Introduction To Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is THE must-see destination in Vietnam and rightfully so – A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994, its emerald green waters are scattered with thousands jewel-like islets. But what is the legend behind it all? What did the dragons do? Where did the jade come from? Read on and find out ;).
As a mother, I instinctively protect my children. If they cough or flinch or if anyone moves an inch closer to them, I immediately turn and make sure they’re safe. I keep them warm, clean and wanting for nothing. I am a dragon. For me, my children are not only the baby dragons that have come from my eggs, but the small beings that live beneath our great castle in the sky. The humans of Vietnam.
Recently, I have been troubled by noises coming from below. I hear screams and battle cries. I hear sounds of clashing iron and of children crying. Of horns blowing and of arrows flying. That is why I now make my anxious way to my Master, the Jade Emperor.
The Jade Emperor
My Master lives in a castle of green stretching from these heavens to the next horizon beyond the visualization of men. I am but a small snake in comparison. Gingerly I enter and voice my fears: “O Jade Emperor, the People of Vietnam are under attack from the Chinese across the Northern frontier.” Master twirls his beard as he peers into a milky orb the size of his palm. “Rest assured, my loyal fire breather.” He smiles and gestures for me to follow.
Slithering across his great hall, I bask in the warm sunlight streaming in through the windows from the great fire star, which is but a few kilometers from the castle. We descend down narrow cliffs of stone steps deeper and deeper into the heart of the clouds until we reach a locked iron gate. Still smiling, Master reaches for a large iron key hanging from his belt and opens the great gate with a scraping creak. Slowly I adjust my eyes to the dazzling green light coming from inside and gasp.
Mountains. Mountains of deep green jade glisten and glow for as far as I can see.
“These will stop the invaders from harming your children” smiles Master.
“How?” I ask
“I do not know. This is just how the future has been revealed to me.” He cradles his orb in his palm and leaves the vault. I stare at the towering masses of green in confusion, before flying home. For the next few nights I lie awake listening to the anguish of my children and in the days, I swoop down low, surveying their kingdom, pondering the same question over and over “How can the jade mountains help? How can the dragons help” Then, like a lightning flash, the idea strikes me.
The Battle Of The Shooting Jade
Gathering my brood of dragons in the morning I tell them that we have a task. They are eager to help and willing to fly with me. My children are stronger than the Gods and heroes of men and happily bear the burden of the mountains back to our cave. I then cut the jade into sharp daggers and cook them so they are ready to eat. Once the stone has descended into our bellies of steel and fire, we shoot towards the earth as an oncoming storm gathers in the skies.
Seeing the enemy soldiers approaching the bay makes my blood boil with anger. My children and I spit the daggers of jade around the islands with the rain pelting down around us.
The faces of the invaders are wracked with fear and despair as their tiny ships sink and flee. After but one sunrise and sunset, all the chaos has subsided and all my children are safe.
Peace On Earth
The small humans below cheer and laugh, beckoning for us to join them. Graciously we fly down, being careful not to create too much wind with our wings so that we don’t harm the people. The humans thank us profusely and offer us a feast of meats and fruits. After we have eaten, we marvel at the beauty of the Jade daggers around us. Standing tall and mighty, they would offer us dragons the perfect dwelling place and so we decide to live there. Through the clouds I see the Jade Emperor smiling down on us.
I am a mother blessed with living with all her children to the end of her very long days on this earth, happily in the bay of the descending dragon.
I hope you enjoyed that story! Have you been to Ha Long Bay? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you :).
Here are some Ha Long Bay tours you can book on Tripadvisor I had a great experience with a cruise similar to these. You can book them online, or head to a travel agent in the Old Quarter in Hanoi.
Here’s a good article on ‘Tips on Visiting Halong Bay in Vietnam’ by Anna Everywhere She participated in similar activities to me and also had a good time.
Have you read Tales Of The Twin Mountains yet?