Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Nam Xuong Lady


A long, long time ago, there lived in Nam Xuong village a girl called Vu Thi Thiet, she was not only beautiful but also well mannered. She got married to Truong Sinh who lived in the same village. Truong Sinh was a so jealous person. He often found her fault but she kept rule of behaviour and there was nothing happened.

They lived in happiness when the war happened at the frontier. He had to say goodbye to his mother and his wife to join the army as mandarin ordered. His wife was pregnant at that time. The goodbye was full of reluctance. The mother wished her son to have hard feet and soft stones, the husband advised his wife to try to take care of their old mother and bring up their child.

After he went to the frontier, she gave birth to a son; she named her child Dan. The child was light-hearted and healthy when his grandmother was sick because of her long fondly to see Truong Sinh.

His wife took care of his mother and invited good doctors to cure her but her sickness became more seriously and she passed away soon. Thanks to neighbourhood, organization her mother in law’s funeral was completed.

Some falls passed, the wife was waiting for the return of her husband. She saw to her household chores, took care of the child and to farm-work as well. There were some nights she had to light oil lamp to sew, mend clothes and played with her son. When the child cried, she often showed him her shadow on the wall and said:

"Don’t cry. Your father comes home, there, there."

The child looked at the shadow and didn’t cry anymore.

Since that, it became a habit. The child often asked to meet his father before going to bed. The black shadow on the wall was like the close person with both of mother and child.

Then the war ended, the frontier was peaceful. Soldiers returned to their home. Truong Sinh was one of them. Their reunion was both sad and happy. He was sad because his mother passed away but he was happy to have a cute son. The child was 3 years old and began to speak.

He let his father carry him but he was cold, The next day, Truong Sinh asked where his mother’ s grave was and carried his child to visit. When coming to the field, the child cried a lot, Truong Sinh soothed:

"Don’t cry, I love you. Then I will buy you presents and snacks."

The child answered right away:
"No, you’re not my father. My father was another one. He only comes home at night."

Truong Sinh felt his heart broken to hear that. He looked at his child and asked his child fast:
"How is your father like? Tell me about that."

The child said to his father:

"My father comes home every night…. My mother goes, he goes, my mother sits, he sits… He never holds me in his arms…."

The child’s unintentional sayings made Truong Sinh believed that his wife adulterous. There was no doubt anymore. Thinking of his wife was in other man’s arms, his jealousy was burst out. He mumbled:

"Everything is so clear. It can’t imagine when I was miserable so much…"

When coming home, he scolded his wife very badly:

"I don’t think you are faithful woman. The mother died, your husband was away, and you invited man to come home every night…"

He continued to scold her but he didn’t tell her about what the child said. His wife insisted to argue:
"Being cut off for 3 years, I have been faithful to you and never been spoilt as you said. Please don’t doubt me badly."

The more she argued, the more he was angry. He began to use brute ways to torture her.

Their neighbours heard about that so they came and tried to stop him not to torture her but they couldn’t stop him beating her at all. He assumed that she was well spoken so they defended her against him. In indignation at his bad behaviour, she held the child and sobbed hard then she ran straight to the Yellow River and jumped into the river when her husband went to the next-door neighbour.

When Truong Sinh came home, he didn’t see her anywhere. Feeling that there was an unlucky thing, he ran to the river but it was late. He couldn't find her anymore. When the night came, the child cried a lot. He lit an oil lamp to soothe him calm. Suddenly the child yelled happily:

"Oh, my father came here."

Truong Sinh was surprised and asked:

"Where was he?"

His son showed Truong Sinh's shadow appear on the wall and said:

"There, there…"

Truong Sinh remembered what the child said when they visited his mother’s grave. He knew his terrible fault and he understood that his wife had to suffer a terrible thing by his jealousy. How could he redeem his big offence anymore?

He only knew to hold his son in his arms, looking down to the river and cried every day. Since then, he was single to bring up his son. Later, people built a temple in Yellow River's bank to worship Vu Thi Thiet; it was called Truong’s wife temple.

Translated by Mai Anh Tuyet