Legend plays out in real life
by Van Dat
Legend plays out in real life
A famous Vietnamese legend tells of a brother and sister in a poor family who are separated and meet each other after many years. Not knowing that they are siblings, they fall in love and get married.
One day, the husband discovers a scar on his wife's head. He remembers that he was peeling a sugarcane many years ago, the knife was slipped out of his hands and hit his younger sister's head.
Overwhelmed with guilt over his incestuous relationship, the brother goes out to sea, never to return. Every day, the sister climbed to the top of the hill to look for her husband. She died waiting and became Hon Vong Phu (the stone waiting for her husband).
The legend played out in real life for Dinh Van Minh (50) and Dinh Thi Man (52) of Binh Dinh Province, but with a happier ending.
Their parents, Dinh Van Ro and Dinh Thi Lieu, as well as their youngest brother had died during the American war. Man was eight years old then and Minh was six.
Poverty separated the orphans when Man wandered into the forest to find wild leaves and fruits to feed herself.
The villagers were very poor as well and there was no one looking out for the children. Man wandered into Doan An Lao District's An Vinh Commune begging for food. After listening to her story, a family adopted her.
Man joined the army when she grew up.
When the family was broken, Minh also wandered around till a commune official took him home with other orphans in Vinh Thanh District. He soon took part in the revolutionary campaign in the district.
Talented and good-looking, Minh was the target of several girls at a boarding school in Tay Son District, where he was attending continuing education class in 1976. But the girl who won his heart was Man.
They married each other and only stumbled upon their original relationship in 1982, after Man gave birth to their first daughter.
A relative was surprised after listening to them telling their family stories during the war time about losing their families and siblings. Though they did not remember their parent's names the relative made enquiries and found out that they were brother and sister.
"I was in great shock. Neighbours advised us to separate. They felt scared of us. Many families actually decided to move to other areas," Minh told the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper.
"But I thought: What would she do if I left her? At that time, our daughter was just three months old."
Minh decided not to follow the legend. He accepted a two-year term in prison for violating the Family Law and returned to live with Man.
They have since had another child and their children have grown up, married and had their own children, all of whom are normal.
Nguyen Thi Thanh, born with a spinal deformity, had her condition worsen steadily over the years. When she was in third grade, her classmates could stand and write on the blackboard but she could not. Thanh, whose stoop forced her to bend lower than the height of the table in the classroom, quit studying in her sixth grade.
Since early this year, the girl from Can Tho City could barely walk. Her poverty-stricken mother, bringing up her child on her own after the father left them, brought her to HCM City in the hope doctors here could surgically correct her condition.
"Doctors asked me to eat more so that my health would improve before the surgery, but this is simple for other people, not for me. When we arrived in HCM City, my mother had about one million dong," Thanh told the Vnexpress.net newswire.
As an inpatient at the HCM City Traumatic and Orthopedic Hospital, she began to sell lottery tickets to get money for buying milk and save some for her treatment. Patients in the ward sympathised with her and gave her a little money to buy the lottery tickets.
However after about six months, the girl and her mother decided to return to their hometown, unable to continue living in the city because of their poverty.
It was then that she met another girl, known only as Yen. Yen, with a deformed hand was also a poor patient who had been in the hospital for several years. On learning that a visitor to the hospital was a journalist, she pressed him to write about Thanhplight.
The good Samaritan's persistence paid off. An article in a local newspaper about Thanh moved many readers and they started sending money to help her. An overseas Vietnamese has since pledged to help her with money for the complicated surgery. — VNS