Tiger Returns Favor

Tiger Returns Favor

Headword

호랑이의 보은 ( Tiger Returns Favor )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer KimMyunghee(金明姬)

This animal tale narrates the story of a tiger that seeks help from a human and receives it, upon which the tiger returns the favor.

A man went into the mountain to gather firewood and encountered a tiger blocking the path, its jaws open wide. The man was unafraid, however, and offered to pull out the object caught inside the tiger’s throat and the tiger accepted his help, nodding. The man pulled out a hairpin from the tiger’s throat and the tiger, albeit a wild beast that ate humans, acknowledged his gratitude and wept. The man was a poor old bachelor who lived in the mountains with his widowed mother, and one night, he heard a thumping sound and saw in his yard a huge stack of firewood left by the tiger, after which he never had to chop wood again. Then one day he again heard a thumping sound and saw that the tiger had carried a beautiful maiden. She was the daughter of a state minister and she had fainted while being carried by the tiger, and even after she came to, could not find her way back from the mountain. She accepted that there must be a reason for this predicament and married the bachelor. Thanks to the tiger’s help, the two lived in contentment, supporting the mother and raising a son. One day the tiger came and announced that its death was nearing and that it would launch an attack on the village and told the man to capture him. Soon the village was caught in fear as the tiger attacked, and the authorities offered a reward of money and public post for capturing the tiger. The man headed into the village and shot the tiger, receiving his rewards, which made him a rich man.

Tales of animals returning a favor received from humans sometimes include prophecies of the animal’s request for help. The method of returning the favor varies, from saving the man’s life or helping him achieve success, to bringing him money or treasure, or indirectly guiding him to a place treasure is buried, or finding him an auspicious burial site.

The tiger is a feared beast, an object of awe and wonder, worshipped as a mountain god (sansin). Tigers have been a major presence in Korean folk literature since the Three Kingdoms period, taking on a more varied and distinctive characteristic through history, both the negative and positive, associated with national sentiments. In tales of animals returning favors, tigers are depicted as spiritual creatures that intervene in human affairs, sometimes portrayed as a dignified deity that carries out the moral function of punishing evil and rewarding virtue (gwonseonjingak). In this tale, however, the tiger is depicted as a neutral supporter that receives and provides rescue and help.

Tiger Returns Favor

Tiger Returns Favor
Headword

호랑이의 보은 ( Tiger Returns Favor )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Literature > Folk tales > Folk tales

Writer KimMyunghee(金明姬)

This animal tale narrates the story of a tiger that seeks help from a human and receives it, upon which the tiger returns the favor.

A man went into the mountain to gather firewood and encountered a tiger blocking the path, its jaws open wide. The man was unafraid, however, and offered to pull out the object caught inside the tiger’s throat and the tiger accepted his help, nodding. The man pulled out a hairpin from the tiger’s throat and the tiger, albeit a wild beast that ate humans, acknowledged his gratitude and wept. The man was a poor old bachelor who lived in the mountains with his widowed mother, and one night, he heard a thumping sound and saw in his yard a huge stack of firewood left by the tiger, after which he never had to chop wood again. Then one day he again heard a thumping sound and saw that the tiger had carried a beautiful maiden. She was the daughter of a state minister and she had fainted while being carried by the tiger, and even after she came to, could not find her way back from the mountain. She accepted that there must be a reason for this predicament and married the bachelor. Thanks to the tiger’s help, the two lived in contentment, supporting the mother and raising a son. One day the tiger came and announced that its death was nearing and that it would launch an attack on the village and told the man to capture him. Soon the village was caught in fear as the tiger attacked, and the authorities offered a reward of money and public post for capturing the tiger. The man headed into the village and shot the tiger, receiving his rewards, which made him a rich man.

Tales of animals returning a favor received from humans sometimes include prophecies of the animal’s request for help. The method of returning the favor varies, from saving the man’s life or helping him achieve success, to bringing him money or treasure, or indirectly guiding him to a place treasure is buried, or finding him an auspicious burial site.

The tiger is a feared beast, an object of awe and wonder, worshipped as a mountain god (sansin). Tigers have been a major presence in Korean folk literature since the Three Kingdoms period, taking on a more varied and distinctive characteristic through history, both the negative and positive, associated with national sentiments. In tales of animals returning favors, tigers are depicted as spiritual creatures that intervene in human affairs, sometimes portrayed as a dignified deity that carries out the moral function of punishing evil and rewarding virtue (gwonseonjingak). In this tale, however, the tiger is depicted as a neutral supporter that receives and provides rescue and help.