Life on the fields
Once upon a time, in a remote village of ancient Vietnam, there was a couple who spent their youth traveling and sharing their adventures on their favorite social media, but when the 50th year of age kicked in, they found themselves desperately wanting a child, while not being able to bear one.
But then one day, something very special happened.
One morning, the woman reached her rice field for her morning 12 hours shift, and she noticed something looking like a giant footprint on the soil. Taken by curiosity, she did what any woman would do under the same circumstances: she stripped naked and measured the mysterious mark with her boobs.
That very same night, the woman found out she was pregnant.
A lot of reassurance to the husband that yes, the baby was indeed his and 12 months later, the woman gave birth to a beautiful baby.
Like all babies born from very creative measurement activities, this one was not able to make any sound or facial expression, nor playing with toys or living beings, let alone moving around or walking.
Like all babies in general, he would just eat, sleep, change the air in the room. Quietly.
Three years went by and, despite the impairment of their baby, the farmers were happy and life on the rice fields was as joyful as it could get.
Until the Chinese started their invasion from the North, bringing a primordial version of the great hug of the Motherland to Vietnam.
The King wasted no time calling every man to arms, and very soon a royal messenger reached the remote village where people use their breast to measure things.
“Greetings, loyal servants of His Majesty the King of Vietnam” started the messenger,” the Chinese have invaded our lands and already killed our brothers in the order of thousands.”
“Well, it sounds like a raw number which does not consider the asymptomatic” replied the chief of the village.
“It is easy to point fingers to a specific people when things start going South, right?!?” shouted one of the villagers from the crowd, ” the real problem here is racism, you Nazi piece of shit!”
“Hm, excuse me,” said another, ” why do say only brothers? Like, women cannot be murdered just like a man, hmm?”
“But…by the ancestors…” fumbled the messenger.
“I WANT TO SPEAK WITH YOUR MANAGER!!!” cried a woman.
“Oh, by the light of Heavens!” steamed out the messenger ” your King is commanding every man able to hold arms to join the Royal Army to fend off the invaders…”
“First the racism and now even the ableism!?!” erupted someone,” this is the current year buddy, grow the heck up!!!”.
“THE VIETNAMESE ARE TIRED OF THE INDIANS WHO ARE STEALING THEIR JOBS!”
Torches got lit.
“NOW THE GOVERNMENT (WHICH FEEDS ONLY THE BANKS) WANTS TO SEND US TO SECRET CAMPS TO TEST MIND CONTROLLING VACCINES!”
Bottles started to fly around.
“WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! IT’S A CONSPIRACY!”
Smoke bombs exploded all around.
Time froze for a long instant, as the quiet baby suddenly let out an earth-quaking roar.
“My fellow associate responsible for direct communications between the members of the Royal family and their loyal protégées”, calmly said the little one,” would you be so kind to deliver a humble request from the undersigned directly to our dearly beloved, maximum leader?”
The messenger gulped, dumbstruck.” S-s-sure, w-w-what would you like me to…”
The eyes of the baby turned red as he started walking toward the shaking man.
“I want a gigantic fire-spitting horse, a kilometer-long whip and a full set of armor, everything made of the heaviest iron ever taken out of mother Earth’s cold grasp”.
The baby jumped, grabbed the man by his scarf and pulled his ear close to his baby mouth: “and I want them all by Friday morning”.
The messenger ran as fast as the wind back to court, where a slightly skeptical King listened to the surreal request of the baby.
Fire and the flames
“Everything made out of iron…even the horse?” sniggered the royal.
“Especially the horse, Your Majesty” babbled the messenger,” a pureblood Mustang, preferably”.
“Yeah, and farting rainbows, too!” the king burst in laughter. “Go back and tell the kid to buy a My Little Pony, instead. Dismissed.” The king turned to his counselors. “Now gentlemen, about the distribution of face masks and hand sanitizers…”
“But your majesty!” an old advisor dared to interrupt,” have you not checked the horoscope today?”
“No, grandpa, why would I…”
“It said that you should embrace the unexpected today, my lord!”
“But then…you mean…”
“It’s destiny, sire.”
Immediately after, each and every foundry of the realm went lit with rivers of molten iron, waterfalls of sparks and a couple of Elon Musk’s flamethrowers.
Meanwhile, back to the village, may that be due to visceral fear or hieratic adoration, people started to feed the baby an ungodly amount of food and protein shakes, observing the toddler doubling in size and body hair every day.
Halfway through the week, the baby was already a towering 3 meters tall bulldozer of pure love toward the homeland and carnage.
On the first light of Friday, as requested, the Royal Delivery Service shipped the refined material of three iron mines to the not-so-baby-anymore warrior.
“Does the horse spit fire, as requested?”
“Yes my lord”, replied the deliveryman, “ and the warranty says that it is perfect against zombies, or a complete refund is provided”.
The giant then wore his armor (conveniently fitting his new size), saddled up and ordered his metal horse to run toward his enemies, so that he may enjoy the sound of their bones cracking. In the current language, it is pronounced “YIEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAWWW!”.
Somewhere up North, the Chinese
invaders guests were teaching the local population about the true value of globalization and the concept of the global village, by practicing genocide.
It was a beautiful Saturday like any other when suddenly a burst of thunderous laughter mixed with cried of pain and terror filled the ether. The baby giant had finally reached the battlefield, whirling in ecstasy his iron whip and blowing raspberries at what remained of his victims. He was just a baby, after all.
The legend says that his whip broke and the fire-spitting horse ran out of fuel, so the giant muttered “gotta kill fast” as he ripped off the ground a couple of bamboo trees, “iron too slow”. He then proceeded to play whack-a-mole with any fool who kept daring to challenge him.
Against all forecasts, the Chinese army routed back to where it came from. As the country was saved and his duty was fulfilled, the baby Terminator activated the secondary “rainbow farting” feature of his horse and ascended to heaven.
The tale of Thánh Gióng is taught nowadays in the primary schools of Vietnam, as a part of the saga of the Four Immortals and as a symbol of the resilience of the Vietnamese people against any invader, no matter how strong it is or how many stars are on its flag.