The Legend of Ba Be Lake: Origin and the Power of Goodness

Once upon a time, in the village of Nam Mau, located in the beautiful province of Bac Kan, there existed a special traditional custom during the first days of the new year. It was the Buddhist festival, where the community gathered at the temple, spiritually elevated themselves, and prayed for good fortune in the coming year. People dressed in elaborate attire, creating a festive atmosphere for this celebration.

One day, amidst the lively crowd, an old lady suddenly appeared, but she did not bring the joy and excitement that others did. The old lady, impoverished and with a thin, gaunt figure, wore dirty and tattered clothes emitting a foul odor. Despite her destitution, her good heart remained, and she pleaded for food from those around her: “I am hungry! I hope you, dear sirs and madams, will extend a helping hand!” However, people, haunted by the sight of her, drove her away from the crowd, refusing to accept the presence of the poor woman.

Fortunate for the old lady, fate led her to encounter two small mothers returning from the market. Witnessing the elderly woman’s pitiful state, the kind-hearted mother brought her home, shared a meal, and invited her to stay overnight.

When night fell, the two mothers witnessed a miraculous sight: on the roof where the old lady lay, a giant python extended its head, reaching up to the roof ridge, while its long tail protruded down to the ground. Overwhelmed by astonishment and fear, they closed their eyes, held their breath, and awaited their fate.

The next morning, the python was gone, but the old lady remained, frail and ailing. The old lady prepared to leave, waved the mother closer, and said that the region was about to experience a massive flood. She handed a package of kitchen ash and instructed them to spread it around their house. The mother, upon hearing this, worriedly inquired about how to save those in distress. The old lady picked up a grain of rice, bit it open, and handed them two pieces of rice husk, instructing them to use it for good deeds. With that, she vanished like the wind.

That night, while people were engrossed in the ceremony, a powerful column of water erupted from the ground. The water surged wherever it flowed, causing landslides. The villagers, in horror, scattered in panic. Suddenly, a deafening roar shook the earth, and the land sank deep beneath the water. Only the small house of the two compassionate mothers remained in a safe zone, unaffected. Their house elevated, becoming a mound in the middle of Ba Be Lake, known as “Gò Bà Goá.”

The mother, amidst the tragic scene, recalled the old lady’s instructions, immediately dropping the two pieces of rice husk into the water. They transformed into two boats, and with relentless efforts, the two mothers saved many lives in the catastrophe. As the water receded, the area where the land had collapsed became Ba Be Lake, and the house of the two mothers turned into Gò Bà Goá, a symbol of compassion and the power of benevolence.

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