Korean Folk Tales: Imps, Ghosts and Fairies | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in October 2018 with all known ATU Classifications. Many of the tales in this collection included introductory and/or end note text which has been moved to the Notes section for each tale.

Ill-Fated Priest, The

A CERTAIN scribe of Chung-chong Province, whose name was Kim Kyong-jin, once told me the following story. Said he: "In the year 1640, as I was journeying past Big Horn Bridge in Ta-in County, I saw a scholar, who, with his four or five servants, had met with some accident and all were reduced to a state of unconsciousness, lying by the river side. I asked the reason for what had befallen them, and they at last said in reply, 'We were eating our noon meal by the side of the road, when a Buddhist priest came by, a proud, arrogant fellow, who refused to bow or show any recognition of us. One of the servants, indignant at this, shouted at him. The priest, however, beat him with his stick, and when others went to help, he beat them also, so that they were completely worsted and unable to rise or walk. He then scolded the scholar, saying, "You did not reprimand your servants for their insult to me, so I'll have to take it out of you as well." The Buddhist gave him a number of vicious blows, so that he completely collapsed;' and when I looked there was the priest a li or two ahead.

               "Just then a military man, aged about forty or so, came my way. He was poor in flesh and seemed to have no strength. Riding a cadaverous pony, he came shuffling along; a boy accompanying carried his hat-cover and bow and arrows. He arrived at the stream, and, seeing the people in their plight, asked the cause. The officer was very angry, and said, 'Yonder impudent priest, endowed with no end of brute force, has attacked my people and me.'

               "'Indeed,' said the stranger, 'I have been aware of him for a long time, and have decided to rid the earth of him, but I have never had an opportunity before. Now that I have at last come on him I am determined to have satisfaction.' So he dismounted from his horse, tightened his girth, took his bow, and an arrow that had a 'fist' head, and made off at a gallop after the priest. Soon he overtook him. Just as the priest looked back the archer let fly with his arrow, which entered deep into the chest. He then dismounted, drew his sword, pierced the two hands of the priest and passed a string through them, tied him to his horse's tail, and came triumphantly back to where the scholar lay, and said, 'Now do with this fellow as you please. I am going.'

               "The scholar bowed before the archer, thanked him, asked his place of residence and name. He replied, 'My home is in the County of Ko-chang,' but he did not give his name.

               "The scholar looked at the priest, and never before had he seen so powerful a giant, but now, with his chest shot through and his hands pierced, he was unable to speak; so they arose, made mincemeat of him, and went on their way rejoicing."

                Im Bang.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Ill-Fated Priest, The
Tale Author/Editor: Bang, Im
Book Title: Korean Folk Tales: Imps, Ghosts and Fairies
Book Author/Editor: Bang, Im & Ryuk, Yi
Publisher: E. P. Dutton & Co.
Publication City: New York
Year of Publication: 1913
Country of Origin: Korea
Classification: unclassified

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