Farting Daughter-in-Law

Farting Daughter-in-Law

Headword

방귀쟁이 며느리 ( Farting Daughter-in-Law )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer ChoSunyoung(曺善映)

This tale narrates the story of a daughter-in-law who made a fart of enormous force in front of her parents-in-law.

A long time ago, there lived a daughter-in-law whose faced turn yellow and appeared sick. Worried, the rest of the family asked her what was the matter and she said it was because she had to hold in her gas. Her father-in-law told her it was okay and to go ahead, and the daughter-in-law urged, “Then I ask that dear father-in-law grab onto a column, dear mother-in-law the gate, dear husband the kitchen door, dear sister-in-law the cauldron.” Then she released herself and the fart was so powerful that the house blew away, the father-in-law spinning, his hands still on the column, the mother-in-law flying this way and that as she held onto the gate, her husband rocking and rattling as he gripped onto the kitchen door, and her sister-in-law being swept in and out of the cauldron. Her parents decided that they should kick out a daughter-in-law with such an unacceptably powerful fart, and she set out to return to her family, and the father-in-law accompanied her. On their way, they met a brassware vendor and a silk vendor, who wanted to the pears on the tree to relieve their thirst, but the tree was too high so they were at a loss. The daughter-in-law told them she would be able to get the pears for them and proposed a wager, upon which the two vendors promised to give her brassware and silk if she succeeded. The daughter-in- law once again made a fart of enormous force, which made the pears fall, and in return received brassware and silk. Her father-in-law realized that his daughter- in-law’s powerful fart had a use, and took her back to his family.

There are five different variations of this narrative: The daughter-in-law makes a fart of enormous force and the parents-in-law ask her if she feels better, or the daughter-in-law regains her beauty; her powerful fart blows away her parents-in-law, and sometimes the husband as well, leaving her a widow; the story ends with the daughter-in-law’s expulsion; following her expulsion, she heads back home with her father-in-law and when he wants a pear in a tall tree, her fart makes the pears fall, and the father-in- law brings her back; and the fifth variation is the one summarized above, featuring the brassware and silk vendors.

There are some interpretations that this tale of a woman with supernatural power is a variation of the giant goddess mythology. According to a more realistic interpretation, the daughter-in-law’s flatulence signifies her capacity for labor and livelihood. It is also notable that she is able to return to her in-laws not due to a change in her behavior but a change in her in-laws’ perceptions, the subversion of the conventional viewpoint that women need to be discrete and modest.

The narrative does contain mythological motifs, including flatulence, which can be interpreted as a farcical variation of the excretion motif, and the daughter-in-law’s expulsion and return, similar in structure to that of an initiation ritual or rite of passage. Some variations of the narrative have plots that combine the story of “Fart Duel.” The passing back and forth of the wooden pestle signifies the sexual union between man and woman, and the tale’s ending, of the pestle flying all the way to Donghae (East Sea), where it turns into a stingray or yellowtail, signifying the fertility of a goddess.

Farting Daughter-in-Law

Farting Daughter-in-Law
Headword

방귀쟁이 며느리 ( Farting Daughter-in-Law )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer ChoSunyoung(曺善映)

This tale narrates the story of a daughter-in-law who made a fart of enormous force in front of her parents-in-law.

A long time ago, there lived a daughter-in-law whose faced turn yellow and appeared sick. Worried, the rest of the family asked her what was the matter and she said it was because she had to hold in her gas. Her father-in-law told her it was okay and to go ahead, and the daughter-in-law urged, “Then I ask that dear father-in-law grab onto a column, dear mother-in-law the gate, dear husband the kitchen door, dear sister-in-law the cauldron.” Then she released herself and the fart was so powerful that the house blew away, the father-in-law spinning, his hands still on the column, the mother-in-law flying this way and that as she held onto the gate, her husband rocking and rattling as he gripped onto the kitchen door, and her sister-in-law being swept in and out of the cauldron. Her parents decided that they should kick out a daughter-in-law with such an unacceptably powerful fart, and she set out to return to her family, and the father-in-law accompanied her. On their way, they met a brassware vendor and a silk vendor, who wanted to the pears on the tree to relieve their thirst, but the tree was too high so they were at a loss. The daughter-in-law told them she would be able to get the pears for them and proposed a wager, upon which the two vendors promised to give her brassware and silk if she succeeded. The daughter-in- law once again made a fart of enormous force, which made the pears fall, and in return received brassware and silk. Her father-in-law realized that his daughter- in-law’s powerful fart had a use, and took her back to his family.

There are five different variations of this narrative: The daughter-in-law makes a fart of enormous force and the parents-in-law ask her if she feels better, or the daughter-in-law regains her beauty; her powerful fart blows away her parents-in-law, and sometimes the husband as well, leaving her a widow; the story ends with the daughter-in-law’s expulsion; following her expulsion, she heads back home with her father-in-law and when he wants a pear in a tall tree, her fart makes the pears fall, and the father-in- law brings her back; and the fifth variation is the one summarized above, featuring the brassware and silk vendors.

There are some interpretations that this tale of a woman with supernatural power is a variation of the giant goddess mythology. According to a more realistic interpretation, the daughter-in-law’s flatulence signifies her capacity for labor and livelihood. It is also notable that she is able to return to her in-laws not due to a change in her behavior but a change in her in-laws’ perceptions, the subversion of the conventional viewpoint that women need to be discrete and modest.

The narrative does contain mythological motifs, including flatulence, which can be interpreted as a farcical variation of the excretion motif, and the daughter-in-law’s expulsion and return, similar in structure to that of an initiation ritual or rite of passage. Some variations of the narrative have plots that combine the story of “Fart Duel.” The passing back and forth of the wooden pestle signifies the sexual union between man and woman, and the tale’s ending, of the pestle flying all the way to Donghae (East Sea), where it turns into a stingray or yellowtail, signifying the fertility of a goddess.