Stealing for Fun
Historically, youngsters would steal fruits, vegetables or crops to appease their hunger. Considered a tolerable action in the past as long as their actions did not cause the farmer serious financial damage, this activity is currently regarded as a crime. Referred to as seori (Kor. 서리), this mischievous act was conducted in the summer, as an adventure to get both food and thrills. The main targets were crops, vegetables, and fruits such as wheat, barley, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, eggplants, sweet corn, cucumbers, melons, watermelons, persimmons, and in some cases chickens.
The practice of seori led to the tradition of building a lookout in a melon or watermelon field as an effort to protect crops from the young looters. This lookout called a wondumak (Kor. 원두막, lit. fruit field hut) is a simple wooden structure consisting of four pillars supporting a lofty observation deck covered by a thatched roof. The word wondu (Kor. 원두, Chin. 園頭) refers to various fruits and creeping plants such as melon, watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin and strawberry.