􀃿􀓇 báo 􀃿􀓝ng cho
ch􀓗ng bi􀓃t phòng khi có ai 􀃿􀓃n g􀒫n l􀓅u c􀓫a h􀓑. Ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng 􀃿ào b􀓕n cái l􀓛 nh􀓓 ngay phía
d􀑭􀓟i chân gi􀑭􀓡ng, r􀓗i anh ta kê gi􀑭􀓡ng l􀒥i ch􀓛 c􀇊 che kín mi􀓋ng l􀓛 􀃿i. Sau 􀃿ó, c􀒧 hai v􀓧
ch􀓗ng làm vi􀓋c quanh-qu􀒭n phía ngoài l􀓅u 􀃿􀓇 canh gi􀓳 gia-tài c􀓫a h􀓑.
Hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng nghèo khó không hi􀓇u r􀒵ng ng􀑭􀓡i ta 􀃿􀓃m ti􀓅n ch􀓭 không 􀃿ong ti􀓅n
b􀒵ng 􀃿􀒩u 2. 􀄈êm hôm 􀃿ó, ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 􀃿􀓃n nhà ng􀑭􀓡i anh ch􀓏 ch􀓗ng và h􀓓i m􀑭􀓧n cái 􀃿􀒩u 􀃿􀓇
􀃿ong ngô. Hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng nhà này không tin là v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em nghèo l􀒥i có th􀓯a ngô
􀃿􀓇 􀃿ong. H􀓑 khát-khao mu􀓕n bi􀓃t hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng m􀑭􀓧n 􀃿􀒩u 􀃿􀓇 􀃿ong th􀓭 h􀒥t gì cho nên h􀓑
bôi m􀓝t l􀓟p nh􀓵a mít th􀒱t d􀒫y phía d􀑭􀓟i 􀃿áy cái 􀃿􀒩u tr􀑭􀓟c khi 􀃿􀑭a cho ng􀑭􀓡i em dâu.
Hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em 􀃿ong s􀓕 ti􀓅n vàng c􀓫a h􀓑 trong bóng 􀃿êm vì s􀓧 nh􀓥 có ai
trông th􀒩y vàng c􀓫a h􀓑 thì thêm r􀒳c-r􀓕i. H􀓑 bi􀓃t ch􀒳c-ch􀒳n là h􀓑 có b􀓕n 􀃿􀒩u 􀃿􀒫y ti􀓅n
vàng. M􀓛i l􀒫n ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng 􀃿􀓙 m􀓝t 􀃿􀒩u ti􀓅n vàng lên m􀓝t mi􀓃ng gi􀒿, ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 l􀒥i l􀒩y ra
hai 􀃿􀓗ng và b􀓓 vào túi áo c􀓫a ch􀓗ng. Ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng gói m􀓛i 􀃿􀒩u vàng b􀒵ng m􀓝t mi􀓃ng gi􀒿
và c􀓝t l􀒥i th􀒱t ch􀒻t b􀒵ng dây l􀒥t tre. Xong, anh ta chôn b􀓕n gói vàng xu􀓕ng b􀓕n cái l􀓛 􀃿ào
􀃿ào s􀒹n d􀑭􀓟i chân gi􀑭􀓡ng, r􀓗i kê gi􀑭􀓡ng 􀃿úng vào ch􀓛 c􀇊. Sau cùng, ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 􀃿em cái
􀃿􀒩u tr􀒧 l􀒥i cho v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i anh.
Ng􀑭􀓡i anh giàu có và v􀓧 anh ta khám k􀓻 cái 􀃿􀒩u ngay l􀒱p t􀓭c, và h􀓑 nh􀒱n th􀒩y có
m􀒩y mi􀓃ng l􀒩p-lánh d􀑭􀓟i 􀃿áy cái 􀃿􀒩u. Hóa ra m􀒩y cái 􀃿i􀓇m l􀒩p-lánh 􀃿ó là b􀓕n 􀃿􀓗ng ti􀓅n
vàng nh􀓓, sáng ng􀓡i. H􀓑 nhìn nhau s􀓱ng-s􀓕t b􀓣i vì hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em nghèo l􀒥i có
nhi􀓅u ti􀓅n vàng 􀃿􀓃n n􀓛i ph􀒧i 􀃿ong b􀒵ng 􀃿􀒩u.
􀄈i􀓅u phát giác c􀓫a h􀓑 làm h􀓑 ganh-ghét và kh􀓙-s􀓣 􀃿􀓃n n􀓛i h􀓑 không th􀓇 nào ng􀓫
􀃿􀑭􀓧c tí nào 􀃿êm hôm 􀃿ó. Tuy nhiên, h􀓑 􀃿􀓗ng ý v􀓟i nhau là gi􀒧 v􀓡 không bi􀓃t gì h􀓃t 􀃿􀓇 h􀓑
có th􀓇 bí-m􀒱t rình-r􀒱p v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em.
2 d􀓩ng c􀓩 􀃿􀓇 􀃿ong 􀃿􀓗 khô, dung-tích kho􀒧ng m􀓝t lít.
Hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em không bi􀓃t r􀒵ng anh ch􀓏 h􀓑 􀃿ã bi􀓃t t􀓯 lâu và h􀓑 􀃿ang b􀓏
theo dõi ng􀒫m. H􀓑 dùng tám 􀃿􀓗ng ti􀓅n vàng 􀃿􀓇 mua d􀓩ng-c􀓩 m􀓟i 􀃿􀓇 làm ru􀓝ng và m􀓝t ít
qu􀒫n áo m􀓟i 􀃿􀓇 m􀒻c. H􀓑 không 􀃿i ra ngoài làm công cho ng􀑭􀓡i ta n􀓳a, mà ch􀓍 làm vi􀓋c
trên ph􀒫n 􀃿􀒩t nh􀓓 c􀓫a mình thôi. H􀓑 còn làm thêm m􀓝t c􀄃n nhà nh􀓓 g􀒫n túp l􀓅u c􀇊 􀃿􀓇 ti􀓋n
vi􀓋c ch􀄃m-sóc cây kh􀓃.
Khi ng􀑭􀓡i anh không th􀓇 tìm hi􀓇u thêm 􀃿􀑭􀓧c 􀃿i􀓅u gì c􀒧, h􀒳n tr􀓣 nên cáu-k􀓍nh và
t􀓟i tra-kh􀒧o, ch􀓱i-b􀓟i ng􀑭􀓡i em. Cu􀓕i cùng, ng􀑭􀓡i em ph􀒧i k􀓇 h􀓃t m􀓑i chuy􀓋n cho ng􀑭􀓡i
anh nghe. Anh ta k􀓇 r􀒵ng chính 􀃿àn qu􀒥 􀃿􀓃n 􀄃n h􀓃t kh􀓃 và ch􀓣 anh 􀃿i l􀒩y vàng 􀃿􀓇 bù l􀒥i
nh􀓳ng qu􀒧 kh􀓃 chúng 􀃿ã 􀄃n.
C􀒻p v􀓧 ch􀓗ng tham-lam không th􀓇 nào ch􀓏u n􀓙i 􀒧nh-h􀑭􀓣ng to-l􀓟n c􀓫a tin t􀓭c này.
Lòng tham c􀓫a h􀓑 càng ngày càng l􀓟n 􀃿􀓃n n􀓛i m􀓝t hôm, h􀓑 ép bu􀓝c ng􀑭􀓡i em ph􀒧i 􀃿􀓙i
m􀒧nh 􀃿􀒩t nh􀓓 có cây kh􀓃 l􀒩y toàn b􀓝 gia-tài c􀓫a h􀓑 g􀓗m có ngôi nhà l􀓟n, nhi􀓅u nhà nh􀓓,
v􀑭òn, ru􀓝ng, ti􀓅n, và vàng. Cu􀓕i cùng, ng􀑭􀓡i em và v􀓧 anh ta ph􀒧i 􀃿ào b􀓕n gói ti􀓅n vàng
c􀓫a h􀓑 chôn d􀑭􀓟i chân gi􀑭􀓡ng lên, r􀓗i 􀃿􀓙i m􀒧nh 􀃿􀒩t 􀒩y cho ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i anh.
􀄈ôi v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i anh gi􀒫u có ngày tr􀑭􀓟c, nay 􀃿ã tr􀓣 thành nông dân nghèo
th􀑭c- s􀓵. H􀓑 làm vi􀓋c r􀒩t siêng-n􀄃ng trên mi􀓃ng 􀃿􀒩t nh􀓓 m􀓟i 􀃿􀓙i 􀃿􀑭􀓧c. H􀓑 t􀑭􀓟i cây kh􀓃
hàng ngày v􀓟i hy-v􀓑ng là khi 􀃿àn qu􀒥 tr􀓣 v􀓅 􀄃n kh􀓃 c􀓫a h􀓑, h􀓑 s􀓁 giàu h􀑫n gia 􀃿ình ng􀑭􀓡i
em. H􀓑 c􀓭 ch􀓡, và ch􀓡 mãi. H􀓑 không bi􀓃t r􀒵ng m􀓛i n􀄃m cây kh􀓃 ch􀓍 cho qu􀒧 m􀓝t l􀒫n.
R􀓗i c􀇊ng t􀓟i ngày 􀃿àn qu􀒥 􀃿􀓃n 􀄃n kh􀓃 c􀓫a h􀓑. H􀓑 khóc-lóc, c􀒫u kh􀒭n, và l􀒱p l􀒥i
nh􀓳ng l􀓡i nói và nh􀓳ng l􀓡i van xin mà hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em 􀃿ã nói n􀄃m tr􀑭􀓟c. M􀓑i
vi􀓋c di􀓉n ra gi􀓕ng y h􀓋t nh􀑭 􀃿ã di􀓉n ra n􀄃m tr􀑭􀓟c v􀒱y. Và cu􀓕i cùng, ng􀑭􀓡i anh tham-lam
c􀇊ng 􀃿􀓃n 􀃿􀑭􀓧c nh􀓳ng cái hang núi ch􀓭a 􀃿􀒫y vàng.
Khi 􀃿ã 􀓣 trong hang vàng, ng􀑭􀓡i anh không th􀓇 quy􀓃t-􀃿inh 􀃿􀑭􀓧c là s􀓁 l􀒩y cái gì.
Anh bê m􀓝t c􀓩c vàng lên xem xong l􀒥i b􀓓 xu􀓕ng ngay và c􀓭 th􀓃 ti􀓃p t􀓩c mãi. Sau cùng,
anh nhét th􀒱t nhi􀓅u t􀒧ng 3 vàng l􀓟n vào cái túi c􀓫a anh ta. Hóa ra cái túi 􀃿ó không ph􀒧i
􀃿úng ba gang mà nó l􀓟n h􀑫n nhi􀓅u, vì m􀓟i n􀓱a túi vàng thôi anh 􀃿ã không nào th􀓇 xách
lên 􀃿􀑭􀓧c. Anh ph􀒧i kéo lê cái túi ra ch􀓛 con qu􀒥.
3 t􀒧ng là m􀓝t c􀓩c th􀒱t là l􀓟n
V􀓟i t􀒩t c􀒧 s􀓭c m􀒥nh c􀓫a lòng tham, ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn ông kéo 􀃿􀑭􀓧c túi vàng lên l􀑭ng con
qu􀒥. Anh ta ng􀓗i ngay sau túi vàng, hai tay ôm ch􀒻t cái túi thay vì ôm c􀓙 con qu􀒥 cho
kh􀓓i b􀓏 ngã.
Ngay sau khi con qu􀒥 c􀒩t cánh r􀓡i 􀃿􀓍nh Núi Vàng nó 􀃿ã v􀓝i-vã gi􀓩c anh v􀓭t b􀓟t
vàng 􀃿􀓇 nó 􀃿􀓫 s􀓭c bay v􀓅 an-toàn:
V􀓭t 􀃿i vài t􀒧ng
Tính-m􀒥ng làm 􀃿􀒫u
B􀓡 xa vàng n􀒻ng
Không bay t􀓟i 􀃿âu!
Ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn ông gi􀒧 v􀓡 nh􀑭 không nghe th􀒩y l􀓡i con qu􀒥 nói. Ch􀒷ng m􀒩y ch􀓕c, con qu􀒥 l􀒥i
than-th􀓣 n􀓳a, nh􀑭ng l􀒫n này gi􀓑ng nó y􀓃u h􀑫n nhi􀓅u.
Lòng tham không 􀃿áy
Eph􀒧i ch􀓃t trôi
B􀓡 xa cánh m􀓓i
Chimr􀓟t bi􀓇n kh􀑫i
R􀓗i gi􀓑ng nó chuy􀓇n sang n􀓱a nh􀑭 thuy􀓃t ph􀓩c, n􀓱a nh􀑭 khuyên r􀄃n:
V􀓭t b􀓓 túi vàng
Ta còn bay 􀃿􀑭􀓧c
Víb􀒵ng ti􀓃c c􀓫a
Ch􀓃t gi􀓳a trùng-d􀑭􀑫ng
Ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn ông v􀒯n ph􀓟t l􀓡 l􀓡i c􀒧nh cáo c􀓫a con qu􀒥. Thình-lình, con qu􀒥 kêu lên
Thamvàng quá m􀓭c
S􀓁 ch􀓃t vì vàng
Ta􀃿à ki􀓋t s􀓭c
􀄈ang r􀓟t ràng-ràng
M􀓝t ph􀒫n vì t􀓭c gi􀒱n, m􀓝t ph􀒫n vì m􀓋t; con qu􀒥 􀃿􀒱p cánh không 􀃿􀓅u nên b􀓏 xoay
tít s􀒩p ng􀓱a liên-t􀓩c và r􀑫i chúi m􀇊i xu􀓕ng. Ngay l􀒫n 􀃿􀒫u tiên khi con qu􀒥 b􀓏 l􀒱t ng􀓱a, túi
vàng r􀑫i kh􀓓i l􀑭ng qu􀒥 và lôi ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn ông theo. Trong lúc 􀃿ang r􀑫i, ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn ông v􀒯n
ghì ch􀒻t túi vàng. Anh còn xoay-s􀓣 􀃿􀑭􀓧c hai chân qu􀒻p ch􀒻t l􀒩y túi vàng. Anh r􀑫i xu􀓕ng
bi􀓇n v􀓟i m􀓝t ti􀓃ng “tõm” th􀒱t l􀓟n và chìm-l􀓍m ngay xu􀓕ng 􀃿áy. Anh ch􀓃t, hai tay hai
chân còn ôm, qu􀒻p ch􀒻t túi vàng.
Con qu􀒥 sau vài vòng b􀓏 l􀒱t s􀒩p l􀒱t ng􀓱a 􀃿ã l􀒩y l􀒥i 􀃿􀑭􀓧c th􀄃ng-b􀒵ng, nh􀑭ng nó v􀒯n
ph􀒧i ch􀒥y m􀓝t lúc lâu trên m􀒻t n􀑭􀓟c v􀓟i 􀃿ôi cánh giang r􀓝ng 􀃿􀓇 gi􀒧m 􀃿au lúc 􀃿􀓩ng n􀑭􀓟c.
H􀒥 cánh ép bu􀓝c xong, con qu􀒥 hoàn toàn b􀓏 ki􀓋t s􀓭c. Sau 􀃿ó, trên m􀒻t bi􀓇n xanh mênhmông,
con qu􀒥 ng􀓗i g􀓩c 􀃿􀒫u th􀓣 d􀓕c. Nhìn con qu􀒥 gi􀓕ng h􀓋t nh􀑭 m􀓝t con thiên-nga gi􀒧,
màu 􀃿en, có thân hình kh􀓙ng-l􀓗, nh􀑭ng có cái c􀓙 th􀒱t ng􀒳n.
􀓢 nhà, ng􀑭􀓡i v􀓧 c􀓫a ng􀑭􀓡i anh tham-lam ch􀓡 mãi không th􀒩y ch􀓗ng v􀓅 nên ch􀓏 ta
ngh􀆭 là anh 􀃿ã tr􀓕n 􀃿i n􀑫i khác v􀓟i s􀓕 vàng v􀓯a ki􀓃m 􀃿􀑭􀓧c. Bà ta phát 􀓕m r􀒩t n􀒻ng và bà
􀃿􀑭􀓧c hai ng􀑭􀓡i em ch􀓳a tr􀓏 thu􀓕c-thang r􀒩t t􀒱n tình.
Khi 􀃿ã hoàn-toàn bình-ph􀓩c, bà ta ti􀓃p-t􀓩c làm vi􀓋c trên mi􀓃ng 􀃿􀒩t nh􀓓 và ch􀄃msóc
cây kh􀓃 r􀒩t k􀓻. Bà ta ngh􀆭 r􀒵ng r􀓗i 􀃿ây, bà ta s􀓁 có nhi􀓅u vàng h􀑫n ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓗ng và
h􀑫n c􀒧 v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em n􀓳a. M􀓝t n􀄃m sau, 􀃿àn qu􀒥 􀃿􀓃n 􀄃n kh􀓃, hát nh􀓳ng bài hát c􀓫a
loài qu􀒥, và ch􀓣 bà ta 􀃿􀓃n Núi Vàng.
Sau khi ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn bà tham-lam 􀃿ã vào 􀃿􀑭􀓧c nh􀓳ng cái hang ch􀓭a vàng, bà ta
không th􀓇 quy􀓃t-􀃿􀓏nh 􀃿􀑭􀓧c là bà s􀓁 l􀒩y nh􀓳ng gì và s􀓁 không l􀒩y nh􀓳ng gì. Cu􀓕i cùng, bà
ta 􀃿i ra và b􀒧o con qu􀒥 􀃿􀒫u 􀃿àn r􀒵ng Núi Vàng bây gi􀓡 là c􀓫a bà ta và loài qu􀒥 có th􀓇 􀄃n
kh􀓃 không ph􀒧i tr􀒧 ti􀓅n n􀓃u nh􀑭 còn có kh􀓃 􀃿􀓇 􀄃n; và t􀓯 nay tr􀓣 v􀓅 sau, loài qu􀒥 không
􀃿􀑭􀓧c ch􀓣 ai 􀃿􀓃n Núi Vàng 􀃿􀓇 l􀒩y vàng c􀓫a bà n􀓳a.
Nghe bà ta nói v􀒱y, con qu􀒥 􀃿􀒫u 􀃿àn l􀒳c 􀃿􀒫u và hát th􀒱t bu􀓗n nh􀑭 sau:
Ng􀑭􀑫i tham vàng quá
Ch􀓃t trên 􀃿􀓕ng vàng
Vàng không 􀄃n 􀃿􀑭􀓧c!
Ng􀑭􀑫i bi􀓃t hay ch􀄃ng?
Con qu􀒥 c􀓭 hát nh􀑭 th􀓃 nhi􀓅u l􀒫n r􀓗i bu􀓗n bã bay 􀃿i.
Khi hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em th􀒩y ng􀑭􀓡i ch􀓏 dâu 􀃿i m􀒩t t􀄃m m􀒩t tích, h􀓑 thuê ng􀑭􀓡i
􀃿i tìm kh􀒳p n􀑫i nh􀑭ng không ai bi􀓃t bà ta 􀓣 􀃿âu. Hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ti􀓃p-t􀓩c ch􀄃m sóc cây kh􀓃.
Ngoài ra, h􀓑 mua thêm nhi􀓅u 􀃿􀒩t 􀓣 g􀒫n 􀃿ó 􀃿􀓇 tr􀓗ng thêm kh􀓃.
Hàng n􀄃m, khi mùa kh􀓃 chín, có nhi􀓅u 􀃿àn qu􀒥 t􀓯 b􀓕n góc tr􀓡i bay 􀃿􀓃n v􀑭􀓡n kh􀓃
c􀓫a h􀓑. Hai v􀓧 ch􀓗ng m􀓡i chúng 􀄃n không ph􀒧i tr􀒧 ti􀓅n. N􀄃m nào h􀓑 c􀇊ng ra v􀑭􀓡n kh􀓃
trông ch􀓡 con qu􀒥 􀃿􀒫u 􀃿àn, nh􀑭ng nó không bao gi􀓡 quay l􀒥i.
􀄈ôi v􀓧 ch􀓗ng t􀓕t b􀓩ng s􀓕ng h􀒥nh-phúc r􀒩t lâu v􀓅 sau và h􀓑 có r􀒩t nhi􀓅u con cháu.
Dù r􀒵ng con cháu c􀓫a h􀓑 􀃿ã thu􀓝c lòng câu truy􀓋n và có th􀓇 t􀓵 chúng 􀃿􀓑c truy􀓋n 􀃿􀑭􀓧c,
chúng luôn luôn 􀃿òi chính h􀓑 ph􀒧i k􀓇 truy􀓋n cây kh􀓃 và con qu􀒥 th􀒫n cho chúng nghe.
Ngày nay, r􀒩t ít ng􀑭􀓡i hi􀓇u 􀃿􀑭􀓧c ti􀓃ng c􀓫a loài chim; nh􀑭ng loài qu􀒥 v􀒯n còn nh􀓟
􀃿􀑭􀓧c vài ti􀓃ng ng􀑭􀓡i. Th􀒱t v􀒱y, nh􀓳ng khi chúng t􀓩-t􀒱p, hay bay chung v􀓟i nhau; chúng
hay kêu “Qu􀒥!” “Qu􀒥!” Có l􀓁 là chúng 􀃿ang k􀓇 cho nhau nghe câu truy􀓋n này 􀃿ó.
Tuy nhiên, còn có m􀓝t 􀃿i􀓅u mà mãi cho t􀓟i bây gi􀓡, ch􀑭a ai bi􀓃t 􀃿􀑭􀓧c rõ-ràng là
loài chim qu􀒥 và các loài chim khác không bao gi􀓡 tr􀒧 vàng khi chúng 􀄃n qu􀒧 chín trên
cây c􀒧. Ph􀒧i ch􀄃ng là chúng nh􀒱n 􀃿􀑭􀓧c l􀓡i m􀓡i c􀓫a v􀓧 ch􀓗ng ng􀑭􀓡i em t􀓕t b􀓩ng, hay là
chúng 􀃿􀑭􀓧c phép c􀓫a ng􀑭􀓡i 􀃿àn bà có cái núi vàng kia? Tôi ngh􀆭 là chúng có c􀒧 hai 􀃿ó.
B􀓣i v􀒱y t􀓯 nay, n􀓃u em th􀒩y m􀓝t con chim hay c􀒧 m􀓝t 􀃿àn chim 􀄃n qu􀒧 chín trên
cây nhà em, em 􀃿􀓯ng xua 􀃿u􀓙i chúng 􀃿i. Hãy ng􀓗i im mà ng􀒳m chúng và ngh􀆭 􀃿􀓃n câu
truy􀓋n này. Em s􀓁 th􀒩y em r􀒩t vui-s􀑭􀓟ng. Tôi cam-􀃿oan v􀓟i em nh􀑭 v􀒱y 􀃿ó.
Phóng tác
t􀍳 truy􀍏n truy􀍉n-kh􀌱u Vi􀍏t-Nam
Quý Nguy􀍍n, June-July 2005

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