Legend of "Vong Phu" mountain

It's the legend about the mountain of a woman who is waiting for her husband.

Once upon a time there lived in the highland of northern Vietnam a boy orphaned of both his mother and father. He lived with his little sister in a small cottage on the slopes of a hill.

Every day at early dawn he went to the forest not far from his house to chop wood. He took the wood to the market to sell for food and provisions. The rest of the day he devoted to his little sister, whom he cherished and cared for lovingly.The brother and sister were very happy in their small cottage, until, one day, a stranger arrived. The newcomer was an old man, who, passing by the place one evening, asked for lodging.

When the brother learned that the stranger was a prophet, he eagerly requested his guest to foretell the future. The old man referred to his book and told the boy: "The date and hour of your birth most certainly indicate that you will some day marry your own sister.

"The old man continued: "It is irrevocable. No-one can act against his fate." The boy regarded the old man's words as nonsense and did not care about them any more.

One nice day, the young man brought his sister with him to the forests. There, the little girl was watching and listening to the birds, while her brother chopped wood.

Suddenly, the hatchet's edge dropped upon the girl's head. The little girl fell down. Her head was bloody. The young man thought his sister died. He was very afraid of his crime, therefore, he ran away from the forest.

He did not want to return to his home and wandered far into the highland. He changed his name and settled in a place that is far from his home. He was most unhappy and grieved over the terrible thing he had done to the sister he had always loved.

However, he gradually lost himself in hard work and, at last, began to build a new life for himself.

Fifteen years later, he grew up and became the proud husband of the daughter of a very rich tradesman. A lovely child was born to complete the happiness of the devoted couple.

One day, on coming into the back yard, he found his wife drying her hair in the sun. She had removed her upper garments and when she threw her hair forward to comb it, he saw, for the first time, a deep ugly scar on her back. He approached his wife and asked her what had caused it.

The woman said in a tearful voice: "I am not the real daughter of the man you know as my father. Originally, I came from a place far away, where 1 lived in a small cottage with my elder brother. He was very kind to me and I loved him dearly."

"However, one day, 15 years ago, I went into the forests with my brother to chop wood. He made me injured by his hatchet. Thinking I was dead, he ran from the


"I was saved by a tradesman who had just lost his daughter. He took pity on me and adopted me. I have never seen my brother again and I shall never know whyhe left me alone. We had loved each other very much."

The woman's eyes were filled with tears. The man struggled to control his emotions and enquired for the name of her own father and that of her native village.

There was not the shadow of a doubt. The girl he had married was his own sister.

The shame and painful feeling swept over him. He assumed he made a terrible evil. The following morning, he found a pretext to leave his home, promising to return within six months.

Time went by, six months passed and still, the husband bad not returned home. Every night, at twilight, the anxious wife carried her child to the high peak of the mountain, overlooking the road, and watched in vain for so many days, months and years, that one day she turned to stone. There, on the lonely mountain peak, mother and child keep their eternal vigil.

This mountain, known as "Núi Vọng Phu" (or The Mountain of the Woman who is waiting for her husband ) is located not far from Lạng Sơn, quite close to the Sino-Vietnamese border. At the top of the mountain is a rock bearing the shape of a standing woman holding her child in her arms. This resemblance is striking when the sun sets on the horizon. The tale of this mountain is so touching it becomes thus one of the legends preferred by Vietnamese and gives so much inspiration to Vietnamese poets.


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