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Tam-Cam

Tấm washes her hair while her stepsister Cám steals Tấm's fish.

Tấm & Cám is a fairytale that has been compared to Cinderella in some ways. The story is divided into two parts. The first part has a resemblance to Cinderella, whereas the second part does not. The second part is controversial for its references to murder and cannibalism, and so there are edited versions of this part of the story in Vietnamese textbooks.

SummaryEdit

In the first part of the tale, Tấm lived under the tyranny of her stepmother and stepsister, Cám, until she was visited by the fairy, the Goddess of Mercy who gave her a golden carp. The bones of the golden carp magically turned into a dress, golden slippers, jewelry, and even a horse, which allowed Tấm to attend a royal banquet. However, she fled upon seeing her stepmother and stepsister and left behind her slippers. The royal house searched for young woman whose slippers fit, and eventually found Tấm and proceded to have her married to the king.

In the second part of the tale, Tấm was murdered by her stepmother, allowing Cám to take her place in the royal wedding, as custom dictated. Tấm was able to reincarnate into a nightingale, until Cám skinned it. From the feathers grew a white cedar tree, until Cám chopped it down to make a loom. The voice of Tấm emerged from the loom and told Cám that she had stolen Tấm's husband, and so Cám had the loom burnt. But from the ashes grew a persimmon tree. An old lady found the persimmon, but a voice came to her not to eat it. She took it home and eventually found Tấm's spirit emerging from the persimmon into corporeal form, after which the persimmon was destroyed to keep Tấm in human form. One day the king inquired into the preparation of a meal with the old lady, and found his beloved Tấm. The king immediately had Tấm brought to the palace to become the king's first wife. The shocked Cám was fearful that Tấm was still alive. One day she asked Tấm on how to keep her skin fair, to which Tấm replied that Cám should bathe in boiling water. When Cám did this, she was boiled alive and died. Tấm had Cám's flesh preserved in jars and sent to the stepmother. The stepmother thought it was food, and started eating it. A crow flew in by the window and started shouting that the stepmother was eating her own daughter's flesh. Annoyed, the stepmother eventually found a skull at the bottom of the jar and then died from shock.

Additional ReadingsEdit

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