What Reflects Korean Folklore

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Korean folklore started a long time ago. It goes back several thousands of years. The stories are really different depending on each religion, which include Confucianism, Buddhism and Christianity and more. These stories are made to entertain children and also to learn about their religion.

Many of Korean folktales reflects on hopes, believes, dreams and aspirations of common people. Most of the stories contain life experiences. Mythical creatures, goblins are usually brought up in Korean folktales as well as supernatural beings like monsters, ghosts and many other creatures. Some of the Korean folktales have a “deus ex machina”. This is when there is a solution that just randomly appears in the story. For example, there is a Korean story called “The Sun and the Moon”. This story talks about a mom who was really poor and was cleaning houses to make a living. One day she went to a rich man’s party and was given some rice cakes. Her children were hungry so she started bringing the rice cakes home to her children. But a tiger was following her on the way home. He asked for some rice cakes. She gave the tiger some but he kept asking for more. When there was none left, the tiger ate her, and after, dressed in her clothes. The tiger went to her house pretending to be the children’s mom. When tiger approached the little kids, they did not believe the giant tiger was their mother because he was hairy and he had a deep voice. They both ran away as fast as they could and climbed a tree but the tiger found them. The kids prayed to God and a rope appeared from the sky. The children started climbing the giant rope. The tiger also asked God for a rope but is was rotten and he fell down. The children reached the sky. The sister became the moon and brother became the sun. The sister was afraid of the night. So the brother offered to switch spots. He became the moon and she became the sun.

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The features in the story are: It involves a mythical creature. In this story it is a tiger that can talk which is impossible in reality. There is also a “deus ex machina” that appears in the end of the story. It is the rope that appears from the sky. The rope saves the children, they could have been eaten by the tiger. It is obviously a “deus ex machina”. In Inuit folklore, there is a monster named the Qualupilluit. This creature snatches children and brings them into the freezing cold ice water. The Qualupilluit is almost like the tiger in the previous story.

Korean folktales are different depending on their religions. “Deus ex machina” are sometimes found in Korean folktales. In the Koreans stories, goblins, ghosts, tigers are occasionally included in the folktales.   


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