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Monday, November 23, 2015

The Tale of the Woodcutter and the Tiger

The Tale of the Woodcutter and the Tiger
    Korean folklore recalls the tale of a woodcutter who encounters a tiger in the woods.  Fearing that he would soon be the tiger’s dinner, he exclaimed:   “You must be my long lost brother!  Our mother cried for you when you left home.  She had dinner ready for you every night, waiting for your return.  Sadly, out mother has just passed away.  How happy she would have been had she known you are alive and well!”  The woodcutter took out his handkerchief and pretended to wipe at his eyes.  The tiger turned away, as tears fell down his cheeks, leaving the woodcutter unharmed.
    Every year thereafter, on Chesa, the memorial day of the woodcutter’s mother’s death, an offering appeared on her grave -  sometimes a peasant, or even his mother’s favorite mountain berries.  The woodcutter did not know where these offerings came from.

    One year, the woodcutter noticed that the customary offering had not been placed on his mother’s grave, and he wondered what had happened. Out from the bush, three baby tigers appeared, carrying offerings.  They approached the woodcutter and cried: “You must be our uncle!  Mother tiger is gone now, and we know how important it is for her to honor grandmother by bringing an offering to her Chesa table beside her grave.  We are here to bring offerings for our grandmother in loving memory of our mother.” The woodcutter noticed that his face had turned suddenly warm and realized that it was his own tears streaming down his cheeks.

Person vs Nature: a kind of conflict led the wood cutter to fool the tiger.  The woodcutter will be bitten by the tiger so he fooled it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015