Thanh Hoa’s stream of odd fish

VietNamNet Bridge - Tens of thousands of fish cram in a small stream of over 100 meters long. No one knows when they appeared. The local Muong people considered the fish as treasures.

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The Cam Luong stream is located at the foot of the Truong Sinh (Immortality) Mountain, in Luong Ngoc village, Cam Luong commune, Cam Thuy district, Thanh Hoa province, more than 80 km to the northwest of Thanh Hoa city.

Surrounded by limestone mountains, the stream is only over 100 meters long and 3-4 meters wide. There are tens of thousands of fish (weighing from 2 to 8 kg and the biggest ones are up to 30 kg) in strange shapes and all colors. When they swim, their bodies glow.

In the dry season, the stream is only 20-40 cm deep, the clear water is very clear and visitors can reach out to caress the fish. The density of fish is thick but the water does not smell. Local residents use the water for cooking, bathing and washing. This tourist attraction each year attracts thousands of visitors.

thanh hoa, fish stream, snake, temple, tourist
The snake temple.

According to the belief of the Muong people, the fish in this stream have the divine origin. Over many generations, local people still mouth mysterious story of the origin of the fish.

The legend said that, the ancient Luong Ngoc village at the foot of Truong Sinh Mountain suffered from severe drought and crop failure. There were a couple of poor, infertile farmers in the village. The wife often went to the stream to cry for their unfortunate situation. One day, while catching snails and crabs in the stream, the wife accidentally touch a strange egg. Thinking that the egg was trashy, the woman dropped the egg into the water and continued her work.

But strangely, she did not catch any snail or crab that day, just the strange egg although she moved to other locations. She took the egg home and told her husband. They hatched the egg, which hatched out a silver white snake. The husband took the strange snake to the stream and released it. But the snake returned home at night to sleep in the same bed with the couple.

At first they were scared, but then their life was associated with the snake like a pet. They even considered the snake as their child. Also since the snake appeared, the weather was very nice and the crops were very good. The Muong people became prosperous and happy. They loved the snake very much and they called them the snake boy.

After one rainy night with strong winds and thunder, local people discovered the body of the snake on the stream bank. They built a temple on the stream bank to worship the snake. Since then, thousands of strange fish appeared in the stream to guard the temple.

thanh hoa, fish stream, snake, temple, tourist

At present, the fish just hang around near a small cave about one meter radius and do not go away. Mrs. Truong Thi Hien, 87, one of the three oldest people in Luong Ngoc, said the fish have been here for hundreds of years and the people consider them as treasures. Especially, the fish have never been attacked by diseases.

"Despite flood, the fish in the stream never drift away. The big fish hide themselves in caves and the small fish that were swept away by flood sought way to return to the stream. The fish stream is sacred and nobody dares to catch the fish," Hien said.

She added that people here believe that the affluence of the fish as a symbol of peace and prosperity. Every year, a festival is held near the stream from the 8th to 15th of the first lunar month.

Muong people in the Luong Ngoc call the fish as “doc” while scientists define the fish as a species of carp, with the scientific name of Spinibarbichthys denticulatus. This species is listed in the Red Book of Vietnam.

Compiled by Nam Nguyen
thanh hoa, fish stream, snake, temple, tourist