Son Dong village in Hoai Duc district, Hanoi is famous for making statues and worshiping objects. This land is also known for an old house that was built within one night.
The house was created in 1676 and after 300 years, it is still nearly like the original.
Mr. Nguyen Viet Vy, 79, and his family live in this house. He said that the house belonged to a senior mandarin of the Le Dynasty, minister Nguyen Viet Thu (1644-1692).
Vy is the 11th descendant of the family who is assigned to look after the house. The history of the old house is not recorded in books, but for many generations, people in Son Dong village have talked about the house origin via word of mouth.
In 1675, under King Le Hy Tong’s reign, Admiral Nguyen Cong Trieu used court elephants to pull construction materials to build temples and roads for the people. Unfortunately, the elephant became exhausted and died. According to the old law, the admiral had to return by a gold-made elephant of similar weight or be subject to the death penalty.
The Admiral could not afford to make that golden elephant. The mandarin who was assigned to judge the case was minister Nguyen Viet Thu, who tried to defend the Admiral. Thanks to the minister’s effort, the admiral was removed from all guilt. The admiral wanted to do something to give thanks to the minister. However, all gifts were refused by the minister. Finally, the admiral decided to build a house as a gift for the minister as his house was too old.
It was difficult to refuse, so the minister offered a condition: If the admiral could build the house in just one night, he would receive it. And the admiral satisfied that condition: building a house of five compartments, 18.5m length and 7.2m width, within one night in 1676.
The house was overhauled twice in 1975 and 1995. Vy sai the house is not only the pride of the family but also of Son Dong villagers.
Some photos of the house:
Mr. Nguyen Viet Vy, 79, and his family currently live in this house.
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