THANH HOA – Danes of fish living in mountain caves in the highland district of Ba Thuoc are associated with many strange stories, such as signaling whether it is sunny or rainy.
Recently, many tourists have flocked to Chieng Ban village, Van Nho commune to witness with their own eyes the flock of “god fish” living in a cave mouth where a small stream originates. This is the third “god fish” cave discovered in Thanh Hoa after Cam Luong and Cam Lien caves, Cam Thuy district.
Van Nho fish stream is located nearly 120 km from Thanh Hoa city, it takes about 3 hours to travel by motorbike or car. The fish cave is located with its back against a large mountain range, about one hectare wide. The open-air part is a small semicircular lake, the water from inside the mountain flows out all year round, clear and never seems to dry up no matter how long the drought lasts.
Ms. Luong Thi Khoan, 68 years old, who looks after the fish, said that the people of Chieng Ban village, even the oldest, do not know when the fish have existed. Their ancestors grew up seeing this strange fish cave. At the entrance of the cave, just sprinkle some food with rice, noodles, and green vegetables or clap your hands to make a noise, then the fish will come out in flocks of thousands, they thrash about creating waves that make the water flow very funny. Ms. Khoan and the local people confirmed that much big fish are still hidden somewhere in the mountain, rarely appearing. No one has ever dived inside to explore the cave, so they don’t know how long and wide it is.
The strange thing is that the fish can change color according to the weather, signaling whether it is sunny or rainy. “When the fish changes to blue-black, there will be storms, and when the fish is yellow-green and the fins are pink or red-green, the sky will be dry and sunny…”, Ms. Khoan said, thanks to her trust. With the signal from the fish, people in the village can choose the day to go to the fields and go up to the fields in the right season without needing to see the weather forecast.
Living in a narrow cave, the fish never leave their “territory”, even when they can’t find food. Mr. Ha Van Than, who lives near the mouth of the cave, said that there was a year in the rainy season when the water rose to the top of the dam for meters, the villagers feared that the fish would leave, but the next morning “not a single fish was lost”.
Around Van Nho’s divine fish stream, many stories are told that are colorful and difficult to explain. Residents consider this a sacred fish, no one dares to catch it because they think that the fish is associated with the legend of the Chieng Ban girl who sacrificed herself in exchange for peace for the village. Legend has it that in the past, there was a famous girl who was beautiful, gentle, farming, and weaving. One day in early spring, she went to the cave to take a walk. Standing by the stream, a hurricane swept her into the mountain. The villagers burned torches and searched for many days without finding any trace. They later believed that she had been “caught in a frenzy as a wife”.
The story goes that, on the day her mother died, she and her husband returned to mourn. Her husband transformed into a handsome man, handsome and handsome. After visiting her mother, a storm arose again, and she and her husband disappeared, and since then have not returned to the village. Chieng Ban then all year round with favorable rain and wind, good crops – the villagers believe that the “fish queen” transformed by a girl has blessed them, so they set up an altar and asked each other to take care of the fish.
Mr. Ha Van Than asserted that he had seen “the queenfish” with a large body, with a glittering yellow scale near the gills, like the gold ring she wore in the past. It is also because of the story that carries that mythical element that local people believe that if anyone harms the fish, it will not avoid disaster.
According to Mr. Than, in the past, during the French colonial period, there was a greedy chief who ate fish in this cave and then died tragically. About 40 years ago, there were people from the lowlands who passed by mined mines to catch fish to eat despite the villagers’ dissuade. Not having finished his meal, this man was killed by lightning… Witnessing many strange stories, it may be a coincidence that people show more respect to the fish god. Mr. Than said, the rumors may be unfounded, but it has helped preserve the fish, creating an attraction for tourists to come to Chieng Ban.