Vietnam Congress Hit by Bad Omen: Death of `Grandfather' Turtle

Updated on
  • Turtle said to be deity protecting country from enemy invaders
  • Creature's death seen as bad luck in superstitious country

A giant soft-shell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) which is considered a sacred symbol of Vietnamese independence.

Photographer: AFP/Getty Images

Nguyen Van Minh remembers the first time he saw the rare, giant turtle of Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem lake forty years ago. He was 16 and excited to see the creature linked to the tale of a magical sword used to vanquish a Chinese army in the 15th century.

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