Hello, everyone. Welcome to “Korean Folktales.” In this weekly corner, we take you into the world of interesting Korean folk stories. I’m Jinny Na. Today, I’ll tell you about an amusing story of how goblins repaid an old couple’s kindness.
Once upon a time, an old man and his wife lived in a small thatched-roof house. One night, the couple woke up to a strange sound coming from outside. They wondered who was making such a noise in the middle of the night and went outside to see what was happening. In the sandy field near their house, a group of goblins were holding a wrestling competition. The old man and the woman were surprised and scared at first, but they soon became interested in the unusual scene. They sat down and enjoyed watching the goblins’ wrestling festival under the moonlight.
When they returned home, they felt hungry. The old woman made buckwheat jelly and shared it with her husband. They thought that the goblins must be hungry too after the intense wrestling competition. The next day, before night fell, the woman cooked buckwheat jelly in a big pot and placed it on the sand where the goblins had gathered the previous night. The next morning, the couple went to the sand to find the pot, which was completely empty. Obviously, the hungry goblins had eaten all of the food in the large pot. The old couple thought that the goblins liked the buckwheat jelly, and they made the same food that night. Again, the pot was found empty the following morning. This ritual was repeated for days.
One night, the goblins came to the old man’s house and knocked on the door. “Old man, we know you and your wife gave us the delicious food for days. We really enjoyed it. We want to express our thanks to you guys, and we’ll grant you one wish. What is your biggest wish?” The couple gladly accepted the goblins’ unexpected present. The old man said that he wished to move the graves of his parents to a better site, as the original gravesite was not in good shape. The goblins instantly let them know where they could find a good, sunny place for a new gravesite. The couple was delighted, of course, and they chose an auspicious day for moving the graves.
While they were waiting for the day to come, a greedy old man in the neighborhood heard the rumor about the goblins and the gravesite. The man wanted the blessed site badly and he decided to steal it by moving the graves of his own parents before the old couple did. Hearing that, the couple cried bitterly. But the goblins consoled them and promised to help them out. When the goblins wielded their magic clubs, a colorfully decorated bier appeared followed by a table for a memorial ceremony and mourning clothes. Wearing their mourning clothes, the couple followed the funeral procession led by the goblins.
When they reached the gravesite, they found the greedy man digging in the ground. The angry goblins confronted the man. “Hey, what are you doing here? Are you trying to steal the gravesite of your neighbor? Get out of here right now!” The avaricious man was frightened and ran away. In this way, the goblins helped the old couple move their parents’ graves and also drove the greedy man out of the place as well.
Thanks to the goblins, who were willing to repay the couple’s kindness, the old man and his wife could bury their parents in a good place as they wished. And they enjoyed the blessings of peace and comfort for the rest of their lives.
That’s it for today’s edition of Korean Folktales. Thank you for listening. I’m Jinny Na. Goodbye, everyone.