Part 2 – The Little Dog Relic
a white-furred dog with black spots which seemed to form the words “Son of Heaven”
The Mother and Little Dog both died that same year and ascended to heaven.
The Cẩu Nhi relic relates a legend and folk religion about King Lý Thái Tổ (born Lý Công Uẩn) who was born in 974 in the Year of the Dog and who founded Thăng Long as the capital of Vietnam, also in the year of dog, 1010.
On the stele on the island is carved the following:
The Complete Annals of Đại Việt state: “There once was born in front of Ưng Thiên Tâm temple a white-furred dog with black spots which seemed to form the words “Son of Heaven”. It was then named Cẩu Nhi – the Little Dog and was thought to be a god. Seers maintained that it was a good omen; that this Year of the Dog will give birth to a king”. Then, in fact, Lý Công Uẩn was born that year and became king. That proved the omen correct.
The “Tây Hồ Chí” book states: “The Little Dog is the baby of a Mother Dog. In the Lý Dynasty, there was a shrine to the dog located on Chữ Delta which then lay where Trúc Bạch Lake, created by the Latter Lê Dynasty, is today. Before King Lý moved the capital to Thăng Long, there was a pregnant white dog, in Thiên Tâm Temple on Ba Tiêu Moutain, which went across the river to Khán Mountain, then gave birth to a little dog. Many people wondered about that. Then, the transfer of the capital took place in 1010 – the Year of the Dog. The Mother and Little Dog both died that same year and ascended to heaven. When he found out about this, the King thought that this was very auspicious. He decided to build a shrine for the dogs in the lake which was within Trúc Yên Village‘s territory.”
Thus, Cẩu Nhi relic has existed for a long time and in this century it has also been called Thủy Trung Tiên Temple.
HANOI DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE AND INFORMATION
The construction project was built by the Center of Maintenance and Preservation of Monuments of the Ministry of Culture and Information, and was completed on 4th June 1988.
To conserve the relic and make West Lake and Trúc Bạch Lake more beautiful, the Hanoi People’s Committee have decided to build a temple around the relic. There is already a rickety wooden bridge onto the island and you can go check it out by yourself before the construction project begins. The plan for the new project is displayed on the signboard next to the bridge.
Hanoi Grapevine focuses mainly on contemporary art and culture in Vietnam, but we also post information about events that are part of Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage.
Mr. Roman Szlam, a student of Vietnamese language, history and culture, has a passion for attending and learning about the world of Vietnamese traditional cultural events. He has offered to provide us with information that crosses his path about such events in Hanoi as he explores this aspect of life in Vietnam.