There's a large Hmong community where I live, and around here he's been compared to Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Sitting Bull, and Caesar; the Economist compared him to Moses ...
But bear in mind that he was recently arrested for trying to overthrow Laos. Not only was he living in CA at the time--he was trained and funded by the CIA back in the 60s and 70s for this very task. Plus he had at least 20 kids. So maybe big words are due.
I read a really great article about him that I'd love to quote in full, but instead, let's hone in on this curious bit (my apologies for the somewhat heavy-handed chopping):
[Vang] told me of the magic stone an old Hmong had given him to protect him, walking for days through the mountains to make the presentation.Now I haven't been about to find out much else about VP's magic stone, but boy oh boy did that pique my interest. We here at LoS have certainly previously talked about magical stones at length. Magic stones seem to pop up again and again in history and myth as well as contemporary tales; a few examples include:
The stone, he said, was in a safe-deposit box in an American bank. It, or the spirits, saved him many times. He walked away from eight airplane crashes, was left standing when a U.S. bomber mistakenly dropped four large bombs on his command post (none exploded; figure those odds) and was shot up more than once ...
Nothing daunted him. I have seen him bless women in St. Paul who could not conceive a child and who then became pregnant within months.
* The Benben Stone
* The Foundation Stone
* The Fallen Stone: Perhaps related to the Ark of the Covenant, it was rumored to have protected, for a time, Saddam Hussein, and also rumored to be the true goal of the US invasion into Iraq.
* Syvelster's Stone: One of the most terrifying tales ever told.
And of course our explorations in the Masonic fall directly in the cross hairs formed by "stone" and "power".
See also: http://www.air-america.org/newspaper_articles/20050703_The_covert_wars_of_Vang_Pao.pdf