Cô Đôi Thượng Ngàn

Per a request from a reader:

After I posted an article which featured this song, I was asked to translate it, so I happily obliged.  It also gives me the chance to tell you an ancient tale about Cô Đôi Thượng Ngàn.

Cô Đôi Thượng Ngàn

Ngọc Điện chốn kim môn cô ra vào
Ngọc Điện chốn kim môn danh thơm ngoài cõi tiếng đồn trong í í i i ì í i í trong cung
Sinh thay một thú cô đôi ngàn, bầu trời cảnh vật í i i ì í i,
Phong i quang bốn mùa ì trên bát ngát í trăm hoa đua nở dưới cảnh bầy cầm thú đua chơi
í i hi hì í a ới a a à à , ơi ới a a a à

Chim bay phấp phới mọi nơi cá treo ngược nước í i i ì í i
Lượn bơi vẫy vùng trên rừng tùng gió rung xao xác đỉnh sườn non đá vách cheo leo,
kìa dòng sông thương nước chảy trong veo í i ì í a ới a a à ới a à

Sông thương nước chảy trong veo
Thuyền xuôi người ngược í i i ì í i
Có tiếng hò reo vang lừng, nhìn đá núi mây hồng cao thấp
chứ ngàn cỏ hoa tăm tắp màu xanh
í i hi hì í a ới a a à à , ơi ới a a a à

Cô chơi bốn mùa gió mát trăng thâu i hoa thơm cỏ lạ í i i ì í i
mấy mầu ấm êm, nhìn cảnh vật rừng sim ao cá,
chứ đợt măng sang măng nứa măng tre, các bạn tiên đủng đỉnh ra về i ì ì i

Bài sai đố triệu lục cung, nàng ân nàng ái vốn dòng sơn trang
Tính cô hay măng trúc măng sang á a a á à à a

Hào quang sáng tỏ lưng trời
Một mầu xuân sắc tốt tươi rườm rà
Trên ngàn xanh lắm quả nhiều hoa á a a á à à a

ngàn xanh lắm quả nhiều hoa Cô đôi dạo gót vào ra sớm chiều.
Chiếc Gùi mây nặng trĩu lưng đeo
á a a á à à a (3)

The Translation:

The palace at Kim Môn (金門縣)[1], where she wanders about
The palace at Kim Môn, famous far and near
Reincarnate into a creature, the sky, the forest creatures,
Gentle winds blow all four seasons over fragrant flowers
on a meadow where tiny creatures play

Birds fly everywhere and fish jump upstream
Hawks glide over forested dale, atop the mountain ridge,
above the flowing crystal clear river Thương

The river Thương with its crystal clear flowing waters
Canoes going up stream, down stream
Along with the song of the people, look at the pink-cloud adorned mountain,
its ridges high and low, with its thousand trees and flowers, in various shades of green

She frolics through the four seasons, in gentle winds and clear moonshine,
on fragrant flowers and wondrous grasses
All colors warm and soft, the picture perfect paradise,
with ponds and  bamboo forests, along with her celestial fairy friends, go dancing home

A summons comes from the six palaces
she lovingly reincarnates into the village of Sơn Trang
Is it her or is it a bamboo bud?

Bright white aurora shines in the distant skies
A vibrant intense multi-faceted green
Above the skies showers many flowers and fruits

Above the skies showers many flowers and fruits
The Lady Đôi places her footprints on mortal lands
On her back a willow basket full of those fruits and flowers.

The Tale:

Cô Đôi Thượng Ngàn is the youngest daughter of Lâm Cung Thánh Mẫu Thượng Ngàn (林宮聖母) King of the Forest aka Princess La Bình,  who was, herself, the daughter of prince Mountain Spirit and Princess Mỵ Nương, the daughter of one of the Hùng Vương kings.  She lived in an area known as Kim Môn, which is a small archipelago of several islands off the coast of present-day China, in the region of Fujian.  This area was once part of the lands that belonged to the Great Viet.

Cô Đôi Thượng Ngàn was granted the name Sơn Tinh Công Chúa (Mountain Spirit Princess).  Her days at the palace were joyful and simple, her only job was to be the personal assistant to her mother, the King of the Forest.

After a certain amount of time, in order to develop her spiritual self, she was given the order from the palace to reincarnate into the family of a landlord in present-day Ninh Bình, in the area of Sơn Lâm.  As a human child, She is described as very pretty, pale-skinned, raven-haired, with a perfect round face.

She grew older and when it came time, she asked to be placed within a temple which worshiped her celestial mother, the  Forest King Mẫu Thượng Ngàn.  There, she was taught the magiks and the celestial language to help the people of Sơn Lâm.

During her time incarnate, she could often be seen running through the forest with her celestial fairy friends, their voices often carried on the winds, singing strange songs in their wondrous celestial language.  She was a gifted and talented singer and poet; often appearing alongside noted famous people, quoting poetry and carrying on conversations with them.

Her color is green.  She wears flowers on her hair and gives lucky fruits to her followers.

[1] Kim Môn is a small archipelago of several islands off the coast of present-day China, in the region of Fujian.

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