THACH SANH – A son of the supreme deity Ngoc Hoang. His father forced him to incarnate as a human and in this demi-god form he fought monsters, rescued the son of the chief sea god Long Vuong, vanquished his evil foster-brother and married a beautiful princess.
He then went on to lead her father’s people in a war of conquest, uniting the legendary and traditional “original 18″ villages (though some sources say 15 villages) that were the basis of the nation that eventually grew into ancient Vietnam.
The number 18 has special significance in Vietnamese mythology, like the number 8 in Shinto myth, 16 in Yoruba myth, 4 in Navajo myth, 5 in Discordianism and 12 in many western belief systems. There were also said to have been 18 rulers in the possibly non-existent Hung Vuong Dynasty. For another example, Ngoc Hoang and the heavenly deities were said to live in the 18th Heaven above the 18th Heaven (AKA the 36th heaven, a name used in some English translations)
Thach Sanh is said to have come before Lac Long Quan, though later he and the god Tan Vien would often be conflated. (Remember I’m sticking with the home-grown Vietnamese versions of these myths over their Chinese hybrids when there are differences)
*****THACH SANH’S SAGA FROM THE BEGINNING –
***I. Miraculous Birth – Long ago, in what eventually became the Cao Bang district of Vietnam an old woodsman lived with his wife. They were childless but desperately longed for a child and since they were such moral and virtuous people Ngoc Hoang ordered his son Thach Sanh to incarnate as a child for them. He obeyed and entered the womb of the woodsman’s wife.
Though she was advanced in age she and her husband were overjoyed to be expecting a child. Nine months came and went and the child did not emerge. A year passed and still she carried the child. When three years passed she at last gave birth (which is an interesting parallel with the Shinto myth in which the Empress Jingo was said to be pregnant for three years with Ojin, who eventually became Hachiman , the Shinto god of war). Unfortunately her husband had passed away and would never see their child.
FOR PART TWO AND FOR MORE VIETNAMESE GODS AND GODDESSES CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/vietnamese-myth/
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