Dokdo legends narrate the stories surrounding the eighty-nine islands in Dokdo-ri, part of the village of Ulleung, in Ulleung County, North Geyongsang Province.
One of the legends related to Dokdo is“ Gum- eongbawi (Hole Rock), ”about a rock located off the shore of Cheonbu Village, which was originally on the waters off Hyeonpo Village. An elderly villager with mighty powers tied up the rock to a boat and tried to take it to faraway waters. But the rock would not be pulled away, and the old man, angry, lifted one of the nearby rocks and threw it on the rock tied to his boat, which made a hole in the rock. When the boat reached the waters off Cheonbu Village, the rope tore off, leaving the rock in its current location, and the rock came to be called Gumeongseom (Hole Island) or Gongam (Hole Rock) due to the hole made by the old man.
“ The Dragon That Ascended to the Heavens ”is a legend that narrates the origins of the island name of Dokdo: There were numerous islands in Donghae (East Sea), and the dragon that lived on the largest island crushed all the other islands with his tail before ascending to the heavens from Seongin Peak on Ulleung Island, leaving only two islands behind, Ulleungdo and Dokdo.“The Secret of Gasan Island ”
is about three fishermen from Ulleung Island who went out fishing on a small boat but were washed up on a deserted island, covered with rocks. They were able to return home with the help of an Taoist hermit-like old man, who gave them fruit and guided their boat, but the fishermen were never again able to find the island.
Most legends f rom Dokdo are limited within the bounds of its geography, and the only archetypal narrative found here is the“ Hole Rock ”legend, based on the“ Mountain That Moved ”narrative, explaining the origins of a prominent giant rock island next to Dokdo. The old man who moves the rock in this story seems based on the creator who rearranges geographical features, more specifically the giant creator deity in Korean mythology. In the course of moving the rock, the old man loses his mighty power, which can be interpreted as the secularization and fragmentation of the creator god, a common phenomenon in Korean folk narratives.