The story of an impossible love
Once upon a time there was a powerful lord having a sole daughter of the name Mỵ Nương. She was very beautiful. Like all the girls of her status, she was always kept in the palace. She devoted her time in painting, embroidery and poetry. She often came to the window to view the landscape and look at the river water that flowed underneath.
On a beautiful day, she was attracted by a melodious and melancholic song that came up from the river. It was the voice of a fisherman who was pulling his net. She began to make a habit of listening to him. This voice is so captivating that she began to rock her soul into insensitivity. It was like an appointment she had with this fisherman.
In one beautiful morning, that voice was quiet. Its silence rendered her ill. She was completely bedridden and no doctors could determine the cause of her illness. Then, one day, the voice rose again. The song was so melodious that My Nuong regained her forces and found her beauty back. She became happy at the greatest joy of her father. He began to know the cause of his daughter’s illness. Every time the voice was quiet, she plunged back into a desperate lethargy. Her father ended up looking for the fisherman and brought him to his sick daughter. This boy was so ugly that My Nuong was frightened of him at first sight. From that day on, the charm of the voice whose absence made her ill disappeared. She began to forget that habit and went back to her normal life.
However, life was turned up side down for the poor fisherman, Trương Chi. He had lived, up until then, a peaceful life and had nothing to worry about besides earning his daily bread. From that encounter, he fell in love with the gracious Mỵ Nương. He knew that his love was a desperate one. He began to neglect his work, fell ill one beautiful morning and ended up dying. His body was buried at the river bank, next to a tree.
One day, during a violent storm, the banks were ravaged by the river. His tomb was completely devastated. People found at that place a jade ball of magnificent purity. According to the people of that place, it was the body of this fisherman that was transformed into that ball.
Attracted by the splendor of the jade ball during a passage to that place , My Nuong’s father succeeded in buying it at the price of gold. He had it made in the form of a cup and gave it to his daughter as a birthday gift. When she poured tea in the cup, she saw appearing at the bottom of the cup the image of Trương Chi with his resonant melodious voice somewhere.
Moved and taken by pity, Mỵ Nương began to cry. Her tears dropped into the cup. With enchantment, the image disintegrated and disappeared. The fisherman’s soul was thus freed of his despair thanks to My Nuong’s compassion. And thus ended the story of an impossible love.
In the Vietnamese best-seller very known, this legend is evoked by two following verses:
Nợ tình chưa giã cho ai
Khối tình mang xuống tuyên đài chưa tan
As long as the love debt is not paid
Even in Hades, this stone of love cannot be melted.