Royal Seal Returned

Royal Seal Returned

Headword

다시 찾은 옥새 ( Royal Seal Returned )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer ChoHeewoong(曺喜雄)

This droll tale narrates the story of a protagonist who by chance finds someone else’s missing belonging or makes an unexpected discovery.

A similar narrative is recorded in the 19th- century anthology Dongyahwijip (Collection of Tales from the Eastern Plains) under the title “Jidongjangeunsugigye (Wise Child’s Wondrous Trick of Hiding Silver Vessel).” Oral variations have been observed across Mongolia, China and Japan, with over 100 versions found in Korea alone.

A poor man (named Gaeguri, meaning frog) and rich man were friends and the rich man played a trick on the poor man, hiding one of his valuable belongings and helping the poor man find it. As a result, the poor man is rewarded and rumors spread of his extraordinary ability. The Emperor of China happened to lose the royal seal and after searching for a man of insight, tracked down the poor man, commanding him to find the seal. The poor man spent the time he was given in seclusion and on the last day he let out an exclamation, which by coincidence was the name of the thief, who had been peeping in to keep an eye on the poor man. The thief confessed his crime and the location of where the seal was hidden, in return for his life. The poor man retrieved the seal from the pond where it had been hidden, before the deadline. The emperor, however, presented another test to the poor man, placing a frog inside his palms (or under a rock) and asking him to answer what was in there. The poor man, in despair, uttered an exclamation, which happened to be the answer, and the poor man was able to return home with a huge reward. When people came to him asking for prophecy, the poor man told them that he had lost his ability due to a serious illness.

This narrative highlights chance and coincidence experienced in our daily lives. It also reflects the pride of Korean people through the motif of the heavenly ruler (tianzi) of a great kingdom finding the seal with the help of an expert from a small kingdom.

Royal Seal Returned

Royal Seal Returned
Headword

다시 찾은 옥새 ( Royal Seal Returned )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer ChoHeewoong(曺喜雄)

This droll tale narrates the story of a protagonist who by chance finds someone else’s missing belonging or makes an unexpected discovery.

A similar narrative is recorded in the 19th- century anthology Dongyahwijip (Collection of Tales from the Eastern Plains) under the title “Jidongjangeunsugigye (Wise Child’s Wondrous Trick of Hiding Silver Vessel).” Oral variations have been observed across Mongolia, China and Japan, with over 100 versions found in Korea alone.

A poor man (named Gaeguri, meaning frog) and rich man were friends and the rich man played a trick on the poor man, hiding one of his valuable belongings and helping the poor man find it. As a result, the poor man is rewarded and rumors spread of his extraordinary ability. The Emperor of China happened to lose the royal seal and after searching for a man of insight, tracked down the poor man, commanding him to find the seal. The poor man spent the time he was given in seclusion and on the last day he let out an exclamation, which by coincidence was the name of the thief, who had been peeping in to keep an eye on the poor man. The thief confessed his crime and the location of where the seal was hidden, in return for his life. The poor man retrieved the seal from the pond where it had been hidden, before the deadline. The emperor, however, presented another test to the poor man, placing a frog inside his palms (or under a rock) and asking him to answer what was in there. The poor man, in despair, uttered an exclamation, which happened to be the answer, and the poor man was able to return home with a huge reward. When people came to him asking for prophecy, the poor man told them that he had lost his ability due to a serious illness.

This narrative highlights chance and coincidence experienced in our daily lives. It also reflects the pride of Korean people through the motif of the heavenly ruler (tianzi) of a great kingdom finding the seal with the help of an expert from a small kingdom.