AL: The tale of Lạc Long and Âu Cơ:
Lạc Long Quân was born in 2800 BC. He is the sun of a mountain god… and his mother is uh the sea god. His body is a dragon of some sort even though his parents… Was a sea dragon and his father the son of mountain… [He] was like a human-ish figure. His name, Lạc Long Quân, translates to Dragon Lord of Lạc. Lạc is a place in Vietnam…
Âu Cơ is the daughter of the northern chief… And fairy from the mother… Lạc Long Quân, the dragon, decided to take the form of a handsome man because he has that power, and Âu Cơ is a fairy. And so they married, and um *laughs* interestingly enough, Lạc Long Quân married the daughter but killed the father. I know. It’s weird… You would think that you shouldn’t kill the daughter’s father…
Anyway, so they had sex, and uhm she gave birth to a sack of a hundred eggs, and they grew into a hundred boys… Or children, depending on lore, and reestablished Vietnam. Uhm they say that all ancestors descend form these 100 children… Âu Cơ loved the mountain, so she really liked the north side. Lạc Long Quân loved the water because his mother is a water dragon… And so they decided to split the kids in half, or not in half— *laughs* divide the kids in half, fifty-fifty, and take them to either location… Half of them in the mountain and half of them near the sea… It was agreed by both parents that they would help each other in need. Lạc Long taught his children to fish and tattoo. Âu Cơ taught her children to farm and breed animals.
In Saigon, there are two streets who intersect. One is named Lạc Long, and one is named Âu Cơ, and they intersect because they’re married to each other… It’s very cute… Probably intentional… And then Lạc Long is known as the first king of Vietnam…
Taken from a conversation with my roommate in the Cale & Irani Apartments at USC Village. Him and I are of Vietnamese descent.
Myths are like adult versions of fairy tales. Historically, they have helped societies try to understand elements of the natural world or the scientific phenomena around them. Here, this myth plays into patriotic ideals in the founding of a nation and a unification between the rivalry of North and South Vietnam. These cross-generational stories are kept alive by the communities performing them. These two figures are so deeply incorporated into Vietnamese culture that there’s many pieces of art dedicated to them. In fact, there is a temple dedicated to the Dragon Lord. Furthermore, the intersecting streets are just further proof of how stories like these unify people through their collective imagination, childhoods, and rich cultural histories and beliefs.