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Song of House Guardian God

“Seongjupuri” is a shamanic myth or epic song that chronicles the history of house guardian god Seongju and his wife Jisin the land goddess. The song is performed or recited as part of shamanic rituals held for Seongju upon moving into a new home or to mark the completion of a newly constructed house. This narrative has been preserved in two different versions: The Hwanguyang type from the northern parts of Gyeonggi Province and the Ansimguk type from the Busan area. Both tell the story of the g

Korean Folk Beliefs

Founding Myth

Geonguksinhwa, or founding myths, are sacred narratives of a nation’s origins. Ancient states created epic poems that narrated the story of the kingdom’s founding to be performed as part of state rituals and proclaimed publicly for the purpose of emphasizing the sacred origins of the state. When history began to be documented in written form, the orally transmitted epics were recorded, generally in prose form, as the opening sections of national history. These documented narratives of a state’s

Korean Folk Literature

Myth of Wang Geon

The myth“Wanggeonsinhwa”narrates the sanctified history of the ancestors of Wang Geon, founder of the kingdom of Goryeo. Hogyeong, who referred to himself as Seonggoljanggun (High Martial Official of Sacred Bone Class) of the kingdom of Silla, descended Mt. Baekdu and lived on the left skirt of Mt. Buso. One day he went hunting to Mt. Pyeongna with nine other villagers and, inside a rock cave, encountered a tiger. When the tiger blocked the cave’s exit, the hunters threw their hats to pick who w

Korean Folk Literature

King Sansang

The legend of Sansangwang narrates the story of the enthronement of King Sansang, the tenth king of Goguryeo who reigned from 197 to 227, and the birth of his son. King Sansang, as the younger brother of the ninth king Gogukcheonwang, took the throne only after immense political complications, from which a significant number of narratives were developed. A partial account of the events is recorded in Samguksagi (History of the Three Kingdoms). When King Gogukcheon passes away, Queen U does not r

Korean Folk Literature

Myth of King Yuri

The royal genealogy myth“ Yuriwangsinhwa ”narrates the story of Yuri’s succession to the throne as the second king of Goguryeo. Back when Jumong, the founder of Goguryeo, lived in Buyeo, he took as his wife the daughter of the family Ye, who, after his departure, gave birth to Yuri. One day when he was a young boy, Yuri broke the jar of a woman who was fetching water while hunting birds with a slingshot. The woman scolded him saying, “ You behave like a fool because you have no father, ”and Yuri

Korean Folk Literature

Myth of Jumong

The myth “Jumongsinhwa” narrates the story of the birth and life of Jumong, the founder of Goguryeo. Mythological records on Jumong can be found in a number of books, among which the accounts in Gusamguksa (Old History of the Three Kingdoms) and“ Goguryeobongi (Records of Goguryeo) ”are most detailed and richest in mythical elements, bringing together many different versions of the tale to form a new and magnificent narrative of national foundation. Jumong is born to Haemosu and Yuhwa when Cheon

Korean Folk Literature

Embittered Bride Turned Into Bones and Ashes

This tale narrates the story of a bride who, upon being abandoned by her groom on the night of the wedding, spends a lifetime waiting for the groom to return and when he does turns into bones and ashes. A man from the Kim family was about to marry a bride from the Yi family when he heard the story of an evil bride who kills her young groom on their wedding night. On his own wedding night, the groom from the Kim family entered the bridal chamber at his in-laws and was about to enjoy the table of

Korean Folk Literature

Sister Sun and Brother Moon

This tale narrates the origin of the sun and the moon. A tiger ate up an old mother returning home after providing labor at a rich household, and after disguising himself with the mother’s clothes and headwrap, went to the home where the mother’s son and daughter were waiting and asked them to open the door. The brother and sister peeked out and realizing that it was a tiger, they ran out through the back door and climbed up a tree. The tiger climbed the tree after them and the brother and siste

Korean Folk Literature
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