Hello, everyone. Welcome to “Korean Folktales.” This Monday corner takes you into the world of interesting Korean folk stories. I’m Jinny Na.
Once upon a time, there lived two brothers who lost their parents when they were little. The poor children led a difficult life, earning their livelihood by collecting firewood. One day, they managed to gather a large amount of firewood and earn some money. The boys went to a local market where live chickens were sold. The younger brother was very fond of chickens and he wanted to get one. But they did not have enough money to buy a chicken. Disappointed, the boys were about to leave, when the chicken seller asked them how much money they had. The merchant then offered him a small hen in exchange for the money. The boy was reluctant to accept the offer, since the hen didn’t look nice. The fowl even appeared sick. Still, his younger brother liked the hen very much. So he used all his money to purchase the thin, unhealthy-looking animal.
The next morning, the boys woke up to find something amazing. The hen was sitting on a nest of golden eggs. Obviously, the hen had laid the golden eggs the previous night. This happened the next day and the day after, too. It is needless to say that the children were overjoyed to have the incredible creature.
In the neighborhood, there lived a woman who was raising chickens. One day, while passing by the boys’ house, she happened to see the children taking something glittering from the henhouse. She was surprised to see it was a golden egg. Back home, she couldn’t stop thinking about the mysterious hen and she came up with a plan to steal it. The following day, she barged into the boys’ house and yelled at them. “You thieves! How dare you steal my precious hen? Give it back to me right away!” As the woman screamed and cried, village people began to gather. With the woman having already raised chickens, people believed her lies and suspected that the poor children had stolen her hen. The boys helplessly watched the greedy woman take their hen.
But still the woman wasn’t satisfied. She decided to offer the hen to the king in the belief that the king would grant her a higher social status. She went straight to the royal palace and showed the hen to the king. “Your Majesty, this hen lays golden eggs. I’m very happy to offer it to you.” The king and his officials were curious. Instead of laying golden eggs, however, the hen suddenly went on a wild rampage, running and flying around the royal court making a big mess. And when it eventually laid an egg, it wasn’t a golden one. Worse yet, it was a rotten egg. The king was mad. He ordered the officials to punish the woman. Then she quickly confessed that the hen, in fact, belonged to the boys living next door.
The king summoned the brothers. As soon as the children arrived at the court, the hen became stable. Miraculously, it laid golden eggs again. After hearing the whole story, the king was impressed. “Well, I believe this hen is a gift from heaven for you two brothers, who are poor but work hard and live honestly. It seems you love animals, so I’ll appoint you to the post of caring for this hen.” From then on, the two brothers lived happily and comfortably, taking great care of the hen, which continued to lay golden eggs.
That’s it for today’s “Korean Folktales.” I hope you enjoyed today’s folk story. Thank you for listening. I’m Jinny Na. Goodbye, everyone.