Mythic tortoise reappears in Hoan Kiem Lake
00:31' 07/11/2007 (GMT+7)
November 7, 2007
VietNamNet Bridge - A giant tortoise, thought by many to be several hundred years old, surfaced yesterday at the Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Returned Sword), Ha Noi's most prominent landmark, for around three hours from 10 am to 1 pm, attracting and perplexing passers-by as the animal is said to be keeper of a holy sword used to dispel the Chinese invaders in the 15th century.
After appearing near the surface, the tortoise then crawled on the tower in the middle of the lake in front of the Le Thai To-Hang Trong crossroads for 'sunbath'.
The tortoise is some 1.5 meters long, has a width of 700 cm and two hollows on its shell.
It has come to the surface of the lake 76 times this year, the last time being on October 30, said tortoise expert Ha Dinh Duc, a professor at Ha Noi National University.
But the tortoise rarely both surfaces and sunbathes on the Thap Rua (Turtle Tower) as long as it did this time, Duc added.
Legend has it that the giant tortoise is the keeper of the Sword that King Le Loi used to fight China's Ming dynasty invaders in the 15th century.
According to a hydrographical specialists and tortoise experts, climate change and environmental pollution could explain the fabled creatures more frequent ventures out of the water.