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.

Propitious Magpie, The

PEOPLE say that when the magpie builds its nest directly south of a home that the master of the house will be promoted in office. King T'ai-jong had a friend once who was very poor and had failed in all his projects. After various fruitless attempts he decided to wait till the King went out on procession and then to send a servant to build an imitation magpie's nest in some propitious place before him. The King saw it and asked the man what he was doing. He said in reply that when a magpie builds its nest straight south of a home the master of the house instantly gets promotion. His master, he said, had waited so long and nothing had come, that he was building an imitation nest to bring it about. The King took pity on him and ordered his appointment at once.

               When I was young myself a magpie built its nest before our home, but I, along with other boys, cut off the branch so that the whole nest fell to the ground, and there were the young with their pitiful yellow mouths. I felt sorry and afraid that they would die, so on a propitious site to the south I had the nest hung up on a neutie tree, where the young all lived and flourished and flew away. In that very winter my father was promoted three degrees in rank and was attached to the office of the Prime Minister.

               Afterwards I built a summer-house at Chong-pa, and before the house, directly facing south, magpies built a nest in a date tree. I had a woman slave, and she pulled it down and used the nest for fuel, but they came again the next year and built once more. The year following was 1469 when Ye-jong came to the throne. That year again I was promoted. In the spring of 1471 magpies came and built their nest in a tree just south of my office. I laughed and said, "There is a spiritual power in the magpie surely, as men have said from olden times and as I myself have proven."

                Yi Ryuk.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Propitious Magpie, The
Tale Author/Editor: Ryuk, Yi
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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