The Story Bag

Main Piece:

This is a transcription of the story as told by the informant.

The Story Bag is about this guy who, every time he met someone new he would ask them to tell him a story and he would put that story in his bag. And then he got older and he was about to get married. And he hung it on the wall and one of his servants heard the voices on the wall. The stories had been packed together for so long that they hated this guy. The servant heard the stories talk about how they were going to turn into poison berries for the man to eat, poison water for the man to drink, and an iron skewer so that when he dismounted his horse he would step on it. They were also going to become snakes that were poisonous and hide in the man’s wedding chamber. The servant decided that he was going to stop it. So the next day when the man went to go get married he was about to eat the berries and the servant stopped him. He stopped him from looking into the water too which was poisonous. The servant pretended to fall and pushed him away from the skewer. In the bridal chamber, the servant ran in and cut up all the snakes. He told the master that he heard the stories on the wall and that he can’t keep the stories in a bag because stories are meant to be told.


This folktale was a story told to the informant by their Korean grandmother. The informant is Korean-American and was told many Korean folktales as a child. This story was told to them before they would go to bed. It reminds them of comfort and childhood.


This story was told from memory as I was discussing family traditions with the informant. The informant told me that their family would tell folktales all the time.


This folktale can easily be interpreted as a fable. It is very straightforward and explains the need for stories to be told to other people. In many cultures, sharing stories is a way of staying connected to their history and ancestors. This story was able to captivate the audience of children and teach them a valuable lesson. This story helps perpetuate the tradition of telling folktales in Korean culture and passing stories down from one generation to the next.