“There is more than one popular story that tells how the West Lake (Hỗ Tài) was formed. Perhaps the best known is the legend of The Golden Buffalo.
The giant monk Minh Không, a craftsman of bronze casting, was well known in Vietnam for his medicinal practices. Minh Không’s fame was such that it reached China for treating the Emperor, who wanted to reward him with great wealth.
However, Minh Khong refused offerings of gold, instead requesting the Emperor give him all the black copper to cast an enormous bronze bell that peeled with such resonance the sound traveled beyond the mountains and rivers of Vietnam to China, until it reached the ears of a golden buffalo stabled in the Emperor’s treasury.
The buffalo come to life and, because it thought its mother was calling, charged southward. Upon reaching the area north of the present city of Hanoi the buffalo, through constant circling in search of its mother, trampled the land near the Red River.
Over the years, this area filled with water and formed a lake that consumed the golden buffalo: the West Lake.”
The legend is taken from the book “Hỗ Tài. Walks around West Lake”, published by Friends of Vietnam Heritage.