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Acquiring Fortune Through Thousand-Coin Divination

This prophecy tale narrates the story of a poor man who, thanks to a prophecy purchased at a steep price, overcomes a series of crisis and acquires fortune. A young man left his wife behind and boarded a pollack fishing ship to Hamgyeong Province. Several months later, upon the completion of the fishing trip, the young man visited a fortuneteller to find out how things were at home. The fortuneteller carried out three divination readings, charging a thousand coins for each“: On your return journ

Korean Folk Literature

Groom’s Chaperone Suffers Humiliation

This tale narrates the story of a man who accompanied a groom as chaperone to his wedding, suffering humiliation for his drunken mishaps. A long time ago there lived two brothers, the older of which drank too much. One day their cousin was scheduled to be married and the older brother was asked to serve as the groom’s chaperone and accompany him to the wedding ceremony, held at the bride’s home. The older brother had promised not to drink, but when the in-laws kept offering him drinks, in the en

Korean Folk Literature

Blind Husband and Mute Wife

This tale narrates a conversation between a blind husband and a mute wife comprising sexual references. A long time ago, there lived a a blind husband and a mute wife, and one day the husband heard someone yell that there was a fire and he sent the wife to go and see what happened. When the wife returned, the husband asked where the fire broke out, and the wife put his hand between her legs, and the husband undestood that it was in a valley, a marsh, or an alley, varying according to different v

Korean Folk Literature

Farmhand Who Married the Master’s Daughter

This droll tale narrates the story of a farmhand who uses his wit to trick his master into letting him marry the master’s daughter. There lived a farmhand who longed to marry the master’s daughter. One evening the master ordered the farmhand to thresh barley early the following morning. The farmhand went into the kitchen but there was no firewood, so he went to the shed, where he also found the daughter’s underwear, left to be washed. At the rooster’s first crow, the farmhand came out to the yar

Korean Folk Literature

Animals Boast of Their Age

This animal fable narrates the story of animals competing over who is the oldest, which ends in the toad’s victory. A long time ago, rabbit, turtle and toad were arguing over who was the oldest among them. Rabbit was the first to boast that he had been born during the time of the ancient celestial emperor Tianhuang. Then turtle offered that he had been born in the time of the first creator Pangu, which far preceded Tianhuang’s era. Toad, after listening to rabbit and turtle argue, began weeping.

Korean Folk Literature

Stork Judges Singing

This fable narrates the story of a bird that cannot sing but wins a singing contest by bribing the judge. A long time ago in a village lived ibis, after which cuckoo and nightingale moved in and the three birds became neighbors. Cuckoo and warbler, jealous of ibis’ good house and land, which he secured as an early settler, suggested to ibis that they ask stork to judge their singing and only the best singer would be allowed to remain in the village. Ibis was worried because he could not sing, an

Korean Folk Literature
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