Lạc Long Quân

Lạc Long Quân (Chữ Hán:雒龍君; "Dragon King of Lạc"; also called Sùng Lãm) is a semi-mythical King of Hồng Bàng Dynasty of ancient Vietnam. Quân was the son of Kinh Dương Vương, the king of Xích Quỷ. He is the main figure in the Vietnamese creation myth of Lạc Long Quân-Âu Cơ.

Lạc Long Quân
Lạc Long Quân
Đền thờ Lạc Long Quân.jpg
Temple of Lạc Long Quân in Phú Thọ
Hồng Bàng Dynasty
Reign2793–2524 BC
PredecessorKinh Dương Vương
SuccessorHùng Vương I
Born2825 BC
Unknown
Died2525 BC (allegedly aged 299–300)
Unknown
SpouseÂu Cơ
Issue100 sons and daughters
Names
Sùng Lãm
HouseHồng Bàng
FatherKinh Dương Vương
MotherLong Mẫu Thần Long

According to the myth, Lạc Long Quân married Âu Cơ, a mountain fairy. She gives birth to a sac containing 100 eggs from which 100 children were born; this is the origin of the Vietnamese peoples. One day Lạc Long Quân told Âu Cơ: "I am descended from dragons, you from fairies. We are as incompatible as water is with fire. So we cannot continue in harmony." This said, the husband and wife parted. The man went to the seawards with 50 of their children, while his wife went to the mountainous region with the other half of the clan. The eldest son, who followed his mother,[1] later installed himself as Quân's successor.[2][3]

GenealogyEdit

 
Lạc Long Quân the patriarch, wood carving at Lạc Long Quân temple of Bình Đà village, Hanoi.

Lạc Long Quân's father was Kinh Dương Vương and Lạc Long Quân's mother is Long Mẫu Thần Long (Divine Mother Goddess of Dragons).[4]

In Vietnamese literatureEdit

The books Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư (from the 15th century) and Lĩnh Nam chích quái ("Wonders plucked from the dust of Linh-nam", from the 14th century) mention the legend with Âu Cơ.[5] Ngô Sĩ Liên commented on the somewhat primitive nature of the relationship between the two progenitors, given that Lạc's father Kinh Dương Vương and Âu's grandfather Đế Nghi were brothers.[6][a]

MythologyEdit

Slaying of the Monster Fish

During Lạc Long Quân's time, the people of Van Lang was still undeveloped and isolated. In the Eastern sea, there appears a giant Fish called Ngư Tinh (魚精, Vietnamese for "fish monster" or "fish spirit"). This fish has lived for many centuries and had a mouth so big it could swallow an entire ship containing 10 fisherman in a single gulp. Whenever the fish swim, waves would reach for the sky, drowning many ships unfortunate enough to be caught in its path, and all the people passing through the area would become the fish's next meal. Ngư Tinh lives in a big cave under the sea, above the cave is a huge mountain which divides the sea into two areas.

Lạc Long Quân decided to offer his help to the people by slaying the fish. He built a huge ship, made a burning human-shaped piece of metal, then sailed straight towards Ngư Tinh's nest. There he held the human-shaped piece of metal up to trick Ngư Tinh. Ngư Tinh thought it was a human, so it opened its mouth and tried to swallow to burning metal. Quân then threw the burning metal into Ngư Tinh's mouth. Ngư Tinh 's throat was burning, it struggled and tried to sink Quân's ship. Quân then took his sword out and slew the beast, slicing it into three pieces.

Slaying of the nine-tailed fox

After slaying Ngư Tinh, Quân went down to Long Biên (龍編). There lived a one thousand-year old nine-tailed fox called Hồ Tinh (狐精, Vietnamese for "fox monster" or "fox spirit"). The fox lived in a deep cave, beneath Rock Mountain in the west of Long Biên. This fox often disguised itself as a human in order to lure the village men and women, then bring them to the cave and devour them. This fox has been harassing people from Long Biên to Tản Viên (傘圓) mountain for centuries and the villagers were so afraid of the fox that they have to leave their homes and farms to other places in order to live peacefully. Quân brought his sword to the beast's nest and set out to slay the beast, just as he had with Ngư Tinh before. When Quân reached the cave, the fox smelt the scent of human flesh and emerged her lair to confront whoever it was who dared trespass into her domain. Upon seeing the beast, Quân then used magic to call the elements of wind and thunder to trap Hồ Tinh and after 3 days, the beast was weakened and attempted to flee from her attacker, but Quân caught the demon fox and decapitated her. Quân descended into the cave and rescued everybody that was still alive and returned them back to Long Biên.

 
Lạc Long Quân's temple at Sim hill, Phú Thọ

Vietnamese creation mythEdit

Descendant of Dragon and Fairy

Based on the 16th century mythical genealogy Hùng Vương sự tích ngọc phả cổ truyền, Lạc Long Quân is the son of Kinh Dương Vương and Long Mẫu Thần Long (龍母神龍), the dragon goddess that rules the sky and the ocean. He was married to Âu Cơ, the daughter of the sixth Flame Emperor Đế Lai (帝來). Âu Cơ gave birth to a sac of a hundred eggs, which were hatched into a hundred boys. One day, Quân confessed to her: "I am a descendant of the Dragon, you are descendant of the Fairy, fire and water cannot live together in harmony." The two of them then divided their children. Fifty sons followed their mother to the mountainous north, the other fifty followed their father to live in the south; these children are ancestor of Vietnamese and Khmer. The oldest brother followed Âu Cơ to Phong Châu (Phú Thọ), became Quân's successor and ruled as Hung King. It's the story of the earliest divorce in Vietnamese history.[7]

LegacyEdit

Most cities in Vietnam have named major streets named after him.[8] He features both in primary education[9] and in some forms of popular religious belief as a god.[10][11]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The text reads: According to the Addendum to the Tongjian, Đế Lai was Đế Nghi's son; as such, that they[, Lạc and Âu,] still married even though Kinh Dương Vương was Đế Nghi's younger brother, would it be because they didn't know the proper conduct back in those primitive times?

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ngô Thì Sĩ, Việt sử Tiêu án]
  2. ^ Roseane M Santos An Unashamed Defense of Coffee - Page 268 2009 "A Vietnamese myth claims that the Vietnamese people of various tribes were born outside the womb following the marriage of Lạc Long Quân (Dragon Chief) and Âu Cơ (the Fairy), but Vietnamese historians consider the Dong Son civilization ..."
  3. ^ Nghia M. Vo Saigon: A History 2011 -- Page 285 "According to legend, King Lạc Long Quân wed fairy Âu Cơ who gave him 100 children. Both considered to be the ancestors of the Vietnamese nation, they later split up; taking 50 children, he settled along the coastal area and founded the ..."
  4. ^ Keith Weller Taylor: The Birth of Vietnam. Revision of thesis (Ph.D), Appendix A, pg. 304. University of California Press (1991). ISBN 0-520-07417-3
  5. ^ Keith Weller Taylor: The Birth of Vietnam. Revision of thesis (Ph.D.). Appendix A, page 303. University of California Press (1991). ISBN 0-520-07417-3
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2] Linh Nam Chich Quai, Dai Viet Su Ky Toan Thu
  8. ^ Vietnam Country Map. Periplus Travel Maps. 2002–2003. ISBN 0-7946-0070-0.
  9. ^ Marie-Carine Lall, Edward Vickers - Education As a Political Tool in Asia - Page 143 2009 "'Vietnamese-ness'. The history of the country really started around 800 bc with the Văn Lang kingship. Children learn about the legends of the nation's birth, which feature heroic figures such as Kinh Dương Vương, Âu Cơ – Lạc Long Quân ..."
  10. ^ Andrea Lauser, Kirsten W. Endres - Engaging the Spirit World: Popular Beliefs and Practices in Modern Vietnam 2012 - Page 93 "of the Water Palace are linked to the mythical foundation of the country and they are considered to be descendants of the Dragon King of Động Đình, father of the mythic founder of the country, Lạc Long Quân. Images from this past are enacted ..."
  11. ^ Philip Taylor Modernity and Re-Enchantment: Religion in Post-Revolutionary Vietnam Page 68 2007 "According to legend, all Vietnamese people can trace their ancestry back to the marriage of the dragon father Lạc Long Quân and the fairy mother Âu Cơ. This magical union produced an egg sac from which hatched one hundred human ..."

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit

Lạc Long Quân
Hồng Bàng Dynasty
Preceded by King of Văn Lang
2793 BC – ?
Succeeded by
Hùng Quốc Vương