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ShinDongheun

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ShinDongheun

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Bak Mun-su

This legend narrates the story of Bak Mun-su (1691-1756), who served as secret inspector (amhaengeosa) in Joseon and had a reputation as a man of justice. A significant number of folk tales about Bak Mun-su are documented in written form, but the number is incomparable to oral narratives, which outnumber tales about any other figure. The oral tradition includes not only accounts of Bak’s achievements but also traditional narratives that have been combined with Bak’s character. In folk literature

Korean Folk Literature

Masip Cave

The legend of Masipgul narrates the origins of the name of Masip Cave, in Suan County, Hwanghae Province. In Suan, Hwanghae Province, lived a poor woodsman by the name of Masip, with his good wife. One day Masip was chopping wood when he found a young hunter unconscious in the forest and carried him home. The young man, brought back to health by the couple’s nursing, turned out to be the son of the County Magsitrate. He quickly forgot about his gratitude towards the couple, however, and set his

Korean Folk Literature

Legends of Otherworldly and Renowned Figures

This category of legends narrates stories of men with otherwordly abilities or outstanding knowledge or character. Korea has a long tradition of civil rule, and scholars possessing knowledge or character have enjoyed great respect. Many of their names and achievements have been recorded as official history, and other tales of interest or fascination have been preserved as part of unofficial history or the oral tradition. In contrast to“ Legends of Heroes and Commanders, ” this category comprises

Korean Folk Literature

Yi Hang-bok

This legend narrates the life and achievements of Yi Hang-bok (1556-1618, pen name Baeksa), a renowned civil official from mid-Joseon. Due to his meritorious acts during the Japanese invasion of the year Imjin (1592), and also to his death, met while in exile for his outspoken opinions in the king’s court, Yi Hang- bok acquired respect and a large following, which resulted in many different folk narratives about him. Since youth, Yi Hang-bok showed extraordinary talent and wit. Together with his

Korean Folk Literature

Kim Deok-ryeong

This legend narrates the story of Kim Deok-ryeong, a renowned general who became a hero for his brave acts during the Japanese invasions in mid-Joseon. Kim’s life and acts are recorded in Yeollyeosilgisul (Narratives by Yeollyeosil) and story collections like Dongpaenaksong (Tales of the Eastern Kingdom for Repeated Recitation) and Daedonggimun (Strange Tales of the Great East). Oral narratives about Kim are transmitted in regions around his hometown Gwangju and also across the country. Stories

Korean Folk Literature

Man Who Became a Kin of Bak Mun-su

This tale narrates the story of a butcher who posed as a kin of Bak Mun-su and was treated as a nobleman. In a village there lived a butcher who had acquired great wealth but continued to experience humiliation or had his money taken from him due to his lowly social class. One day the village’s local clerk faced grave charges for embezzling government money, and the butcher offered to pay back the money on his behalf. In return, the clerk presented the butcher with a letter appointing him as ove

Korean Folk Literature

Oseong’s Pranks

This tale narrates a series of pranks by Oseongbuwongun (Lord of Oseong) Yi Hang-bok (1556-1618), a renowned high official from mid-Joseon referred to as Oseong, and his friends. Oseong and Haneum were best friends who went around playing naughty pranks. Once they were assigned to clean up the corpses left behind by a plague and Haneum arrived first, to lie among the dead bodies to startle Oseong but when Haneum leaped up, Oseong was not a bit surprised and instead treated Haneum as if he were a

Korean Folk Literature

Tiger Eyelash

This tale narrates the story of a man who, through the acquisition of a tiger eyelash that shows people’s previous lives, acquires good fortune. A long time ago there lived a man who encountered one bad fortune after another after his marriage and was miserable. The man went into the mountain, thinking that he would rather be eaten by a tiger than keep living like this. When he met the tiger, however, the tiger plucked out one of its eyelashes and handing it to the man, explained that with the l

Korean Folk Literature

Cunning Servant

This tale narrates the story of a young servant who uses cunning tricks on his master and in the end marries the master’s daughter. A nobleman from the country set out for Seoul, escorted by a young servant driving a packhorse. The nobleman told the servant that Seoul was a scary place, where you could get your nose cut off in the living daylight. On the road, the servant played tricks on his master, claiming there was a bug in the food, only to consume it himself, or heating up the master’s spo

Korean Folk Literature
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