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Stories of Vietnam

Stories of Vietnam

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Stories of Vietnam

120 Seiten
53 Minuten
Feb 10, 2013


This book narrates 14 well-known stories selected from a large body of fairy tales and legends of Vietnam. Although it is an illustrated work, it is not intended for an audience of children. Many such books already exist, but they usually offer an edited and morally correct version of the stories they narrate. As a result, the justification of the present book is that it submits an unexpurgated text of its 14 stories which indeed are replete with scenes of violence, unprincipled stances and vengeful outlooks. As the dedication plainly affirmed it, the children are allowed to read this book only when they are full fledged grown ups!
This book thus addresses the parents and grandparents who nostalgically yearn to reacquaint themselves with things heard or read long ago. They may keep this book in reserve for when their children and grandchildren will be judged mature enough to safely digest its rough spots and thoughtfully handle situations which defy accepted moral principles.
We all hope that you will enjoy reading this book or looking at the illustrations. If you don't, don't throw it away. If your children are not allowed to read this book, they may yet look at the illustrations and start fantasizing their own tales and legends.

Feb 10, 2013

Über den Autor

Truong Buu Lam is a retired professor of history from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is the author of Patterns of Vietnamese Response to Foreign Intervention (1968); New Lamps For Old(1982); Resistance, Rebellion, Revolution (1984); Colonialism Experienced (2000.)

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Stories of Vietnam - Truong Buu Lam



Illustrations by Phấn Nguyễn Barker Bùi Suối Hoa

Đinh Thị Thắm Poong Quỳnh Phùng Nguyễn

Nguyễn Trần Cường Đài Trương

Marcelino Trương Text by Trương Bửu Lâm

Smashwords Edition





Title Page

Table of Contents





Chapter 01: The Banyan Tree and the Moon

Chapter 02: The Bridge over the Milky Way

Chapter 03: Broken Rice and Bran

Chapter 04: A Chew of Betel Leaves

Chapter 05: The Father's Shadow

Chapter 06: The Gecko

Chapter 07: The HorseShoe Crabs

Chapter 08: The Kitchen God

Chapter 09: A Message about Brotherhood

Chapter 10: The Love Rock

Chapter 11: The Mosquitoes

Chapter 12: The Tiny Sand Crabs

Chapter 13: The Toad is the Sky Lord's Uncle

Chapter 14: True Frienship

The Authors


Copyright 2012 by Trương Bửu Lâm

ISBN: 9781301062393

Thank you for purchasing this ebook. If you enjoyed this book, please return to to discover other works by this author and thousands of others.

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This book is dedicated

to our children and grandchildren.

Some of the stories narrated in here, however,

are not meant for children.

We would, therefore, like to modify the dedication

to read as follows:

This book is dedicated

to our children and grandchildren

who can read it only

when they are full fledged grown ups




We know for a fact that people --particularly reviewers-- usually do not read prefaces. Or if they do read them, they don't seem to remember anything.

So we would like to make this preface very simple and to the point. No bla bla bla.

1./ Stories, tales, legends are made to be NARRATED, NOT to be simply READ. But if they are read, they are to be READ ALOUD even to oneself, alone.

2./ The title is Stories of Vietnam, but should have been Selected Stories of Vietnam. The choice is absolutely random, and so is the choice of what details to include.

3./ Is there a CORRECT or AUTHENTIC version of the stories? For example, in the story of Broken Rice and Bran, are we entitled to change the pear tree --or whatever tree-- to a mango tree?

4./ Does it matter if some of our stories sound the same as stories in other cultures? By the way, Broken Rice sounds in parts very much like Cinderella. In other parts, it sounds much like The Marvelous Encounter at Bích Câu which sounds very much like the Chinese story of The Lady in the Painting, which, I am certain, resembles some forsaken story in some other culture in the world. The search for origins is an endless one. It suffices to know that generations have enjoyed these stories which should be recounted in their individual idiosyncratic basic cultural core; the rest is to be considered details.

5./ Even stories which are supposedly copied from other places still reflect the cultural, ethical, philosophical, moral values of the Vietnamese people who narrate them. Broken Rice is the case in point. Its story line navigates so closely to Cinderella that some folklorist did not hesitate to write the following sentence about it: This is, of course, the story told by Europeans with the name Cinderella. Yet, Broken Rice exudes Vietnamese cultural traits. If Cinderella originated in a foreign culture, it has in fact morphed into a Vietnamese tale and, if one has no knowledge of the original version, one would think that Broken Rice is genuinely and originally Vietnamese.

6/ By contrast, True Friendship, for example, cannot be anything else but Vietnamese. In no other culture can one find such a coincidence of situations:

a/ The pretended roughing up of the unsuccessful candidate fits in the normal behavior of the Vietnamese who always hide the real good intention of any action behind a bad intentioned one. Here, the real intention consists of encouraging the victim to do whatever to become academically successful. But in order to do so, one must first infuriate the victim by roughing him up so as to encourage him to become successful so that he may entertain revenge.

b/ Moreover, where else can one find a husband who accepts being separated from his wife whom he himself sends to help a friend for an indefinite period? Friendship has priority over marital bond and this ends up in a definitely unprecedented albeit very Vietnamese arrangement!

7./ Not all illustrated books are automatically for children. This one is no exception. In fact, neither the text nor the illustrations are geared to an audience of children. This book addresses the parents and grandparents who nostalgically yearn

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