[KS] legend of mangbusok

Young-Jun Lee lee41 at fas.harvard.edu
Wed Nov 17 23:23:00 EST 2004

Dear Ann:

If you refer to Hanguk Kubi munhak taegye (ChOngsin munhwa yOnguwOn), you will find various sources of Korean folklore.
MangbusOk is found all over the peninsula, Pusan(YOngdo), Ch'isullyOng between Ulsan and KyOngju, Haenam, and ChOngUp, to name a few. The most well-known fable is related with Pak Chesang's wife, based on Samguk sagi vol.45 and Samguk yusa vol.1, in which the wife died of missing her husband. But both books do not give any word to the petrifying scene, which is widely spread among folk fables. I wonder when the petrifying narrative has begun in Korean culture or in East Asian folk fables. If Korean shared the similar stories with native Americans as Professors Peterson and Robinson noted, and  Kim Pusik, Confucian author of Samguk sagi, and Buddhist monk IryOn, author of Samguk yusa, might have neglected indigenous imagination or belief expressed in folklore. 

The mangbusOk motive--a wife eternally waiting for her husband-- in Sowol's poem "Ch'ohon" has various siblings in modern Korean poetry, let alone premodern Korean poetry, in which we find many similar works like ChOngUpsa, with which a present manbusOk in ChOngUp is believed by people to be directly connected.  
In Midang SO ChOngju's poem, "Sinbu" ("Bride"), for example, an abandoned bride waits for her husband who disappeared in the first night, mistaken her for being obscene. When the husband revisits the house some decades later, he finds the bride still in her wedding attire. With great regret, when he touches her, the bride collapses as ashes. 

Young-Jun Lee

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: aychoi at rci.rutgers.edu 
  To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws 
  Sent: 2004년 11월 17일 수요일 오전 11:20
  Subject: [KS] legend of mangbusok

  Dear Korean studies list members,

  Can anyone help me find sources to the manbusok (husband-waiting-rock)
  story that tells of the faithful wife who waited so long for her husband
  to return from the sea that she turned into a rock?   There's a mangbusok
  rock formation in Haeundae in Pusan, the only site I am aware of that
  carries a physical remnant of this folktale/legend.  Something tells me
  that this was also a story that circulated in Northern Korea in early
  twentieth century, as Kim Sowol alludes to it in one of his poems.

  Much obliged,
  Ann Choi


  Ann Y. Choi
  Asian Languages and Cultures
  Rutgers University
  New Brunswick, NJ  08901
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