A complete version of Nguyen Du’s epic poem Truyen Kieu (the tale of Kieu) translated into the Tay language has been widely distributed in Cao Bang for the benefit of the ethnic inhabitants of the northern province.
The first 400 copies of the translation by the late Than Van Lu have been made available so that Tay speakers can enjoy the eighteenth-century masterpiece in its entirety.
Than Van Lu (1908 – 1990) was himself a Tay from Cao Bang’s Hoa An District and headed the Tay-Nung Language Department of the Viet Bac autonomous region.
It took him 20 years to do the translation, which was basically finished in 1976. However, only small segments of the Tay version were published in print or broadcast on local radio.
In his translation, Lu modulated the poetic style from six-eight meter to seven-beat meter to suit the melodic Phong Slu and Then patterns of Tay but retained the number of sentences and words of the six-eight meter style of the original.
Truyen Kieu tells the story of a beautiful and learned young lady named Vuong Thuy Kieu who is forced to sell herself to save her family. She overcomes many hardships in a lifelong pursuit of her doomed lover Kim Trong.