Ancient Myths about Lakes in Vietnam (P.2)

ABROADER 19/01/2022 7 min read

How are you doing on your journey to explore Vietnam? How many myths have you discovered about Vietnamese nature? I hope the last article on the folklore about several natural lakes in Vietnam has enlightened you a bit about Vietnamese culture. If you are so eager to know more appealing human-made stories about nature, let’s go!

West Lake

Beside Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake is also a spectacular vista for those who want to relax and enjoy the spacious and peaceful atmosphere. In the past, the kings of many feudal dynasties in Vietnam used to favor the lake a lot and even had people build various palaces so they could go there for relaxation. Nowadays, the lake’s significance lies in its scenic landscapes as well as its cultural and historical surroundings, which consist of many old villages, temples, pagodas,… of Hanoians.

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According to geologists, West Lake was part of the Red River stagnating during the river’s change of flow. However, what do the folk say? Well, you’ll be amazed by Vietnamese people’s imagination and diversity in imagination if I tell you all the myths about West Lake. So here are the most popular one explaining the origin of the lake: Fox Body Pond.

The Fox Body Pond was created even before the first dynasties of Vietnam (Hung Kings’ dynasties). Legend has it that there was a tribal leader named Kinh Duong Vuong with invincible strength, who later married the daughter of Dragon King. Their son – Lac Long Quan – was even stronger and more powerful than his parents, and would use all of his power to help the villagers. That time, a nine-tail fox having lived for thousands of years managed to transform into human form at will. The fox kept harassing, bullying and killing the villagers, destroying their homes and crops, which made them evacuate to other areas. Having a strong love for his people, Lac Long Quan could not stand this anymore and was determined to fight the fox on his own. It took him 3 days and nights to defeat and kill the demon. Then he empowered all the waters around to drown its cave, which later became the Fox Body Pond – West Lake as today we call it.

Firstly, the legend praises Lac Long Quan, whose first son afterwards became the first king of the country, a symbol of courage, strength, justice and love, which have been the core values of the Vietnamese for millennia. In addition, it represents the strong belief of the folk that the country with decent people is always protected from the demons and evils.

Than Thở Lake 

Coming to Da Lat, tourists usually visit Than Thở (lament) Lake and the Pine forest (with two graves). These landscapes are strongly attached to the sad love stories that are passed on from generations to generations by word of mouth. One of the most widely recognized story by the locals revolves around two young people who fell in love with each other – Hoang Tung and Mai Huong.

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The story goes that they were both children of immigrants from the lowland areas and fell in love with each other. The Lake and the pine forest were the witnesses of their love, as they had the habit of spending time with each other there. All of a sudden, the invaders attacked the country, which made the king command young males go for the battles. To the girl’s utmost disappointment, her lover followed the call of the country. And the destined day came as she received the notification of his death. Grieving for the terrible news, she jumped into the lake and killed herself. What’s more mournful is the fact that not long later, Tung came back with the victory – it turned out the news was false! Having searched for his lover for long in vain, he finally knew the truth and in his desperation, he did the same thing as Huong had done. Being moved by the love story of the two, the locals decided to rename the lake as Than Thở Lake since then, to commemorate such a beautiful but sad story.

Coc Mountain Lake

Coc Mountain Lake is considered as a marginalized Ha Long Bay, with its breath-taking panorama. In Thai Nguyen, the lake is part of the Cong River, which together with Coc Mountain forms a perfect couple of natural beauty. However, what makes the locals and tourists fall in love with them is also the story about their origin – another love story.

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Once upon a time, there was a very ugly fisherman named Coc who no-one wanted to talk with. His look was actually a burden on his life, making him a lonely isolated man with no life motivation. However, in return, the voice was so amazing and it was the only means for him to express his sadness and desperation. In the center of town, she – Cong – was the girl of a rich official. Her beauty had broken the hearts of many men in town but she never accepted anyone’s proposal. One day, she accidentally heard the fisherman singing and immediately fell in love with his voice. Despite difficulties and social differences, they managed to meet with each other, which drove her father to madness. With a view to frustrating the fisherman, he asked him to do many dangerous things that may have endangered his life. Being deeply in love with Cong, Coc never gave up and accomplished all the tasks successfully. Finally, the official decided to have his people expel Coc from the town and detain Cong in his house. In the forest, having waited for Cong for so long, Coc turned into the mountain. In town, being so upset for not being able to protect her love, Cong cried all the time and turned into the river surrounding the mountain. In this way, they could be together for eternity. Every year, in the rainy season, the river level rises, meaning that Cong is trying to get closer to Coc.

As you can see, the love stories are usually sad but demonstrate the sincerity and fidelity of Vietnamese people. Once they have fallen in love with someone, against all odds, in one way or another, they will find a way to get together.

How are you feeling? Doing internship in Vietnam can open door to various opportunities to explore Vietnam in many aspects, some of which represent the lifestyles, values, beauties,… that Vietnamese have embraced for millennia.


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