Mai An Tiêm & the watermelon seeds
As a result, the family had so much work to do that they had to employ more servants to live in the island and help them with field work. Mai An Tiêm and his delicious fruits soon became very popular in the kingdom. Finally, his growing reputation spread to the King. He didn’t believe the news until he saw the melon with An Tiêm’s name on it. He then realized that not his favors but An Tiêm’s resourcefulness, indeed, brought him wealth and happiness. People in the island continued planting the melons and eating them during the New Year Holiday as a symbol of luck. Their seeds are roasted and dyed in red to serve as a snack.
A young boy from the faraway south coast was sold into slavery by some sailors, and ended up being bought by Hung King. The King named the boy Mai An Tiêm and the kid grew to be an intelligent, talented and skillful young man.
The jealous courtiers told the King what An Tiem said showed his immodesty, ungratefulness and disrespect for him. He banished them to a desolate island to prove that without his favors, An Tiêm could not live as comfortable a life as he had been living up until then.
only one blunt knife for a tool, An Tiêm and his family had to resort to living in a cave, drinking stream water and gathering wild fruits to survive. The dry season came Trees and grass withered under the scorching sun and fresh water evaporated. Their lives were in danger, as food was extremely hard to find.
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An Tiêm saw a strange yellow sea bird on top of the shore cliff. He came to have a closer look and saw that the bird was pecking at some juicy fruit which was as red as blood, and some of its seeds had been dropped into the sand. Even though the island was full of sand, which means hardly anything could grow, An Tiem and his wife never felt hopeless.
They worked hard everyday together to take care of the plants. They quickly saw tender shoots sprouting from the earth and green vines sprawling on the sand. He tried a small bite and was overjoyed that the taste was cool, fresh and sweet. His wife and his children also came to relieve their hunger and quench their thirst with the marvelous melons. Vietnamese people called it “dưa hấu” (watermelon). And from that time, they would never grow hungry again.
Thanks to his hard work and his patience, one day, the sailors on a merchant ship that was sailing near the island saw a large number of green round melons floating on the sea.The more melons An Tiêm set adrift, the more ships came in and bought fruits.
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