Red-for-Hundred-Days(百日红)

Red-for-Hundred-Days

Headword

백일홍 ( 百日红 , baegilhong )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Legends

Writer OhSejung(吳世晶)

This legend narrates the story of the origin of the crape myrtle tree—called baegilhong in Korean, meaning, “red for a hundred days”—an incarnation of the spirit of a maiden who died waiting for a man who set out to slay the monster serpent imugi.

The narrative comprises motifs of human sacrifice, monster-slaying and maiden-rescue by a male hero, which are also found in “Tale of Geotaji, ” included in Samgungnyusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms).

A long time ago, in a seaside village, it was the custom to offer a maiden as sacrifice to the the monster serpent imugi that lived in the sea. One day a hero appeared and offered to take the place of a maiden who was about to be sent to sea as sacrifice, to confront the monster and slay it. As he set out to sea, the hero told the maiden that he he succeeded, he would return with a white banner, and with a red banner if he failed. One hundred days later, the hero’s ship returned with a red banner and thinking that the hero was dead, the maiden stabbed herself and died. But the banner was indeed white, stained red with the monster’s blood when it was slain. From the maiden’s tomb bloomed red flowers, the maiden’s devoted hundred-day prayer for the hero’s return materialized as beautiful blossoms. The flowers stayed in bloom for a hundred days and came to be called baegilhong, or red-for-hundred- days.

The plot of the narrative combines several folk tale motifs, including human sacrifice, monster- slaying by a male hero, mistaken colors, and flower transformation. There are few instances in Korean folk literature of the rescued maiden sacrifice ending in death, but this legend emphasizes the love and devotion of the heroine, embodied by the crape myrtle blossoms, which, unlike other flowers, stay in bloom for a long time in the course of summer.

Red-for-Hundred-Days

Red-for-Hundred-Days
Headword

백일홍 ( 百日红 , baegilhong )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Legends

Writer OhSejung(吳世晶)

This legend narrates the story of the origin of the crape myrtle tree—called baegilhong in Korean, meaning, “red for a hundred days”—an incarnation of the spirit of a maiden who died waiting for a man who set out to slay the monster serpent imugi.

The narrative comprises motifs of human sacrifice, monster-slaying and maiden-rescue by a male hero, which are also found in “Tale of Geotaji, ” included in Samgungnyusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms).

A long time ago, in a seaside village, it was the custom to offer a maiden as sacrifice to the the monster serpent imugi that lived in the sea. One day a hero appeared and offered to take the place of a maiden who was about to be sent to sea as sacrifice, to confront the monster and slay it. As he set out to sea, the hero told the maiden that he he succeeded, he would return with a white banner, and with a red banner if he failed. One hundred days later, the hero’s ship returned with a red banner and thinking that the hero was dead, the maiden stabbed herself and died. But the banner was indeed white, stained red with the monster’s blood when it was slain. From the maiden’s tomb bloomed red flowers, the maiden’s devoted hundred-day prayer for the hero’s return materialized as beautiful blossoms. The flowers stayed in bloom for a hundred days and came to be called baegilhong, or red-for-hundred- days.

The plot of the narrative combines several folk tale motifs, including human sacrifice, monster- slaying by a male hero, mistaken colors, and flower transformation. There are few instances in Korean folk literature of the rescued maiden sacrifice ending in death, but this legend emphasizes the love and devotion of the heroine, embodied by the crape myrtle blossoms, which, unlike other flowers, stay in bloom for a long time in the course of summer.