Vietnam Culture Festivals & Folk-games The Game of the Dragon-Snake (rong ran)

The Game of the Dragon-Snake (rong ran)

A large group plays the children's game rong ran (dragon-snake). In One person sits on a small hill or some location above the other players; he or she acts as the doctor. The other children stand in a line, holding each other's belts to form the body of the dragon-snake.

The dragon-snake approaches the doctor. The following dialogue occurs between the doctor and the head of the line:

- Where are you going, dragon-snake?
- I’m searching for medicine for my son.
- How old is he, your son?
- He is one year old. - The doctor is not well.
- He is (two, three, four, five... repeated each time) years old. - The doctor is not well.

The dialogue continues until the dragon-snake says:

- He is ten years old.

Then the doctor answers:
- All right, the doctor is well.

With this, the doctor stands up and says:
- Give me your head
- Nothing but the bones

Responds the dragon-snake
- Give me the body.
- Nothing but the blood.
- Give me the tail.
- Pursue at will!

At this, the doctor flies into a rage and attempts lo catch the child who represents the tail of the dragon-snake. The head of the line stretches his or her arms to bar the doctor while the dragon-snake tries to make a circle. If the dragon-snake succeeds in rolling into a circle before the physician can touch the tail, it wins. On the contrary, if the doctor catches the tail of the dragon-snake, the entire group loses the game. All losers must stretch out their hands, palms downwards, to the winner, who slaps them one after another.