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Formerly there lived in the province of Cholla, in the town of Namwon, a magistrate's son named Yi Mong-Yong. He had much literary talent, and grew up to be a handsome young man.

One beautiful morning, Master Yi Mong-Yong called his servant, Pangja, and asked him to show him a place where he might see wild flowers. Pangja led him to a summer pavilion near a bridge called "Ojak-kyo," or the "Magpie Bridge." The view from the bridge was as beautiful as the summer sky, and thus was named after the tale of the Herdboy and the Weaving Maid.

Looking at the distant mountains, Yi Mong-Yong caught sight of a young maiden swinging beneath one of the trees. He asked Pangja about the lovely maiden and her attendant. He replied that she was Ch'unhyang (Spring Fragrance), a daughter of Wolmae (Moon Plum), the retired kisaeng entertainer. Pangja related to his young master that this young girl was not only beautiful but also virtuous. Yi Mong-Yong insisted that Pangja inform Ch'unhyang that he wished to meet her.

"Don't you know the butterfly must pursue the flower, and the geese must seek the sea?" retorted Ch'unhyang.

The wind blew back her hair and long ribbon over her rosy face, and she glowed with virtue and happiness. "This good fortune is offered me today. Why wait until tomorrow? Should I not speak to this pretty girl now?" Yi Mong-Yong said to himself.

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Kisaeng Farmer Pobusang
Read the folktale of Ch'unhyang, and see traditional Korean cultural values and virtues in action.

Story adapted from Ha Tae Hung, Folk Tales of Old Korea, Korean Cultural Series 6
(Seoul: Yonsei University Press, 1967).


Copyright © 2002 East Rock Institute. All rights reserved. Project Director Hesung Chun Koh. Funding from the Korea Foundation. Distribution in cooperation with ICU of Ewha Womans University.