Fox Sister(狐狸妹妹)

Fox Sister

Headword

여우누이 ( 狐狸妹妹 , Yeounui )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer KangJinok(姜秦玉)

The tale “Yeounui” narrates the story of a fox born into a family as the daughter, but who is killed in the end by her brother.

A long time ago, there lived a husband and wife with many sons but no daughter, which they desperately longed for, and after praying to the mountain god (sansin), finally gave birth to a girl. As the daughter grew up, their cattle began to die one by one. Thinking it strange, the parents asked the sons to find out what was going on. Late at night, the eldest son witnessed his sister rub oil on her hand and push it into the ox’s anus and pull out its liver to eat it, killing the ox. But the eldest son could not bring himself to report this to his father. The second son was sent out the following day, but he could not report what he saw, either, and the youngest son was sent out the following day, and he told his father what he saw his sister do. However, his father believed the youngest son was slandering his sister and expelled him, and the youngest son left home for a different village, where he got married and settled down. Many years later, the youngest son began to wonder how his family was doing and wanted to visit, but his wife tried to stop him, thinking it would be too dangerous. When he insisted, the wife relented, handing him a strong steed that could travel a thousand li (cheollima) and three bottles, instructing him to use the bottles in case of an emergency. The youngest son arrived at the family home to find the house in a devastated state, his sister alone after eating up all the cattle and family, greeting him and asking what he would like to eat. The youngest son, trying to buy time to escape, said he wanted chives pancake and sent her out to the field for chives. The sister tied up her brother before going out to the field, but he untied himself and ran away, leaving the rope tied to the gate. His sister came after him, shifting back and forth between fox and human, and scared that he would be caught, the youngest son threw one of the bottles that his wife had given him, which was the blue one, which made a river appear, but the sister was able swim across it. He threw the next bottle and a thornbush appeared, piercing the fox, but it still did not kill the fox, and when he threw the last bottle, which was red, a fire exploded, burning the fox and finally killing it.

This narrative of brother-sister confrontation takes place between a fox that brings down the family and a son who tries to repel the fox. The son who tells the truth is abandoned by the parents, but in the outside world, he marries a woman with supernatural powers, who presents him with magical tools to defeat the sister when the son heads back home. The son receiving help from his wife signifies that his capacities were expanded through an alliance with a cultural group outside of his own, which enables him to become a cultural hero by defeating an evil force of nature and reestablising a human- oriented cultural order.

Fox Sister

Fox Sister
Headword

여우누이 ( 狐狸妹妹 , Yeounui )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer KangJinok(姜秦玉)

The tale “Yeounui” narrates the story of a fox born into a family as the daughter, but who is killed in the end by her brother.

A long time ago, there lived a husband and wife with many sons but no daughter, which they desperately longed for, and after praying to the mountain god (sansin), finally gave birth to a girl. As the daughter grew up, their cattle began to die one by one. Thinking it strange, the parents asked the sons to find out what was going on. Late at night, the eldest son witnessed his sister rub oil on her hand and push it into the ox’s anus and pull out its liver to eat it, killing the ox. But the eldest son could not bring himself to report this to his father. The second son was sent out the following day, but he could not report what he saw, either, and the youngest son was sent out the following day, and he told his father what he saw his sister do. However, his father believed the youngest son was slandering his sister and expelled him, and the youngest son left home for a different village, where he got married and settled down. Many years later, the youngest son began to wonder how his family was doing and wanted to visit, but his wife tried to stop him, thinking it would be too dangerous. When he insisted, the wife relented, handing him a strong steed that could travel a thousand li (cheollima) and three bottles, instructing him to use the bottles in case of an emergency. The youngest son arrived at the family home to find the house in a devastated state, his sister alone after eating up all the cattle and family, greeting him and asking what he would like to eat. The youngest son, trying to buy time to escape, said he wanted chives pancake and sent her out to the field for chives. The sister tied up her brother before going out to the field, but he untied himself and ran away, leaving the rope tied to the gate. His sister came after him, shifting back and forth between fox and human, and scared that he would be caught, the youngest son threw one of the bottles that his wife had given him, which was the blue one, which made a river appear, but the sister was able swim across it. He threw the next bottle and a thornbush appeared, piercing the fox, but it still did not kill the fox, and when he threw the last bottle, which was red, a fire exploded, burning the fox and finally killing it.

This narrative of brother-sister confrontation takes place between a fox that brings down the family and a son who tries to repel the fox. The son who tells the truth is abandoned by the parents, but in the outside world, he marries a woman with supernatural powers, who presents him with magical tools to defeat the sister when the son heads back home. The son receiving help from his wife signifies that his capacities were expanded through an alliance with a cultural group outside of his own, which enables him to become a cultural hero by defeating an evil force of nature and reestablising a human- oriented cultural order.