Hello, everyone. Welcome to “Korean Folktales.” In this weekly feature, we introduce you to traditional Korean folk stories. I’m Jinny Na. Today, I’ll tell you an amusing story of two foolish men.
Once upon a time, there lived a man named Gaedong. He was a rather thickheaded fellow and he often made mistakes. But he was a diligent person, and he worked very hard. He was fortunate enough to collect a lot of gold coins. He kept them in a jar and hid it deep in his closet, but he still felt uneasy. Gaedong couldn’t sleep well for fear that someone might steal his jar. He didn’t want to lose his hard-earned gold and he thought he should conceal the jar somewhere else—somewhere safer.
After much thought, Gaedong decided to bury it in the hills at the back of his house. He dug deep underground and buried his precious jar. He felt much better, believing that no one would ever find it. But soon, he was worried that he too might not be able to find it. So he put up a sign to mark the place. But then he became concerned that someone might dig up the ground after seeing the sign. So he wrote on the sign, “Gaedong never buried gold here.” He felt relieved now. That night, he slept like a baby.
Meanwhile, in the same village, there lived a man named Saedong, who was just as foolish as Gaedong. One day, while walking on a trail on the hills, Saedong happened to see a sign that read “Gaedong never buried gold here.” He wondered if the reading was true or not. He dug up around the sign and found a jar filled with gold coins. He blamed Gaedong for telling a lie and decided to take the jar. But he was afraid that he might get caught. So he put up another sign saying, “Saedong never took the gold buried here.” He was pleased, thinking that no one would be suspicious of him. He returned home, taking the gold jar with him.
Before long, Gaedong went to the place where he had buried his gold to make sure that the jar was still safely underground. To his surprise, the site was uncovered and the jar was gone. Obviously, the jar was stolen. To him, it was all the more shocking since he had even put up the sign to tell the passers-by that there was no gold in this particular spot. Thinking of the sign, he discovered another sign that read, “Saedong never took the gold buried here.” Gaedong was angry. He thought to himself: I’ll reclaim my gold by all means.
Gaedong lost no time in running down to the village. When he reached a market crowded with village people, he shouted loudly in anger, “You bastard! How dare you steal my gold? I want to get my gold back. Come over here, everyone, except Saedong!”
So, who do you think is more foolish – Gaedong or Saedong?
That’s it for today’s “Korean Folktales.” Tune in again next time for another interesting Korean folk story. Thank you for listening. I’m Jinny Na. Goodbye, everyone.