The Hồ Gươm legend

In the 15th century, the Ming invaders attacked Việt Nam and treated the Vietnamese people in a very cruel and barbaric manner.

In the Lam Son region, the people have many times risen against the invaders but they always failed because the invaders were too strong.

Upon seeing this, a spirit named Long Quan decided to lend a sword to them in order to kill the invaders.

At that time, there was a fisherman named Le Than in Thanh Hoa.

Once when he went fishing, he caught bar of heavy iron.

He threw the iron down the river and he moved to another place.

But in each of the three instances when he pulled at the net, he hauled up that (piece of) iron.

Finally, he decided to bring the iron home.

It turned out that it was the blade of a sword.

Later, Le Than joined the volunteer army and made many achievements.

He was paid a visit by the General Le Loi.

During the time at the darkened house, the blade suddenly shone.

Le Loi was puzzled and looked around but he did not realize it was a precious thing.

One day, when he passed by a forest, Le Loi saw a light on top of a tree.

He climbed up to take a look.

It turned out that it was a handle of a sword.

As he thought about the blade at Le Than’s house, he brought the handle home.

What was very strange was that the handle in the forest fit the blade that Le Than caught in the river.

Since then, the entire sword never left Le Loi.

Moreover, since then, the power of the volunteer army grew each day and made the invaders afraid.

That sword helped the volunteer army such that they achieved a complete victory.

One year after the victory over the Ming invaders.

Le Loi who had become king at that time was on a boat sightseeing at the Luc Thuy lake (now called Ho Guom lake).

When the boat reached the middle of the lake, suddenly a huge golden turtle emerged on the water surface.

The turtle went near the boat and said in a human voice:

” Please return the sword to Long Quan!”

Upon listening to the turtle, the learnt that Long Quan gave the volunteer army the divine sword to kill the invaders.

When the country became peaceful, Long Quan ordered the golden turtle to ask for the word.

The king released the sword down the river.

As fast as lightning, the turtle opened its mouth, held the sword in its mouth and dived away.

Since then, Luc Thuy lake was named Ho Guom lake or the law of the Return of the Sword.

Translated by Gary Chan, a student at Vietnam Language Centre

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