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Farting Daughter-in-Law

This tale narrates the story of a daughter-in-law who made a fart of enormous force in front of her parents-in-law. A long time ago, there lived a daughter-in-law whose faced turn yellow and appeared sick. Worried, the rest of the family asked her what was the matter and she said it was because she had to hold in her gas. Her father-in-law told her it was okay and to go ahead, and the daughter-in-law urged, “Then I ask that dear father-in-law grab onto a column, dear mother-in-law the gate, dear

Korean Folk Literature

Interpreting the Catfish’s Dream

This tale narrates the origin of the appearance of catfish and halibut, a result of the fight between the two fish about the catfish’s dream. A ninety-nine-year-old catfish had a strange dream one day of him “being lifted up to the heavens, as if he had silver and gold in his mouth, as if riding on gold rope, then he fell underground, where he wandered this way and that, lost, as if he were wearing the king’s hat, as if he had been hit by lightning sword, as if he had stepped onto the king’s thr

Korean Folk Literature

God of Cattle and Horses

Umasin is a deity that resides in a stable or cowshed and oversees cattle and horses. Alternate names for this deity include Mabusin (Groom God) and Oeyanggansin (Stable Deity). Umasin protects cattle and horses against diseases to help them proliferate. In the past, cattle were considered very precious, and were treated with special care on the first horse and cow days in the first lunar month. The following is the entry in Dongguksesigi (A Record of the Seasonal Customs of the Eastern Kingdom)

Korean Folk Beliefs

Peeking into the nuptial bedchamber

Mischievous practice of peeping into the room of the bride and groom on the wedding night. After the wedding ceremony, a sinbang (Kor. 신방, Chin. 新房, nuptial bedchamber) was prepared for the newly-weds to spend their first night together. A folding screen was put up there with a small table of liquor to create the right atmosphere. After the bride and groom entered the room, relatives or neighbors made holes with their fingers in the papered lattice doors to peep at them, which is called “peeping

Korean Rites of Passage

Dog Defeats Tiger

This tale narrates the story of a tiny dog that defeats a mighty tiger. A hungry tiger came down to the village in search of food, and found a scrawny little dog. The tiger pounced to catch the dog but it slipped into a dog hole, coming out the other end and barking aloud, as if it were daring the tiger to catch it. The tiger, feeling provoked, attacked it, but the dog again came out the opposite end and barked again. After going about like this over and over again, the tiger thought of a trick

Korean Folk Literature

Village God Myth

Dangsinhwa refers to the myth of the village god worshipped in the village’s communal rituals. Also called maeulsinhwa or chollaksinhwa (village myth), they are tales of divine beings and events transmitted over generations in the community. The narrative takes the form of a dialogue with the village god (dangsin), and contributes to the development and reinforcement of the community’s rituals. The divine punishments or powers that manifest as a result of human negligence or dedication to the ri

Korean Folk Beliefs
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