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Thanh Giong : The Giant Boy


At a glance

Origin Vietnamese Mythology
Classification Demigods
Family Members N/A
Region Vietnam
Associated With Strength, Warfare

Thanh Giong


Thanh Giong is a folk hero in Vietnamese mythology and is one of the Four Immortals along with Lieu Hanh. Legend has it that he rode an iron horse and defeated the enemy Chinese army. He is regarded as the first anti-invasion hero in the country and a Vietnamese version of the Buddhist god Vaisravana.

Physical Traits

As a child, Thanh Giong did not speak, smile or stand till the age of three. After he received the call from the emperor to help him in battle, he started talking and eating more. This ultimately helped him grow quite big and is then depicted as a giant with immense strength.


During the 6th century, a woman lived alone in the village of Phu Dong and wanted to have a child. She found a massive footprint in her paddy field land where she grew up and worked. She placed her foot on the giant footprint which led to her getting pregnant. Nine months later, she gave birth to a boy whom she named ‘Giong’.

Other Names

Thanh Giong or Saint Giong was also known as Phù Đổng Thiên Vương (Heavenly king of Phù Đổng), Ông Gióng (Sir Gióng) and Xung Thiên Thần Vương (Divine King of Heaven).

Powers and Abilities

Thanh Giong was over 10 feet tall and was heavily built with skills of an efficient warrior. The king ordered the creation of an iron horse that was 18 feet tall and a sword that was 7 feet long. Some accounts also claim that it was a 12 feet staff and not a sword that was forged as the weapon and that he was also provided with iron clothes as armour. Thanh Giong was also provided with an iron helmet to protect himself from the enemy.

He used these weapons and the iron horse, which could breathe fire through it’s nostrils, to destroy his enemies before flying off into heaven.

Modern Day Influence

Thanh Giong is still considered to be an icon to the Vietnamese people and many of them tend to still pay homage and worship the boy giant as a saviour and protector. Numerous comic books and cartoons have been created to help the new generation stay in touch with the legendary tales and folklore that surrounds him.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the story of Thanh Giong?

Thanh Giong is a legendary Vietnamese hero who grew from a silent boy into a giant warrior. He defeated invaders with an iron horse and sword, and then flew away, symbolizing Vietnam’s resistance against foreign invasion.

What is the iron horse myth?

The “Iron Horse” myth in Vietnam is associated with the legendary hero Thanh Giong, also known as Phù Đổng Thiên Vương. According to the legend, Thanh Giong was a boy who didn’t speak or move until he was three years old. When Vietnam was invaded, he began to speak and asked the king for an iron horse, a sword, and armor. Riding the iron horse and wielding the sword, he defeated the invaders.

What does the horse mean in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, the horse is frequently linked to attributes such as power, pride, vitality, and speed. It serves as a symbol of freedom, ambition, spirituality, and the strength that comes from collaborative efforts within a team. In Vietnamese mythology, the horse, particularly the iron horse, is connected with the legendary hero Thanh Giong, who rode an iron horse to triumph over invaders.


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