Folktales

The Story with Hongmun (red gate erected in honor of a filial son or daughter) (Dohwa-dong)

The Story with Hongmun (red gate erected in honor of a filial son or daughter) (Dohwa-dong)

During the reign of King Yeongjo of the late Joseon Dynasty, Jisim lost her mother early and grew up with another’s breast milk as pleaded by her father. Despite her young age, she took care of the ailing father and of the village affairs, so she was considered to be his own daughter. One day, soon after she left the house, Jisim encountered a tiger in the street.

She recalled the father who always said ‘I want to eat some meat.’ Jisim decided to catch the tiger and started fighting it with her bare hands.

When the hunter found her, being put on the defensive, he shot the tiger and saved her. After he listened to her story, he got only the skin of the tiger and gave the meat to Jisim. She cooked the meat for her father.

King Yeongjo listened to the story and granted a gate to be erected in honor of Jisim, a filial daughter. This gate remained until the early reign of King Gojong at 298, Dohwa-dong, Seoul, but when the French fleet entered around Seogang, the gate was pulled down due to obstructing the solders’ path and only the site remains now.

 

The Story of Jangsabawi Rock (Sinsu-dong)

It is said that in old times, there was a strong man (jangsa) in the area. As he was so strong, when he touched a rock to mount, his fingers and toes made prints on the rock, and when he urinated on the rock, it made a hole on the rock. During the Japanese Colonial Era, the Japanese authority was worried that such a strong man would be born again in Korea, so they rammed a post into a hole and poured molten metal into it so as to block the spirit of the strong man.

Meanwhile, a couple lived in the area that had no children although they had been married for over 28 years. One day, a mendicant Buddhist priest said to them that if they made an offering to him, they will be blessed with a child. Therefore, the couple offered half of the property to a temple. Soon after, the wife was pregnant, but after 10 months of the pregnancy, she couldn’t give birth but she finally did in the 15th month.

As soon as the boy was born, he performed unaccountable actions such as shooting an arrow, and uprooting a big tree with one hand. The couple was very surprised and hushed up their boy’s behaviors.

Around that time, in the country, hounds of lawmen investigated every household to arrest all the strong men because it was thought that a man of great strength could attempt to rise against the country. However, a village widower that had a strong affection for the wife of the couple since his youth, reported to the district office that the couple had a strong boy.

When the government official clerks came to arrest him, the strong boy of the age of seven resisted by throwing a rock at them, but an arrow hit him in the eye and he collapsed. They arrested and executed the boy, and the couple was devastated by their son’s death. Then, the husband went up Jjokbaksan Mountain. When he gave a sigh, thinking of his son, suddenly the mountain became as small as the size of small gourd, while the wife threw herself into the Hangang River. The rock that the strong boy threw at the official clerks is called ‘bakhin bawi’. (It was originally situated around # 3, 202 below the current Holiness Church, but about 1977 when the houses were built, it disappeared.)

 

The Story of Gangseongsaem (Donggyo-dong)

A pit, called Gangseongsaem, was located around Sinchon Telephone Company in old times. It is said that when people fell in this pit with 66m2 in circumference, they couldn’t get out of it as it was very muddy, but it was connected to the Hangang River. According to a myth, people believed that a newborn baby could have good health and longevity if the baby’s placenta was thrown into the pit, so people from the capital city came here to throw in placentas. However, the stink of rotten placenta was terrible, the authority put up a sign, saying that any person who threw a placenta here would be punished or fined during the Japanese Colonial Era.