Over the next three years, in time for Hanoi's 1 000th birthday in 2010, scientists intend to clean up Hoan Kiem Lake, home to the creature that symbolises Vietnam's centuries-old struggle for independence.
Vietnamese and German experts say they will use a new device, which borrows from the designs of corkscrews, submarines and tanks, to suck several metres (feet) of toxic sludge from the bottom of the 'Lake of the Returned Sword'.
The $2,4-million project will be a delicate one.
The famed, algae-green lake is home to an elusive turtle that is a key figure in Vietnam folklore.
In a story that every Vietnamese child learns at school, the 15th century farmer-turned-rebel leader Le Loi used a magical sword to drive out Chinese invaders and found the dynasty named after him.
When Le Loi, by now the emperor, went boating on the lake one day, a turtle appeared, took his sacred sword and dived to the bottom of the lake, keeping the weapon safe for the next time Vietnam may have to defend its freedom.
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