Dragons and Fairies: The Legend of the Hundred Việts
The following is a myth that chronicles the origin of the Vietnamese people. It has been passed down from generations to generations, long preceding even the thousand years of Chinese occupation. It is a cornerstone of Vietnamese culture, a foundation that has safeguarded the identity of the Vietnamese for many thousands of years.
This is a mythical tale, filled with magic and wonder, and should not be taken literally. It is meant to paint a picture in your mind, giving you something to think about. After this reading, you will understand why the Vietnamese people refer to themselves as the seeds of Dragons and the descendants of Fairies. It’s also kind of a love story, if you’re into that sorta thing?
The Legend of Lạc Long Quân
Legend speaks of a man named Kinh Dương Vương (aka King Kinh Dương), a mythical figure that descended from a long line of dragons. Long Nu, a female descendent of another dragon clan, was married to Kinh Dương Vương and gave birth to a boy named Lạc Long Quân. As an immortal with the dragon lineage, Lạc Long Quân would be known as the Dragon Prince in Vietnamese history. As Lạc Long Quân matures, he meets a beautiful woman by the name of Âu Cơ, and falls deeply in love with her.
The story of their first meeting happens when the Dragon Prince notices a demonic bird chasing after a defenseless white crane. Lạc Long Quân rushes to the crane’s defense, smashing the demon bird with a rock. The demonic bird was so furious that it morphed itself into a tiger and bitterly tried to maul the Dragon Prince. As a result, the Prince found himself tangled in a violent struggle against an adversary he did not know.
Lạc Long Quân prevails in the end, killing the demon and succeeding in his protection of the vulnerable white crane. As the Dragon Prince would find out, things are not always as they seem. The white crane was actually the beautiful Âu Cơ in disguise, trying to get away from the predatory abomination that was pursuing her. Lạc Long Quân was pleasantly surprised to find this out and the two quickly become close.
Âu Cơ was an angelic beauty, a descendent of the fairies, and an immortal like Lạc Long Quân himself. Together, the two would form a family, becoming the parents of one hundred sons. With his wife Âu Cơ, Lạc Long Quân would preside over the mountains and rivers of the land. Their children would carry the blood of the dragons and the charm of the fairies.
Sadly, as time went on, Âu Cơ starts to long for her home in the sky, while Lạc Long Quân begins to miss his life at sea. As a result, the two lovers would separate. Princess Âu Cơ would take fifty of the children and depart to the mountains, Lạc Long Quân in-turn would bring the other fifty sons to the coastal regions close to the seas. These children, the seeds of the dragon clans, the descendants of the fairies, will inhabit the mountains and rivers of the south, becoming the originators of the Vietnamese people.