You will hear many stories when you are enjoying a Vietnam travel package, some happy, some sad. It is for you to decide whether this love story is happy or sad.
St Kim Qui, whom the Vietnamese portray in the form of a tortoise, helped the king of the Au Lac nation, An Duong Vuong build a citadel. He then offered the King one of his claws to make a crossbow to help protect it from the nation’s enemies. It would be a magic crossbow that could hit 1,000 enemies with each shot. One of the butlers in the household, Cao Lo, was selected to make the crossbow but because it required a real athlete to shoot it, the King decided to keep it in his bedroom.
The neighbouring country to the north of Au Lac, Trieu Da, sought an alliance and to cement that alliance, the Governor sent his son, Trong Thuy to Au Lac to seek the hand in marriage of An Duong Vuong’s daughter, My Chau. They fell in love and spent a great deal of time together in the citadel. The King saw how much in love they were and agreed to the union.
One night, Trong Thuy asked My Chau why Au Lac was seemingly invincible; was there a secret? She mentioned the strength of the citadel and the magic crossbow in all innocence. She showed him the crossbow and how to use it. Soon afterwards, Trong Thuy asked for permission to visit his father and told him the story. They decided to build a replica trigger to the magic one in Au Lac.
He returned to Au Lac and a feast was held to celebrate. After the King and My Chau became drunk. Trong Thuy broke into the King’s bedroom and switched the triggers. Trong Thuy sought permission to return home for a short visit and before he left, she gave him a fur coat to mark his route with fur. When Trieu Da attacked, the King asked for his crossbow but it was no longer magic and the citadel fell. The King and his daughter escaped as looked for the route that Trong Thuy had taken.
They could not find it and finally An Duong Vuong prayed to Kim Qui who told him his enemy was behind him. He drew his sword and cut off his daughter’s head before jumping into the sea. Trong Thuy, in search of his wife, came across her body. He was overcome and after burying her in the citadel, he jumped down the well where his wife used to wash.
In Co Loa village these days, there is the temple of An Duong Vuong and a well called Trong Thuy just in front of the temple. My Chau’s blood was said to have poured into the sea to be eaten by oysters to create pearls. When a pearl is washed in the water from Trong Thuy’s well, it noticeably brightens
When you travel in Vietnam, you are likely to spend time in rural villages so typical of the country. Not many of them have the tale of Co Loa.