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Legend of the Heavenly King of Phu-Dong

In the reign of Emperor Hung-Vuong the Sixth, Vietnam was a peaceful and prosperous country. The Red River was always crowded with boats. Paddy fields extended to the horizon. People were happy.

Then suddenly, from the North came the An invaders. On their war paths, they burned down cities, murdered innocent people and committed all kinds of cruel acts. They destroyed most of the country and made life miserable for the people.

The army of the emperor could not stop the enemy. Emperor Hung-Vuong sent messengers everywhere, trying to find someone who could drive the An invaders out. Young men gathered around those messengers, and listened to the appeal of the emperor. But nobody seemed to be able to save the country.

At the time, in the village of Phu-Dong, lived an old couple with their baby son. Their son was already three years old, and yet, he could neither sit up, nor could he say a word. His old parents were very unhappy.

One day, the emperor's messenger came to the village. He started to read the appeal out loud. Giong, as the boy was named, sat up. He called out his parents and told them he wanted to talk to the messenger. Although the old father was greatly surprised at his son's sudden ability to talk, he rushed out to ask the messenger to come inside.

Before the messenger could say any thing, Giong asked the man to return to the capital and told the emperor that he needed an iron horse, an armor and an iron rod to fight the An invaders. The words from the little boy sounded so clear and so powerful that the messenger quickly obeyed and went back to the imperial court.

At the request of the messenger, the emperor ordered that all iron from the imperial warehouse be made available He called in every blacksmith of the country to the capital. There, they worked day and night melting down the iron. Then they made a huge horse, a large armor and a long rod of iron.

During this time, at the village of Phu-Dong, Giong started to eat. He ate more and more each day and he grew up very fast. People in the village had to bring more rice to feed Giong who finished one large pot of rice after another. He finally grew up to be a giant.

Then came the day when the imperial guards brought the iron horse, the armor and the rod to Phu-Dong. Giong stood up, stretched his arms and put on the armor. He seized the rod and quickly mounted the iron horse. Soldiers and young men from the village followed him to the front.
Giong rode off on his horse. The iron horse roared like thunders and breathed fire from its nostrils Behind were soldiers carrying swords and lances vowing to fight the enemies.

When he saw the enemies, Giong sped forward, charging straight into to the An invaders. The fire from the nostrils of the iron horse burned many enemy soldiers to death, Giong struck at the enemies with his iron rod. The enemy soldiers soon broke ranks and fled, leaving behind their dead and wounded.

The enemies were reinforced with their best generals. Giong again rode into the battle and killed most of the An generals. As a result, the iron rod in his hand broke and became useless.

Giong pulled scores of bamboo trees from a nearby forest and used them to fight the enemies. Then the trees broke, he pulled up others along the way. The last enemy general was killed with those bamboo trees. The invaders were defeated.

Giong ordered his soldiers to return to the capital to bring the victorious news to the emperor. Then Giong rode his iron horse up the Soc sÖn mountain where he removed his armor and disappeared. People believed he went up to heaven.

Emperor Hung-Vuong thought it was God who had sent Giong down to save the country. He gave orders that a temple be built in memory of Giong. He also awarded Giong the title of Heavenly King of Phu-Dong. A temple can still be found not far from the place where he ascended to heaven, and every year there is a festival to honor Giong.

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