I’m after an exam! I have time (relatively)!! I can troll everywhere now! (and by everywhere I mean 3 places). My exam today was on Korean myths, and if I may be frank – I demand the highest score! Few things left me puzzled though. I tried to get rid of history knowledge and focus only on mythology, because, as we know, mythology has some loose ties with history, but they are well, let’s say it like this – they are not what history needs to survive. I also prepared a chart, and now made it to the pic for everyone. Mind you, those are not historical ties or anything, but myths. And in myths boys are found under the stone. Alive. Boys, not the stone.

There is one common motif in korean mythology – eggs and water.
   Let’s take Jumong as an example. His mother was a daughter of Habaek (supposedly the God of Yellow River), thus she was connected to the water. One day a heavenly god, Haemosu saw her, and you know, as a guy wanted to “get intimate”. Habaek forced him into trial of power and he lost, so he allowed Yuhwa (his daughter) to “hold hands” with Haemosu. But, god or not, once his desires were satiated, he left poor Yuhwa alone. Disgraced girl was expelled by her father and started to live alone. Haemosu had a son, Haeburu, and Haeburu while hunting, suddenly was startled by his own horse who stopped in front of some big rock and didn’t want to move an inch. Haeburu dismounted and lifted the rock, all curious why this stupid old hack behaved like this. Well, under the rock there was a small boy who looked like a curled up golden frog. Haeburu called him Geumwa (Golden Frog, duh!) and took to the palace. 
And now you may ask, OK, but what about Yuhwa? She was living peacefully at some stream, and one day Geumwa saw her. She was beautiful and he took her to his palace. Problem was only one – she was pregnant, and despite hiding her in the darkest room in the palace, the sun rays got to her. She gave birth to a big egg. And from that egg a boy… well… jumped out? His name was Jumong. To make story short – he had to leave the Buyeo because sons of King Geumwa wanted to kill him. Jumong therefore left and started his own state – Goguryeo.
   Once, when everyone lived happily somewhere along Naktong River, suddenly those happy folks heard the voice from the clouds surrounding the peak of one mountain. The voice asked where is this place and then ordered happy folks to do an odd task – they had to dig the hill in and out singing one song: “Oh Turtle, show us your head! If you don’t do it, we’ll grill you and eat you. And you will meet the Great King then” (forgive me the rough translation). Happy folks did as they were asked to, and after the work they saw that a purple (and I mean purple, not violet, like Americans screwed-up-colors) rope with something wrapped in a red cloth. Inside there was a goblet with 6 eggs “round as suns”. Happy folks took care of the eggs and after some time great boys appeared out of those eggs. The oldest and most handsome was called Kim Suro and he was chosen as the king of those people. The rest of boys became the heads of 5 other Gaya states. (note: OK, Suro wasn’t exactly Gaya king, it was Garakguk, but it belonged to the Gaya confederation. OK, maybe other time.)
    In place where now is Gyeongju there were 6 clans. The heads of those clans decided that they need a king. And when they were pondering over this difficult task, they heard the thunder and saw the rainbow that was touching one well at the feet of the hill. When they gathered there, their eyes saw a marvel above all marvels (well, in the 1st century BC everything was considered as marvel) – a white horse that kneeled down before something. When they approached the well, white horse (that isn’t a horse in Chinese philosophy, btw) run through the rainbow towards the sky and disappearred. And all that gathered saw a red egg. When they crushed it a bit, they saw a great boy inside. They pronounced him as their king. He got a name Hyeogkeose (meaning shining ruler) and the family name Park (meaning “brightness”). He became the first king of Shilla.
   A boat with a stone chest was on the ship. The ship came to Garak shores but decided to take off and touched the land in Shilla kingdom. Inside the chest was an egg. And this time this was a dragon egg. And a red dragon was floating above it to protect the boat. When it came ashore, on deck there was a boy who was found by a fisherwoman. After some time he went to the capital and using not honorable but witty method, he got ahold of the house he wanted. He even got the princess as his wife and then became a king of Shilla as Seok Talhae. Just to mention, kings and queens of Shilla came from one of three families – Park, Seok, and Kim.
What puzzled me? In the story of Kim Suro, there is one duel mentioned. The myths say that one day, a young man came (he was biig) and challenged king Suro, claiming his kingdom. Kim Suro said he can’t give his state and people to the first anybody doctor… ehm… I mean stray dog. The duel was, as all duels in shamanistic periods of time, magical. The young man, named Talhae became a falcon, and Suro became an eagle, then Talhae changed into the sparrow, and Suro took the shape of peregrine falcon. This meant one thing – Talhae lost. He apologized and went back. When Suro realized the boat with Talhae went in Shilla direction, he stopped the chase. So, it looks as if Talhae that challenged Suro and Talhae-future-king of Shilla is the same person. But I have two different versions of his birth, this is why, although the same name and place, I was suspicious. You know, too much stuff and you start questioning your own bed in room.
And the chart:
  Only one thing – I didn’t say anything about Tangun, because he doesn’t have anything in common with any eggs, more with bears. Yi Dynasty that in 1392 took the power from Goryeo, returned to the ancient name of Korea – Joseon. The state of Tangun was in fact Ko Joseon (old Joseon).
Thank you^^

About ethlenn

Just usual suspect
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11 Responses to Freeeedooooom!!!

  1. magyar kati says:

    I was reading and I lost.
    Yes, you are right;too much stuff and what I remember that is a lots of eggs and kings….
    Very very very myths

  2. Ethlenn says:

    Those are foundation myths for all korean kingdoms: Goguryeo, baekje and Shilla. Plus Gaya federation. Not that easy to narrate, but not that complicated when you read it few times.

  3. peggybrad says:

    Seems to me that Shilla and Baekjae and Gogureo are the main clans that we see in drama. However it is all very mythical, which is why generally speaking I prefer the Joseon era stories. The good people are strong and the bad ones are so evil. No mistake they were horrific in their punishments but it was always plain to see. No-one escaped unless saved by some miracle. I venture to say that even allowing for that poor Prince in the tea chest as fierce takeout, the really bad tortures and punishments are never shown in drama.
    The devious things that went on in the Palace took a lot of planning and courage to develop.To me that time was more interesting than even the eggs and dragons. Although I do like dragons since I love my Welsh dragon.
    Y Draig Goch is a lovely creature.
    Must say that your talents are glowing through the sentences E. 🙂

  4. Ethlenn says:

    Aww, thanks, Peggy^^
    Shilla, especially Unified Shilla period is not that mystified at all. But still, legends serve better than history to justify the rights to the throne, to the land etc.
    European dragons are so fierce and cunning comparing to Asian ones.

  5. ara says:

    Funny how it seemed to be enough to jump out of a lost egg to become king in korean mysteries.
    no need to be son's of Gods or having killed a God or a monster…very interesting read again!
    Although I admit I got confused by all the boys and eggs, too 😉

  6. peggybrad says:

    I once read a story about a little red dragon. Not sure if it was anything to do with Welsh dragon. It seems that a soldier out in a foreign land found a large egg. It was too big and too old and too hard to break open or even try to cook it… so he just kept it and finally one day he sent it home to his mother, warning her not to break it and not to try cooking it. She admired it and kept it in the box and placed it in the cupboard right next to the warm kitchen fireplce. A nice warm cupboard…. and one day she heard a noise in the cupboard. She looked and there was a tiny little red dragon. She loved it and took care of it and told her son and he was so pleased.
    Then someone took my book and I never knew for sure what happened. Was it the beginning of
    Y Drai Goch??the Welsh Dragon. I never found out but it was a charming beginning to a story which I wish I had been able to finish.

  7. Ethlenn says:

    Ara: Koreans are really practical folks. If the tribe needed the king – they chose the one that was “not one of them” but outstanding in some aspect.

    Peggy: isn't the Red Dragon on the Welsh flag? It may be the same dragon.
    I only read Mabinogion, and the red dragon there was really scary and fierce.

  8. peggybrad says:

    Yes the Red Dragon of Wales is on the flag. White and Green background.I do think this was about the Welsh dragon but never got to finish the story. I have a large size flag to be wrapped around me as shroud. Love my dragon.
    Did you know therre are so many legends in Welsh culture. One that always intrigued me was the 'Sin Eater'. When someone died the body would be kept in the house for three days during which time a selected person would enter the room and eat a meal, thus consuming all the sins of the dead person. I don't think they do this now and don't even keep the body in the house. Mortuaries have to make money these days. I sometimes wonder if it is still in existence way back in the mountains. They also covered all the mirrors in the house and drew the blinds and put a black ribboned wreath on the front door.
    These were houses without central heating and only have small fireplaces in each room. So different nowadays.

  9. Ethlenn says:

    Oh yes, I read about “sin eater”, and in other parts of Europe there is a similar motif – usually a beggar was invited to the house where someone died to eat a meal.

  10. peggybrad says:

    The beggar being chosen rings a bell. They would choose someone who was without family… sort of an outcast. All very judgemental and the chosen one could hardly refuse or he would be totally ostracised and life made impossible.

    Arn't human beings non human so often.

  11. Martini says:

    Just so cool. You are so cool for sharing your wonderful knowledge that I hunger for. I've been eating up your blogs for over an hour and a half, now. And I've linked my people to your pages, too.

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