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Narrative
Tales /märchen

Traditional Story – Korea

“Back in the day, salt was very expensive in Korea, as well as other parts of the world. This is a story that explains why the ocean water is so salty. There was one poor guy, who was very nice. Once, he helped this poor person on the street, took care of the person because he looked sick. The guy who he helped was a wizard. The wizard gave the poor man a bag that produced salt. A certain word made it create salt, and another word made it stop making salt. The poor man became rich from the salt. Then, there was a greedy man who made the good guy drunk and find out the information as to how the poor guy became rich. The greedy guy stole the bag, but didn’t want to be caught and so he ran off to a foreign country in a boat. On the way to the other country, he decided to see if the bag worked, so he said the word so the bag started to create salt and he was happy but he didn’t realize that the boat was starting to sink from the weight of the salt, and he couldn’t stop it because he realized it too late and didn’t know what the word to stop the bag creating salt was. And, that is why the ocean is salty.”

Kwangsub said that the story gives an explanation for why the ocean is salty and also has a moral. He said that he likes this story a lot because it’s is interesting and teaches you not to be greedy. He said that he learned this story from a children’s book when he was younger. It’s supposed to be a very famous story. He said that lots of people know of this story in Korea, and that he thinks that only recently have people started to learn the story from books. I agree with Kwangsub about the meaning of the story. Even though it is from a children’s book, it seems like a complete story that hasn’t been changed much, it explains a natural occurrence and has a moral to it. There are many stories of a similar nature in other cultures, and this one explains why a characteristic of the ocean which is very important part of Korean culture.

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