The old man turned back towards me, “As you know in the eighteenth century Quang Trung was the first of the emperors of the Tay Son dynasty, and a military genius, and who has generally been deemed responsible for defeating the Trinh lords in the north and the Nguyen lords in the south, at that time. He suddenly died in 1792, when he was only 40, and his Queen, Le Ngoc Han, who was reputed to be very beautiful, was so distraught and it is said that she wandered off along the Song Huong, the perfume river. She may never have returned to the palace and she is presumed to have died on the river bank, but her grave has never been found.”
“I’m telling you this because their son Quang Toan had been technically married to a princess of the Le dynasty called Le Thi Ngoc Binh, who was the youngest daughter of Le Chien Thong, and Le Ngoc Han’s elder brother, and one of the last emperors of the Le dynasty,” he paused to take a breath and looked around but we were spellbound with attention. “After Emperor Quang Trung died he was succeeded by Quang Toan, who was ten and who later was probably later executed or killed by the next Emperor Gia Dong. The Emperor then took Le Thi Ngoc Binh to become his third wife. They had four children, two boys and two girls.”
“I firmly believe that the chopsticks were owned originally by Queen Le Ngoc Han, who probably received them as a present when she married Emperor Quang Trung. After she died, when she was only twenty nine, the chopsticks must have been taken by her niece Le Thi Ngoc Binh, who continued to own them until she died herself in about 1810, at a very young age of only thirty five. The chopsticks were probably made in China.”
“The superstition is that whenever these chopsticks appear, usually one pair at a time, they are associated with the acquisition of beauty and good luck for the person who possesses them.”
He smiled at my beautiful Vietnamese wife.