The Story of the Trung Sisters: A Leader Is Made

Trung Sisters

The Trung sisters are national heroines in VietNam, with many statues and temples in their honor. This is the story of how they became leaders to their people.

The Han Dynasty of China swept over the Viet people while the Roman Empire was in conception. The subjugated peoples of Viet were forced to assimilate the Han manner of dress, custom and tradition. Their lands became forfeit to their new feudal lords. They were forced to pay tribute with precious resources. From among these chastened villagers there arose two undaunted sisters. Trung Trac and Trung Nhi grew up in a parentless household, the descendants of kings. They were embittered by the greed and avarice of their Chinese overlords and vowed to win independence from them.

The waters of the lake were calm and still. Trac stood before her soon to be husband, her knees weak with fear. Her ao dai was a deep amber and the ao chaong was the color of pale sunset. Scarlet phoenix were embroidered over the collar and along the sleeves. The khanh dong framing her face made her look far younger than her nineteen years. Dang Thi Sach looked down upon his bride in wonder. Her fierce spirit seemed to be hiding for today, and she stood mutely before him as they exchanged their vows.

Humming softly as she smiled to herself, Trac was startled by a deep chuckle from behind. Ah, big sister, you are happy!

She turned to find Nhi watching her in amusement. Trac blushed. Yes, it is good to be married to a husband that is a warrior at heart. Like us, he too hates the greed of those who rule in Giao Chi.

What do you plan to do? she asked suspiciously.

We are going to find others who feel as we do that the avarice of our conquerors has gone far beyond what should be allowed. We refuse to be docile any longer.

We are to incite a rebellion?


Trac and Nhi visited with the wives of the noblemen of the province, and the wives whispered in the ears of their husbands. Thi Sach courted the favor of many powerful men, winning them to their cause with his assurances of victory. He told them that their strength lay in the unexpectedness of their attack. The corrupt governors had become sluggish and content. They believed their subjects to be completely vanquished and bereft of spirit. There was a traitor in their midst, however, who traded secrets for trinkets. The houseservant Tran Thi Nga left the ministers office, her pockets replete with pearls. It had not been hard to convince the governor that her message was important.

Trac cursed and railed at the soldiers as they bore Sach away. They had been found out and he ad been named the instigator of the entire movement. He would be made an example of. As he was led away from her she vowed that his ignoble death would not be in vain.

My sister, it is not fitting that To Dinh sits upon his pillows in Giao Chi while the body of my slain husband is displayed on the gates of the city.

No, Trung Trac, it is not fitting that a brave warrior die unavenged.

I must carry out the wishes of my husband, Dang Thi Sach. We must fight against the Chinese fist that holds the whip above our heads.

Trung Nhi shook her head in agreement. We must do something.

I will send General Nguyen Tien Co to steal the body of my husband and burn it. We must find those who are willing to join us in our battle. You are the best communicator. It is your task to recruit others. You must travel to every corner of Viet Nam and bring those stalwart enough to follow my command back with you.