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The floods of the Red River

The juvenile public - aged between 3 and 14 - applauded wildly when die stage the Forces of Evil,sea monsters led by the Water God, wercroj ed by the Forces of Good, forest beasts led by the Mountain God.
 
We were at "Nha hat Tuoi Tre" (Youth Theatre) in Ngo Thi Nham Street, Hanoi, which runs exclusive Sunday matinees for children. The play - Vua Hung Ken Re (King Hung Picks a Son-in-Law) - is written after a legend dating back to the origin of the Viet and was produced that day by students of a drama class organized by the theatre itself, with financial assistancefrom the Swedish-Vietnamese Fund for the Promotion of Culture.
 
As his daughter was the object of the admiration of both the Mountain God arid the Water God, King Hung, one of the founders of the Country of the Việt, told the two suitors: "Since I could not give my daughter to both of you. Hi give her hand to whichever of you who will be the first to bring me, tomorrow morning, one hundred plates of steamed glutmous rice two hundred rice cakes, an elephant with nine tusks, a rooster with nine spurs horse with nine red manes."
 
The Mountain God was the first to arrive at the Palace with all the gifts and he took the princess to his home at the top of a high mountain.
 
The Water God came too late. Wild with rage he unleashed one typhoon after another which shook heaven and earth, carried away houses, uprooted trees and destroyed all crops.
 
To counter him the Mountain God caused hills to rise as fast as the flood waters could swell. A violent battle ensued which ended with the victory of the Forces of Good.
 
But the victory was not decisive. The Water God has returned again and again, at the change of the monsoon each year, and the deadly battle would resume.
 
The legend has a symbolic value: the battle that takes place annually is the very image of the unending struggle of the population of the Red River delta against devastating floods occurring yearly in the course of which dykes have been erected on a length of some three thousand kilometers. What makes it very difficult to contain the river and reduce damage by floods is the fact that the level of the water is higher than the plains around and the riverbed has never ceased to rise because of the huge amounts of sift laid upon it year after year, The enormous collective efforts required by this straggle have contributed to the making of the Viet, builders of the Red River civilization.
 
The eminent Geographer Yves Lacoste writes in his introduction to the Anthologie de la literature populaire du Vietnam: "All folk literature must
be regarded as one of the presentation a people make of themselves at a more or less distant time, and since that literature is still within memory, it is one of the way for a people to define themselves in relation to other forces and to strengthen their identity."
 
Come to visit Youth Theatre with Travel Vietnam Laos
 
 
 
 
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Update : 20-06-2017
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