Dragon blood flowed through Lac Long Quan's veins. The heroic warrior king feared nothing and no one. He boldly challenged sea monsters; he bravely battled tree monsters; he let no wild beast rampage through his beloved Vietnam. All his grateful countryman had to do was call "Father!" and Lac Long Quan would appear to save them.
One sight alone stopped Lac Long Quan. That was the incredible beauty of Au Co, an immortal mountain fairy spirit. The dragon lord was bedazzled. He married Au Co and shortly after she produced a large sack of eggs. The sack grew larger and larger. On the seventh day, it was so enormous it burst and 100 sons were born to the dragon lord and his fairy wife.
At first, the royal family lived in harmony. But King Lac Long Quan was a dragon, so he needed to live by water. And Queen Au Co missed her ancestral mountain home. Lac Long Quan took 50 of their sons and moved to the lowlands. He taught them to fish, wearing tattoos to scare off sea monsters, to sow rice and to cook it in slender bamboo shoots. Au Co took their other 50 sons and moved up to the highlands. She taught them to raise animals, to grow fruit trees, and to build homes out of sturdy bamboo stilts.
Lac Long Quan and Au Co lived separately ever after, but together they watched over their beloved country.
Many of the countries in Southeast Asia trace their origins to a mythic founder, who may be a dragon, like Vietnam's Lac Long Quan, or a hero or a princess married to a dragon. These cultural ancestors were to be honored. Often they were the ones who had shown a people an essential skill like rice planting, cooking, or weaving.