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ChoHeewoong

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ChoHeewoong

9

Formula Tale

Hyeongsikdam, or formula tale, is a story that relies on a specfic narrative structure. Formula tales boast a long history within the long oral tradition of the art storytelling. For example, the tale “Mole Wedding” dates back to the ancient Indian collection Panchatantra from the 3rd or 4th century and is also found in the 11th-century book Sea of Stories and in Korea, was documented between 17th and 18th centuries in Sunoji (Fifteen- Day Record) by Hong Man-jong. Formula tales do not necessari

Korean Folk Literature

Three Pieces of Straw Rope

This tale narrates the story of man who was considered a lazybones but uses his wit and intelligence to achieve great success. A long time ago, there lived a mother and her lazy son, and the mother kicked him out, giving him nothing but three pieces of straw rope. On the road, the son met an earthenware vendor who needed rope and exchanged his rope for an earthenware water jar. Then he met a maiden who broke her water jar and exchanged his jar with one mal of rice. In a home where he lodged, a r

Korean Folk Literature

Tail Chase Tale

“Kkorittagi” is a type of formula tale (hyeong-sikdam) in which a phrase or motif from the preceding paragraph or section of the narrative is repeated over and over in the following sections. “Jibanmunan (Regards f rom Home), ” an example of a tail chase tale, goes as follows: A young man pursuing his studies in Seoul servant was visited by a servant sent from his home in the country. The young man asked the servant“, So have things been well back home?” and the servant replied“, Yes, quite, exc

Korean Folk Literature

Evil Older Brother, Good Younger Brother

“Akhyeongseonje” narrates the story of the conflict between an evil older brother and a good younger brother. Brotherly love has been one of the basic virtues in human society, along with loyalty between the king and his subjects, filial piety, fidelity between husband and wife, and friendship, and has thus served as an important motif in the oral narrative tradition. There are two types of the evil older brother, good younger brother narratives: The first is “Blind Younger Brother, ” in which t

Korean Folk Literature

Royal Seal Returned

This droll tale narrates the story of a protagonist who by chance finds someone else’s missing belonging or makes an unexpected discovery. A similar narrative is recorded in the 19th- century anthology Dongyahwijip (Collection of Tales from the Eastern Plains) under the title “Jidongjangeunsugigye (Wise Child’s Wondrous Trick of Hiding Silver Vessel).” Oral variations have been observed across Mongolia, China and Japan, with over 100 versions found in Korea alone. A poor man (named Gaeguri, mean

Korean Folk Literature

Glutton and Envoy

This tale narrates the story of an illiterate glutton who defeats a scholar from China in a contest carried out in sign language. The narrative, documented in the 17th-century collection Eouyadam (Eou’s Unofficial Histories) and the 19th-century Ieonchongnim (Collection of Miscellaneous Secular Tales), is an archetypal story spread across the world in various versions. China sent an envoy to Joseon to examine the country’s talent pool. The court carried out a nation-wide talent search for the oc

Korean Folk Literature

Pack of Rats Cross the River

“Jwittedogang” is a tale about a pack of rats crossing the river by each grabbing another’s tail, in succession. It is a typical formula tale, found across the world and transmitted since ancient times. The oldest documented version of a Korean formula tale is “Jangdamchwicheo (Long Tale of Acguiring Wife)” in Myeongyeopjihae (Calender Collection of Humor), written by Hong Man-jong (1643-1725). This tale is distinctive in its subject of rats, which provide the basic unit for the counting that ma

Korean Folk Literature

Groom Dressed in Bird Feathers

This narrative tells the story of a protagonist who uses a magical costume made of bird feathers to take over the riches or the status of a wealthy or powerful man. The oldest remaining version of this narrative is a 1930s recording of the shamanic song “Irwolnoripunyeom (Song of Sun and Moon)” from Ganggye, North Pyeongan Province. The song tells the myth of Scholar Gungsan, who in an attempt to keep his beautiful bride Maiden Myeongwol contests against the Scholar Bae in flying up to the sky

Korean Folk Literature

Divination Tale

Jeombokdam, or divination tales, are stories that center on prophecies about the fate of a group or an individual, narrating the process of the realization of the prophecies and the consequences they bring. Fortunetelling originated from the human desire to foresee the unknowable future, and boasts a long history, as seen in the many ancient divination tools uncovered by archaeological excavations. In Joseon, there was a government agency devoted to divination and astronomy, called Gwangsanggam

Korean Folk Literature
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