Halfie(半身儿)

Halfie

Headword

반쪽이 ( 半身儿 , Banjjogi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer NoYounggeun(盧暎根)

“Banjjogi” is a tale about a baby born with only half a body, who defeats a tiger and a greedy man by using his power and wit, and in the end lives a wealthy and happy life.

There lived a man who offered devoted prayers as he awaited a baby. One winter day, a Buddhist monk visited his home to request a donation and the man’s wife offered rice. The monk gave her three cucumbers, saying that if she ate all three of them, she would have three sons. The wife had finished two of the cucumbers when her husband returned, and they shared the last cucumber. The wife went on to give birth to three sons, the youngest of which had only half a body and was called Banjjogi (Halfie). Then one day the husband, who was a hunter, was killed by a tiger, and when the brothers set out to seek revenge, their mother at first tried to dissuade them, but after testing their hunting skills and seeing that they were as gifted as their father, she allowed them to leave. Banjjogi also followed them, but the two borthers tied him to a huge tree in the village center, upon which Banjjogi pulled out the tree and brought it home, telling his mother that his brothers had sent a tree to provide shade. Next, the two brothers tied Banjjogi to a huge, wide rock, upon which Banjjogi lifted up the rock and brought it home, telling his mother that his brothers had sent a rock for the family to sit on. In the end the three brothers set out together and while on the road, they lodged at the home of a red bean porridge (patjuk) vendor located at the mouth of the valley where the tiger lived. The porridge vendor, an old woman, told the brothers that the tiger ate up hunters after turning into a woman and instructed them how to capture it. By following the instructions, the brothers succeeded in killing the tiger and retrieving their father’s remains and heirloom. Then the porridge vendor alerted them that their mother was in danger of getting eaten by a tiger, upon which Banjjogi left for home, travelling a distance that would take three months and ten days in one night, and captured the tiger, rescuing his mother.

The tiger skin was hung out to dry on their roof and fence, which made their rich neighbor envious. He made a proposal to Banjjogi, that if he could steal the rich neighbor’s daughter, he would be made his son-in-law, and if he failed, he would have to hand over the tiger skin to the neighbor. Then the neighbor assembled all the villagers to guard his house. Banjjogi delayed his visit to the neighbor’s house for three days in a row, spending his time collecting lice, fleas and bedbugs in three bamboo tubes. On the fourth day, Banjjogi headed to the neighbor’s house, to find everyone fast asleep. He tied up the hair of those keeping vigil to the fence or gate, or put jars over their heads, while he put matches in the hands of the woman of the house, and rubbed sulfur on the rich neighbor’s beard. Then Banjjogi released the insects that he had collected, which made the daughter step out into the garden. As he carried the daughter away, Banjjogi hollered to wake everyone up, which stirred up a ruckus, with the neighbor’s beard catching fire and everyone running about. Banjjogi brought the daughter home and married her, and the two brothers returned home after travelling for three months and ten days.

In some variations, Banjjogi captures the tiger through a wager with the tiger, while in some others, Banjjogi becomes a hero by rescuing his brothers, not by capturing the tiger, and is depicted as a glutton who eats up a meals for one hundred people. Some versions include only the first half the the narrative, concluding with Banjjogi’s return after catching the tiger, which makes him rich. In this version, Banjjogi is confronted by Onjjoki, who has a full body, or Banjjogi catches the tiger not with his strength but with his wit. There are also versions that include only the latter half of the story about Banjjogi’s marriage, in which the protagonist is portrayed as a supernatural being who can create what he needs with his own hands.

This tale, featuring protagonist’s very distinctive physical characteristic, is not wide spread and only twelve versions have been collected from around the country. Its narrative drive comes from the hero’s overcoming of his disability through supernatural strength and extraordinary wit to become whole. His traits as a transcendental ruler are reflected in his defeat of the tiger and the rich man, the most powerful being in the natural world and the human world, respectively.

Halfie

Halfie
Headword

반쪽이 ( 半身儿 , Banjjogi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer NoYounggeun(盧暎根)

“Banjjogi” is a tale about a baby born with only half a body, who defeats a tiger and a greedy man by using his power and wit, and in the end lives a wealthy and happy life.

There lived a man who offered devoted prayers as he awaited a baby. One winter day, a Buddhist monk visited his home to request a donation and the man’s wife offered rice. The monk gave her three cucumbers, saying that if she ate all three of them, she would have three sons. The wife had finished two of the cucumbers when her husband returned, and they shared the last cucumber. The wife went on to give birth to three sons, the youngest of which had only half a body and was called Banjjogi (Halfie). Then one day the husband, who was a hunter, was killed by a tiger, and when the brothers set out to seek revenge, their mother at first tried to dissuade them, but after testing their hunting skills and seeing that they were as gifted as their father, she allowed them to leave. Banjjogi also followed them, but the two borthers tied him to a huge tree in the village center, upon which Banjjogi pulled out the tree and brought it home, telling his mother that his brothers had sent a tree to provide shade. Next, the two brothers tied Banjjogi to a huge, wide rock, upon which Banjjogi lifted up the rock and brought it home, telling his mother that his brothers had sent a rock for the family to sit on. In the end the three brothers set out together and while on the road, they lodged at the home of a red bean porridge (patjuk) vendor located at the mouth of the valley where the tiger lived. The porridge vendor, an old woman, told the brothers that the tiger ate up hunters after turning into a woman and instructed them how to capture it. By following the instructions, the brothers succeeded in killing the tiger and retrieving their father’s remains and heirloom. Then the porridge vendor alerted them that their mother was in danger of getting eaten by a tiger, upon which Banjjogi left for home, travelling a distance that would take three months and ten days in one night, and captured the tiger, rescuing his mother.

The tiger skin was hung out to dry on their roof and fence, which made their rich neighbor envious. He made a proposal to Banjjogi, that if he could steal the rich neighbor’s daughter, he would be made his son-in-law, and if he failed, he would have to hand over the tiger skin to the neighbor. Then the neighbor assembled all the villagers to guard his house. Banjjogi delayed his visit to the neighbor’s house for three days in a row, spending his time collecting lice, fleas and bedbugs in three bamboo tubes. On the fourth day, Banjjogi headed to the neighbor’s house, to find everyone fast asleep. He tied up the hair of those keeping vigil to the fence or gate, or put jars over their heads, while he put matches in the hands of the woman of the house, and rubbed sulfur on the rich neighbor’s beard. Then Banjjogi released the insects that he had collected, which made the daughter step out into the garden. As he carried the daughter away, Banjjogi hollered to wake everyone up, which stirred up a ruckus, with the neighbor’s beard catching fire and everyone running about. Banjjogi brought the daughter home and married her, and the two brothers returned home after travelling for three months and ten days.

In some variations, Banjjogi captures the tiger through a wager with the tiger, while in some others, Banjjogi becomes a hero by rescuing his brothers, not by capturing the tiger, and is depicted as a glutton who eats up a meals for one hundred people. Some versions include only the first half the the narrative, concluding with Banjjogi’s return after catching the tiger, which makes him rich. In this version, Banjjogi is confronted by Onjjoki, who has a full body, or Banjjogi catches the tiger not with his strength but with his wit. There are also versions that include only the latter half of the story about Banjjogi’s marriage, in which the protagonist is portrayed as a supernatural being who can create what he needs with his own hands.

This tale, featuring protagonist’s very distinctive physical characteristic, is not wide spread and only twelve versions have been collected from around the country. Its narrative drive comes from the hero’s overcoming of his disability through supernatural strength and extraordinary wit to become whole. His traits as a transcendental ruler are reflected in his defeat of the tiger and the rich man, the most powerful being in the natural world and the human world, respectively.