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The story of Truong's wife

Adapted by An Dinh Ton

The temple to Truong's wife is located on the side of the Hoang river, village of Vu dien, district Ly Nhan, province of Ha Nam. Here is her story.

She married a man of the Truong family. After a half a year, he was conscripted to go and fight a distant war. When he left, she was pregnant. She gave birth to boy, which she name Dan. During her husband absence, as she sat with her child, she would point to her shadow and would tell him that that was his father. After three years, her husband was released from service and came home. The boy by then could talk. When he called him, he replied:

You are also my dad? How can you talk now? My dad used to be silent. He came at night. He would sit when mom sat. He would move when mom moved.

The husband was struck by what his son has revealed to him. He became suspicious, then questioned his wife and did not believe when she denied having been with another man. He gave her such a hard time that in despair she jumped in the Hoang river to kill herself to prove her faithfulness.

Then one night, as he sat with his child, he pointed to the shadow of his father on the wall and said:

My dad has come back, see!

It finally struck the husband that his wife has used her shadow to provide the boy with as a surrogate father. As he came to recognize the injustice he did onto his wife, he built a altar on the river edge so that he can make offering to help free her soul. The people of the village subsequently built a temple in her honor. King Le Thanh Ton (1442 - 1497) on a tour of this province passed the temple and this inspired the following poem about her temple:

This column of incense smoke by the whirlpool
Is this the temple of the wife of Truong.
When the oil lamp is out, do not listen to the child,
Why the river to bring her misfortune.
Witnesses of her faithfulness are the sun and the moon
Why is it necessary to have an altar to redress the injustice
Passing by we learn the ins and outs of this story
Truong you have been too harsh!

King Le Thanh Ton reigned from 1460 to 1497. He was one of the enlightened King of the Early Le dynasty. He made political reforms and also was a patron of the arts. He founded the 'Tao dan nhi thap bat tu', the 28-star literary society, and was their leader. 1

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