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[cover] Arrayed Tales of Collected Oddities from South of the Passes

 

[backside of cover] The time.

 

An auspicious day in the spring of the sixteenth year of the Chính Hòa era, a đinh sửu year [1697 C.E.].

 

[1/1a-1/7a] A Chronology of the Sovereigns of Đại Việt.

 

[The text contains a list of rulers from the time of the Hồng Bàng Clan to the year 1767 C.E.]

 

Preface to the Arrayed Tales of Collected Oddities from South of the Passes

 

[1/7a] Although the Cassia Sea is in [the area of] South of the Passes, marvelous mountains and streams, potent land, outstanding people, and miraculous affairs [1/7b] perhaps can all be found there.[1] From the time before the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, not that far from antiquity, Southern customs were still simple. There were not yet any histories of the kingdom to record affairs. Therefore, [information about] most affairs has been lost. That which was fortunate to continue to exist and not be destroyed are just the oral transmissions of the people. Then during the Two Han [Dynasties], the Three Kingdoms, the Eastern and Western Jin, the Northern and Southern Dynasties and into the Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming there were finally historical accounts to record affairs, such as the Treatise on Lingnan, the Extensive Record of Jiao Region and the Brief Treatise on Jiaozhi, that can be clearly consulted.[2] However, Our Việt is the land of the ancient distant wilds.[3] Therefore, the records about it are sparse. Nonetheless, its kingdom began with the Hùng kings. Then the gradual spread of civility reached the Triệu, Ngô, Đinh, Lê, Lý, Trần, and now is overflowing into the sea. Therefore, records of the history of the kingdom have become particularly [1/8a] detailed.

 

But with the creation of these accounts, is the information in them history? It is not known when they were begun or what the name was of the person who completed them ứa, nor is this recorded. Perhaps a draft was composed by preeminent scholars during the Lý and Trần, and was then embellished in recent times by gentlemen who were learned and fond of antiquity.

 

I humbly request to investigate these matters thoroughly and to present them here, and to illuminate the author’s intent. As for the “Biography of the Hồng Bàng Clan,” it speaks in detail about the establishment of the August Việt [Hoàng Việt]. The “Tale of the Yaksha King” is a narration of the gradual appearance of events pertaining to the emergence of Champa.[4] The tale about the white pheasant is a record of the Việt Thường clan. The tale about the golden turtle is the history of King Nữ Dương.[5] There is nothing which is valued more in the engagement ritual in the Southern Kingdom than betel nut. When it is presented, the propriety [1/8b] between husband and wife, and the harmony between brothers becomes manifest. During the summer in Nam Việt there is nothing which people cherish more than watermelon. When it is advertised, it is clear that the person who possesses this special object has no need to rely on the benevolence of a master, and can become prosperous. The “Tale of Steamed Cake” praises filial piety and care, and the “Tale of Ô Lôi” admonishes against lascivious behavior. From Heavenly King Đổng’s crushing of the Yin bandits and Lý Ông Trọng’s destruction of the Xiongnu we can see that there are [capable] people in the Southern Kingdom. In Chử Đồng Tử’s chance meeting with Tiên Dung and Thôi Vỹ’s encounter with an immortal mate we can see the hidden assistance [âm chất] that comes when one engages in acts of goodness. The tales of Đạo Hạnh and Không Lộ praise their ability to gain vengeance for their fathers, and [show that] such divine monks can not be allowed to disappear. The tales of the the fish essence and the fox essence demonstrate how one can eradicate wicked monsters, and [show that] the Dragon Lord’s moral virtue [đức] must not be forgotten. [1/9a] The loyalty and righteousness of the two Trưngs [allowed them] to become divine after dying. In propagating this, who can say this should not be done? The divine numinosity of Tản Viên can deter those of the water lineage. In proclaiming this, who can say that this is not the case? Also, with Southern Chiếu/Nanzhao [founded by] descendents of the Martial [Emperor of the] Triệu/Zhao, this fallen kingdom was able to get revenge. With the Savage Maiden becoming the wooden Buddha’s mother, rain could be made in years of drought. Tô Lịch was the spirit of Long Độ and Xương Cuồng was the spirit of the Candana [tree]. For one, a shrine was set up and it was sacrificed to, and the people enjoyed good fortune. For the other, entertainment was used to eradicate it, and the people avoided calamity.

 

Although these matters are peculiar, they are not absurd. The writings may be divine, but they are not wicked. Although they delve into the fabulous and their traces cannot be verified, are they not all just about encouraging goodness and punishing evil, eliminating the false and pursuing the true in order to [1/9b] activate customs?[6] In looking at the Jin person’s Record of Searching for Spirits and the Tang person’s Record of the Hidden and the Strange, [we see that] they are the same.[7]

 

Alas! In creating arrayed tales from South of the Passes, is that which is carved in stone or compiled in scrolls more valuable than what is said? The young and the old all approve, and they admire and take heed from it. This is connected to the cardinal virtues [cương thường], and is related to the moral transformation of customs [phong hóa]. Can this be considered a small matter?

 

In the spring of the nhâm tý year [1492 C.E.] in the Hồng Đức reign, I first made a copy of this account. When I opened it and read it, it was an absolute chaos of mistaken characters. Disregarding its vulgarity, I examined and corrected it. I organized it into two fascicles, titled it the Arrayed Tales of Selected Oddities from South of the Passes, [1/10a] and stored it at home for perusal. As for investigating and correcting it, embellishing it, explaining its contents, filling out the text, making note of word usage, summarizing its essence, will there not be some gentleman in the future who is fond of antiquity who will do this? This is my preface.

 

[Written at] an appropriate time in spring during the twenty third year of the Hồng Đức era [1492 C.E.].

 

[1/10b] Table of Contents of the Arrayed Tales of Collected Oddities from South of the Passes

 

Fascicle One

 

Tale of the Hồng Bàng Clan (page 12)

 

The Tale of the Fish Essence (page 16)

 

The Tale of the Fox Essence (page 18)

 

The Tale of the Tree Spirit (page 25)

 

The Tale of Heavenly King Đổng (page 19)

 

The Tale of Betel Nut (page 27)

 

The Tale of One-Night Swamp (page 22)

 

The Tale of Steamed Cake (page 29)[8]

 

The Tale of Watermelon (page 30)

 

The Tale of the White Pheasant (page 31)

 

Fascicle Two

 

The Tale of Lý Ông Trọng (page 1)

 

The Tale of the Việt Well (page 2)

 

The Tale of the Golden Turtle (page 7)

 

The Two Trưng Ladies (page 12)

 

The Tale of the Savage Maiden (page 14)

 

The Tale of Nam Chiếu/Nanzhao (page 16)

 

The Tale of the Tô Lịch River (page 19)

 

The Tale of Tản Viên (page 21)

 

The Tale of the Two Spirits of Long Nhãn and Như Nguyệt (page 25)

 

The Tale of Từ Đạo Hạnh and Nguyễn Minh Không (page 27)

 

The Tale of Dương Không Lộ and Nguyễn Giác Hải (page 33)

 

The Tale of Hà Ô Lôi (page 35)

 

[1/12a] the First Fascicle of the Arrayed Tales of Collected Oddities from South of the Passes

 

Compiled in this form by Trần Thế Pháp of Thạch Thất.

 

Compared and corrected by Vũ Quỳnh, Yến Ôn, from Trạch Ổ in Hồng Xuyên, presented scholar of the mậu tuất exam [1478 C.E.], former gentleman of the luxuriant forest [Mậu Lâm lang], investigating censor of Kinh Bắc Circuit.[9]

 

Edited by Kiều Phú, Hiếu Lễ, of Ninh Sơn.

 

 

The Tale of the Hồng Bàng Clan

 

[1/12b] Di Ming [Đế Minh], a third-generation descendent of the Fiery Emperor Shen Nong [Thần Nông], had a son by the name of Di Yi [Đế Nghi]. [Di Ming] went on an imperial inspection tour of the south all the way to the Five Passes, where he obtained the daughter of Vụ Tiên [lit., “beautiful immortal”] and took her back with him.[10] She gave birth to Lộc Tục. He had an upright appearance and precocious intelligence. Di Ming found him special and urged him to succeed to the imperial throne. Lộc Tục firmly declined and deferred to his older brother. Yi was thereupon established as heir apparent and appointed to rule over the northern lands, while Lộc Tục was invested as King Kinh Dương and appointed to rule over the southern region, which was called the Xích Quỷ [lit., “scarlet ghost”] Kingdom.[11]

 

Kinh Dương could enter the water palace [of water spirits]. He took as his wife Lord Dongting [Động Đình] the Dragon King’s daughter.[12] She gave birth to Sùng Lãm, who was called Lord Lạc Long.[13] He replaced [his father] in governing over the kingdom. It is unknown what became of King Kinh Dương.

 

Lord Lạc Long taught the people how to cultivate grains and engage in sericulture. It was at this point that there emerged a hierarchical order between sovereign and officials, superiors and inferiors, as well as the proper relations between fathers and sons, and husbands and wives.

 

[1/13a] At times [Lord Lạc Long] would return to the water palace, and the people would still be at peace, not knowing why things were the way they were.[14] When the people had trouble, they would loudly call out to Lord Lạc Long, “Bô, why (Việt colloquially call their fathers ‘bô’) can’t you come to save our lives?”[15] The Dragon Lord would then come, and the resonance of his numinous efficacy would be incalculable.

 

Di Yi passed the throne to Di Lai [Đế Lai] to rule over the northern region. All Under Heaven was devoid of disturbances. [Di Lai] ordered his official, Chi You, to oversee the kingdom’s affairs and made a southern tour to the Xích Quỷ Kingdom. At that time, the Dragon Lord had already returned to the water palace and within the kingdom there was no ruler. Di Lai then left his beloved wife, Âu Cơ, and the group of maidservants to stay in a temporary residence while he traveled about All Under Heaven. He observed the lay of the land, and saw its peculiar flowers and extraordinary plants, its precious birds and extraordinary beasts. Rhinoceroses, elephants, hawksbill turtles, [1/13b] gold, silver, pearls, jade, pepper, frankincense, agarwood, sandalwood, mountain foods and sea goods, there was nothing that was not present. What is more, the climate in the four seasons was neither cold nor hot. Di Lai became fond [of the region]. He enjoyed himself and forgot to return. The people of the southern region suffered from the harassment of the northern region, and could not live at peace like before. Together they called out to the Dragon Lord, “Where are you, Bô? The northern region is transgressing upon and harassing the southern people.”

 

The Dragon Lord suddenly came and saw that Âu Cơ was wonderously beautiful. The Dragon Lord took a liking to her and transformed himself into a young man of handsome appearance. With servants following on his left and right and a large group singing and playing flutes, he arrived at the palace.[16] Âu Cơ happily followed him. They hid in Long Trang Cave. Di Lai returned to the temporary residence but could not find Âu Cơ. He ordered [1/14a] his officials to search All Under Heaven. The Dragon Lord had divine powers and could transform himself in myriad ways; to a demon, ghost, serpent, snake, tiger or elephant. Those searching [for Âu Cơ] were frightened and dared not search any more. Di Lai returned.

 

The throne was passed on to Emperor Yuwang. Chi You rebelled. The lord of the kingdom of Youxiong, Xuan Yuan, led the various vassal lords to engage in battle but they could not defeat [Chi You]. Chi You was like a beast who could speak human language. He was fierce and strong. Perhaps he taught Xuan Yuan to use an animal-hide drum to direct the battle.[17] Chi You became startled and was defeated at Zhuolu. Emperor Yuwang attacked the various vassals, and engaged in battle with Xuan Yuan at Banquan. After three battles he was defeated. He surrendered and was granted a fief at Luoyi where he died. Shen Nong’s clan thereupon came to an end.

 

The Dragon Lord and Âu Cơ lived together and after a year she gave birth to a sac. [1/14b] Believing it was inauspicious, they discarded it in the wilds. After six or seven days, one hundred eggs appeared in the sac. Each egg produced a boy. They took them back and raised them. [The boys] did not drink their mother’s milk but each grew and they were all especially handsome, as well as intelligent and brave. People were awed by them and saw them as a sign of something extraordinary.

 

The Dragon Lord stayed long in the water kingdom. The brothers and the mother lived alone and longed to return to the northern kingdom. They traveled to the border. The Yellow Emperor heard about this and became frightened. He sent troops to defend strategic points on the frontier. The mother and her sons could not return. They went back to the southern kingdom and called to the Dragon Lord saying, “Where are you, Bô, that you cause us mother and children to live alone, and to suffer in pain day and night?”

 

The Dragon Lord suddenly came. They met at Xiangye.[18] Âu Cơ said, “I am originally a northerner. I have lived with you, Lord, and given birth to one hundred sons, but you abandoned [1/15a] me and left. We do not raise them together and this has caused them to be parentless. This is just causing pain.”

 

The Dragon Lord said, “I am of dragon stock, and am the leader of the water lineage. You are of immortal stock, and are an earthly being. Although the khí/qi of yin and yang coalesced to produce sons, water and fire contradict each other. We are of different types, and it would be difficult for us to live [together] for long. We should now part. I will take fifty sons and return to the water palace where they will each be allotted a place to rule. fifty sons will follow you to live on the land, and will divide the kingdom and rule. Whether one ascends the mountains or enters the waters, all will know if others have difficulties and will not abandon each other.”

 

The one hundred sons obeyed and departed. Âu Cơ and fifty sons took up residence in Phong Region (today’s Bạch Hạc District). They encouraged and esteemed each other and promoted their most dominant [hùng trưởng] to be king, calling him the Hùng king. The kingdom was called the Kingdom of [1/15b] Văn Lang. The kingdom pressed against the Southern Sea to the east, and came up against Ba and Shu to the west. To the north it reached Lake Dongting, and to the south it touched the Hồ Tinh Kingdom (present Champa).[19] The kingdom was divided into fifteen regions (other [texts] have commanderies): Việt Thường, Giao Chỉ, Chu Diên, Vũ Ninh, Phúc Lộc, Ninh Hải, Dương Tuyền, Lục Hải, Hoài Hoan, Cửu Chân, Nhật Nam, Chân Định, Văn Lang, Quế Lâm and Tượng Quận. [The Hùng king] divided the group of brothers to rule over [this area]. He established his subordinates as ministers and generals. Ministers were called lạc marquises. Generals were called lạc generals.[20] Princes were called quan lang, and [the king’s] daughters, mỵ nương. Officials were called bồ chính. Servants and slaves were called sảo xưng (or slaves and maids). Officers were referred to as hồn. From generation to generation [positions] were passed from father to son, called phụ đạo. Those who ascended the throne from one generation to the next were called Hùng king, without change.

 

At that time [1/16a] there were people in the mountain forests, and those who fished in the water were often harmed by serpents. They told this to the king, and the king said, “The mountain savage type and the water lineage are truly different. They like that which is similar and dislike that which is different. Therefore they cause harm to each other.” He then ordered that they tattoo their bodies with images in the shape of the Dragon Lord and in the form of aquatic beasts. From this point onward the people avoided the calamity of being harmed by serpents. The practice of tattooing bodies among the Hundred Yue started with this.

 

In the early years of the kingdom, the people had insufficient resources for their daily needs. They used tree bark for clothing (other [texts] say for paper), wove reeds into mats, used rice dregs to make wine, made food from sugar palm and windmill palm, salted animals, fish and shrimp, and made salt from ginger root. They engaged in slash-and-burn cultivation. The land was used mainly for sticky rice, which was cooked in bamboo tubes. Houses were built on stilts to avoid being harmed by [1/16b] tigers and wolves. They cut their hair short to make it easier to enter the forests. When a son was born he was laid on banana leaves. When someone died, they would pound on a mortar so that the neighbors would hear and come to help. There was not yet any betel nut. When boys and girls got married, they would start with [the offering of] a packet of salt, and then complete the ceremony with the sacrifice of a buffalo or a goat. Sticky rice would be brought into the room where they would both eat it, and then they would have intercourse. It is probable that the hundred sons were the ancestors of the Hundred Yue.

 

 

The Tale of the Fish Essence

 

In the Eastern Sea there was an essence of a fish-serpent (others say a fish essence) which was over fifty trượng long. It had many legs like a centipede and could transform itself in myriad ways. [1/17a] Its extraordinary potency was unfathomable. When it moved it created tremors like a storm. It was able to eat people, and people feared it.

 

In high antiquity there was a fish which was similar in form to a human. It roamed along the shore of the Eastern Sea, and transformed into a person and could communicate with words. It gradually grew, and produced many boys and girls. They generally ate fish, shrimp and oysters. There were also egg-people who were born on an island in the sea and who specialized in catching people as their occupation.[21] Later they also transformed into humans, and traded with savages for salt, rice, clothing, knives and axes.[22] They often moved about in the Eastern Sea.

 

There was a [place called] Fish Essence Crag. Its stones were jagged and stuck out along the sea coast. Below it was a fish cavern where the fish essence lived. The waves there were treacherous, and there was no way to pass through. [People] wanted to open a different passage, but the stones were difficult to bore through. When people’s boats passed through this area, many were harmed by the fish essence.

 

Then one time at night [1/17b] there were immortals who bore the stones away to make a harbor out of a desire to benefit travelers. When the route was opened, the fish essence transformed into a white chicken and called out from above. The group of immortals heard this and suspecting that it was morning, they all ascended and flew away. To this day it is still called “Buddha-Molded Harbor” [Phật Đào Cảng].

 

The Dragon Lord pitied [the fact that] the people were being harmed. He transformed into a person’s boat and ordered the yaksas of the water realm to prohibit the spirits from creating big waves. He punted the boat to the edge of a gulley in Fish Essence Crag and pretended to grab a person as if to throw him in [for the fish essence] to eat. The fish essence opened its mouth to take a bite, and [the Dragon Lord] then threw a burning-hot piece of iron in its mouth. The fish essence surged up and twisted to hit the boat, and the Dragon Lord cut off its tail. He peeled off the skin and spread it on a mountain which is now called White Dragon Tail [Bạch Long Vĩ]. Its head flowed out to sea, transformed into a dog [1/18a] and ran away. The Dragon Lord used stones to block the sea and beheaded [the dog]. [The stones] then transformed into a dog’s head. Today [the stones in the sea] are called “Dog Head Mountain” [Cẩu Đầu Sơn]. Its body flowed to Man Cầu. Today that is what is called the “Man Cầu River.” (Others say it is the Dog Head River.)

 

 

The Tale of the Fox Essence

 

The citadel of Thăng Long [lit., “rising dragon”] was formerly called the land of Long Biên. In high antiquity no one resided there. Then when Lý Thái Tổ sailed in a boat to the Nhị River crossing, there was a pair of dragons who led the boat. He therefore named it thus [i.e., Thăng Long], and made it the capital. Today it is the capital citadel.

 

Earlier, to the west of the citadel was a small stone mountain, and to the east it was cushioned by the Lô River. In a cavern below the mountain there was a white fox with nine tails which was over 1,000 years old. It could transform into a monster [1/18b] and change in myriad ways. It could become a person or a ghost and would move about among the people. At that time, below Mount Tản Viên savages made houses of wood frames and grass. The mountain had a spirit which was numinous and the savages worshipped it. [The spirit] had often taught the savages to cultivate and weave. It made white robes and clothed them. They were therefore called the “White-Robed Savages” [Bạch Y Man].

 

The nine-tailed fox transformed into a white-robed person and went amongst the savages. Together with them it sang songs. It seduced savage men and women, and then hid them in its small stone cavern. The savages suffered from this. Dragon Lord then dispatched the forces of the Water Palace to draw water upward to attack and smash the small stone cavern.[23] The nine-tailed fox fled. Water Palace forces pursued it, destroyed the cavern, and captured and ate the fox. The destroyed area became a deep reservoir. Now it is called “Fox Corpse Pool” [Hồ Thi Đàm] (this is the current West Lake). They then erected a shrine (current Kim Ngưu Temple) to suppress [1/19a] the monstrousness [of the nine-tailed fox]. On the western shore of the lake is an open flat area. People have fields which they cultivate. Now this is called Fox Grotto [Hồ Động].[24] Where the land is high and pleasing, people have houses where they live. This is now called Fox Village [Hồ Thôn]. As for the fox’s cavern, it is now called Lỗ Khước Village.[25]

 

 

The Tale of Heavenly King Đổng

 

Seeing that the All Under Heaven was flourishing, the Hùng king did not perform the ritual of paying homage at court. The Yin king planned to use the pretext of a royal tour of inspection to invade. When the Hùng king heard of this, he summoned his officials and asked them strategies for attacking and defending. There was a ritual master who presented a suggestion that, “There is nothing better than seeking the Dragon King and gaining his invisible supernatural assistance.” The king agreed to this.

 

He then erected an altar and placed on it gold, silver, coins and bolts of silk. He fasted, burned incense, and reverently prayed for three days. The heavens let forth tremendous thunder and rain. [1/19b] Suddenly an old man appeared who was more than nine xích tall.[26] He had a yellow face and a big belly. His whiskers and eyebrows were shiny white. He sat at a crossroad, talking, laughing, singing and dancing. Those who saw him knew that he was not an ordinary person. People went in to inform the king and the king personally went and paid obeisance to him, and welcomed him to the altar. [The man] did not eat or drink, and did not speak.

 

The king asked, “I have heard that Northern soldiers are coming to invade. Who will be victorious? Do you have any knowledge which can be of assistance to me?”

 

After a long while the old man asked for tokens and then solemnly divined. He then said to the king, “Three years from now Northern bandits will come. You must rigorously prepare your weapons and expertly train your troops as a means to maintain the kingdom’s advantageous position. You must also search All Under Heaven for a remarkable talent who has the ability to crush the bandits. Invest him with a title and fief which can be passed on permanently. If you can obtain such a person, then the bandits can be pacified.” Having said this, he levitated into the sky and [1/20a] departed. Only then did people realize that this was the Dragon Lord.

 

Three years later, border officials issued an urgent announcement that an Yin army was coming. The king followed the old man’s words and dispatched an emissary to fully search All Under Heaven. They arrived at Phù Đổng Village in Tiên Du District where there was a wealthy gentleman who was over sixty years old. On the seventh day of the first lunar month a son was born to him. At the age of three he still could not speak. He could only lie on his back and could not sit up.

 

When his mother heard that the emissary had arrived, she joked to the son that “I gave birth to this boy, but all he can do is eat and drink. He cannot fight bandits and thereby receive the court’s reward to repay my having breast fed him.”

 

When the boy heard his mother say this he angrily exclaimed, “Mother, call the emissary to come!” The mother was greatly astonished. She told the neighbors. The neighbors were also delighted, and they summoned the emissary to come.

 

The emissary asked, “You boy! Now you can speak, and you called me here. [1/20b] For what?” [The boy] sat up and said to the emissary, “Quickly return and report to the king to forge an iron horse, eighteen xích tall, a sword, seven xích long, an iron whip and an iron helmet. I will mount the horse, wear the helmet, and engage in battle. The bandits will surely be frightened and defeated. What need is there for the king to worry?”

 

The emissary was pleased and returned to report to the king. The king was both surprised and happy, and said, “I have nothing to worry about!” The officials asked, “If a single person attacks the bandits, how can they be defeated?” The king angrily responded, “Previously when the Dragon Lord appeared, his words were definitely not empty. You gentlemen should not have doubts.”

 

[The king] ordered that 50 catties of iron be collected and forged into an iron horse, sword, whip and helmet. The emissary delivered these objects. The mother was frightened and feared that calamity had arrived. She informed her son. Her son laughed loudly and said, “Mother, just provide me with more food and wine to consume. As for the matter of attacking the bandits, mother you need not worry.”

 

The boy’s body suddenly became large. He consumed so much food and drink that [1/21a] his mother could not provide enough. The neighbors cooked for him. He ate such necessities as beef, wine, rice and fruit, but they did not fill his stomach. Burlap, silk, cotton and cloth; none could cover his body. It reached the point where they had to weave together reeds and wrap these [around him] in order to cover his body.

 

When the Yin king’s troops reached the foot of Mount Trâu in Vũ Ninh [District], the boy extended his legs and stood up. He was more than ten xích (some say trượng) tall. He lifted his nose and sneezed more than ten times in a row. He grabbed his sword and said in a ferocious voice, “I am the Heavenly General!” He then put on his helmet, mounted his horse, and gave a long shout as he bound away. He galloped along as if flying. In a flash he was before the king’s army. Brandishing his sword he took the lead, while the official troops followed behind. They advanced toward the bandits’ ramparts. Most of the bandits fled. The remainders all prostrated and shouted, “The Heavenly General!” They all came and surrendered. The Yin king died in battle.

 

[The boy] proceeded to Mount Sóc in Kim Hóa [1/21b] where he took off his clothes and, riding his horse, ascended to Heaven. This was on the ninth day of the fourth lunar month. He left traces on the mountain stones.

 

The Hùng king wished to commemorate his merit and honored him as the Heavenly King of Phù Đổng. He established a shrine on an estate in that village, granting one hundred khoảnh of land. Offerings were made each dawn and dusk. In the [subsequent] generations of the Yin, some 644 years, they never again dared send troops.

 

Later Lý Thái Tổ invested him as the Divine King who Surges to Heaven, and built a temple for him in Phù Đổng Village next to Kiến Sơ Pagoda. A statue of him was made on Mount Vệ Linh.[27] In the second month of spring offerings are made here.[28]

 

At the time of Emperor Thuần of the Lê, Ngô Chi Lan, a woman from Phù Lỗ Community, was skilled at writing. She took pleasure in writing and her poems and songs were especially marvelous. She journeyed to this mountain and composed a poem which went:

 

Spring trees in Vệ Linh and white clouds at ease,

Myriad purples and thousands of reds bring color to this world.

His iron horse is in Heaven but his fame is in history,

His awe-inspiring heroism covers the rivers and mountains.

 

 

The Tale of One-Night Swamp

 

[1/22a] The third generation Hùng king had a daughter named Princess Tiên Dung.[29] When she was 18 she was beautiful in appearance, but she was unwilling to marry. She liked to journey about and amuse herself. She traveled across All Under Heaven. The king did not prohibit this. Every year between the second and third lunar months, she provisioned boats and sailed about on the sea. [One time] in her enjoyment she forgot to return.

 

At that time, in Chử Xá Village, beside a big river, there was a person called Chử Vy Vân who had a son, Chử Đồng Tử. Father and son were compassionate and filial by nature. Their home suffered a fire and all of their belongings were destroyed. All that was left was a pair of pants. When either the father or son went out, they had to share the wearing of the pants.

 

When the father was old he became ill and said, “When I die you must bury me naked. Keep the pants for yourself.” The son could not bear this, and buried [his father] with the pants.

 

Đồng Tử was naked, cold and hungry without any means of sustenance. He went to the riverside and saw a wealthy person’s boat. He stood in the water to beg. He also took a pole [1/22b] and fished to nourish his body. Unexpectedly, Tiên Dung’s boat suddenly arrived with its gongs, drums, flutes and fifes, and numerous attendants.[30] Đồng Tử was startled. On a sandbar there was a thicket of reeds with three or four bunches which he hid behind. He then dug a hole in the sand to hide in, and covered himself with sand.

 

An instant later, Tiên Dung anchored the boat and proceeded to roam about and enjoy herself on the sandbar. She ordered that a curtain be erected around the thicket of reeds so that she could bathe. Tiên Dung entered, disrobed and poured water over herself. The sand parted and Đồng Tử appeared.

 

Tiên Dung stared in astonishment for a long time, and realized it was a man. She then said, “I originally did not want to marry.[31] Now I have met this man living in the wilds with me. Heaven must surely have willed it this way. Get up and bathe right away.”

 

She granted him clothes and together they boarded the boat where they drank [1/23a] and ate and made merry. Those on the boat all felt these two made a perfect match, the likes of which had never been seen. Đồng Tử explained everything. Tiên Dung heaved a sigh and commanded that they become husband and wife. Đồng Tử emphatically refused. Tiên Dung said, “This is a match ordained by Heaven. How can you refuse?”

 

A member of her entourage delivered an express memorial [to the king]. The Hùng king said, “Tiên Dung does not care for her chaste reputation, and does not cherish my wealth. She roams about and deigns to marry a poor man. How can she face me?” When Tiên Dung heard this, she did not dare to return. She thereupon established a ferry market with Đồng Tử, built a warehouse, and engaged in trade with people. It gradually became a big market (Now it is Thám Market. It is also called Hà Lương Market). Wealthy foreign merchants came to buy and sell. People treated Tiên Dung and Đồng Tử as the masters. There was a rich man who told them, “If your honor takes twenty taels of gold and heads out to sea this year to purchase luxury goods, the following year you will get two hundred [1/23b] taels.” Tiên Dung was pleased and said to Đồng Tử, “Our marriage was ordained by Heaven. Our clothing and food were granted by Heaven. Let us now take gold and go overseas to trade with the rich man.”

 

There was a Mount Quỳnh Viên. On the mountain was a small temple. The rich man anchored the boat to take on water. Đồng Tử went up to visit the abbey. There was a young monk named Ngưỡng Quang.[32] He transmitted the dharma to Đồng Tử, and Đồng Tử stayed there to study. He entrusted the gold to the rich man to buy goods. [Later] the rich man returned to this small temple and transported Đồng Tử back home. The monk bestowed upon Đồng Tử a staff and a hat, and said “These have supernatural powers.”

 

Đồng Tử returned and fully expounded the Buddhist dharma. Tiên Dung also became enlightened. They abandoned their market and prosperous occupation. They went in search of a master to study the Path. When they were travelling afar, the sun set before they reached a village. They lodged for the night on the road. They erected the staff and placed the hat on top for cover. During the third [1/24a] watch of the night, a walled citadel appeared. There were towers and palaces, pavilions and covered walkways, storehouses and temples, precious metals and jewels, beds and canopies. Immortal boys and jade maidens, generals and guards all stood fully arrayed in ranks before them. The next day, those who saw [Đồng Tử and Tiên Dung] were astonished. They each took incense, flowers and delicacies to make offerings and declare themselves to be subjects. There were military and civil officials who divided themselves into armies, protected them at night, and thus created a separate kingdom.

 

When the Hùng king heard this, he thought that his daughter was rebelling, and led followers to attack her. The various officials requested to divide up and resist. Tiên Dung laughed and said, “This is not of my making. It is ordained by Heaven. Life and death is decided by Heaven. How can we resist my father? We should obediently follow his rule, and let him kill us if that is the case.”

 

The people who had recently submitted all fled in fear. Only the original retinue remained. When the troops arrived, they stationed at Tự Nhiên islet which was still separated by a big river. When night fell they had yet to advance. [1/24b] In the middle of the night strong winds tossed the sand and uprooted trees. The official troops were thrown into disorder. Tiên Dung’s followers and the citadel suddenly vanished into Heaven. The land became a great swamp. So a shrine was set up and people regularly made offerings. The swamp was called One-Night Swamp. The islet was called Man Trù Islet. The market was called Sâm Market (It was also called Hà Lương Market).[33]

 

Later, King [Xiao]yan of the Liang (r. 502-549 C.E.) ordered Chen Baxian to lead an army to invade the south. Emperor Nam of the Lý [i.e., Lý Nam Đế] appointed Triệu Quang Phục as a general to resist them. Quang Phục led troops to hide in this swamp. The swamp was large and wide. The boggy terrain made it difficult for troops to advance. Quang Phục used dugout canoes to launch a sudden attack and seize provisions. [His forces] held out in order to wear down [Chen Baxian’s] soldiers. For three or four years there was no chance for their swords to cross. Baxian sighed and said, “In the past they called this the one-night-ascending-to-Heaven swamp, and now it is the one-night-plunder swamp.”

 

Right at that time, the Hou Jing Rebellion broke out. The Liang king summoned Baxian [1/25a] to return. He entrusted Assistant General Yang Can to lead the troops.

 

Quang Phục fasted and set up an altar in the middle of the swamp where he burned incense and reverently prayed. Suddenly an immortal appeared riding a dragon rising up from the center of the altar. It said to Quang Phục, “My manifest efficacy is still present. Because you have sincerely prayed, I have come to assist you, and pacify the disturbance.”

 

[The immortal] then pulled off one of the dragon’s claws, and giving it to Quang Phục, said, “Attach this to your helmet. Wherever you face, the bandits will be destroyed.” Having said this, [the immortal] ascended to Heaven.

 

Quang Phục was elated to obtain [the claw] and was invigorated. He launched a sudden attack and the Liang army was completely defeated. He beheaded Yang Can on the battlefield. The Liang bandits then retreated.

 

Quang Phục heard that Emperor Nam had passed away and declared himself as King Việt of the Triệu, with his citadel at Mount Trâu in Vũ Ninh. (It is also called Mount Trâu Quỳnh Viên. It is [the same as] Mount Kim Mộc. It is on the southern border of Thạch Hà District beyond the estuary.)

 

 

[1/25b] The Tale of the Tree Essence

 

In the area of Phong Region [i.e., Phong Châu] in high antiquity there was a tree that was very big called Candana. It was more than a thousand fathoms tall and its leaves provided dense shade over countless thousands of leagues. There was a crane which came to roost. Therefore, this area was called White Crane [Bạch Hạc]. This tree passed through many thousands of years. With the passage of time it withered, and transformed into a monster essence. It changed its form and was ferocious. It could kill living people and animals. King Kinh Dương used entertainment to overcome it. The monster demon was somewhat cowed. It would appear sometimes here sometimes there, transforming unpredictably, and often eating people. [The people] set up a shrine. At the end of every year on the thirtieth day of the twelfth lunar month, they would offer a living person as a sacrifice. The residents were finally at peace, and called this the Xương Cuồng God.

 

On the southwestern border near the Markata Kingdom [Mi Hầu quốc], the Hùng kings commanded the Bà Lộ [1/26a] savages (where Diễn Châu Prefecture is today) to annually capture and make an offering of a Lão Tử from the mountain plains.[34] No one could alter this.

 

During the time of Qin Shihuang, Ren Xiao was ordered to serve as the director of Long Region. [Ren Xiao] wanted to excise this perversion (to not use living people as prayer offerings). The Xương Cuồng God became furious and killed Xiao. After that, they served it more reverently.

 

At the time of Đinh Thiên Hoàng [r. 968-979 C.E.], there was a ritual master, Du Văn Tường, who was originally a Northerner.[35] His conduct was lofty and pure. He had traveled through many kingdoms and was conversant in the various savage tongues. He trained in and passed on [the art of] the gold fang and bronze tooth. When he was over eighty he traveled to our Southern Kingdom. Tiên Hoàng served him with the rituals appropriate to a master. [Du Văn Tường] then taught techniques to enchant the Xương Cuồng God with entertainment and kill it. These techniques were those of the venerable rider, the venerable bamboo pole [carrier], the venerable risk taker, the venerable jumper, the venerable smasher, and the venerable hooker.

 

Every year in the eleventh month they erected a flying-cloud tower, twenty xích tall, and erected a tree in its center.[36] They wound hemp fibers into a big rope, 136 [1/26b] xích long, with a diameter of two thốn. Rattan strips were finely woven around it. The two ends of the rope were buried in the ground. The middle of the rope was hung on top of the tree.

 

The venerable rider stepped on [the rope] and ascended, quickly going back and forth three or four times without falling. On his head he wore a black turban, and on his body a black skirt.

 

For the venerable bamboo pole [carrier], there was a rope, 150 xích long, which consisted of three strands which united at one point. With each hand carrying a flag on a bamboo pole, two men climbed onto the rope and walked. When they met at the intersection, they avoided each other. One ascended, one descended but neither fell.

 

The venerable jumpers took a big piece of wood, one xích and three thốn across and seven thốn thick, and placed it on top of a pole, which was seventeen xích and three thốn tall.[37] The venerable jumpers leaped two or three times on bamboo poles, and did flips back and forth.

 

Some were venerable smashers. They took a woven bamboo basket shaped like a fish trap, five xích long and four xích in circumference. The venerable smashers threw themselves inside and then stood up.

 

[1/27a] Some were venerable hookers. They clapped, jumped, shouted, roared, and moved their hands and feet. They rubbed their bellies and spleens. They moved back and forth and up and down. Some then raced off on horses, and leaned over to grab an object without falling off.

 

Some were venerable risk takers. They laid down on their backs and supported a bamboo pole on their bodies. They then ordered a child to climb up, and they would not fall.

 

Some were singing children. They beat gongs and drums, sang and danced wildly and made a tremendous racket. They slaughtered a sacrificial animal and made an offering. The Xương Cuồng God came to admire it, and when it arrived it looked over [the sacrificial offering].

 

The ritual master took hold of a secret talisman and then beheaded [the god] with his sword. The Xương Cuồng God and his horde all died. Never again did it engage in demonic acts. There was no longer a need to make yearly sacrifices, and the people could live more fully.

 

 

The Tale of Betel Nut [Tân Lang]

 

[1/27b] In high antiquity there was a quan lang who was strong and tall. He was granted the name of Cao [lit., tall] by the kingdom, and he thereupon took Cao as his surname. He produced two sons. The elder was called Tân, and the younger was called Lang. The two resembled one another, and you could not distinguish who was elder and who was younger. When they were seventeen or eighteen, both of their parents died, and they began to serve the Daoist master, Lưu Huyền.[38] The Lưu family had a daughter named Liên who was also about seventeen or eighteen. The two brothers met and became fond of her, and both wished to unite with her in marriage.

 

The girl could not yet distinguish the elder from the younger brother. So she brought a bowl of rice porridge and a pair of chopsticks, and gave this to the two brothers to eat. The younger brother yielded to his older brother, and with this she was finally able to distinguish [between the two]. The girl returned to inform her parents, and was betrothed to the elder brother.

 

After [the three] lived together for a while, relations with the younger brother grew distant. The younger brother felt a sense of remorse. He thought that since his brother had gained a wife he had forgotten his brother. He thereupon left without telling his brother. While returning to his home village, he reached a wild forest and came upon a deep river but there was no boat to cross it. [1/28a] Stricken with grief, he died and transformed into a tree which grew by the mouth of the river. The older brother could not find his younger brother, and searched all of the way to this place. He threw himself down beside the tree and died. He became a stone and was entwined by the roots of the tree. The wife searched for her husband at this place where she embraced the stone and died. She transformed into a vine which coiled around the tree and stone. The leaves had a fragrant and spicy taste.

 

The Lưu couple came searching and could not contain their grief. They built a shrine at this place. People came and burned incense and respectfully worshipped. They praised the older brother for caring for the younger and the younger for obeying the older, and they praised the husband for his righteousness and the wife for her virtue.

 

In the seventh and eighth lunar months when the torrid heat had not yet dissipated, the Hùng king would go on an imperial tour. He would often encamp to avoid the heat in front of the shrine. He saw how luxuriant the tree’s vegetation was, with vines and leaves covering everything. The king, having asked and found out about this, sighed at length. He ordered a man to get for him the tree’s fruit and the vine’s leaves, and he chewed it. He spit on the stone, and [the spit] was a bright red with a fragrant [1/28b] smell. He then burned the stone into ash and combined everything together and ate it. Its flavor was most excellent. His lips became red and his cheeks flushed, and he knew that these objects were valuable. So he took them back with him. He ordered people to cultivate each kind. This is what today is areca nut, betel leaf and lime.[39] Later, the rituals for marriage ceremonies and meetings of all sizes in the Southern Kingdom all used [betel nut] to begin [the ritual]. This is the origin of [the use of] betel nut.

 

 

The Tale of Steamed Cake

 

After the Hùng king defeated the Yin army, the kingdom was at peace. [The king] desired to pass the throne on to his son. He then called together the twenty two quan lang princes and said to them, “I wish to pass on the throne. If one is able to fulfill my wish, I desire [that he take] precious and delicious food and at year’s end offer it in sacrifice to the ancestral kings, and thereby fulfill his filial [1/29a] obligation. Only then will I pass on the throne.”

 

The various sons each searched the waters and land for marvelous rarities, [and found] more than can be counted. The mother of the eighteenth son, Lang Liêu, lived alone and was destitute.[40] She died early from illness. With no one to help him, he had difficulty fulfilling this task. He worried day and night. He could not dream or sleep in peace.

 

Then one night he dreamed that a divine being informed him, “Among those goods between heaven and earth which are precious to people, none surpasses rice. It is the means to nourish life and is that which makes people strong. One never tires of eating it, and no other food is more important. You should make a cake from sticky rice. Some should be round and some square in order to represent the shapes of heaven and earth. Wrap them in leaves. In its center it will contain an exquisite flavor to represent the importance of one’s parents having given birth to and having raised you.”

 

Lang Liêu awoke with a start and elated, said, “The divine being helped me! I will carry out [the instructions].”

 

He selected the whitest sticky rice, and then chose flawless round kernels and rinsed them in a sieve. He took [1/29b] green leaves and wrapped [the rice] into a square shape, placing a precious and delicious flavor in the middle, to represent how Heaven and Earth stores the myriad things. He steamed it until it was done, and therefore called it “steamed cake.”

 

He then took sticky rice and cooked it. He pounded it into a mash and kneaded it into round shapes to represent heaven. He then called these “thin cakes.”

 

When the time arrived, the king ordered his sons to display their offerings. He viewed them in turn. There was nothing that was not there. Lang Liêu only presented steamed cakes and thin cakes. The king was surprised and asked him about this. Lang Liêu told him about the dream. The king personally tasted them and found them to be to his liking, and they surpassed all of the goods which the other sons had presented. He sighed with pleasure for quite a long time, and then ranked Lang Liêu first.

 

Annually at certain times, [people in the royal family] would use these cakes to serve their parents. [The people of] All Under Heaven imitated this. To the present this takes the name Lang Liêu and is called the Liêu Festival.[41]

 

The king then passed the throne on to [1/30a] Lang Liêu. The twenty one brothers each controlled a fiefdom and established themselves as clans, becoming vassal kingdoms. Later the generals fought for dominance. They each erected stockades of wood to protect themselves. Therefore, stockades, villages, estates, and wards began to be used from this time.

 

 

The Tale of Watermelon

 

During the time of the Hùng kings there was an official [called] Mai Tiêm. He was originally from a foreign kingdom. When he was just seven or eight the king purchased him from a merchant ship as a slave. When he grew up, he was upright in appearance, and could remember and understand many kinds of matters. The king granted him the name, Mai Yển, and called him An Tiêm.[42] [The king] granted him a concubine who gave birth to a boy and girl.

 

[The king] favored [Mai An Tiêm] and entrusted him with various duties. [Mai An Tiêm] gradually became wealthy, and his gate was crowded with people seeking favors. He thereupon became haughty and overbearing. [1/30b] He would often say, “Everything here is because of my previous life. It is not because of the beneficence of my master.” When the king heard this he became furious and said, “He is an official and he has become arrogant and does not recognize his master’s beneficence, saying everything is because of his previous life. Let us now put him in a no man’s land beyond the sea. Can he still say that everything is because of his previous life?”

 

He thereupon exiled Mai Yển to a sand island off the estuary in Nga Sơn District (also called Giáp Sơn). In all directions there were no traces of human contact. He was left with enough food for four five months, so that after he ate it all he would die. His wife cried, grief-stricken. An Tiêm laughed and said, “Since Heaven has given me life, it must be able to nourish me. Life and death resides with Heaven. What do I have to worry about?”

 

He suddenly saw a white pheasant fly in from the west and come to rest [1/31a] on the side of a mountain. It called out three or four times and then spit out six or seven seeds which fell onto the sand. They sprouted, grew luxuriantly, and bore fruit. An Tiêm rejoiced and said, “This is no anomaly. It is how Heaven will nourish me.”

 

Cutting it open and eating it, it had a fresh and sweet flavor. His spirit was uplifted. He kept some seeds to plant the following year. There were more than he could possibly eat, so he exchanged them for rice to nourish his wife and children. He did not know what it was called, but since the bird which carried it in its beak came from the west, he called it the “western melon” [i.e., watermelon].

 

Fishermen and merchants who ate it were all pleased with its flavor. People from near and far bought it and distributed its seeds.

 

Later, the king recalled [Mai An Tiêm]. He ordered someone to go to his residence and inquire if he was still alive. This person returned and reported [to the king]. [1/31b] The king said with a sigh, “He said it was because of his previous life. That was the case indeed.” He then summoned [Mai An Tiêm] to return, restored his position, and granted him a maidservant. The islet where he resided was called An Tiêm Islet. His village was called Mai Village. Sometimes it was referred to as the home of An Tiêm’s ancestors.[43] This is now An Tiêm Islet in Thanh Hóa [Province].

 

 

The Tale of the White Pheasant

 

During the time of King Cheng of the Zhou, the Hùng king ordered his officials, called the Việt Thường clan, to present a white pheasant to the Zhou. Their words could not be understood, so Zhou Gong [King Cheng’s main assistant] had an emissary make multiple translations and they were finally able to communicate. Zhou Gong asked, “Why did you come?” The Việt Thường [1/32a] responded, “Now there have been no excessive rains in the skies nor rough waves on the seas for three years already. This means that there is a sage in the Middle Kingdom. We therefore came.” Zhou Gong sighed and said, “No governmental orders have been issued [pertaining to you]. My sovereign has not made you a vassal. Moral virtue does not reach [as far as your home]. My Lord has not bestowed gifts [upon you].” He then remembered the Yellow Emperor’s pledge that, “The Việt Thường are beyond the bounds [of the Middle Kingdom], and must not be violated.”[44] He then bestowed upon [The Việt Thường] local goods, instructed them, and let them return. The Việt Thường forgot the way back. Zhou Gong ordered that they be granted five carriages, each of which was made such that it could detect the direction of the south. They rode in them past the coasts of Phù Nam/Funan and Lâm Ấp/Linyi. After a year they reached their kingdom. Therefore, south-pointing carriages often lead the way.[45]

 

Later, when Confucius compiled the Spring and Autumn Annals, he considered that the kingdom of [1/32b] Văn Lang was in the wilds and was not yet equipped with sufficient civility. He therefore did not include information about it.

 

The old version [of this text] stated that Zhou Gong asked, “Why is it that in Giao Chỉ people cut their hair short, tattoo their bodies, leave their heads uncovered, walk barefoot and have black teeth?” The Việt Thường clan responded that, “We cut our hair to make it easier to enter the mountain forests. We tattoo our bodies with the designs of the Dragon Lord, so that when we swim in the river, serpents will not violate us. We go barefoot to make it easier to climb trees. We engage in slash-and-burn agriculture and leave our heads uncovered to avoid the heat. We chew betel nut to expel impurities, therefore our teeth are black.”

 



[1] The “Cassia Sea” [Quế Hải/Guihai 桂海] is a reference to the coastal areas to the south of the Five Passes [Ngũ Linh/Wuling 五嶺] which run along the northern border of what is today Guangxi and Guangdong Provinces, and which separate the area of “South of the Passes” [Lĩnh Nam/Lingnan 嶺南] from the areas to the north.

 

[2] These titles are problematic. There was a Treatise on Lingnan [Lingnan zhi 嶺南誌], but I cannot find reference to a Brief Treatise on Jiaozhi [Jiaozhi zhilue 交趾誌畧].What is more, in this text the final two characters of this title [zhilue誌畧] appear in reverse order [luezhi 畧誌], which is a mistake. As for the Extensive Records of Jiao Region [Jiaozhou guangji 交州廣記], this appears to be a clumsy combination of the titles of two separate works, the Record of Jiao Region [Jiaozhou ji 交州記] and the Record of Guang Region [Guangzhou ji 廣州記]. As this title is written in this text, the character for “Guang” would have to serve as a modifier for the word “record,” and that is why I translated it as “extensive,” which is what this character literally means – “wide” or “extensive.”

 

[3] The “distant wilds” is yêu hoang/yaohuang 要荒.

 

[4] This tale, which actually is about information in the Ramayana, is not included in this version of the Arrayed Tales.

 

[5] This version of the text mistakenly has Nữ Dương (女陽) instead of An Dương (安陽).

 

[6] It literally states “to activate customs” (激勸風俗). However, the sense is that the customs will be “activated” in ways that fit with the moral ideas of the elite.

 

[7] The Record of Searching for Spirits [Soushen ji 搜神記] is one of the earliest collections of anomaly accounts [chí quái/zhiguai 志怪]. The text here mistakenly has Preface of Searching for Spirits [Soushen xu 搜神序]. The Record of the Hidden and the Strange [Youguai lu 幽怪錄] was originally called the Record of the Obscure and the Strange [Xuanguai lu 玄怪錄]. The name was changed during the period of the Song Dynasty to avoid the use of a taboo character.

 

[8] It actually starts on page 1/28b.

 

[9] “Hồng Xuyên” (洪川) should be “Hồng Châu” (洪州).

 

[10] “Vụ Tiên nữ” could mean “the daughter of Vụ Tiên” or “the Vụ Tiên maiden.”

 

[11] Instead of rule of “the northern lands” (北地), this text has “this land” (此地). However, someone crossed out “this” and wrote “north” next to it. Other versions of the text have “north.”

 

[12] In other versions of this text, Lord Dongting is not referred to as the Dragon King, and his daughter is called Thần Long, meaning “divine dragon.” See, for instance, R. 6, 4a.

 

[13] Vietnamese today pronounce this name “Lạc Long” [貉龍], but the first character should actually be pronounced “Hạc.”

 

At times in this story he is referred to as Lord Long [Long Qưân 龍君]. In such cases I think it is better to translate the name literally as the “Dragon Lord.”

 

[14] This last phrase does not make sense and is not in other versions of this text.

 

[15] This character is not pronounced with a rising tone, but that’s how it appears in modern Vietnamese translations of this text. Also, other versions say that this was a “Southern” custom rather than a “Việt” custom.

 

[16] Other versions say that he “arrived at the palace” (達於宮中). This version says he “falsely established in the palace” (虚建宮中). This does not make sense. I have therefore translated this phrase in keeping with what is written in other versions.

 

[17] This sentence is difficult to decipher.

 

[18] Xiangye, or “the Wilds of Xiang,” was the name of a place in the area of what is now Henan Province.

 

[19] This version originally had “Hồ Tinh” [狐精], meaning “fox essence.” Someone then wrote next to this “Hồ Tôn” [胡孫], which can be literally translated as “northern barbarian/nomad descendent.”

 

[20] Again, this character which Vietnamese today pronounce as “lạc” [] should actually be pronounced “hạc.”

 

[21] For “island island in the sea” [海島] the text actually has 海岱. This compound refers to the coastal area of Shandong Province. I am assuming that is a mistake for , or is a colloquial way of writing the latter character.

 

This manuscript says that they “specialized in catching people as their occupation.” However, someone crossed out the character for “people” and wrote the character for “fish.” Other versions have “people” rather than “fish.” Therefore, “people” seems to be what was intended.

 

[22] Instead of the character for “salt” [] the text has a different character [] which does not make sense. Other verions have “salt” here.

 

[23] Someone has changed what was originally written in this text as 遣水府之部眾 to 遣水府六部眾 by crossing out the and writing to the right of it. This would change “dispatched the forces of the Water Palace” to “dispatched a group from the Six Boards of the Water Palace.”

 

[24] The term “grotto” [động] was also used to refer an administrative area for “savages.” In this sense it can be translated as “aboriginal settlement.”

 

[25] The one name in this story which does not make sense is Lỗ Khước Village, but in other versions it is Hồ Lỗ 狐魯 or Lỗ Hồ 魯狐 which could make sense as meaning something like “fox pit,” as “lỗ” means a “hole” or “pit” in Vietnamese and “hồ” is the Sino-Vietnamese word for “fox.”

 

[26] A xích was roughly one foot, or thirty three centimeters.

 

[27] The text uses a colloquial character for which looks more like . It consists of the radical with inside.

 

[28] In this text, someone has written “autumn” next to “spring.”

 

[29] The term for “princess” here is “mỵ nương,” which I suspect comes from the Tai “mae nang.”

 

[30] For “suddenly” this version has when it should have .

 

[31] For “marry” this version has what looks like when it should have .

 

[32] Other versions have Phật Quang [佛光].

 

[33] This Sâm Market [琛市] was referred to earlier as Thám Market [探市].

 

[34] Diễn Châu Prefecture was in Nghệ An. What we have translated “mountain plains” varies from text to text. It is unclear if it is referring to a specific place name or to a more general area as the translation here indicates.

 

[35] The text has Đinh Thiên Hoàng [丁天皇] when it should have Đinh Tiên Hoàng [丁先皇]. The text also has the name of the ritual master as Du Văn Tường [文俞祥]. Other versions, and modern translations, have Du Văn Mâu [文俞牟].

 

[36] Other versions have different heights.

 

[37] I have chosen to label this art after the action it describes, as the character in this name does not make sense. It is “” which is used to refer to a northern nomadic people. It is usually translated into English as “Tartar.”

 

[38] Other versions don’t have his given name.

 

[39] The word for betel leaf here is a Tai word.

 

[40] Throughout this story, the charcter for Lang has the bamboo radical on top. It does not in other versions.

 

[41] The Liêu Festival is tiết liêu 節僚 in this text and tiết liệu 節料 in others.

 

[42] Another version says that Mai was his family name.

 

[43] Another version says that An Tiêm was referred to as the “father and mother of watermelon.”

 

[44] Other versions say “Giao Chỉ is beyond the bounds [of the Middle Kingdom], and it must not be violated.”

 

[45] There is an extra character [] in this sentence which does not make sense.