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.

Three Things Mastered

THERE was a relative of the king, named Im Sung-jong, who was a gifted man in thought and purpose. He was the first performer of his time on the harp. King Se-jong said of him, "Im's harp knows but one master, and follows no other man."

               His home was outside the South Gate, and every morning he was seen kneeling on the sill of his front door beating his hands upwards and downwards on his knees, and this practice he carried on for three years. People could not imagine what he meant by it, but thought him mad. Thus he learned the motions required for the harp.

               Also he blew with his mouth and practised with his fingers day and night without stopping, so that when people called on him he would see them but would not perceive them. He kept this up for three years and so learned the motions for the flute.

               He was a lightly built man in body, and poor at riding and at archery. He often sighed over this defect, and said, "Though I am weak and stupid and not able to shoot a long distance, I shall yet know how to hit the target and make the bull's-eye. This also must be acquired by practice." So every morning he took his bow and arrows and went off into the hills. There he shot all day long, keeping it up for three years, till he became a renowned archer. Thus you may perceive the kind of man he was.

                Yi Ryuk.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Three Things Mastered
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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