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Hanoi Postcard No. 8: The Golden Hooves That Formed Ho Tay

Do you know how Hanoi’s greatest lake was formed?

Over 1,000 years ago, the Red River shifted course, creating an oxbow lake that slowly grew into the capital’s largest body of water. But who needs facts when one can wade into the waters of myth to explain its presence?

According to folklore, Vietnamese Buddhist monk Minh Khong once worked as a medical practitioner in China. After treating a Chinese emperor, he asked for payment in bronze, which he brought back with him to Hanoi. Upon returning, he melted down the metal, poured it into a mold and formed a giant bronze bell. 

When struck, its song was so powerful it awoke a golden buffalo in the emperor’s house. Mistaking the sound for its mother’s call, the animal plodded south and stomped around searching for her. His heavy footfalls gradually formed a hollow that filled with water. Eventually, the resultant lake consumed the Golden Buffalo.

Check out the postcard below (click to flip for text):

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