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Bang Hak-jung

This legend narrates the story of Bang Hak-jung, a quick-witted servant of Yeongdeok, North Gyeongsang Province, and his tricks and pranks. Bang Hak-jung is believed to have been a real- life character from late 19th-century Joseon who lived in Yeongdeok, which is said to be the home of his descendents and his tomb, but the only known information about Bang is the stories of the tricks he performed on his master. Bang is a typical sly servant character, who engages in taking food from his master

Korean Folk Literature

Trick Tale

Sagidam, or trick tale, is a category of narratives about the protagonist’s use of tricks to deceive people and pursue his interest. As in other cultures, Korean trick tales have a long history. The earliest in record would be “Tale of Seoktalhae’s Trick” in Samgungnyusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms) from the 13th century. With his eyes on the house that belonged to the high minister Hogong (Gourd Duke), Seoktalhae buried a whetstone and a piece of charcoal by the house, and claimed to the

Korean Folk Literature

Jeong Man-seo

The legend of Jeong Man-seo tells the story of a loafer known for his tricks and wordplay. Jeong Man-seo of Gyeongju in South Gyeongsang Province, was a man who enjoyed making money by tricking people. One of his most widely known tricks is the one about offering to get a zither for a courtesan and after taking her money, bringing back a wooden pestle painted black, calling it “geomeun-geo (black thing), ” a near homonym for the zither, “geomungo.” An even more preposterous example is the story

Korean Folk Literature

Kim Seon-dal

This legend narrates the story of swindler Kim Seon- dal from Pyeongyang. Kim Seon-dal is believed to be a figure from the 19th century. The most widely known folk narrative about him is that of Kim selling water from Daedong River: One day Kim Seon-dal went out to Daedong River and passed out money to people fetching water, asking them to return the money the following day. As scheduled, he went out to Daedong River the following day and retrieved the money that he had passed out, saying, “Plea

Korean Folk Literature

Hare’s Liver

This animal tale narrates the story of a hare who thinks up a trick to overcome a deadly crisis. The character of the wise and witty hare is similar to that of the monkey in “Tale of the Dragon King and the Monkey” from the Indian scripture Jataka (Sutra of the Buddha’s Reincarnated Manifestations), and other hares in “Gwitojiseol (Tale of Turtle and Hare)” from the the section on Kim Yu-sin in Samguksagi (History of the Three Kingdoms), the pansori “Sugungga (Song of the Water Palace)” and the

Korean Folk Literature
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