The Story of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh:

The battle between the Mountain Spirit and the Water Spirit.


The legend of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh incorporates many elements of Vietnamese folklore. Although Mount Tan Vien (in Son Tay Province, northern Vietnam, currently, Ba Vi Mountain, altitude 1250m) is not the highest mountain of Vietnam, because of its central location and its preeminence overlooking the adjacent lowlands, it occupies a special place in Vietnamese history and literature. It is also referred to as ‘’Mount Olympus ‘of Vietnamese mythology. The Water Spirit has been interpreted as symbolizing the monsoon season. It brings not only beneficent tidal influence necessary for the practice of tidal irrigation but also devastating floods that ravage the hamlets situated in the lowlands.


The 18th King of the Hung Dynasty had a very beautiful daughter and he was searching for a handsome and talented consort for the royal bride. Among the applicants from the capital city of Me Linh, were Son Tinh, the Mountain Spirit, and Thuy Tinh, the Water Spirit. Because they were comparable in prestige, power, wealth and talent, it was difficult for the King to choose between them. He then declared that, on a certain propitious day, the one who would arrive the earliest at the palace would win the honor of his daughter’s hand. The Mountain Spirit won the contest and brought his new bride to Mount Tan Vien. The Water Spirit was very angry and refused to accept defeat. He mobilized sea waves and high tides to assault the mountain but it was in vain. The higher the waters raised, the taller the mountain became by the power of the Mountain Spirit.

The Water Spirit never gave up his battle against the Mountain Spirit. Therefore, every year, around June or July, the lowlands adjacent to Ba Vi Mountain still suffer devastating floods as a consequence of his eternal bitterness and vengefulness.