Dutiful Daughter-in-Law Offers Worm Soup

Dutiful Daughter-in-Law Offers Worm Soup

Headword

지렁이 삶아 봉양한 효자 ( Dutiful Daughter-in-Law Offers Worm Soup )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer KimDaesook(金大琡)

This tale narrates the story of a daughter-in-law who, faced with poverty, serves her mother-in-law worm soup, which in the end helps the mother-in-law recover her vision.

Tales about filial piety and food have a long tradition in Korean folk literature. “Dongjasam (Little Boy Insam)” narrates the story of a couple who sacrifice their young boy to cure one of their parents’ illness, to learn that the boy they sacrificed is sansam (wild ginseng). There is also the tale of a husband who hollers at his wife for serving his lunch late, only to find out that lunch was delayed because she was boiling a brood hen to help his parents restore stamina, and consequently he offers his wife deep bows on the banks of his rice paddy.

There lived a good daughter-in-law caring for her blind mother-in-law by herself while her husband was away to make money. The daughter-in-law wanted to serve her mother-in-law good food but could not afford it, and when she found worms by the brook, she washed them and cooked soup. The mother-in- law ate the soup heartily, and wanting to show her son how good his wife had been to her when he returned, she scooped up the meat and hid it under her mattress. Upon her son’s return, the mother showed him the meat and the son screamed, “Worm!” at which his mother opened her eyes. The daughter-in-law’s filial piety had restored the mother-in-law’s vision, for which the son offered deep bows to his wife.

This tale pushes the discussion of filial piety to the practical level of everyday meals. Worm soup is an extreme example of something that is too disgusting to eat, made palatable and beneficial when served up with love and dedication, a paradoxical expression of the meaning of nourishment and devotion.

The climax of the narrative is the miracle of the parent regaining her vision, a motif that is central to the Korean literary tradition.

Dutiful Daughter-in-Law Offers Worm Soup

Dutiful Daughter-in-Law Offers Worm Soup
Headword

지렁이 삶아 봉양한 효자 ( Dutiful Daughter-in-Law Offers Worm Soup )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer KimDaesook(金大琡)

This tale narrates the story of a daughter-in-law who, faced with poverty, serves her mother-in-law worm soup, which in the end helps the mother-in-law recover her vision.

Tales about filial piety and food have a long tradition in Korean folk literature. “Dongjasam (Little Boy Insam)” narrates the story of a couple who sacrifice their young boy to cure one of their parents’ illness, to learn that the boy they sacrificed is sansam (wild ginseng). There is also the tale of a husband who hollers at his wife for serving his lunch late, only to find out that lunch was delayed because she was boiling a brood hen to help his parents restore stamina, and consequently he offers his wife deep bows on the banks of his rice paddy.

There lived a good daughter-in-law caring for her blind mother-in-law by herself while her husband was away to make money. The daughter-in-law wanted to serve her mother-in-law good food but could not afford it, and when she found worms by the brook, she washed them and cooked soup. The mother-in- law ate the soup heartily, and wanting to show her son how good his wife had been to her when he returned, she scooped up the meat and hid it under her mattress. Upon her son’s return, the mother showed him the meat and the son screamed, “Worm!” at which his mother opened her eyes. The daughter-in-law’s filial piety had restored the mother-in-law’s vision, for which the son offered deep bows to his wife.

This tale pushes the discussion of filial piety to the practical level of everyday meals. Worm soup is an extreme example of something that is too disgusting to eat, made palatable and beneficial when served up with love and dedication, a paradoxical expression of the meaning of nourishment and devotion.

The climax of the narrative is the miracle of the parent regaining her vision, a motif that is central to the Korean literary tradition.