Chapter X: Bánh trôi nước

Translator’s note & disclaimer: The title of this chapter is the name of a famous Vietnamese dessert. It’s roughly translated to “Floating Cake.” However, we chose to keep the name in Vietnamese as the English translation doesn’t work perfectly. The dessert is also the name of a poem by Hồ Xuân Hương, an 18th centuryContinue reading “Chapter X: Bánh trôi nước”

Chapter IX: On the River of the Dead

Điền Quý cleared his throat: “Believe it or not, I’m also running away from home to escape an arranged marriage. As for why I’m going to Province A, I’m acting under orders from above. They said the reason why Nam’s–that’s the tào phớ seller’s name–entire clan died unexpectedly could be an object that belongs toContinue reading “Chapter IX: On the River of the Dead”

Chapter VIII: The Corpse Retriever

Phượng Ngân cleared her throat: “How about I come back when you two are done bickering then?” The white dog smiled sheepishly and said in a pacifying tone: “My apology. Though it is his fault for talking in such a provoking manner.” Ngân shrugged, neither agreed nor disagreed with his statement. He then continued: “AContinue reading “Chapter VIII: The Corpse Retriever”

Chapter VII: The Lynx and the White Dog

[Translator’s note: The title of this chapter is referring to the mythical creature Lynx, not the animal with the same name in Vietnamese. As mentioned in an earlier post, when the animal was introduced to Vietnam, we used an already-existing word–one originally used to refer to the mythical creature–as the translation.] After the tào phớContinue reading “Chapter VII: The Lynx and the White Dog”

Chapter VI: The Tam Cúc Set

Phượng Ngân stood straight, with her sword’s tip resting on the ground. She pushed her own chin up and asked defiantly: “Do you also think me a damsel in distress?” “Nope. Not even remotely. Do I look like a blind man to you?” He chuckled, before continuing, “But, sometimes, the fist isn’t the answer toContinue reading “Chapter VI: The Tam Cúc Set”

Chapter V: The Rooftop at Three AM

From what Phượng Ngân was told, up in the mountainous area, there was a type of malevolent spirits called Ma Rừng (lit. Jungle Ghosts), essentially unfortunate souls died tragically in the jungle. Usually, on rainy and windy nights such as this, these spirits would come to people’s houses, pretending to be travelers or acquaintances askingContinue reading “Chapter V: The Rooftop at Three AM”

Chapter IV: Because you’re a Trịnh

As if having sensed the old woman’s appearance in advance, Điền Quý had been sitting upright since who knew when. From his shirt pocket, the young man presented a pack of pipe tobacco (“thuốc lào”) and a copper comb: “These are some gifts from home to show my gratitude.” The old woman wore a typicalContinue reading “Chapter IV: Because you’re a Trịnh”

Chapter III: The Six-feet-under Stall

The brick well turned out not as deep as she’d thought. If she wanted, she could reach the edge in a single leap. Knowing this, Phượng Ngân felt much better. Inside the well, on the side of the west shrine, there was a tunnel barely large enough for a single person, with a light everyContinue reading “Chapter III: The Six-feet-under Stall”

Chapter II: Corpse-eating Chicken

Angered when realizing she was being teased by ghosts, Phượng Ngân was about to beat them into a pulp before Điền Quý intervened: “Hey now, they were just joking. No harm, no foul, right? Besides, we’re all in the same business here, aren’t we?” He then turned to the ghosts, gave them some joss papers[1]JossContinue reading “Chapter II: Corpse-eating Chicken”

Chapter I: Yin Marriage

Hanoi, Vietnam, 199x… In the suburban area of the city, a rather strange engagement party[1]The wedding tradition in Vietnamese are different from that of Western countries. This is translated based on the function of the ceremony, though there are certain differences. was taking place. No firecracker, no lantern, not even so much as any decorationContinue reading “Chapter I: Yin Marriage”