[KS] legend of mangbusok

Gari Keith Ledyard gkl1 at columbia.edu
Thu Nov 18 13:38:10 EST 2004

The various responses to Ann Choi's query make it clear that "mangbuso^k" 
stories are ubiquitous in Korean folklore and around the world.  A well 
known Chinese variation on this theme was noted by Korean travelers during 
the 18th and 19th centuries.  Here is an account by Hong Taeyong 
(1731-1783) of the Temple of the Faithful Woman (Chennyumiao, Korean form 
Ch^ongny^omyo) and its legend of the Mangbus^ok:

 	"The Temple of the Faithful Woman is ten li (5.5km) out from 
Shanhaiguan (the eastern terminus of the Great Wall). A small hill rises 
abruptly out of the plain, its soil blending with blueish, shiny rocks, 
all ringed with pines.  A brick path is set into the hill, with perhaps 
twenty or thirty steps lined on both sides by stone railings very 
skillfully carved in relief. At the top is the "Watching-for-her-Husband- 
Rock (Mangbus^ok), which is about a chang (2m) high and seven or eight po 
(9m) wide. On the left side of the rock is a faint cavity. Tradition says 
that this is the footprint of the Faithful Woman. In the temple itself 
there is a statue of this woman, her face powdered in the manner of a 
country wife, simply and plainly. A boy is at her left, and a man carrying 
an umbrella is at her right. It depicts the story of how she looked for 
her husband as she led her child by the hand. On the pillar, a pair of 
lines in the calligraphy of the Song minister Wen Tianxiang (1236-1282) 
tells the tale:
   	"'Where are you, oh Emperor of Qin! In your Great Wall of a myriad 
li, righteous rage is pounded firm. You are not dead, Woman Jiang! In this 
stone slab a thousand years old, constancy and faith still endure.'
 	"Iwent up to the front of the statues and let out a sigh, then 
came out. Wang Wenju (Hong's carriage driver) went in and left a small 
coin on the table, then made repeated bows. This was to seek good fortune 
for the trip."

 	The woman, Meng Jiang (K. Maeng Kang), had an earlier history as a 
model for wifely faithfulness going back several centuries before Qin's 
building of the Great Wall.  Her mythic connection with the Wall seems to 
have started in the Tang period, from which time it took on a life of its 
own, in which her given name became a surname.  See Arthur Waldron's <The 
Great Wall of China, from History to Myth>, pp. 197-203.
 	The account above is translated from Hong's narrative in Chinese 
of his trip to Beijing in 1766.  But the version in his diary, which was 
written in Korean, is much longer, with an extended rumination on Woman 
Jiang, who evidently made a very strong impression on him.  When he 
returned from his journey, he expanded and elaborated his travel diary for 
the express purpose of sharing his travels with his mother and his wife. 
See the Korean diary, <^Ulby^ong Y^onhaengnok>, Seoul, 1997, pp. 126-128, 
or, for a rendering into modernized Korean, Kim T'aejun's abridged rewrite 
of the diary under the title <Sanhaegwan chamgin mun^ul han son^uro 
milch'idoda> (Tolbaegae Publishers, 2001), pp. 59-62.
 	Hong Taeyong really put this particular mangbus^ok story on the 
map with his very widely read hanmun memoir; Korean travelers after him 
invariably went out of their way to see the shrine.  In tracking 
mangbus^ok stories, it is good not to discount Korea's rich travel 
literature and hanmun culture, and in Hong Taeyong's case, the much less 
common phenomenon of a traveler's own lively version in Korean.  Ann 
Choi's observation that Kim Sow^ol's poetry suggests a general popularity 
of mangbus^ok stories in the north is significant here, because the 
hundreds of soldiers, servants, and merchants who accompanied the annual 
"solsticial" diplomatic missions every winter were overwhelmingly from the 
P'y^ongbuk area.

Gari Ledyard

On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 aychoi at rci.rutgers.edu wrote:

> 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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