Tale of a girl and his blind dad

My informant is a student who originally came from Korea, but moved with her family to Los Angeles since her middle school.

“There was a girl lived with his blind dad. There were both poor, peasants. One mean lady tried to steal money from them. That lady married with the blind dad, and then grabbed the money and left them alone. There was a superstition at that time that if you sacrificed your body into the river, you would get better weather in exchange. Then the girl decided to do that for her dad. But she didn’t tell her dad the truth, she just told him she found a way to have better harvest. Then his dad got five packs of rice, but the daughter died. Actually after that, we saw the girl dived into the water, and there was a kingdom underwater. She then married with the prince there, and told him about his dad and that she missed his dad so much. Then she was sent back up from the water and saw his dad again. Even though his dad was blind, he could still hear her voice, and then his sight magically came back. The mean lady was just gone away then. That was a happy ending.”

She told me that the one she heard about should be the latest version, but people in Korea started talking about this story about 200 years ago; this is a very traditional one. It was in the time period that there was a big gap between rich and poor people. People told these stories with happy ending to comfort themselves. It also tell people to take care of their parents, and give people hope for living.

I think even though this kind of folk tales seems to be pretty naive in terms of its plot and causality, they do have their positive values in a society. They provide a guide of morality that is good for social stability.