Once upon a time there lived a poor peasant and his wife at Go Sat, in Binh Dinh province. Shortly after the birth of his son, the father died. Lia, so the child was called, grew up more rapidly than the other children. At seven he won all the battles and commanded both admiration and respect, and the other children called him ‘King Lia”. A neighbor told his mother about this.

“How miserable I am!”, cried the latter, “let’s hope that he won’t become a rebel!”.
She was advised to send him to the village’s scholar. But the teacher did not succeed in tamingLia and in the end he had to take him back to his mother. Lia very happy, became again the chief of the children.

One day he chose the strongest of his companions and took them to a nearby mountain where he robbed those who returned from the market. This time Lia’s mother gave him a good beating and implored him to change his habits. Lia was not such a bad fellow. And as he loved his mother, he tried to mend his ways, but to no avail. His mother then led him to a distant village where a rich landlord took him on as a buffalo boy.

Every day, with other boys, he led the animals up to the mountains. Before long all the buffalo boys recognized Lia as their chief. One day Lia declared.
“Let’s prepare a feast and rejoice!”Tale

Lengend of Lia King

Lengend of Lia King

His companions hesitated to slaughter one of their animals.
“Kill one of my buffaloes. I’ll be the only one to blame,” he told them.

This was done and all had a good blow-out.
“You’ll have only to say that the animal has been carried away by a tiger.”

The ruse was a success, for there had been a rumor about tigers in the village. But as the boys renewed their exploits, the landlords finally discovered the truth. For fear of being handed over to the communal authorities, Lia ran away.

He returned home to find his mother seriously ill. He stole money to care for her, but she died.

From then on, alone in the world, Lia lived on his spoils. One day, he was so hungry that he stole a basket from a peasant, who burst into tears:
“I have been robbed of all I possessed by the canton chief, and now you steal by last pennies!”

Although he was very hungry, Lia returned the basket to the peasant. And having asked the name of the canton chief he went to find him and beat his brains out.
Homeless, he roamed about the country. One day he reached a deserted area called May where he was himself attacked by a gang of thieves. Uprooting a tree he overpowered them. When they asked him to join their gang, Lia agreed.

In Bong Son, the gang plundered a storehouse. But as the chiefs got the lion’s share of the spoils, Lia protested. They fought, and, of course, Lia was the victor.
Since then all of them regarded him as their chief. And the plundering took another form. On Lia’s orders, it was forbidden to attack the poor. Only the rich were robbed. Each time, Lia forced his mates to give half of the spoils to the poor.

Lia’s intervention was thus aimed at bringing a remedy to some injustices. His name sowed terror among the rich and, was blessed by the poor. The mandarins sent a great number of troops against Lia and his mates, but they were each time routed.

Sometime later the king organized a pancratian contest.
Lia was dying to take part in the contest, and, despite his mates’ warning, he went in for it.

The president, notorious for his misappropriation of public funds, never accepted application forms without big sums of money. Lia presented his request without money.

‘Who are you? Why don’t you know about the rules of the contest?”, shouted the president. “Throw him out, soldiers!”
Lia was very angry but checked his feelings. But at night-fall he came back with his companions. He infiltrated into the citadel, killed the president and took away his concubine. As she was beautiful, Lia married her.

The mandarins could not hide the affair from the king and asked him for support. For their part, Lia and his mates strengthened their positions and routed the royal army.

The mandarins then decided to resort to a ruse. They sent soldiers disguised as merchants to see Lia’s wife. The merchants bought the guards and managed to come near the beautiful woman. Having spread out the silks, they hid in a fold of the material. Lia’s wife understood and dismissed the servants.
If she agreed to hand over Lia, the mandarins promised to give her a big reward. She agreed and fixed a date for action.

Under the pretext of commemorating the death of her mother she offered Lia and his mates a splendid feast. Giving languorous glances at everyone, the beautiful woman poured them alcohol to which she added some drug. Hardly had the feast been finished when they were all unconscious.

The woman tied Lia’s mates with huge cords and bonded Lia himself on a heavy plank. Immediately, royal troops made an attack. Deprived of their chief, Lia’s soldiers took to flight.

The remaining traces of Lia King at Cat Trinh, Phu Cat, Binh Dinh

The remaining traces of Lia King at Cat Trinh, Phu Cat, Binh Dinh

Sobering up, Lia rose and realized the danger. He mustered his strength and broke the bonds that held his arms and legs. But he could not get rid of the plank. Then he dashed towards the forest. His enemy ran after him but could not catch him.

Exhausted, Lia sank onto the ground, near a bush. Night came. An old man carrying a bundle of firewood came up to him, freed him, and offered him some food.
“I am Lia the invincible,” he said “If you find me in this state it’s because of a woman’s treason. I can’t live after this disgrace. You have released me, you have denied yourself a meal to give it to me. I can’t thank you enough. Look, take this and carry it to the mandarin who will reward you.”
And he cut of his head and gave it to the petrified old man.

Lia, too proud, had not understood that the old man had helped so because he greatly admired him.
The old man cried bitterly, then carried Lia’s body and buried it in a place known only to him.

A Ca Dao sings the hero:
“Every evening on the May Glides a swallow,
It feels sorry for Lia Encircled in the citadel”.

The story of Ua has been told in several Ve (current events rhymed and sung) of Nghia Binh province. All the variants lay strees on the rebel heros filial devotion and miraculous strength.