Origin of Cold

Origin of Cold

Headword

감기의 유래 ( gamgi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer KimBoksoon(金福順)

This tale narrates the origin of the common cold (gamgi, or gobbul), which is believed to be caused by the ghost of a man with two genitals, who died after a futile search for a wife and fulfilled his lust in death by releasing himself in people’s nostrils.

There lived a prince with two genitals, and when it came time for him to marry the king ordered his subjects to find a maiden with two genitals. But they were not able to find such a maiden, and in the end the prince died. When he turned into a ghost, he sought relief for his unfulfilled desires by releasing himself in people’s nostrils, which in people manifests as symptoms of sinus congestion in the early stages of a cold and progresses into a runny nose.

A variation of this tale features a maiden with two genitals, whose father posts an advertisment in search of a bachelor with two genitals. A young man who happened across a penis floating down the stream picked it up to compare it with his own, but it stuck to his body, inadvertently leaving him with two genitals. Thus the young man and the maiden wed, and gathered much wealth. In other variations, the heroine is a widow and not a maiden, or another young man tries to get himself another penis and become rich like the other bachelor, but ends up with a penis stuck to his nose.

This tale shares its roots with earlier mythology, which feature oversized genitalia as symbols of fecundity and wealth, and serves as an important reference in understanding the archetypal symbols in the tradition of genital mythology. This narrative can also be read in relation to the popular belief that the size of one’s nose is in proportion to that of one’s genitalia; the folk custom of chasing away colds by calling out, “Gaejotbbul”; and also to the etymology of “gobbul, ” the indigenous Korean word for the common cold.

Origin of Cold

Origin of Cold
Headword

감기의 유래 ( gamgi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer KimBoksoon(金福順)

This tale narrates the origin of the common cold (gamgi, or gobbul), which is believed to be caused by the ghost of a man with two genitals, who died after a futile search for a wife and fulfilled his lust in death by releasing himself in people’s nostrils.

There lived a prince with two genitals, and when it came time for him to marry the king ordered his subjects to find a maiden with two genitals. But they were not able to find such a maiden, and in the end the prince died. When he turned into a ghost, he sought relief for his unfulfilled desires by releasing himself in people’s nostrils, which in people manifests as symptoms of sinus congestion in the early stages of a cold and progresses into a runny nose.

A variation of this tale features a maiden with two genitals, whose father posts an advertisment in search of a bachelor with two genitals. A young man who happened across a penis floating down the stream picked it up to compare it with his own, but it stuck to his body, inadvertently leaving him with two genitals. Thus the young man and the maiden wed, and gathered much wealth. In other variations, the heroine is a widow and not a maiden, or another young man tries to get himself another penis and become rich like the other bachelor, but ends up with a penis stuck to his nose.

This tale shares its roots with earlier mythology, which feature oversized genitalia as symbols of fecundity and wealth, and serves as an important reference in understanding the archetypal symbols in the tradition of genital mythology. This narrative can also be read in relation to the popular belief that the size of one’s nose is in proportion to that of one’s genitalia; the folk custom of chasing away colds by calling out, “Gaejotbbul”; and also to the etymology of “gobbul, ” the indigenous Korean word for the common cold.