Jaringobi(玼吝考妣)

Jaringobi

Headword

자린고비 ( 玼吝考妣 , Jaringobi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer RyuJungwol(柳正月)

This tale narrates the story of the eponymous protagonist, a miser who practices extreme frugality.

“Jaringobi” narratives are transmitted in the form of tales about miserly characters who are extremely frugal even with small and insignificant things like fish, soy sauce, or fans.

An example features a woman who goes to the market to buy fish and after sifting through the merchandise with her hands returns home without buying anything and cooks soup with the water she rinsed her hands in. Then her husband (or a villager) laments that if she had washed her hands in the well, they would have enough soup for the entire village (or to last a long time).

In another example, there lived a miser who allowed only a small bowl of soy sauce on the table and one day his new daughter-in-law served a large bowl of soy sauce. The miser admonished her for being wasteful, but the daughter-in-law responded that with a big bowl of soy sauce, you could taste the saltiness of the sauce just by looking, which saved the family not only the sauce but also spoons. Similar situations, in which the daughter-in-law serves pickles or fish in large portions, are depicted in different versions, which end with the miser admitting that the daughter-in-law’s method is more frugal.

Other Jaringobi tales depict frugal ways of fanning (by using only a small section of the fan, or by shaking one’s head instead of flapping the fan); borrowing from a neighbor items that one already has, including straw sandals, hammers, tobacco, baduk game boards and stones; or chasing a fly that sat on the sauce inside the jar and licking the sauce off the fly’s legs.

Some variations focus on ways to become rich or on the good deeds performed by misers after becoming rich. “Tale of Gobi” narrates the story of a rich man named Gobi, who was visited by a man asking him to share his secret of acquiring wealth. Gobi took the man to the forest and told him to climb a pine tree and hang his body from a branch while holding on with just one hand. When the man found this difficult to do, Gobi told him that to be rich, he had to hold on to his possessions the way he was holding on to the tree branch. Some Jaringobi tales end with the protagonist sharing his wealth with others when he learns that his good fortune has run out.

There are various theories about the etymology of the name Jaringobi. One of them connects it to a miser who was so stingy that he reused the prayer paper for his parents’ memorial rite each year by preserving the paper in oil. “Gobi” is a word that refers to one’s deceased parents, while “jarin” came from the word “jeorida, ” meaning “preserve.” Another theory links the name to a frugal old man who was also giving, and his tombstone read, “Jaingobi, ” meaning “tombstone for an old man who practiced generosity with his material possessions.” There are also other theories that say Gobi was the name of a real-life character, or that “gobi” means “old tombstone.”

This narrative, while reflecting the Korean people’s views on acquiring wealth and the responsibilities of the rich, also stresses the importance of frugality and good deeds.

Jaringobi

Jaringobi
Headword

자린고비 ( 玼吝考妣 , Jaringobi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer RyuJungwol(柳正月)

This tale narrates the story of the eponymous protagonist, a miser who practices extreme frugality.

“Jaringobi” narratives are transmitted in the form of tales about miserly characters who are extremely frugal even with small and insignificant things like fish, soy sauce, or fans.

An example features a woman who goes to the market to buy fish and after sifting through the merchandise with her hands returns home without buying anything and cooks soup with the water she rinsed her hands in. Then her husband (or a villager) laments that if she had washed her hands in the well, they would have enough soup for the entire village (or to last a long time).

In another example, there lived a miser who allowed only a small bowl of soy sauce on the table and one day his new daughter-in-law served a large bowl of soy sauce. The miser admonished her for being wasteful, but the daughter-in-law responded that with a big bowl of soy sauce, you could taste the saltiness of the sauce just by looking, which saved the family not only the sauce but also spoons. Similar situations, in which the daughter-in-law serves pickles or fish in large portions, are depicted in different versions, which end with the miser admitting that the daughter-in-law’s method is more frugal.

Other Jaringobi tales depict frugal ways of fanning (by using only a small section of the fan, or by shaking one’s head instead of flapping the fan); borrowing from a neighbor items that one already has, including straw sandals, hammers, tobacco, baduk game boards and stones; or chasing a fly that sat on the sauce inside the jar and licking the sauce off the fly’s legs.

Some variations focus on ways to become rich or on the good deeds performed by misers after becoming rich. “Tale of Gobi” narrates the story of a rich man named Gobi, who was visited by a man asking him to share his secret of acquiring wealth. Gobi took the man to the forest and told him to climb a pine tree and hang his body from a branch while holding on with just one hand. When the man found this difficult to do, Gobi told him that to be rich, he had to hold on to his possessions the way he was holding on to the tree branch. Some Jaringobi tales end with the protagonist sharing his wealth with others when he learns that his good fortune has run out.

There are various theories about the etymology of the name Jaringobi. One of them connects it to a miser who was so stingy that he reused the prayer paper for his parents’ memorial rite each year by preserving the paper in oil. “Gobi” is a word that refers to one’s deceased parents, while “jarin” came from the word “jeorida, ” meaning “preserve.” Another theory links the name to a frugal old man who was also giving, and his tombstone read, “Jaingobi, ” meaning “tombstone for an old man who practiced generosity with his material possessions.” There are also other theories that say Gobi was the name of a real-life character, or that “gobi” means “old tombstone.”

This narrative, while reflecting the Korean people’s views on acquiring wealth and the responsibilities of the rich, also stresses the importance of frugality and good deeds.