Aulacese (Vietnamese) Classical Theatre: What Came From Heaven is Returned to Earth - P2/2 (In Aulacese)    
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Today’s Enlightening Entertainment will be presented in Aulacese (Vietnamese), with subtitles in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai.

The drum tempo varies between fast and slow, merging with singing voices which at times are elevated in pitch, other times deep and powerful. In brilliant costumes, lissome movements are in every gesture. Actors and actresses are differentiated by distinctive make-up, so that the audience can easily identify between the loyal and the obsequious, the noble ranks and humble subjects.

This is hát bội (classical theatre), a performing art in Âu Lạc (Vietnam), originating from the common people and becoming more widespread among them in the 13th century under the Lý and the Trần dynasties. In the later Lê dynasty, classical theatre was introduced to the Court to entertain the royal family and mandarins.

In the 19th century, Mr. Đào Tấn developed classical theatre and opened a performing school. He also built the first classical theatre in Bình Định province, central Âu Lạc. Since then, classical theatre has flourished in both artistic and literary aspects. Classical theatre operas are often based on historical references, highlighting moral values. Today, classical theatre is considered a traditional performing art of Âu Lạc.

On Enlightening Entertainment, Supreme Master Television is pleased to introduce different forms of arts from Âu Lạc (Vietnam), as well as from other countries in the world, in order to share the beauty and cultures of the peoples on our planet.

The classical theatre opera “What Came From Heaven is Returned to Earth” is based on an Aulacese folk tale about two sworn brothers Ngô Thiên and Lý Địa, illustrating that Heaven will reclaim whatever we don’t deserve. The story offers advice that humans honor their promise and relationship with one another, be it in times of poverty or wealth and glory.

We now invite you to enjoy the conclusion of the classical theatre opera “What Came From Heaven is Returned to Earth” by playwright Nguyễn Diêu Trì, with performances by Nguyễn Diêu Trì as Ngô Thiên, Huỳnh Văn Tân as Lý Địa, Mỹ Dung as Fairy, Minh Liễu as Guard, Đạo An as Guard, Nguyễn Văn Thân as Elder Fairy, and other artists.

Lý Địa and Ngô Thiên were two friends from the same village, who pledged their mutual loyalty in times of wealth as well as hardship. Lý Địa worked arduously to provide for Ngô Thiên’s schooling, in hopes that Ngô Thiên would achieve academic success and change their fates. After ten years of studying hard, Ngô Thiên graduated as First Laureate and was appointed as Province Chief. Delighted, Lý Địa went to meet Ngô Thiên, who disregarded his promise and denied acquaintance with such a poor man as Lý Địa.

Thank you for your presence on Enlightening Entertainment. Words of Wisdom is coming up next. Please tune in on Supreme Master Television next Thursday for the Aulacese modern folk opera entitled “A Golden Lesson” by playwright Chơn Tâm Tịnh. Farewell for now.

O God! I trusted someone’s vow and ended up so disappointed now. O brother Thiên! All my dreams have turned into smoke. What a harsh reality to wake up to from a fairy dream! Why is my life full of sorrow? O people, I’m deeply saddened by the situation. O people, misery keeps following me. I blame the dishonest person who changes his friends as he attains wealth, disregarding all past kindness he owed. In sadness, I fumble with each footstep. O God! I keep walking, forgetting that it’s dark already. Ahead are the deep forest and high mountains, without any sight of a house or passer-by. I’ll rest on this flat rock overnight.

I’m a spiritual practitioner in Paradise. I’m called Thái Ất.

I pity an honest person who has fallen victim to a cunning man. Injustice is felt by Heaven, thus I descend on Earth to help the one in misfortune. O Lý Địa! Wake up, son!

In my sleep, I vaguely heard someone’s voice. Who are you? Are you the Head Fairy from Heaven or a ghost from the underworld?

It’s me who called you. Wake up quickly, son, so that I can explain to you.

Yes, yes.

I’m Thái Ất the True Man (sage), who descends on Earth from the fairyland to help people. Where is your home? Why didn’t you go home to sleep but spend the night in the forest? Tell me what happened and I’ll help to fulfill your wishes.

Since you asked, I’ll tell you everything. I’m from Đoài Village, and my name is Lý Địa. O Elder Fairy! I’m a poor man who makes a living by farming for hire. I and brother Ngô Thiên have sworn brotherhood, vowing to share in times of both wealth and hardship. I plowed and hoed for hire for 10 long years to earn money to provide for brother Thiên’s study. Now that brother Thiên has graduated as First Laureate, he changed his heart and disregarded his promise before. O Elder Fairy, I’ve just told you everything. How unjust the world is! O sir, why is it that the deceitful enjoys wealth while the honest is met with misfortune? O sir! Misfortune is reserved for the honest. The way of the world is bitter and ironic.

Lý Địa, O son! Hearing what you said, I know that you’re a kind-hearted man. Your sincerity is witnessed by Heaven and Earth. From now on, I’ll help you with a boat, You’ll ferry people across the river every day to earn a living. Think no longer of what happened. As to Ngô Thiên, a deceitful man who disregards his friend’s kindness, will definitely reap what he sowed. It is said that “retribution can take place instantly.”

O Elder Fairy, I’ll do as you said. From now on I’ll forget the past to take care of ferrying people across the river and wait for a brighter future.

All right! Stay back on Earth, child. I’ll return to the fairyland.

O Elder Fairy!

Whether it rains or shines, I ferry passengers across the river daily. Though I’m not going to be rich, but it can afford me two meals a day. Since the Elder Fairy gave me a boat, I ferry the passengers across the river daily to earn my living. Though it’s less laborious than before, it’s still a hard life. Alas! It’s just my fate. I shouldn’t ponder about it. It’s getting dark. I’d better leave the pier to return to my straw hut and have a meager meal of musty rice. My life is like a boat rowing slowly on the river. Though people change their hearts and minds, I don’t hold a grudge or resent them.

O boatman!

Who is that?

I’m a passenger. Please help ferry me.

I can’t. It’s already dark. Besides, my boat is already half way to the other shore. Please go back; I’ll take you cross the river tomorrow.

O boatman! Please come over to help ferry me because I have something very urgent. I’m afraid it’ll be too late tomorrow.

All right! Let me turn the boat to help ferry you. I’m turning my boat to ferry a passenger, helping a person in need to cross the river. Greetings, Miss!

Greetings, Mister!

Please step down into the bamboo boat. Be careful not to fall. I’ll turn the boat back to row over the waves to take you across the river. This winter evening it’s turned windy, so a storm is also coming our way. Be careful not to fall into the river! (I know.) I firmly row on, unafraid of the storm.

How lucky we are! The boat has just docked when the storm rises. O Miss! (Yes.) You should hurry home because it’s still a long way to walk. The rain is coming.

O brother whatever-your-name-is!

Địa. My name is Lý Địa.

Brother Địa!

What is it, Miss?

There’s a saying, “Once you offer help, then help to the end. Once you start to cut, then cut smoothly.” The road to my home is still far, but the rain is here now. How about allowing me to spend the night here and I’ll set out tomorrow?

No, that’s impossible.

Is it all right, brother?

That’s impossible, Miss.

Why not? There isn’t any inn here. As a stranded traveler, where could a young woman turn to?

Listen, Miss! (Yes.) It’s impossible because I’m a poor person and just have a thatched hut for my shelter. Besides...

What is the problem, brother Địa?

Besides, for a single man and a single woman to stay in the same room, I’m afraid...

What are you afraid of?

I’m afraid people may spread false rumors, Miss.

Fine, then. If you’re afraid of rumors, I wouldn’t trouble you. I bow to you and take leave now, regardless of the raging storm. Goodbye!

Wait! All right! I’ll let you spend the night in my place.

Then head home quickly, I’ll follow you.

Follow me to my thatched hut, because the rain is about to pour down.

Let’s go, brother Địa.

Let’s go.

There, you see! My home is not only shabby, but also messy.

It’s all right, brother Địa!

Respected Miss! Please rest here.

Brother Địa! I sleep here, how about you? Where are you going to sleep?

You sleep here. I sleep over there. Besides, tomorrow is my father’s death anniversary. I have to get up early anyway to prepare a meager meal to pay tribute to my father’s spirit.

Brother Địa!

What is it, Miss?

Let me ask you this. Are you married?

O forget it, Miss. I’m dirt poor. I can’t even earn enough to feed myself, working endlessly, where do I get the money to take a wife?

Brother Địa, let me tell you this. I see that you’re poor but honest and kind-hearted. What I meant is...

What did you mean?

I meant I want to be your wife. What do you think, brother Địa?

Enough, Miss! You see that I’m a poor man, so you’re just teasing me. But how can that be possible between a man like me and a woman like you?

Brother Địa! What did you mean by that?

I meant you’re beautiful like a fairy descending on Earth and also elegant, while I’m ugly and poor. How can I be your match?

Brother Địa, I’ve been testing your heart all this time. Now I tell you the truth. I’m a fairy from the fairyland.

You’re from the fairyland?

Yes. The Jade Emperor has found you to be an honest and kind man who has endured much suffering and hardship, so he had me come down on Earth to join an honest man in a harmonious marriage. O brother Địa, from this day on, I’ll be your gentle and faithful wife and keep you company. I’ll help you have a wealthy life to make up for your years of hardship. I vow to stay with you always in life and death.

O God! Am I dreaming or is it a reality? It’s an astonishing sight in front of me! Is this the reality or a dream?

This is the reality!

What? This is reality! I thank God and Buddha for such blessing to the poor. I’m grateful to Heaven and Buddha for helping an honest person.

O beloved Địa! You’ve suffered many years of hardship. O Địa! A kind-hearted man is now being rewarded. It’s true that “Heaven does not betray a good person. After miserable days comes a leisurely time.”

O sweetheart, Heaven sends you to me. From now on, a bridge has been built by the crows, joining a couple in a harmonious marriage.

O beloved Địa! In this world, wealth cannot be asked for. Remember that only those who lead a virtuous life are worthy to be human.

I understand now.

Beloved Địa!

What is it, dear?

You’re now a rich man. Tomorrow is our father’s death anniversary. The food I have prepared already. What we’re missing now is our relatives. Right now, you should go to brother Thiên and invite him to join us for a simple meal. Brother Thiên is still your sworn brother after all.

All right, dear. If you think so, then I’ll go now.

Please go, beloved Địa!

I’m leaving now.

But, wait!

What is it, sweetheart?

There’s something I must tell you.

What is it?

When you’re there, whatever condition brother Thiên asks for, just accept it.

All right!

Remember it, dear!

Sir, a man named Lý Địa asks to see you.

Guard! (Yes.) What did I tell you before? How come you still report to me such a thing?

Your Honor, it was so before, but it is not so today.

Guard. (Yes.) What are you beating around the bush for? What do you mean it was so, then it isn’t so?

Your Honor, Lý Địa came here before, dressed in tattered clothes like a beggar. But today Lý Địa dons a brocade tunic and elegant trousers. He comes with a hammock and palanquin even. He appears to be very rich, Your Honor.

Guard! (Yes.) Come here! (Yes, sir.) You said that Lý Địa today is not a poor man anymore?

No, not anymore. Very rich! (He’s rich?) Yes, very rich! (Rich?) Brocade tunic, elegant trousers.

Brocade tunic, elegant trousers? (Yes.) He comes in a palanquin as well?

Yes. He appears to be very wealthy, sir.

How strange! What did he do to become rich in just a year? Guard! (Yes.) Go to the front of the palace and let him in to see me. (Yes.)

Lý Địa wishes to greet elder brother Ngô Thiên.

Be at ease! Stand up, brother!

Greetings, brother!

Listen to my question: What makes you come here? Tell me quickly.

Let me explain everything.

Tell me!

Today is my father’s death anniversary.

It’s your father’s death anniversary? (Yes.) What for are you telling me?

I come here to inform you about it. Respected brother, thanks to Heaven’s blessing, I’ve managed to earn some revenues and savings. Today is my father’s death anniversary. I invite you over for a simple feast with us. Regardless what happened, in the past we did vow brotherhood. I think of you as my blood brother, so I come here to invite you over to show my respect to my elder.

That man! (Yes.) How ridiculous! You see a wealthy person, so you claim to be related to him, don’t you? Don’t dream about it! But, that’s all right. Listen to me. Since I’m free today and have nothing to do, if you want me to come to your home, then have a flowery mat line the road from my house to yours. The road must be covered with a flowery mat so that when I walk on it, the dirt won’t touch me. Can you do that? Just tell me. If you can do that, I’ll be so generous as to go over to join you for fun.

All right! Everything is ready now. Please set out or else it’ll be late. I take leave now.

Yes. You think I’m so dull-witted as to believe in what you said. Guard. (Yes.) Come in here.

Yes, I’m here.

Let me ask you: Whose mat spreads from my residence to the road?

Your Honor, it is Mr. Địa’s mat that spreads from your palace to the road for you to go attend the party.

Guard! (Yes.) You said the mat was spread by Địa’s servant? (Yes.) Really?

Yes, really.

All right! Prepare the palanquin for me to go attend the party. (Yes.)

Please, sir!

Guard. (Yes.) Listen here! (Yes.) This is Địa’s home. You two stay here and wait for me. (Yes.)

It’s not often that you come to my home. My greetings, brother Thiên.

Greetings, brother.

Please come in.

Come in, brother.

Please have a seat.

Have a seat. Your home looks so elegant. You’re rich, indeed... your whole family.

Respected brother Thiên, you’ve come to my place today. Let me call my wife out to greet you in accordance of proper conduct. O Ngọc Nữ dear! (Yes.) Come out here, dear! (Yes.) O Ngọc Nữ! (Yes.) Brother Thiên has come to visit us. Come out and greet him, dear. (Yes.)

I’m Ngọc Nữ, greeting brother Thiên.

Be at ease! Greetings, sister.

Ngọc Nữ dear! (Yes.) You’ve greeted brother Thiên already. I think, as a woman, you should go back behind the curtain to let me receive my guest. (Yes.)

Wait! There’s no such restriction. Let her stand there for fun.

Please have a seat, brother Thiên!


O Lý Địa! (Yes.) It’s not very often that we brothers meet to converse. Now that we meet here, I have this idea. I wonder if you’d agree with me.

What is your idea?

My idea is to take all my wealth and position as a province chief, as an exchange.

Brother Thiên!

What is it?

You exchange your position as a mandarin with me, to get what?

You asked me what I’d exchange for?


I’ll exchange my position as a province chief and my wealth for your properties, and...

And what, brother?

And your wife, what else?

Oh, no!

Oh? What is it, brother?

Respected brother, if you really want to exchange, I wholeheartedly agree to it.

So you’ve agreed, right?

Yes, but... (But what?) In the past, we also made a vow. It was just a plain promise witnessed by Heaven and Earth. Now, to have a real trust, a written pledge with our signatures is needed.

You said that when you and I made a vow before, it was witnessed by Heaven and Earth.


Now, in order to make an exchange, paperwork is required, right?


All right! Bring a pen, inks lab, and paper here. I’ll write the details of the exchange.

Here are the pen and inks lab. You can write and sign it.

Watch carefully as I pen the details of this exchange.

Write it!

Listen here! I, Ngô Thiên, and Lý Địa are writing an exchange document. Listen, brother! Today, I, Ngô Thiên, write an exchange paper. I’m writing that: I’ll take my wealth and properties along with my position as the province chief to give to Lý Địa. In exchange, Lý Địa will give me his properties and his wife as well. I’ve completed it. It’s your turn to sign it.

All right. Brother Thiên, the agreement has been prepared and signed with the exact terms. You keep one copy, and I keep one copy. This is the document of trust.

O brother Địa!

I’m here.

The agreement has already been signed. Here is the royal court’s uniform, I’m handing it over to you now.

All right, the signed agreement is very clear. Guards! (Yes.) Come out here. (Yes.) Get the palanquin ready to take me to the province palace.

Please step on the palanquin, sir.

Goodbye, brother Thiên.

Goodbye. Ngọc Nữ, sweetheart!

O God! How come it’s like this? Why? Where is this? Gilded mansion and luxurious palace are no longer! There’s only me, alone with the thatched hut. Ngọc Nữ! Where are you? Why doesn’t anyone answer me? Am I being punished by Heaven for being a betrayer? Alas! It’s a lesson for a betrayer. That’s it! That’s really it! How pitiful it is for me! It’s too late to repent. I’m an ungrateful person who disregards past kindness and affection. Heaven and Earth are very just, indeed! What I borrowed from Địa, I now have to return to him.

Isn’t it so true that good or bad luck all comes from one’s heart? I’m an ungrateful person who disregards his promise. What I borrowed from Địa, I now must return to him. And what Ngô Thiên has here: a boat and a thatched hut. I’ll ferry passengers morning and evening. I can’t have what belongs to others. It’s seen today that what came from Thiên (Heaven) is returned to Địa (Earth).

Due to the time limit of today’s program, please tune in next week for comments by artists who contributed to the classical theatre opera “What Came From Heaven is Returned to Earth.”
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