Spirits Spring(酒泉江)

Spirits Spring

Headword

주천강 ( 酒泉江 , Jucheon )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Legends

Writer HanMiok(韓美玉)

The legend of Jucheon narrates the story of a spring that produced spirits, then came to a stop one day.

In the village of Jucheon in Yeongwol, Gangwon Province, there was a spring named Jucheon, which, like the meaning of its name, produced spirits. When a nobleman went for a drink, the spring produced cheongju (clear filtered rice wine), while when a commoner went to get wine, produced takju (unrefined rice wine), even when the commoner was dressed in the attire of a nobleman. One day a young farmer from the village passed the state examinations and earned a status of an aristocrat. He returned home dressed in the attire of a high official and headed to the spring, anticipating that the spring would now produce clear wine for him, but what he got instead was the same unrefined wine. Angry, the young man blocked the spring and it no longer produced wine or water.

This legend is transmitted in around twenty villages around the country, the Yeongwol variation about Jucheonseok (Spirits Spring Rock) being the most widely known. The version documented in Sinjeungdonggukyeojiseungnam (Augmented Survey of the Geography of the Eastern Kingdom Revised and Expanded Edition) reads, “Jucheonseok originally resembled the shape of a trough, and when a clerk, who was tired of fetching water from the spring, tried to move the rock to the governor’s office, the rock split into three, one of which now remains and is called Jucheonseok.” The orally transmitted tale, however, tells a completely different story, as summarized above. In other variations, from Yeongjongdo in Incheon, Gyeonggi Province, and Cheongdo, North Gyeongsang Province, the spring permits only one drink per person and stops producing spirits when someone (a monk in some cases) breaks the taboo and takes more than one drink.

The plot shares many similarities with that of the legend “Rice-Pouring Rock.” In the two tales, wine and rice are nature’s benefits, given to humans without having to make an effort, but greed stops humans from continuing to receive the benefits. The legend of Jucheon, therefore, can be viewed as a moral tale that depcits the heavenly punishment of human greed, based on the humble and strict sense of ethics shared by Koreans, and at the same time reflecting the shift in the caste system of late Joseon.

Spirits Spring

Spirits Spring
Headword

주천강 ( 酒泉江 , Jucheon )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Legends

Writer HanMiok(韓美玉)

The legend of Jucheon narrates the story of a spring that produced spirits, then came to a stop one day.

In the village of Jucheon in Yeongwol, Gangwon Province, there was a spring named Jucheon, which, like the meaning of its name, produced spirits. When a nobleman went for a drink, the spring produced cheongju (clear filtered rice wine), while when a commoner went to get wine, produced takju (unrefined rice wine), even when the commoner was dressed in the attire of a nobleman. One day a young farmer from the village passed the state examinations and earned a status of an aristocrat. He returned home dressed in the attire of a high official and headed to the spring, anticipating that the spring would now produce clear wine for him, but what he got instead was the same unrefined wine. Angry, the young man blocked the spring and it no longer produced wine or water.

This legend is transmitted in around twenty villages around the country, the Yeongwol variation about Jucheonseok (Spirits Spring Rock) being the most widely known. The version documented in Sinjeungdonggukyeojiseungnam (Augmented Survey of the Geography of the Eastern Kingdom Revised and Expanded Edition) reads, “Jucheonseok originally resembled the shape of a trough, and when a clerk, who was tired of fetching water from the spring, tried to move the rock to the governor’s office, the rock split into three, one of which now remains and is called Jucheonseok.” The orally transmitted tale, however, tells a completely different story, as summarized above. In other variations, from Yeongjongdo in Incheon, Gyeonggi Province, and Cheongdo, North Gyeongsang Province, the spring permits only one drink per person and stops producing spirits when someone (a monk in some cases) breaks the taboo and takes more than one drink.

The plot shares many similarities with that of the legend “Rice-Pouring Rock.” In the two tales, wine and rice are nature’s benefits, given to humans without having to make an effort, but greed stops humans from continuing to receive the benefits. The legend of Jucheon, therefore, can be viewed as a moral tale that depcits the heavenly punishment of human greed, based on the humble and strict sense of ethics shared by Koreans, and at the same time reflecting the shift in the caste system of late Joseon.