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.

Who Decides, God or the King?

KING Tai-jong was having a rest in Heung-yang Palace, while outside two eunuchs were talking together over the law that governs the affairs of men, as to whether it is man or God. A said, "Riches and honour are all in the king's hand." B said, "Nothing of the kind; every atom of wealth and every degree of promotion are all ordered of God. Even the king himself has no part in it and no power."

               So they argued, each that he was right, without ever coming to an agreement.

               The King, overhearing what was said, wrote a secret despatch, saying, "Raise the Bearer of this letter one degree in rank." He sealed it and commanded A to take it to Se-jong, who was then in charge of this office. A made his bow and departed, but just when he was about to leave the palace enclosure a furious pain took him in the stomach, so that he begged B to take his place and go into the city.

               The next day, when the record of promotions was placed before the King, he read how B had been advanced, but not one word was there about A.

               King Tai-jong made inquiry, and when he knew the circumstances he gave a sudden start of wonder and remained long in deep thought.

                Yi Ryuk.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Who Decides, God or the King?
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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