Kim Đồng

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Nong Van Den, later known as Kim Đồng, (1929–1943), was a Nung ethnic minority boy who fought with the Vietnamese resistance against the French.

In 1939, 10-year-old Kim Dong was already fully fledged in the service of the revolution by delivering secret letters to the local guerrillas and helping revolutionary soldiers join hidden troops into the remotest parts of the mountainous province.

On one occasion, when Kim Dong was carrying some particularly important documents, he stumbled across troops acting on the side of the French.

They caught the little boy and demanded to know what he was carrying and who he’d met on the road. Kim Dong insisted that the only person he’d seen was a local herb doctor who was travelling to a nearby village to give medicine to a woman having problems giving birth.

It was a tough call for the young boy and he didn’t get away with it. The ‘doctor’ was immediately sought for arrest.

Wracked with worry, the little boy followed the troops to the man with plans of staging a daring escape.

His chance came when the troops had to march their quarry through a market. Kim Dong started agitating two buffaloes who began to tussle. Two of the guards were so engrossed in the fight that the youngster led their prisoner away to a secret cave where they met a female liaison who came to give the revolutionary orders to organise an attack.

The teen’s final act of defiance came a few years later when, caught by French troops on his way to deliver a message, he stuffed the letter into his mouth to destroy it before the enemy bullets felled him.