A very small child taken into the jungle and raised there. Sounds a lot like the plot from Tarzan, doesn’t it? But this is no movie. About 40 years ago during the Vietnam War, Ho Van Thanh was seen running into the woods with his then-infant son Ho Van Lang. At this point of the story I asked where the child’s mother was. The answer to that question is pretty sad. A bomb exploded in his home during the war with the United States, killing his wife and two other children. An eyewitness reported seeing him grab his two-year-old son, Ho Van Lang, and run into the forest. Ho Van Tri, Tranh’s youngest son was left behind and rescued by relatives. Fast forward 40 years to some villagers from the Tay Tra district out in the jungle looking for firewood. They noticed a strange bird-nest-like-hut built in a small clearing, near a stream. They decided to check it out and found two men living there. One was a weak 82-year-old man who could communicate in Cor ethnic minority language, but his 41-year-old son, who was wearing a loin cloth made from tree bark, only spoke a few words. The villagers alerted the authorities who later confirmed the two mysterious jungle dwellers were indeed Ho Van Tranh and Ho Van Lang.
Ho Van Thanh and his son were taken to the Tra Kem Village, where his youngest son is now taking care of them.
According to Thanh Nien News, it was Ho Van Tri, Tranh’s youngest son, who was left behind on that sad day in 1973 and rescued by relatives, who first found his father and brother 20 years ago, but he could not talk them into returning home.
He brought them salt and oil every year after that, but they never accepted him, and whenever he came with other villagers to convince them to come home, they ran into hiding.
Tranh’s nephew, Ho Ven Bien, told the local press they are very sad and clearly want to go back to their forest home.
“My uncle doesn’t understand much of what is said to him, and he doesn’t want to eat or even drink water. We know he wants to escape my house to go back to the forest, so we have to keep an eye on him now,”
Their daily diet included cassava, corn, and wild leaves, but the villagers also found a one hectare field planted with sugar cane, near their six-meter high wooden hut. The two men have had very little contact with the outside world during the last 40 years so you can only imagine how hard it is for them to be around so many people in a new environment.
The two real-life Tarzan’s also made their own knives, axes, and arrows for hunting.
Efforts are being made to slowly reintegrate them into society.
I find it interesting that they were forced to leave their home and live somewhere else. Do you think that they should be left to live out their days in their home in the jungle where they have been for the last 40 years if that is what they wish to do? They seem to have done pretty well on their own all of those years.