Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Where is the Lake of the Restored Sword???

Hanoi's lakes and rivers give it a unique beauty that few other cities can match, making it well worth of the name "the city of rives and lakes". Scattered throughout the city, they create airy spaces, make the climate more equable and bring blessed relief at the end of a long hot day.

Legend has it that in about 1417, in preparation for an armed uprising against a Ming invasion, Le Loi, the head of the Lam Son army of patriots in Thanh Hoa province, was presented with a sword that had been picked out of a river by a supporter. He carried it through ten year long years of war. In 1428, Le Loi liberated the nation, assumed the throne and set up his capital in Thang Long. One pleasant day, while the King was enjoying a boat ride on Luc Thuy (Green water)Lake, a golden turtle suddenly emerged from the water and said: "Your majesty, you must return the sacred sword to the dragon king." Knowing that the sword had been sent by heaven to protect the country from invasion, and with that mission now fulfilled, the King gave the sword to the golden turtle, which caught it in its mouth and dived to the bottom of the lake, keeping the mysterious secret of the weapon in the clear, green and peaceful waters. Since then, the lake has been known as Hoan Kiem (Lake of the Restored Sword) or sometimes as Guom Lake for short.

Today, proud grandfathers parade with their grandchildren, silently enjoying the view of old Ngoc Son temple on Ngoc islet and the red The Huc bridge curving to greet the sun's rays at dawn. Others go through their tai chi movements while couples embrace, watching the sunrise and dreaming of happiness.

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