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.

Old Woman Who Became a Goblin, The

THERE was a Confucian scholar once who lived in the southern part of Seoul. It is said that he went out for a walk one day while his wife remained alone at home. When he was absent there came by begging an old woman who looked like a Buddhist priestess, for while very old her face was not wrinkled. The scholar's wife asked her if she knew how to sew. She said she did, and so the wife made this proposition, "If you will stay and work for me I'll give you your breakfast and your supper, and you'll not have to beg anywhere; will you agree?"

               She replied, "Oh, thank you so much, I'll be delighted."

               The scholar's wife, well satisfied with her bargain, took her in and set her to picking cotton, and making and spinning thread. In one day she did more than eight ordinary women, and yet had, seemingly, plenty of time to spare. The wife, delighted above measure, treated her to a great feast. After five or six days, however, the feeling of delight and the desire to treat her liberally and well wore off somewhat, so that the old woman grew angry and said, "I am tired of living alone, and so I want your husband for my partner." This being refused, she went off in a rage, but came back in a little accompanied by a decrepit old man who looked like a Buddhist beggar.

               These two came boldly into the room and took possession, cleared out the things that were in the ancient tablet-box on the wall-shelf, and both disappeared into it, so that they were not seen at all, but only their voices heard. According to the whim that took them they now ordered eatables and other things. When the scholar's wife failed in the least particular to please them, they sent plague and sickness after her, so that her children fell sick and died. Relatives on hearing of this came to see, but they also caught the plague, fell ill and died. Little by little no one dared come near the place, and it became known at last that the wife was held as a prisoner by these two goblin creatures. For a time smoke was seen by the town-folk coming out of the chimney daily, and they knew that the wife still lived, but after five or six days the smoke ceased, and they knew then that the woman's end had come. No one dared even to make inquiry.

                Im Bang.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Old Woman Who Became a Goblin, 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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