It’s the second canto of the Vietnamese epic myth A War Between Gods PLUS a myth involving Hung Vuong II and the round & square cakes prepared for Tet celebrations. Here is the link: 

CANTO II – Thuy Tinh, the god who shepherded in the clouds that brought the rains during what is now monsoon season, told Tan Vien that he had transformed himself into the multi-colored fish so he could swim upriver and explore further than he ever had before. Unfortunately he had remained in his fish form for too long, losing his godly power and being unable to turn back into his true self until revived and healed by Tan Vien’s staff.

To show his gratitude he invited Tan Vien to accompany him back to the undersea realm of his father Long Vuong. Tan Vien and Thuy Tinh first said goodbye to Hung Vuong XVIII and his retinue, and his daughter Mi Nuong also caught the eye of Thuy Tinh, who was just as impressed with her beauty as Tan Vien had been. When the two gods reached the sea shore Thuy Tinh summoned up Song Truong, the tide or wave prince, to part the waves so that Tan Vien could simply walk with them to Long Vuong’s palace.

Once there, Long Vuong was told of how Tan Vien had saved his son (by this point I’m sure Long Vuong was used to other figures having to save his boneheaded family members from foolish predicaments) and the sea god invited Tan Vien to stay and be honored for his deed. He gave the jungle and mountain god a rhinoceros horn to clutch so he could breathe and speak underwater (and so Song Truong could let the ocean’s waves flow back together) and held a  celebration in Tan Vien’s honor for several days.

 Thuy Tinh showed Tan Vien all the sites of the undersea kingdom and a parade was held for the land-dwelling god to review all the creatures of the deep. All the species of subaquatic animals paraded by in groups over the course of days, even undersea monsters that surface-dwellers had never before seen. Long Vuong brought an end to the celebration by granting Tan Vien one final audience with him, at which he gave Tan Vien a parting gift – a mystical book that would conjure up any objects the reader desired. Goodbyes were said and Tan Vien returned to his home on the mountain that bears his name.

HUNG VUONG II – A major myth regarding this second Hung Vuong ruler involves the round and square cakes prepared for Tet celebrations. When Hung Vuong I decided it was time to name his successor he announced a competition among his many sons. Whichever one of them came up with the most pleasing dish for the upcoming Tet celebration would succeed him on the throne. 

All the other sons were having their chefs prepare elaborate and sumptuous meals as offerings, but the youngest son was visited in a dream by Ly Tinh, the messenger god of Ngoc Hoang, and was advised by Ly Tinh that food prepared personally with love and with  reverance for the gods and the homeland would meet with more favor than lavish and expensive meals prepared by others.

Ly Tinh then pointed to the Earth and then the sky as one final hint before the dream ended. This youngest son made square cakes to represent the Earth which nourished the Vietnamese people and round cakes to represent the sky that watched over them. The cakes were made of sweet rice, bean paste, onions and banana leaves. During the Tet celebrations the sons all presented their meals and the sky and Earth cakes that the youngest son prepared personally, with love, pleased Hung Vuong I more than all of the exotic meals his other sons had paid others to prepare.

Hung Vuong named the youngest son his successor (Is meal preparation really the best way to determine governmental succession? Would Emeril Legasse really make a good Commander In Chief?) and he went on to rule as Hung Vuong II. The round and square cakes he prepared continue to be made by the Vietnamese people to celebrate Tet. Some versions instead present these events taking place when Hung Vuong XVII was ready to name his successor.

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2010, and 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Filed under Mythology


  1. Francesco Calin

    This stuff is tremendous! You are like Homer for these forgotten myths!

  2. Lena Crawford

    This subject is amazing! And you make it so interesting and funny, too.

  3. Cecilia

    This is really graet stuff. These stories are just as good as anything in Roman mythology.

  4. Caroline McGinley

    Beautiful look at mythology. I like the funny but also seriosu way you look at these stories.

  5. You make this epic as interesting as the Iliad and the Odiseey.

  6. The theme of your blog is extremely fresh, I am certain that the folks who come across your blogs surely take a lot from your content and pointers.

  7. Pingback: A WAR BETWEEN GODS: VIETNAMESE EPIC MYTH | Balladeer's Blog

  8. Hello! I just wish to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice information you’ve gotten right here on this post. I will probably be coming back to your blog for extra soon.


  10. Pingback: VIETNAMESE MYTHS: A WAR BETWEEN GODS | Balladeer's Blog

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