Saturday, 3 January 2009

The Milky River

In the very old days, there was a clear fairy well which never dried up in a deep forest. Fairies were often there to take water to heaven or bathed and played together.In the same days, there was a man who worked hard and lived alone. One day he went to the forest to cut down wood and he got lost when he went into the deep forest.
He went by the fairy well when he tried to find the exit. There were three beautiful fairies playing and bathing in that well. He stood quietly to see them so passionately that he forgot to go home. Suddenly he saw three pairs of white wings lying on the grass; a bright idea went through his mind. He sneaked to take a pair of wing then hiding behind a tree. After bathing, three fairies were fording up to the bank. Two fairies that had swings were flying in the sky, only one was looking for her wings everywhere. Seeing that, the young man went out from the hide. She implored him:"Please give back my wings, strange man. I have to go home."
"No, I couldn't." He smiled and answered.

"This pair of wings belonged to me and you couldn't take them back. Be my wife and I would give you a happy life." He insisted not to give back those wings to her although she cried a lot. The afternoon sun was already slanting so he pretended to go home. She had to trail along behind him. When coming home, he hid secretly her wings right away, and then he prepared for dinner, clothes, blanket and mat for that poor fairy. Since then, she was his wife. After married they had a cute son soon. When their son was 3 years old, he had to go away for along time. He recommended his wife before leaving:
"Remember to eat these stacks of paddy. Don't eat that buddy stack or else wasps would bite both of mother and child."

But she didn't follow what he said. After eating a paddy stack, she took forbidden stack to eat. There was not any wasp in the stack so she doubted that he hid her wings over there. Of course she found them after searching for a while. She was eager to fly in the sky right away but she felt not to be familiar with her wings like before. She had to practice herself in flying everyday. She could fly back to heaven after a few days but she still lingered at home to take care of her son. One day, she decided to leave because her husband was going to come back. She made many cakes for her child and said to him:
"When you feel hungry, go to the room to take cakes, don't call me because I had to go away."
Then she pinned her comb on his shirt and recommended:
"Keep this comb for your father."

Then she was flapping her wings to fly in the sky. Her husband came back and didn't see her, and then he understood what happened when seeing her comb on his son's shirt. Since then, they were lonely, he was sombre and the child cried all days because of missing his mother. One day, he took the child to find the fairy well. He still remembered the way to that well but it was covered with luxuriant vegetation. He was looking for the way days by days and at last he found that well. He took the child to hide behind the well with hope they would meet his wife. They waited for her till the next day's afternoon, an old fairy flew down from the sky with a bucket in her hand. He took her bucket and implored:
"Please love and help me to do a thing.""What is it?" The old fairy asked.
"I am husband of a fairy who bathed here 3 years ago.

She was back to heaven without saying to us. Please help me to leave her a message so that she will meet us for a while. Here's her comb. You give it to her and she will understand this story right away.""I know her. Her name is Chuc Nu. Everyday she weaves thread into cloth and she misses you and this child so much. I promised to tell her about this."
The young man and his child were taken to her place the next day. They were so happy to meet again. But they had to be apart after 2 days living together. God didn't allow anyone from the earth to be in heaven. She wiped her tears and gave them a drum, a rice spathe and said:
"When your feet were on the ground, please hit the drum three times so that I can cut the rope."
He and the child went down. On the half way, his little son was hungry so his father put the rice spathe on the drum for the child eating. The child took rice into his mouth and he made rice scatter on the drum. A flock of crows swooped down on the drum and picked rice very quickly.

In the heaven, Chuc Nu thought they were on the ground so she cut the rope. The man and his son fell down to the sea. Crows knew their fault so they flew to the heaven and cried out a lot. God knew their situation so he ordered to take that man and his son to the heaven and assigned that man to breed a herd of buffaloes.

People called him Nguu Lang or Buffaloman later. This couple lived in the opposite banks. They could only meet together once a year, on July 7th (the seventh lunar month). The flock of crows had to put stones on their heads to form a bridge across the milky river so that the lovers could meet together. Since then, it often drizzles on July 7th (the seventh lunar month); people called it "Mua Ngau" or "Lasting rain."
There are tears of the lovers who meet in a day then they have to be apart till the next year. As for crows, they often are bald on that day because of putting stones on their heads.
Translated by Mai Anh Tuyet