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The legend of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh

Vietnamese folklore not only embodied ethical values and morality but also they attempt to explain natural phenomenon in the geographic location of the tropical and monsoon land. One of these legend that attempted to explain such is the story of Son Tinh (mountain spirit) and Thuy Tinh (spirit of the sea).

The Legend

According to legend, during reign of the 18th Hung king, there was a beautiful princess named My Nuong. She was the King’s only child, thus she is most precious. The King and Queen loved her very much. Moreover, she was very well respected and well-known throughout the perimeter of our land. The commoners, courtiers, and those of noble blood not only praised her for beauty but also her kindness.

Hung King & My Nuong

When she grew up and became a woman, the King looking to arrange her for marriage. However, he could not find anyone that is worthy for his daughter. Many men from the area came asking for her hand, but the King was not satisfied with anyone of them. He wanted My Nuong to marry a really great man who posses strong power and had endless love for her.

Hung King and the two menOne day, there were two strangers came to court. They both proposed to marry the princess. The King asked them for their names. One bowed his head and introduce himself and said that he was Son Tinh—the God of the mountain—he reigned on the height of Tan Vien mountain and govern all creatures above. The other one said in a polite voice that he was Thuy Tinh—God of the sea—and he governed all living creatures below sea level.

These two proclaimed to admire beauty and kindness of the princess and willing to do anything to win her heart. Son Tinh promised to make My Nuong the happiest queen of the high land, while Thuy Tinh promised to make her become the glorious Queen of the Sea.

The king asked these two handsome young men to present their power. The God of the Sea waved his hands and the wind start blowing. He spoke a word and the rain started falling heavily. He kept waving his hands and the sea level rises. Everyone was afraid, except for the God of the Mountain, he asked the King to present his power. He waved his hand and many tree growths up quickly and made a big forest. He whispered a word and many mountain and hill spouted up. He kept waving his hands and all the hills and mountains started to move.

After witnessing their powers, the king was glad to have any one of them as his son-in-law because they were both equally great. He could not decide which on is the winner. He looked at his daughter…then went to discuss the issue with his most trusted courtiers. After the discussion, he told these men that he would gladly accept both of them if he had two daughters, however he only had one. He then announced that, in the following morning whoever showed up to court the earliest with the wedding present will marry the princess. The two men were exciting and asked the King about the wedding presents. “Wedding presents include a nine tusk elephant, a nine spur cock, a nine color hair horse, 100 pots of glutinous rice and 100 banh chung (square rice cakes)” – the King said. The two Gods hurried back into their world to make preparations.
Son Tinh
The following morning, Thuy Tinh (water spirit) and his servants arrived at court when the sun still did not show up. He thought that he was definitely going to marry the princess. Although, however, Son Tinh (Mountian spirit) had came earlier and already married the princess. My Nuong gave her hand to Son Tinh and he took her to the palace on the mountain in the sounding of wedding music. My Nuong became the most beautiful and happiest bride ever. Everyone greeted them at the wedding.

My Nuong - Son Tinh
Thuy Tinh was furious. His heart was broken. He ordered his servants to pursue Thuy Tinh and get My Nuong back. He used his magic to make heavy rain. He called strong winds and thunders. He ordered water of the sea, rivers and springs increase. A terrible flood appeared immediately. He asked all creatures living in water to kill Son Tinh and his men.
Son Tinh - Thuy Tinh
Thuy Tinh was enraged because his heart was broken. He ordered his servants—creatures of the seas—to pursue My Noung and get her back. He unleashed heaven rain, strong wind, and thunder. He ordered the sea, river, and spring to rise. All in combination created a flood, immediately. He commanded all creatures of the sea to kill Son Tinh and his men.

Everyone cried and shout in distress. They all feared the anger of Thuy Tinh. However, Son Tinh was calm. He used his power to raise mountain, move hill, and raised mountain to stop the flood. He made a huge levee to protect people and their domestic animals. All creatures on the mountain helped him to battle the Water Spirit. After sometime the God of the Sea withdrawn, and thus My Nuong lived on the mountain with her prince happily ever after.

Although, however, Thuy Tinh (God of the Sea) never given up the idea of getting the princess from Son Tinh(Mountain God). He still uses his power to wage war with Son Tinh. And that is why many flood and prolong raining came every year.

And that’s the legend explains our flooding seasonal patterns in the tropical monsoon region.

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