Myth of Three Surnames(三姓神话)

Myth of Three Surnames

Headword

삼성신화 ( 三姓神话 , Samseongsinhwa )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer ParkJongsung(朴鍾聲)

The myth“Samseongsinhwa”from Jeju Island narrates the emergence and settlement of the three clans, with the names Go, Yang and Bu, reflecting the historical experience of Tamna, the island’s name in ancient times.

According to old records, a long time ago at a time when there were no humans or things, three divine men emerged from the earth: The biggest man was Yang Eul-na; the second biggest Go Eul-na; and the third Bu Eul-na. The three men crossed the desolate plains and hunted animals, eating their meat and making clothes out of their hide. One day they saw a wooden chest, enclosed with a seal, wash up on the eastern seashore. They went after it and opened it to find a stone chest inside, while at the same time an envoy appeared, dressed in purple with a red waistband. Inside the stone chest were three maidens in blue dresses, a pony, calf and seeds of five grains. The envoy said, “I am an envoy from Japan. Our king, who has three daughters, said‘, Three divine sons were sent down to a peak in the middle of the western sea to found a kingdom but they had no wives, ’ and commanded me to chaperone his three daughters, which is why they are here, and now you shall marry them and accomplish big things.”The envoy then disappeared on a cloud. The three men wed according to the order of their age, then each headed to lands with sweet spring water and rich soil, settling down where their arrows landed. The land where Yang Eul-na settled was called First Capital; Go Eul-na’s land Second Capital; and Bu Eul-na’s land Third Capital. They were the first to grow five grains, along with ponies and calves, prospering day by day.

This myth is notable for the abrupt shift in narrative from its opening, depicting a world without humans or things, to the appearance of the progenitors of the three clans, which is not observed in most mythology. The emergence of three divine men who already possessed individual surnames at the beginning of the universe seems to reflect a mythology restructuring as the status of the three founders of the ancient Tamna kingdom were established as that of clan progenitors due to specific historical factors. Substantial evidence points to the interpretation that among the three Eul-nas of this narrative, it is likely that Go Eul-na and Bu Eul-na are not powers indigenous to Jeju but from Buyeo and Goguryeo. It is understood that this myth has its roots in the mythological tradition of Goryeo royalty, transferred as a shamanic myth of Jeju, which in ancient times was subjugated by Goryeo. In other words, the narrative of the three Eul-nas were formed by taking only the opening of the universe creation section from the founding myth of the Tamna kingdom and combining it with the narrative about the confirmation of the surnames of the three divine men. The depiction of the three divine men as hunters who shift to agriculture and cattle farming following their marriage to the three maidens from Japan is a narrative rendering of changes that took place in the island’s economic foundations.

Myth of Three Surnames

Myth of Three Surnames
Headword

삼성신화 ( 三姓神话 , Samseongsinhwa )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer ParkJongsung(朴鍾聲)

The myth“Samseongsinhwa”from Jeju Island narrates the emergence and settlement of the three clans, with the names Go, Yang and Bu, reflecting the historical experience of Tamna, the island’s name in ancient times.

According to old records, a long time ago at a time when there were no humans or things, three divine men emerged from the earth: The biggest man was Yang Eul-na; the second biggest Go Eul-na; and the third Bu Eul-na. The three men crossed the desolate plains and hunted animals, eating their meat and making clothes out of their hide. One day they saw a wooden chest, enclosed with a seal, wash up on the eastern seashore. They went after it and opened it to find a stone chest inside, while at the same time an envoy appeared, dressed in purple with a red waistband. Inside the stone chest were three maidens in blue dresses, a pony, calf and seeds of five grains. The envoy said, “I am an envoy from Japan. Our king, who has three daughters, said‘, Three divine sons were sent down to a peak in the middle of the western sea to found a kingdom but they had no wives, ’ and commanded me to chaperone his three daughters, which is why they are here, and now you shall marry them and accomplish big things.”The envoy then disappeared on a cloud. The three men wed according to the order of their age, then each headed to lands with sweet spring water and rich soil, settling down where their arrows landed. The land where Yang Eul-na settled was called First Capital; Go Eul-na’s land Second Capital; and Bu Eul-na’s land Third Capital. They were the first to grow five grains, along with ponies and calves, prospering day by day.

This myth is notable for the abrupt shift in narrative from its opening, depicting a world without humans or things, to the appearance of the progenitors of the three clans, which is not observed in most mythology. The emergence of three divine men who already possessed individual surnames at the beginning of the universe seems to reflect a mythology restructuring as the status of the three founders of the ancient Tamna kingdom were established as that of clan progenitors due to specific historical factors. Substantial evidence points to the interpretation that among the three Eul-nas of this narrative, it is likely that Go Eul-na and Bu Eul-na are not powers indigenous to Jeju but from Buyeo and Goguryeo. It is understood that this myth has its roots in the mythological tradition of Goryeo royalty, transferred as a shamanic myth of Jeju, which in ancient times was subjugated by Goryeo. In other words, the narrative of the three Eul-nas were formed by taking only the opening of the universe creation section from the founding myth of the Tamna kingdom and combining it with the narrative about the confirmation of the surnames of the three divine men. The depiction of the three divine men as hunters who shift to agriculture and cattle farming following their marriage to the three maidens from Japan is a narrative rendering of changes that took place in the island’s economic foundations.