The Children of the Dragon – Vietnamese Creation Myth
Many people believe that Vietnamese people are Chinese, but they are not. Vietnamese people or Kinh people belong to an Austroasiatic Mon ethnic group. However, China had a big influence in its culture throughout 1000 years of on-off occupation. It was a Portuguese monk in the 1600s who used the Latin alphabet with Khmer language accents to developed the Vietnamese writing system we know today.
From all their myths and legends, there was one creation myth in particular that stayed with me to this day,
“The One Hundred Eggs” also known as “The Dragon Prince,” a Vietnamese myth of how the Vietnamese people came to be. The story is part of a collection of myths and legends retold by a Zen master poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. I found the symbolism amazing and could not help but finding elements in it that I have read in stories of the Christian Bible, also in the theory of the “Big Bang”, Evolution, and others. However, I won’t
disclose my findings because I want you to find them on your own, and share them with me, I will tell you if they are the same ones I found.
“The One Hundred Eggs”
a Vietnamese myth of how the Vietnamese people came to be.
A long time ago when the world was covered in darkness a great big bird came to Earth and laid two eggs, one red, and the other ivory after that, the bird flew back into space. A swan emerged from the ivory eggs, and a golden crow from the red egg. The shell from the red egg exploded into flames and the light reached the 36th heaven where many goddesses lived. The goddesses were curious about this light far away and Au Co, the youngest, convinced the others to find out what it was about. They turned into Lac birds and flew to see what the light was all about.
After a while of exploring, Au Co took a handful of soil and put it in her mouth. when the red light was replaced by the softer light of the ivory egg, one by one the goddesses turned into Lac birds again to return home, when Au Co tried to join her sisters, she flapped her wings as hard as she could, but she could not fly anymore. You see, Au Co had lost her powers because she tasted the new soil, and she became part of earth.
Au Co cried all night long and her tears became a river that went down from the mountain to the seashore, the sea creatures tasted the sweet water from the mountains and they went to share their news with The Dragon Prince, the son of the Sea Dragon Emperor. The Dragon Prince turned himself into a fish that swam upstream to find the source of this sweet water. As he came out of the water onto land, he became a young man, and first he admired the flowers, and green vegetation, along the river banks before he found Au Co, she was crying because she could never return to the 36th heaven and live with her sisters again for she was now part of the earth.
The Dragon Prince tried to comfort her and for a while she forgot her misfortune. The Dragon Prince took some of her tears and created rain. First Au Co heard a big boom noise, then she saw lightning, and then she felt a soft refreshing drops of rain on her face. The rain created many rivers, and spread vegetation and all living creatures all over the world.
The Dragon Prince remained on land with Au Co, and not long after, Au Co laid a large sack of eggs, and one day the eggs began to crack open, and beautiful boys and girls emerged to the joy of Au Co and Dragon Prince. The Dragon Prince created a human language and taught them how to make tools, and as the children continued to multiply as humans, and that is how the Vietnamese people became The Children of the Dragon!
Children Books about Creation Myths that you might want to read.