Korean story: The Leg Lump and the Monster

Nationality: Korean
Primary Language: Korean
Age: 68
Occupation: retired, former pastor
Residence: Seoul, South Korea
Performance Date: 24 March 2024

Tags: legs, lump, monster, greed, shrewd, lie


Once upon a time, there was a man with a huge lump on his leg. One night, he went out on a walk near the forests, singing a tune along the way. A monster came by, entranced by the man’s singing, and asked the man where the singing was coming from. The man, being keen and knowledgeable of the monster’s evil nature, knew that the monster just wanted the singing ability for himself, so the man lied and said that the singing was coming from the lump. The monster then magically took the lump away from his leg and scurried off. The man was very happy since he didn’t have a lump on his leg anymore, and news of the events traveled through the neighborhood. One particularly greedy neighbor also had a lump on his leg, and hearing the story made him mad and jealous, so he sought out to do the same thing so his lump would also be removed. Thus the following night, the greedy neighbor went out to the woods, singing his own tune. The same monster arrived and again asked where the singing was coming from, and the greedy neighbor lied that it was coming from his lump, just as the other man had done. The monster, however, had already realized the other man’s trickery, so in a rage, he cursed the greedy neighbor and gave him yet another lump on his leg that burdened him further.


H. is a born and raised South Korean citizen, and has had experience with telling stories through giving sermons in his church. This was simply one of the stories he told me when I was young in Korea.


This is a very typical aesop one would see in a Korean storybook for children, which is probably where H. got it from. The aspects of being shrewd and able to read a situation as well as not being greedy are pretty common lessons that still hold up in modern Korean society.