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.

Faithful Mo

PRINCE Ha had a slave who was a landed proprieter and lived in Yang-ju county. He had a daughter, fairest of the fair, whom he called Mo (Nobody), beautiful beyond expression. An Yun was a noted scholar, a man of distinction in letters. He saw Mo, fell in love with her and took her for his wife. Prince Ha heard of this and was furiously angry. Said he, "How is it that you, a slave, dare to marry with a man of the aristocracy?" He had her arrested and brought home, intending to marry her to one of his bondsmen. Mo learned of this with tears and sorrow, but knew not what to do. At last she made her escape over the wall and went back to An. An was delighted beyond expression to see her; but, in view of the old prince, he knew not what to do. Together they took an oath to die rather than to be parted.

               Later Prince Ha, on learning of this, sent his underlings to arrest her again and carry her off. After this all trace of her was lost till Mo was discovered one day in a room hanging by the neck dead.

               Months of sorrow passed over An till once, under cover of the night, he was returning from the Confucian Temple to his house over the ridge of Camel Mountain. It was early autumn and the wooded tops were shimmering in the moonlight. All the world had sunk softly to rest and no passers were on the way. An was just then musing longingly of Mo, and in heartbroken accents repeating love verses to her memory, when suddenly a soft footfall was heard as though coming from among the pines. He took careful notice and there was Mo. An knew that she was long dead, and so must have known that it was her spirit, but because he was so buried in thought of her, doubting nothing, he ran to her and caught her by the hand, saying, "How did you come here?" but she disappeared. An gave a great cry and broke into tears. On account of this he fell ill. He ate, but his grief was so great he could not swallow, and a little later he died of a broken heart.

               Kim Champan, who was of the same age as I, and my special friend, was also a cousin of An, and he frequently spoke of this. Yu Hyo-jang, also, An's nephew by marriage, told the story many times. Said he, "Faithful unto death was she. For even a woman of the literati, who has been born and brought up at the gates of ceremonial form, it is a difficult matter enough to die, but for a slave, the lowest of the low, who knew not the first thing of Ceremony, Righteousness, Truth or Devotion, what about her? To the end, out of love for her husband, she held fast to her purity and yielded up her life without a blemish. Even of the faithful among the ancients was there ever a better than Mo?"

                Yi Ryuk.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Faithful Mo
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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