The legend of the Milky Way
By Tran Van Dien

Once upon a time there lived a very beautiful and charming princess, named Chuc-Nu. She was one of the many daughters of the King of Heaven. Chuc-Nu was a very hard-working lady and she was often seen sitting on the shore of the Silver River to sew clothes for her younger sisters.



One day a young man herded his buffaloes to the river. His name was Nguu-Lang. He was very handsome. He fell in love with the princess at first sight, and she loved him, too. The King of Heaven, fully aware of their love, consented for her daughter to marry Nguu-Lang. But the couple had to promise to continue their work after their marriage.

They enjoyed being married so much the forgot their promise. The King became furious and ordered them to separate. Each of them would live on one side of the river and could only look at each other from across the river. The King allowed them to meet once a year in the seventh month of the lunar year. This month is called "The Month of Sudden and Short Showers". When they meet each other, they usually cry for joy. They cry even more bitterly when it is time for separation.

That is why it rains torrentially at the beginning of the seventh lunar month in Vietnam. If you happen to be in the countryside during this month, you do not expect to find any ravens. They are believed to have flown to the sky to help carry the bridge across the river for the reunion of Chuc-Nu and Nguu-Lang and if you look at the sky on clear nights, you may see the Silver River which looks like a long milky white strip. Therefore, it is called "Ngan ha" (The Milky Way) .