Song of Heoungaegi(许雄姑娘本解)

Song of Heoungaegi

Headword

허웅애기본풀이 ( 许雄姑娘本解 , Heoungaegibonpuri )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer KangJungsik(姜晶植)

“Heoungaegibonpuri”is a shamanic myth from Jeju Island that narrates the story of how humans came to be prohibited from travelling between the human world and the underworld. The tale belongs to a special category of shamanic mythology from Jeju, bonpuri, which is transmitted only through the recitation of a few shamans and through written records. They are passed down independently without association with a specific deity, ritual or ritual segment, and thus are rarely performed as part of shamanic rituals.

The plot of“ Song of Heoungaegi ”can be summarized as follows:

Heoungaegi, who was a mother to many children, was one day summoned by Jeoseungwang (King of the Underworld). In the underworld, she wept with worry for her children, and the king gave her permission to travel to the human world by night to take care of the children and return to the underworld by morning, so Heoungaegi was able to spend each night with her children. An elderly neighbor became suspicious of the fact that the motherless children appeared neat and cared for, and the children explained to her that their mother visited every night. The neighbor told the children that she would keep their mother from returning to the underworld, and tied up her feet with a string to the children’s, asking them to signal with the string when their mother arrived. When she received their signal, the elderly neighbor took Heoungaegi into hiding and kept her from going back, but in the end the King of the Underworld took Heoungaegi’s spirit. Since then the human world and the underworld was divided and it became impossible for humans to travel back and forth.

A version of this myth recited by the shaman Gang Eul-saeng incorporates the Kongdegi and Patdegi narrative and is rich in detail:

Kongdegi (Bean Girl) lives a hard life under her stepmother who cares only for her own daughter Patdegi (Red Bean Girl). When the stepmother orders Kongdegi to feed the cow while weaving hemp rope, the cow eats up the hemp and then produces dung of hemp rope. Patdegi tries to do the same but fails and butchers the cow and eats up the meat and Kongdegi takes care of the broth and bones according to instructions left by the cow. As the stepmother is leaving to attend a shamanic ritual, she orders Kongdegi to rinse the oil-drenched grains and to fill a cracked jar with water. With the help of a bird and a crow, Kongdegi manages to rinse the grains and fill the jar, and after dressing up in a robe prepared by the cow and braiding her hair, she heads to attend the shamanic ritual. At the ritual, the black leather shoe that Bachelor Cheongeui has put out turns out to fit Kongdegi’s foot, and they wed and live happily, but Kongdegi falls prey to Patdegi’s wicked scheme and dies when she drowns in Yeonhwa Pond. Kongdegi is reborn as a butterfly and comes home, but Patdegi burns her in a bronze brazier, which turns her into a bead and is thrown inside a chest. When other people cannot see, Kongdegi appears in front of Patdegi and haunts her, and eventually she is discovered by her husband and explains to him what has happened. Her husband kills Patdegi and pickles her corpse with salt, which he feeds to her mother, and kicks out her mother. Kongdegi has children and at the end of a happy life, enters the underworld, where she spends all of the hours in tears, thinking of her children. Yeomnadaewang (Great King Yeomna) of the underworld learns of this and permits Kongdegi her to travel to the human world at night to take care of her children. Thanks to this arrangement, Kongdegi’s children grow up in good hands, but a scheme by her mother-in-law to keep her in the human world results in Kongdegi being captured to be taken to the underworld, no longer permitted to travel back. This turn of events has resulted in ill relations between all daughters-in-laws and mothers-in-laws. Most other versions of this myth has no associations with the Kongdegi and Patdegi story, centering only on the story of a mother who dies and is taken to the underworld, leaving behind her young children, but returns to the human world each night to take care of the children, then dies again and can no longer travel back and forth between the two worlds.

“ Song of Heoungaegi ”focuses on how Heoungaegi brought about the division of the human world and the underworld, with characteristics of primitive mythology, which depicts humans as beings capable of travelling between the two worlds. This myth is still performed today not as part of shamanic rituals but by storytellers, a good example of the influence of mythology on Jeju Island’s storytelling tradition.

Song of Heoungaegi

Song of Heoungaegi
Headword

허웅애기본풀이 ( 许雄姑娘本解 , Heoungaegibonpuri )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Mythology

Writer KangJungsik(姜晶植)

“Heoungaegibonpuri”is a shamanic myth from Jeju Island that narrates the story of how humans came to be prohibited from travelling between the human world and the underworld. The tale belongs to a special category of shamanic mythology from Jeju, bonpuri, which is transmitted only through the recitation of a few shamans and through written records. They are passed down independently without association with a specific deity, ritual or ritual segment, and thus are rarely performed as part of shamanic rituals.

The plot of“ Song of Heoungaegi ”can be summarized as follows:

Heoungaegi, who was a mother to many children, was one day summoned by Jeoseungwang (King of the Underworld). In the underworld, she wept with worry for her children, and the king gave her permission to travel to the human world by night to take care of the children and return to the underworld by morning, so Heoungaegi was able to spend each night with her children. An elderly neighbor became suspicious of the fact that the motherless children appeared neat and cared for, and the children explained to her that their mother visited every night. The neighbor told the children that she would keep their mother from returning to the underworld, and tied up her feet with a string to the children’s, asking them to signal with the string when their mother arrived. When she received their signal, the elderly neighbor took Heoungaegi into hiding and kept her from going back, but in the end the King of the Underworld took Heoungaegi’s spirit. Since then the human world and the underworld was divided and it became impossible for humans to travel back and forth.

A version of this myth recited by the shaman Gang Eul-saeng incorporates the Kongdegi and Patdegi narrative and is rich in detail:

Kongdegi (Bean Girl) lives a hard life under her stepmother who cares only for her own daughter Patdegi (Red Bean Girl). When the stepmother orders Kongdegi to feed the cow while weaving hemp rope, the cow eats up the hemp and then produces dung of hemp rope. Patdegi tries to do the same but fails and butchers the cow and eats up the meat and Kongdegi takes care of the broth and bones according to instructions left by the cow. As the stepmother is leaving to attend a shamanic ritual, she orders Kongdegi to rinse the oil-drenched grains and to fill a cracked jar with water. With the help of a bird and a crow, Kongdegi manages to rinse the grains and fill the jar, and after dressing up in a robe prepared by the cow and braiding her hair, she heads to attend the shamanic ritual. At the ritual, the black leather shoe that Bachelor Cheongeui has put out turns out to fit Kongdegi’s foot, and they wed and live happily, but Kongdegi falls prey to Patdegi’s wicked scheme and dies when she drowns in Yeonhwa Pond. Kongdegi is reborn as a butterfly and comes home, but Patdegi burns her in a bronze brazier, which turns her into a bead and is thrown inside a chest. When other people cannot see, Kongdegi appears in front of Patdegi and haunts her, and eventually she is discovered by her husband and explains to him what has happened. Her husband kills Patdegi and pickles her corpse with salt, which he feeds to her mother, and kicks out her mother. Kongdegi has children and at the end of a happy life, enters the underworld, where she spends all of the hours in tears, thinking of her children. Yeomnadaewang (Great King Yeomna) of the underworld learns of this and permits Kongdegi her to travel to the human world at night to take care of her children. Thanks to this arrangement, Kongdegi’s children grow up in good hands, but a scheme by her mother-in-law to keep her in the human world results in Kongdegi being captured to be taken to the underworld, no longer permitted to travel back. This turn of events has resulted in ill relations between all daughters-in-laws and mothers-in-laws. Most other versions of this myth has no associations with the Kongdegi and Patdegi story, centering only on the story of a mother who dies and is taken to the underworld, leaving behind her young children, but returns to the human world each night to take care of the children, then dies again and can no longer travel back and forth between the two worlds.

“ Song of Heoungaegi ”focuses on how Heoungaegi brought about the division of the human world and the underworld, with characteristics of primitive mythology, which depicts humans as beings capable of travelling between the two worlds. This myth is still performed today not as part of shamanic rituals but by storytellers, a good example of the influence of mythology on Jeju Island’s storytelling tradition.