Author Archives: Helen Kong

Heungbu and Nolbu

옛날 어느 마을에 흥부와 놀부라는 형제가 있었다. 못된 놀부는 착한 흥부를 돈 한푼 안 줘서 쫓아내고, 흥부는 찢어질 정도로 가난하고 힘들게 살아간다.

 

이 도중에 흥부가 놀부네 집에 밥을 얻어먹으러 갔다가 인심사나운 놀부 형수 주걱으로 싸다귀를 맞고 밥풀이라도 더 얻기 위해 구걸하다가 풀이 죽어 되돌아온다.

 

어느 봄날 흥부는 제비가 구렁이에게 공격당하는 것을 보고 도와주는데 새끼 제비의 다리가 부러져 있었다. 흥부는 다리가 부러진 제비를 치료해준다.

 

이듬해 봄, 제비가 박씨를 떨어뜨리자 흥부네는 그 박씨를 심는다. 박은 놀랄 정도로 거대하게 자라는데, 흥부 가족은 먹을 것이 없어 박이라도 먹기 위해 박을 꺼내서 박을 탄다. 그러자 박 안에서 온갖 곡물과 금은보화, 심지어 일곱난쟁이들까지 쏟아져 나와 흥부네는 하루아침에 부자가 되어 풍요롭게 잘 산다.

 

이 소식을 들은 놀부는 흥부에게 그 비결을 듣고 더 큰 부자가 되기 위해 당장 제비를 잡아 강제로 다리를 부러뜨린 다음, 다시 고쳐준다. 이듬해 봄 제비가 박씨를 가져왔으며, 놀부는 그것을 심어 박을 키워 탔는데, 박 안에서 나온건 곡물과 금은보화가 아닌 40명의 도둑들과 도깨비, 똥물등이 쏟아져 나와 도둑맞고 마구 두들겨 패고 집까지 덮치면서 놀부네는 하루아침에 거지 신세가 되고 만다. 그후 착한 흥부네의 도움을 받게 되면서, 자신의 잘못을 깨달은 놀부는 개과천선하면서 우애롭게 살게 된다는 이야기.

 

In the old town, there were brothers named Heungbu and Nolbu. The naughty Nolbu did not pay the good Heungbu for a penny, and Heungbu lived a poor life.

 

In the meantime, Heungbu went to Nolbu’s house to beg for food but Nolbu’s wife hit him with scoop.

 

One spring day, Heungbu broke the leg of a swallow, helping the swallow avoid from being attacked by a serpent. Heungbu treated the swallow’s broken leg.

 

The next spring, when the swallow dropped a seed, Heungbu sowed it. The seed grew surprisingly large and bore a big fruit, and the Heungbu family opened the fruit. Then all the grain, gold, and even the seven dwarfs are poured out in the fruit. Heungbu became rich and rich every morning.

 

Nolbu, who heard this news, listened to his secret and immediately took a swallow to become richer, then broke his leg and healed it again. Nolbu brought it in the spring of the following year, and Nolbu planted the seed that the swallow dropped and it bore a fruit, but the inside of the fruit did not have grains and gold, but thieves, goblins, and poops poured out of it. Nolbane became poor overnight. Nolbu realized his bad deeds. Heungbu helped him and they both had happy lives.

Background Information:

This is one of the most famous stories in Korea. The lesson from the story is that a good person will get rewarded and a bad person will get punished. Everybody learns it at elementary school.

Context:

It is performed to teach young generation to be a good person.

Usually the performance is a form of puppet animation.

Personal Analysis:

This story is good for teaching kids to be selfless, while warning them not to deceive others. It’s good that it’s a part of school curriculum so that morals and ethics are incorporated at an early age. I’m not sure of an American equivalent. The end of the story is the best because Heungbu helped his brother instead of keeping his riches to himself, which could ultimately be just as bad as tricking a swallow. It teaches grace, giving something that wasn’t deserved.

Woodcutter and Angel

Main Piece:

 

나무꾼이 나무를 하다가 숲 속에서 도망치는 사슴을 만나게 된다. 사슴은 사냥꾼이 쫓아오고 있으니 자신을 숨겨달라고 말한다. 말하는 사슴을 신기하게 여긴 나무꾼은 사슴을 숨겨주고 뒤쫓아 온 사냥꾼은 다른 곳으로 보내서 구해준다.

 

사슴은 은혜를 갚겠다고 하면서, 나무꾼에게 선녀들이 하늘에서 내려와서 목욕하는 선녀탕이라는 샘을 가르쳐준 다음 선녀를 아내로 삼는 법을 나무꾼에게 알려준다. 나무꾼은 사슴이 가르쳐준 때에 선녀들이 목욕을 하고 있는 샘으로 갔더니 과연, 선녀들이 하늘에서 내려와 날개옷을 벗고 선녀탕에서 목욕을 하자 나무꾼은 사슴이 가르쳐준 대로 날개옷을 하나 훔쳤다.

 

날개옷이 없어진 탓에 한 명의 선녀는 하늘로 올라가지 못했으며 다른 선녀들은 날개옷이 없는 선녀를 내버려두고 간다. 나무꾼이 선녀에게 자신의 부인이 되어달라고 하자 하늘나라로 올라가지 못하게 된 선녀는 할 수 없이 나무꾼의 아내가 된다.

 

사슴이 ‘아이 셋 낳을 때까지는 결코 날개옷을 돌려주면 안 된다’고 경고했었는데 아이가 둘 뿐인 상황에서 애원을 못 이기고 날개옷을 돌려줬다가 선녀가 아이 둘을 양팔에 한 명씩 끼고 그대로 하늘로 날아올라가 버렸다

 

A woodcutter meets a deer who runs away in the woods. The deer tells that a hunter is chasing him. The woodcutter who wondered about the talking deer hides the deer, and tells the hunter who comes after him that the deer has gone to another place.

 

The deer tells the woodcutter that the female angels come down from heaven and bathe in the spring, and how to make one of them his wife. The woodcutter went to the spring and when the women from heaven were having a bath, he hid clothes of one of the women.

 

One woman could not go up to heaven because her wing clothes were gone, and the other women left. She marries the woodcutter.

 

The deer warned, ‘You should never give the wings back until you have 3 children’ When he had only two children, the wife begged for the wing clothes and he gave them to her and she went away with children to heaven leaving the woodcutter.

Background Information:

This story is widespread throughout East Asia. There are different versions with a similar structure. Unlike other stories, it is hard to find any special lessons from this story.

 

Context:

This story is performed as many different forms like puppet animation, song or TV comedy.

 

Personal Analysis:

This is a tragic love story. It’s told to kids but it’s not really about romance. The woodcutter was deceiving to be lying to his wife about the clothes for a long time, but it is sad that she leaves him so suddenly. Her eagerness to leave makes it seem like there was no love to begin with. It might teach a lesson to follow instructions to live a good life, because the woodcutter didn’t listen to the deer.

Rabbit and Turtle

Main Piece:

 

큰 병을 얻어 임종을 눈앞에 둔 물 속 나라 용궁의 용왕이 병을 낫기 위한 방법을 수소문 한 결과 토끼의 간을 먹으면 낫는다는 이야기를 듣게 된다.

 

하지만 물 속 나라의 백성들은 전부 물고기인지라 뭍에 사는 토끼를 잡아올 방법이 없지 않은가. 그 때, 용왕의 신하인 자라가 자신만만하게 나서며, 손바닥 뒤집듯 쉽게 토끼를 잡아올 수 있을거라 말한다. 자라는 물과 뭍을 오갈 수 있기 때문에 뭍으로 올라와 토끼를 찾아 간다.

 

토끼를 만난 별주부는 달리기 경주에서 승리하여 온갖 아양과 아부를 떨어 토끼를 설득하며, 결국 토끼는 별주부의 등에 타고 용궁으로 가게 된다.

 

토끼를 본 용왕이 대뜸 “내가 살기 위해서는 니가 죽어야 한다.” 라고 말한다. 이에 토끼는 잠깐 당황하지만, 기지를 발휘하여 “안타깝지만 지금은 나에게 간이 없다. 나만 아는 곳에 몰래 감춰두고 왔다.” 라고 말한다. 토끼는 잔꾀로 용왕을 속이고 무사히 탈출한다.

 

토끼의 배웅 겸, 몰래 감춰놓았다던 간을 받아올 겸 해서 별주부가 다시 토끼를 데리고 육지로 올라가나, 토끼는 “거짓말이야”를 외쳐주고는 산속으로 도망가버린다.

 

이에 허탈한 별주부가 자살을 결심하려고 할 때 지나가던 도인이 “그대의 정성에 하늘이 감동했다” 라며 신선들이 사용하는 약을 건네준다. 별주부가 “어르신의 존함은 뭡니까?”라고 묻자 도인이 “나는 패국 사람 화타다”라고 자신의 이름을 밝히고 이야기는 끝난다.

The King of the country in the water got very sick and heard that only the liver of a rabbit can cure it.

 

But all the people of the country in the water are fish, so there is no way to bring the rabbit. At that time, Yongwang(The King)’s servant, the turtle says that he is able to grab the rabbit easily. Because he can go to water and land, the turtle went up to the land to visit the rabbit.

 

The turtle that meets the rabbit wins the running race and eventually the rabbit rides on the back of the turtle and goes to the palace.

 

“You have to die for me to live.” the king says. The rabbit panicked for a moment, but said, “Unfortunately, I have no liver now.” The king is suspicious, but let the rabbit go to get the liver.

 

The rabbit shouted to the turtle, “It was a lie” and run away into the mountains.

 

Disappointed, the turtle tried to commit suicide, a stranger gave him a medicine from heaven that can cure the king’s illness. The turtle asked “What is your name?” and the stranger answered “I am Hwata from China”.

 

Background Information:

This is a very old Korean novel. It figuratively shows how Choonchoo Kim of Shilla escaped from Kokuryeo.

Interestingly, this story can be viewed from the rabbit or from the tortoise.

 

Context:

This is performed as puppet animation or graphic animation for children.

Personal Analysis:

The ending is a bit of a plot twist and also a bit random. The rabbit is very sneaky, and the turtle is a faithful servant. From the rabbit’s point of view, he was just trying to protect himself and did what it takes to survive. He became a victim at one point because the king asked for his life to keep his own. On the other hand, from the turtle’s point of view, the rabbit is the bad guy for running away with a lie. We want to pity the turtle and side with him especially when he wants to die, but he was given the task to kill a rabbit which is cruel. It is an interesting story because it correlates with history. These animals are a popular choice in lead characters in children’s stories, because they contradict each other.

Lemonade Iced Tea

Main piece:

“Lemonade. Iced Tea. Coca cola. Pepsi. turn around *everybody turns around* touch the ground *everyone touches the ground with their hands* kick your brother out of town *kick an imaginary brother with foot* freeze *everybody stays still*”

 

Background information (Why does the informant know or like this piece? Where or who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them?):

You sing it and then freeze. She sang it in elementary school for fun. It was informal and something for entertainment. Usually for songs like this, one person in the friend group would teach the others like, “My older sister taught me this.” and that kid would teach the others to sing together.

Context (When or where would this be performed? Under what circumstance?):

It would happen when she was in elementary school when she was gathered with some friends and they were bored. They would do it during recess or breaks.

Personal Analysis:

I think I grew up with a similar version without the “kick your brother out of town” part. It’s fun to document these children’s informal folklore. It’s not a story even, but all the kids know it by word of mouth. It’s strange how far word of mouth can go even in the current day. Because it’s short and easy to say, it is more likely to be circulated without confusion on the words. The tune is catchy too.

Mailman

Main piece:

The mail man one, “Mailman mailman do your duty here comes a lady with an african booty she can do the pom pom she can do the twist most of all she can kiss kiss with her red hot lips k i s s i n g”

Background information (Why does the informant know or like this piece? Where or who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them?):

It was one of the rhymes the kids knew. It wasn’t a favorite but it sticks because it’s the most ridiculous one out of them all. Learned it in 1st grade from some female peer in her class. Informant thinks this one is ridiculous and doesn’t know why little kids sing it because it’s a little inappropriate.

Context (When or where would this be performed? Under what circumstance?):

It’s a hand clapping game for little kids to sing together.

Personal Analysis:

The “african booty part” is kind of racist. Even the informant said that it’s a weird song to think about. As a kid, she just went along with what the others were doing. I think it has a lot of strange connotations that kids don’t know about. I don’t think this has anything to do with Africa, but I wonder why American kids sing it. Why is it the mail man’s duty to kiss the lady? It’s actually really uncomfortable to think about. “do the pom pom” isn’t even proper grammar. I wonder who was the first person to start this song.