Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Deer and the Woodcutter: A Korean Folktale by Kim So-Un

One day, a humble woodcutter saves the life of a hunted deer.  In gratitude, the deer tells the hunter how he might win a beautiful fairy as his wife.  Daily the fairies descend from heaven to bathe in a pool in the mountains.  If the woodcutter journeys to the pool he will find all of the feathery robes which belong to the fairies.  Should he take one robe and hide it, the fairy whose robe he has hidden will not be able to return to heaven and will become his wife.  The deer cautions that he must always keep the robe hidden, until the time that the fairy has given birth to four children else he will regret it. 
Folktales make me wonder, who is the person that first told this story?  What is the genesis of it?  What folktales will our grandchildren know? 

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