A Vietnamese legend tells that many centuries ago, the Hung emperor adopted a boy who was rescued at sea and named him An-Tiem. With the passing of time, the boy became a very intelligent and hard-working man, filling his father with pride.
But the emperor’s pride in An-Tiem aroused the envy of his three brothers. Desperate to get rid of the young prince, they began to invent stories that soon spread throughout the kingdom. Until one day they reached the ears of the emperor:
“Your Majesty, Prince An-Tiem plans to overthrow you to make himself emperor,” the royal advisor said.
Although the emperor loved his son very much, he decided that he needed to first protect his empire from treachery and ordered the prince to live on a desert island.
Far from the comfort and luxuries of the palace, An-Tiem had to build his own shelter, dig a well for fresh water, as well as fish and hunt animals for food.
One hot morning, he was hunting when he found a green fruit as big and round as a football. Curious, he cut it in half and tasted the juicy red flesh of it. Fascinated by the taste of the fruit, he saved his seeds to plant them.
After a few months, some plants that would give green, round and large fruits sprouted in the sandy soil of the island.
An-Tiem carved the name of the island and his own on the fruits and threw them into the sea. Later, sailors found the fruits floating in the water.
The news of the existence of the wonderful fruit carved with the name of the exiled prince spread throughout the continent, reaching the ears of the emperor and his sons:
“Your Majesty, Prince An-Tiem has cultivated a fruit of exceptional qualities, his success is so great that the desert island has been occupied by many merchants and is the most prosperous territory in the entire empire,” said the royal adviser.
The emperor listened carefully, noting the displeased reactions of his three sons. At that moment he realized what had happened: he had been tricked!
Determined to atone for his mistake, he summoned An-Tiem before the court.
When the young man returned to the palace, the emperor announced that the heir to his throne would be Prince An-Tiem. The emperor was proud to have a son who had the courage and strength to overcome difficulties; he knew that these qualities would make him a great governor.
And forever, the people of Vietnam will tell the story of An-Tiem’s strength and the sweetness of his gift: watermelon.