Origin of Farming(世经本解)

Origin of Farming

Headword

세경본풀이 ( 世经本解 , Segyeongbonpuri )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer JwaHyekyung(左惠景)

The shamanic myth“Segyeongbonpuri”recited as part of the good harvest segment in the grand rituals (keungut) of Jeju Island, tells the story of Jacheongbi, the goddess of farming, and this is also called the myth of Jacheongbi.

The following is a summary of the myth based on a recited version by Gang Il-saeng:

Gimjinguk and Jojinguk, husband and wife, longed for a son but their offering was short by one geun in weight and they were given a daughter, who upon birth was named Jacheongbi. One day when Jacheongbi is doing the laundry, Bachelor Mun, headed to the heavenly kingdom of Okhwang to pursue his studies, asks her for some water to drink and she offers him a gourdful, with a willow leaf floating on the water. Bachelor Mun expresses anger at this but Jacheongbi handles the situation with wisdom, and follows Mun to Okhwang, where she studies alongside him, disguised as a man, and greatly excels. From time to time her colleagues are suspicious that she is a woman, but each time, she evades their accusation with wit and wisdom. Jacheongbi developes romantic feelings for Bachelor Mun, and when she returns upon completing her studies, she confesses to him that she is a woman and they make love at Jacheongbi’s home. Upon her return, Jacheongbi’s parents accept her as the family heir for she had completed her studies, and hands her the deeds for the house, land, and servants. Bachelor Mun leaves behind a token of love and for a long time Jacheongbi waits patiently, but tired of waiting, sets out to find him, taking with her the family servant Jeongsunam. On the road, Jacheongbi ends up killing Jeongsunam to resist his seduction and to escape violence. Denounced as a murderer, Jacheongbi is abandoned by her family, and is accepted as a foster daughter by the Granny Witch of Mt.Cheongtae. Jacheongbi writes Bachelor Mun a letter of love and Mun rushes to her but is unable to meet her, after which Jacheongbi is abandoned by the Granny Witch as well, with nowhere left to go. After enduring a thousand troubles and struggles, Jacheongbi heads up to the heavens disguised as a monk, where she boards with Bachelor Mun in his room and they reconnect as lovers. Jacheongbi writes a letter to her father-in- law-to-be, explaining their situation, and after passing a series of tests, including crossing a bridge lined with knife blades, she receives permission to marry Mun. Jacheongbi also establishes the law of menstruation in women, which earns her acceptance for her powers of productivity, and contributes to a military battle against foreign enemies, for which she is awarded land for farming. When Ilcheonseonbi (A Thousand Scholars) kill her husband out of envy, Jacheongbi uses her wisdom to outwit their schemes, then travels to Seocheonkkotbat (Flower Garden of the West), where she becomes a son-in-law of the Flower Garden Supervisor and picks a Resurrection Flower to bring back Mun, her husband, to life. She then sends her revived husband to Seocheonguk to take care of the supervisor’s youngest daughter, whom Jacheongbi had married, but Mun does not return by an arranged date. Angry at her husband’s betrayal, Jacheongbi reports this to her father-in-law Munseonwang, who defends his son. In the end, her husband returns and Jacheongbi begins farming on the lands of Segyeong, where Mun is deified as Sangsegyeong (Celestial Farming God); Jacheongbi as Jungsegyeong (Earthly Farming Goddess); and the servant Jeongsunam as Hasegyeong (Cattle God).

“Segyeongbonpuri”is a myth about the origins of farming, which refers to the delivery of the seeds of the five grains, and also about farming gods. It is a universally observed phenomenon that farming deities are goddesses, and conflict between the sexes and confrontation regarding class can be interpreted in terms of symbolism within mythological systems. Achieving fruition through the union of male and female, and Jacheongbi’s male disguise—in other words, androgyny, or the combination of the two sexes—can both be interpreted as cosmological prosperity and fertility.

As the heroine of a farming myth that aims at praying for prosperity, Jacheongbi is the earth goddess Jimosin (Mother Earth), possessing maternal traits as the mother of land, the foundation of grain cultivation. The fact that Jacheongbi brings the seeds of five grains, that she is awarded farming land on Jeju in exchange for her martial accomplishment, and that she exercises influence on the proliferation of cattle and horses, can all be interpreted as the traits of the corn goddess, or the goddess of the harvest, and at the same time as those of an epic heroine, achieving peace in battle and acquiring land for farming.

Origin of Farming

Origin of Farming
Headword

세경본풀이 ( 世经本解 , Segyeongbonpuri )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer JwaHyekyung(左惠景)

The shamanic myth“Segyeongbonpuri”recited as part of the good harvest segment in the grand rituals (keungut) of Jeju Island, tells the story of Jacheongbi, the goddess of farming, and this is also called the myth of Jacheongbi.

The following is a summary of the myth based on a recited version by Gang Il-saeng:

Gimjinguk and Jojinguk, husband and wife, longed for a son but their offering was short by one geun in weight and they were given a daughter, who upon birth was named Jacheongbi. One day when Jacheongbi is doing the laundry, Bachelor Mun, headed to the heavenly kingdom of Okhwang to pursue his studies, asks her for some water to drink and she offers him a gourdful, with a willow leaf floating on the water. Bachelor Mun expresses anger at this but Jacheongbi handles the situation with wisdom, and follows Mun to Okhwang, where she studies alongside him, disguised as a man, and greatly excels. From time to time her colleagues are suspicious that she is a woman, but each time, she evades their accusation with wit and wisdom. Jacheongbi developes romantic feelings for Bachelor Mun, and when she returns upon completing her studies, she confesses to him that she is a woman and they make love at Jacheongbi’s home. Upon her return, Jacheongbi’s parents accept her as the family heir for she had completed her studies, and hands her the deeds for the house, land, and servants. Bachelor Mun leaves behind a token of love and for a long time Jacheongbi waits patiently, but tired of waiting, sets out to find him, taking with her the family servant Jeongsunam. On the road, Jacheongbi ends up killing Jeongsunam to resist his seduction and to escape violence. Denounced as a murderer, Jacheongbi is abandoned by her family, and is accepted as a foster daughter by the Granny Witch of Mt.Cheongtae. Jacheongbi writes Bachelor Mun a letter of love and Mun rushes to her but is unable to meet her, after which Jacheongbi is abandoned by the Granny Witch as well, with nowhere left to go. After enduring a thousand troubles and struggles, Jacheongbi heads up to the heavens disguised as a monk, where she boards with Bachelor Mun in his room and they reconnect as lovers. Jacheongbi writes a letter to her father-in- law-to-be, explaining their situation, and after passing a series of tests, including crossing a bridge lined with knife blades, she receives permission to marry Mun. Jacheongbi also establishes the law of menstruation in women, which earns her acceptance for her powers of productivity, and contributes to a military battle against foreign enemies, for which she is awarded land for farming. When Ilcheonseonbi (A Thousand Scholars) kill her husband out of envy, Jacheongbi uses her wisdom to outwit their schemes, then travels to Seocheonkkotbat (Flower Garden of the West), where she becomes a son-in-law of the Flower Garden Supervisor and picks a Resurrection Flower to bring back Mun, her husband, to life. She then sends her revived husband to Seocheonguk to take care of the supervisor’s youngest daughter, whom Jacheongbi had married, but Mun does not return by an arranged date. Angry at her husband’s betrayal, Jacheongbi reports this to her father-in-law Munseonwang, who defends his son. In the end, her husband returns and Jacheongbi begins farming on the lands of Segyeong, where Mun is deified as Sangsegyeong (Celestial Farming God); Jacheongbi as Jungsegyeong (Earthly Farming Goddess); and the servant Jeongsunam as Hasegyeong (Cattle God).

“Segyeongbonpuri”is a myth about the origins of farming, which refers to the delivery of the seeds of the five grains, and also about farming gods. It is a universally observed phenomenon that farming deities are goddesses, and conflict between the sexes and confrontation regarding class can be interpreted in terms of symbolism within mythological systems. Achieving fruition through the union of male and female, and Jacheongbi’s male disguise—in other words, androgyny, or the combination of the two sexes—can both be interpreted as cosmological prosperity and fertility.

As the heroine of a farming myth that aims at praying for prosperity, Jacheongbi is the earth goddess Jimosin (Mother Earth), possessing maternal traits as the mother of land, the foundation of grain cultivation. The fact that Jacheongbi brings the seeds of five grains, that she is awarded farming land on Jeju in exchange for her martial accomplishment, and that she exercises influence on the proliferation of cattle and horses, can all be interpreted as the traits of the corn goddess, or the goddess of the harvest, and at the same time as those of an epic heroine, achieving peace in battle and acquiring land for farming.