The Legend of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh – Vietnamese Mythological

The Legend of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh

The legend of “Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh” explains the phenomenon of annual floods and the desire of ancestors to control natural disasters.

Legend has it that King Hung (Vua Hùng) the Eighteenth had a daughter named My Nuong (Mỵ Nương), who was very kind and beautiful. The King loved her dearly and wanted her to marry a talented and powerful husband. So, he spread the word throughout the land to find a suitable suitor for his daughter.

Princess Mi Nuong
Princess Mi Nuong

One day, there were two young men who came to see the King. They both wanted to marry the Princess. One came from the sea, named Thuy Tinh (Thủy Tinh) – the God of the Water. He could make rain and gather storms and reigned over all creatures living in water.

The other governed at the top of Tan Vien (Tản Viên) mountain, called Son Tinh (Sơn Tinh) – the God of the Mountain. He could reign over all creatures on land and make all mountains rise or fall.

King Hung Vuong the Eighteenth
King Hung Vuong the Eighteenth

It was very hard for both King Hung and the Princess to choose because the two suitors came at the same time and were equally strong. So, the King proposed a challenge: whoever brought the wedding gifts first the following day would have the hand of the Princess in marriage.

The wedding gifts included:

One hundred trays of glutinous rice,
One hundred Chung cakes (stuffed sticky rice cakes),
A nine-tusked elephant,
A nine-spur cock,
And a nine-colored hair horse.

Son Tinh brought the presents first the next day, and King Hung agreed that he could marry My Nuong. The new couple went to live in Son Tinh’s mountainous area and govern together to expand the country.

The War between Mountain God and Water God
The War between Mountain God and Water God

When Thuy Tinh arrived with his presents shortly after Son Tinh and My Nuong had left, he knew that he could not marry the Princess and was filled with anger. He ordered his sea monsters to pursue Son Tinh and take My Nuong back, summoning storms, winds, and lightning that caused floods, destroying fields, homes, and villages.

Son Tinh did not back down and used his powers to pick up hills, move mountains, and build land to prevent floods. The two sides fought for several months, but in the end, Son Tinh emerged victorious, and Thuy Tinh was forced to withdraw his troops.

However, Thuy Tinh could not forget the past and continued to seek revenge. Every year, he raises the water and summons storms to the mountaintop where Son Tinh and My Nuong live. Despite his efforts, Thuy Tinh never wins the war, and every year, people and animals suffer, crops, and properties are destroyed, all caused by the war between the two gods.

The Story of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh
– Vietnamese Mythological

The Story of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh
The Story of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh

A Few Notes on the War between Mountain God and Water God

“Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh” is a famous Vietnamese legend that explains the annual occurrence of thunderstorms and floods, and the desire for the power to control natural disasters in ancient times.

Son Tinh (Vietnamese: Sơn Tinh) has become a hero in Vietnamese folklore, symbolizing the aspiration and ability to overcome natural disasters. He is worshipped in many places in Hanoi and Vinh Phuc provinces. Meanwhile, Thuy Tinh (Vietnamese: Thủy Tinh) is the antagonist, representing rain, storms, floods, and natural disasters that threaten people’s lives.

In some other Vietnamese legends, Son Tinh is also known as Ki Mang (Kì Mạng), Nguyen Tuan (Nguyễn Tuấn), or Huong Lang (Hương Lang). However, according to many researchers of folk literature, Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh are just characters in mythology, and their names and stories may not be accurate.

This story has become an indispensable part of Vietnamese folklore, passed down from generation to generation, and has inspired many literary and artistic works.

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