The Queen of Silkworms

West Lake

Nghi Tàm was the biggest silkworm farm in ancient Thăng Long. It is said that people in this area were taught the trade by Princess Quỳnh Hoa, the daughter of King Lý Thái Tông (1054–1072) but Quỳnh Hoa was not a real princess. She was born in Nghi Tàm, the daughter of Trần Vĩ, a mandarin in the Lê Thánh Tông dynasty from Nam Hà Province, who opened a school in Nghi Tàm when he retired.

As the story goes, one beautiful day after finishing his lessons, Trần Vĩ came to enjoy the beautiful sights of the lake and sat against a tree and fell asleep. Suddenly, he felt like he was in heaven where he saw a mandarin kneeling and begging the King of Heaven to allow Princess Quỳnh Hoa to come to Earth and be reincarnated into the Trần family. Trần Vĩ was called in and given the girl then he thanked the god with a bow and left. When they came to the gate of heaven, the two unicorns guarding the gate said goodbye to Quỳnh Hoa and the wind made the trees rustle and the lake surface ripple. Trần Vĩ woke up dazed from his beautiful dream, and soon afterwards his wife, who was over 50, became pregnant and gave birth to a girl they named Quỳnh Hoa after like the princess in the dream.

Quỳnh Hoa grew up into a beautiful and intelligent girl. She married Liễu Nghị (the son of Trần Vĩ’s friend) who passed the doctoral examination and was appointed county chief of Hà Trung (Thanh Hóa Province). When the Champa invaders threatened Thăng Long, Trần Vĩ was given a royal ordinance to block their way and Quỳnh Hoa disguised herself as a man and helped her husband in battle. After defeating the enemy, Liễu Nghị was nominated as the Court Counselor to advise the king and later became the Governor of Phụng Thiên (Thăng Long). Quỳnh Hoa became the Governor Lady and stayed in the palace to teach weaving to the imperial maids. When Liễu Nghị passed away, she asked for permission to go back to Nghi Tàm where her husband used to teach and help the local people learn weaving. When she died she became the tutelary spirit of Nghi TàmVillage and is worshipped there and in sixty other places.