Tiger Eyelash

Tiger Eyelash

Headword

호랑이 눈썹 ( Tiger Eyelash )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer ShinDongheun(申東昕)

This tale narrates the story of a man who, through the acquisition of a tiger eyelash that shows people’s previous lives, acquires good fortune.

A long time ago there lived a man who encountered one bad fortune after another after his marriage and was miserable. The man went into the mountain, thinking that he would rather be eaten by a tiger than keep living like this. When he met the tiger, however, the tiger plucked out one of its eyelashes and handing it to the man, explained that with the lash, he would be able to see people’s previous lives. Indeed when the man placed the lash on his eye, he saw many people as animals. As for his own family, he had previously been a human, but his wife had been a hen, which was why things were not working out. Another couple happened to visit his home and the man could see, with the tiger lash, that the husband had been a rooster in his previous life and the wife a human. Things were not good for this couple, either, so they all had a discussion and decided to switch partners, which brought them all good fortune and wealth.

In some variations, the tiger hands the man a pair of glasses. The characters’ identities in previous life also vary: In some versions the wife was a human and the husband an animal; the chicken is sometimes replaced by dog, pig, racoon, or cow. The tiger eyelash is a detail that also appears in the tale “Gureongdeongdeongsinseonbi (Divine Serpent Scholar)” as part of the contest between the old wife and the new wife.

This tale emphasizes the notion that individuals are all different inside, based on the concept of previous lives and reincarnation. Placing the tiger eyelash on one’s eye’s signifies seeing the essence in people, taking on the perspective of the tiger. And the notion that good marriages are achievable through the union of kindred souls is highlighted through the “swapping” motif. It is notable that this tale reflects traditional views on kharma, while the suggested resolution of swapping partners is quite unconventional.

Tiger Eyelash

Tiger Eyelash
Headword

호랑이 눈썹 ( Tiger Eyelash )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer ShinDongheun(申東昕)

This tale narrates the story of a man who, through the acquisition of a tiger eyelash that shows people’s previous lives, acquires good fortune.

A long time ago there lived a man who encountered one bad fortune after another after his marriage and was miserable. The man went into the mountain, thinking that he would rather be eaten by a tiger than keep living like this. When he met the tiger, however, the tiger plucked out one of its eyelashes and handing it to the man, explained that with the lash, he would be able to see people’s previous lives. Indeed when the man placed the lash on his eye, he saw many people as animals. As for his own family, he had previously been a human, but his wife had been a hen, which was why things were not working out. Another couple happened to visit his home and the man could see, with the tiger lash, that the husband had been a rooster in his previous life and the wife a human. Things were not good for this couple, either, so they all had a discussion and decided to switch partners, which brought them all good fortune and wealth.

In some variations, the tiger hands the man a pair of glasses. The characters’ identities in previous life also vary: In some versions the wife was a human and the husband an animal; the chicken is sometimes replaced by dog, pig, racoon, or cow. The tiger eyelash is a detail that also appears in the tale “Gureongdeongdeongsinseonbi (Divine Serpent Scholar)” as part of the contest between the old wife and the new wife.

This tale emphasizes the notion that individuals are all different inside, based on the concept of previous lives and reincarnation. Placing the tiger eyelash on one’s eye’s signifies seeing the essence in people, taking on the perspective of the tiger. And the notion that good marriages are achievable through the union of kindred souls is highlighted through the “swapping” motif. It is notable that this tale reflects traditional views on kharma, while the suggested resolution of swapping partners is quite unconventional.