Từ Thức met fairies/ Từ Thức gặp tiên
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 5:06:46 PM
However, Từ Thức’s desire was not position and fame but travelling to distance places to discover beautiful spots. He was so proud of the beautiful country and would spend a lot of time walking in a forest, climbing a mountain or rowing in a river together with drinking wine, writing poems. His seniors at royal court did not satisfy with his behavior but he did not seem to care about that.
Near to Từ Thức’s office, there was an old and famous pagoda where he usually came for its delighted scene. In the pagoda yard, there was an old peony with special shape and white flowers which people usually said that they must take the color of snow. The peony attracted many people come to visit every day. In the blooming season, thousands of people came to see the magnificent beauty of it. That year, one of those flower admirers – a young beautiful woman lowered a branch to touch flowers. Unfortunately, the branch was broken. People were very angry with her. As the rule of the pagoda, the woman was imposed a fine. Because she did not bring money with her, she was arrested and had to wait for her family came to pay the fine. It was late in the afternoon and no one of her relative showed up at all. At that time, Từ Thức came and heard the story so he decided to help the woman. However, Từ Thức did not have any money with him, he offered his precious coat instead of money to free the woman. This offer was accepted by the superior monk. The woman thanked Từ Thức a lot and other people who knew about this praised his kind.
After a while, Từ Thức was too tired of all bored things he had to do as a chief of the district while many people were jealous and hungry for his desk, he resigned and came back to his hometown. He built his own house in Tong Son – a place of many beautiful streams, mountains and caves. Since that time, he usually brought his gourd of wine, his flute to discover around. Whenever seeing a place he liked, he stopped to drink wine, blowing his flute and making poems. He left his footprint in every beauty places in the area.
One early morning during his adventure, he woke up and saw a five-color cloud which formed into shape of a lotus flower on the sea. So excited, he hurriedly rowed to the cloud and saw a very beautiful mountain there. He stepped ashore, seeing that it was hard to make a way up to the top of the mountain. While he was wondering how he should do, suddenly a cave appeared. He walked in curiously. As he took some steps, he felt the mountain closed behind, everything lost in the darkness. Finding a small stream, he walked along it and saw a way to go up to the top of the mountain. When he got there, he saw a magical scene: The mountain top was surrounded by colorful clouds, many kinds of birds which only were in legends now singing happily, many special flowers were blooming which their fragrances filled the air. Nearby were magnificent castles under the shadow of trees. He thought it must be fairyland.
While Từ Thức was still surprised, there were two lovely maiden in blue clothes bowed to welcome him and showed him the way to come into a castle. Từ Thức followed them, seeing more and more magical scenes he could never ever imagine. Walking into a golden hall, a gentle lady sat on a golden thrown smiled and asked him: “Are you satisfied with these? Have you remembered somebody you met in the blooming season that year?” Từ Thức confusedly said that he did not know where he was and would never dream to have a chance to visit such wonderful place. The lady smiled again and told him that he was standing on a fairy mountain – one of 36 fairy grottoes floating above the surface of ocean, normal people only saw the by the good luck of their fates. She was the fairy queen of this place. “You have a kind heart and beautiful soul, you are warmly welcome here”, said her. After that she looked at the maidens and they escorted a beautiful young woman to the hall. Immediately Từ Thức recognized the woman he helped at the pagoda the other year. The Queen pointed at her and said: “This is my daughter. Her name is Giáng Hương. That day she broke the flower branch, you were the only who helped her. That must be your destiny. Now you two meet again, I’m happy to let you two get married.” And so, the wedding took place, they became husband and wife. Many fairies came to their wedding. Music and dance were for everyone. Từ Thức felt as he was living in a dream.
Day by day, the couple visited different corners of the fairy mountain, looking at magical flowers blooming, dancing in the music of birds’ songs, reading poem, painting… It seemed that there was nothing more that a person would dream of, there was nothing more that Từ Thức would wish for.
A year was over. Sometime Từ Thức felt as if he had lost something but he could not recall what it was. In full-moon nights he would wake up, asking himself what moonlight was drawing outside. In early morning, he would wake up and wish to hear voice of a rooster call for the sun in his homeland. One day, he saw a boat going to the south and said that it would come to his village. He knew he needed to come back there, to visit his hometown, his relatives and friends. He told his beautiful wife about that, she was afraid of being apart. She cried and told him that she worried that a lifetime on earth was so short and if he came back, maybe he did not see what he wanted to see. He promised that he would go for a week and then, they would be together again. Giáng Hương told the Queen about her husband wish and asked for her permission. The Queen sighed and said that if his heart longed to return, how they would keep him there - he was still attached to the sadness and dust world too much.
At their farewell, Giáng Hương cried a lot and gave Từ Thức a sealed letter and told him did not open it until he came to his village. Từ Thức comforted her that they would be together again soon. The Queen asked him to close his eyes and in a second, he was back to his hometown.
Từ Thức was very happy. However, he hesitated where he should go, many things seemed to change. He asked people the way to his village and was told he was right there. He could not believe that. All seemed to change. There was no one he would recognize. He asked for his friends and his family but people could not tell him. He thought this would not be his village. When he was going to leave, he met an old man. Từ Thức introduced himself and asked for information. When hearing his name, the old man said that when he was still a little boy, his great-grandfather told him a story about a man named Từ Thức who was chief of Tiên Du district. However, as what he had been told, Từ Thức resigned and went somewhere that no one knew. That happened over hundred years ago. It was under Trần dynasty and now it had been decades of Lê dynasty.
Từ Thức seemed to wake up from a dream. He wanted to come back to the fairyland but there was no way to go. He remembered of his wife letter, opened it and knew that they would never meet again. Từ Thức sighed and walked into the forest. Noone ever saw him again.