Features‎ > ‎

Legendary Places You May Not Know

posted Aug 18, 2011, 12:10 PM by Simon Nguyen   [ updated Aug 18, 2011, 12:13 PM ]
Locations associated with intriguing legends are often big visitor draws. Here are three legendary places you may have never heard of.

1. Lake of the Returned Sword

At the heart of Hanoi, there is a scenic lake called The Lake of the Returned Sword. According to local legends, the lake is home to the legendary Golden Turtle Deity. 

In the 15th century, the land was occupied by ruthless foreigners who enslaved the people and robbed them of their wealth. A young local hero decided to take up arms in an effort to free his people from foreign tyranny. His revolt against the invaders gained widespread support. Unfortunately, his group was severely short of key supplies and weapons. They were soundly defeated and had to flee from their base.

While they were fleeing, the young hero and his men reached the aforementioned lake. As the group was resting by the lake, a giant turtle emerged from the water carrying a golden sword. It happened that the lake guardian had heard of the young hero’s unyielding courage and decided to offer to lease his magical sword to the hero. The young man accepted the offer and promised to return the sword at an opportune time.

With the magical sword, the hero and his comrades were able to defeat the invaders and banish them from their land. Staying true to his words, the young hero (who was now a king) came back to the lake and returned the golden sword.

While the tale is most likely a myth, giant turtles have from time to time been sighted in the lake. Every time they appear, the occasion is known to have set the whole city abuzz.

2. Lake of Sorrow

I once stumbled upon a beautiful lake called the Lake of Sorrow. I later learned from one of the town people the story behind the lake’s intriguing name. The name originated from a famous local legend. 

Some time ago, there were two young people who were deeply in love with each other. Just weeks before their planned wedding, a civil war broke out. The young man was drafted into the military and sent to the war frontline. Before the young serviceman left to carry out his duty, he told his lover to wait for his return at this very lake.

Everyday, the young woman stood besides the picturesque lake from dawn to dusk awaiting his return. As time passed, her disquietude grew. Her love for him, however, remained undiminished. After many long months without any news regarding the soldier’s fate, the prospect of his return appeared grim. The girl was pressured by her family to marry somebody else. On the eve of her wedding, the young lover took her own life by jumping into the lake.

Shortly after her death, her lover completed his military service and returned to the town. Upon learning of her death, he was emotionally distraught. He would later take his own life by also jumping into the lake.

Next to the lake was a small cemetery. Over the years, many star-crossed couples had chosen to end their lives at this majestic lake. Their bodies were buried in the cemetery. Interestingly, many of the decreased couples were from outside of town. They were drawn to this place by the lake’s mysterious aura and legend.

3. Black Lady Mountain

I once came across a majestic mountain called Black Lady Mountain. On the mountain lies a beautiful temple, devoted to the worshiping of a young heroine.

Some years ago, the mountain was terrorized by a ferocious white tiger who made prey of local villagers. The tiger attacked its victims during nighttime and retreated back to its cave at daybreak. The villagers were in constant fear for their lives; many left the village seeking a safer place to live.

The daughter of the village’s chief, a young girl with a big heart, decided to take matters into her own hands; she wanted to save the village from the tiger’s terror. After consuming a sizable dose of poisonous herbs, the girl set out to confront the man-eating tiger.

Her mutilated body was later discovered near the tiger’s cave; the white tiger was also found dead not too far away. Apparently, the young girl used herself as poisonous bait to snare the tiger. Upon devouring the girl, the tiger was poisoned and subsequently succumbed to its death.

To commemorate the girl’s heroic deed, the villagers built a temple to worship her and dedicated the mountain after her.