Interpreting the Catfish’s Dream

Interpreting the Catfish’s Dream

Headword

메기 꿈의 해몽 ( Interpreting the Catfish’s Dream )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer ChoSunyoung(曺善映)

This tale narrates the origin of the appearance of catfish and halibut, a result of the fight between the two fish about the catfish’s dream.

A ninety-nine-year-old catfish had a strange dream one day of him “being lifted up to the heavens, as if he had silver and gold in his mouth, as if riding on gold rope, then he fell underground, where he wandered this way and that, lost, as if he were wearing the king’s hat, as if he had been hit by lightning sword, as if he had stepped onto the king’s throne and entered Namdaemun Gate, as if he had slipped out through coffin’s gate.” The catfish, unable to tell what the dream meant, went to see halibut, who told catfish that the dream meant catfish would ascend to heaven as a dragon, which made catfish so happy he held a feast, inviting all the fish. Shrimp, one of the guests at the feast, said that the dream meant catfish would get himself stuck on a fishing hook and be eaten by humans. This made catfish furious, and he struck halibut, which pushed his eyes and mouth to one side of his face. Halibut struck back, crushing catfish’s mouth with his body, which formed the features on catfish’s face today. Shrimp watched all this, taking a step back, and laughed so hard his back broke.

In some variations of the tale, the fish that has the dream is a three-thousand-year-old anchovy, who takes out his anger on the other guests as well, one of them being flounder, who was struck, his eyes pushed to the right, and another being butterfish, whose mouth became short and blunt. Squid, who had been watching this, hid his eye between his tentacles in fear, which shaped the way squids look today. Goby was so shocked by what he saw that a goby’s heart still beats fast today. Cutlassfish, who liked to meddle in others’ business, arrived at the scene late, and after getting pushed and shoved by the other fish, had his body turned flat and long.

A catfish or anchovy dreaming of ascending to the heavens as a dragon is perhaps an impossible dream, an excess, and it can result in great unhappiness if one does not realize it as a impossible or excessive.

This tale warns that those who nurture dreams that are out of their range should be warned, and that they should not be condoned or encouraged. The halibut’s ugly transformation is a form of punishment, and the other guests going through similar transformation signify that they are being held responsible for condoning the halibut’s flattery toward the catfish.

Interpreting the Catfish’s Dream

Interpreting the Catfish’s Dream
Headword

메기 꿈의 해몽 ( Interpreting the Catfish’s Dream )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer ChoSunyoung(曺善映)

This tale narrates the origin of the appearance of catfish and halibut, a result of the fight between the two fish about the catfish’s dream.

A ninety-nine-year-old catfish had a strange dream one day of him “being lifted up to the heavens, as if he had silver and gold in his mouth, as if riding on gold rope, then he fell underground, where he wandered this way and that, lost, as if he were wearing the king’s hat, as if he had been hit by lightning sword, as if he had stepped onto the king’s throne and entered Namdaemun Gate, as if he had slipped out through coffin’s gate.” The catfish, unable to tell what the dream meant, went to see halibut, who told catfish that the dream meant catfish would ascend to heaven as a dragon, which made catfish so happy he held a feast, inviting all the fish. Shrimp, one of the guests at the feast, said that the dream meant catfish would get himself stuck on a fishing hook and be eaten by humans. This made catfish furious, and he struck halibut, which pushed his eyes and mouth to one side of his face. Halibut struck back, crushing catfish’s mouth with his body, which formed the features on catfish’s face today. Shrimp watched all this, taking a step back, and laughed so hard his back broke.

In some variations of the tale, the fish that has the dream is a three-thousand-year-old anchovy, who takes out his anger on the other guests as well, one of them being flounder, who was struck, his eyes pushed to the right, and another being butterfish, whose mouth became short and blunt. Squid, who had been watching this, hid his eye between his tentacles in fear, which shaped the way squids look today. Goby was so shocked by what he saw that a goby’s heart still beats fast today. Cutlassfish, who liked to meddle in others’ business, arrived at the scene late, and after getting pushed and shoved by the other fish, had his body turned flat and long.

A catfish or anchovy dreaming of ascending to the heavens as a dragon is perhaps an impossible dream, an excess, and it can result in great unhappiness if one does not realize it as a impossible or excessive.

This tale warns that those who nurture dreams that are out of their range should be warned, and that they should not be condoned or encouraged. The halibut’s ugly transformation is a form of punishment, and the other guests going through similar transformation signify that they are being held responsible for condoning the halibut’s flattery toward the catfish.