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09 November 2011 @ 11:53 pm
Korean folk tale (5/08/11)  
옛날에 거지랑 부자가 죽어서 염라대왕 앞으로 갔어. 근데 부자는 살아생전에 자기욕심만 채우는 아주 나쁜 사람이었고 거지는 아무것도 없는 불쌍한 사람이었어. 염라대왕이 부자에게 인생을 어떻게 보냈느냐 하고 물었더니 부자는 거짓말로 아주 착하게 남을 도와주며 살았다고 얘기했어. 또 염라대왕이 거지에게 인생을 어떻게 보냈느냐 하고 물었더니 거지는 아무것도 가진게 없어 길거리에서 떨어진 음식을 주어먹거나 돈을 구걸하며 불쌍하게 살았다고 했어. 염라대왕이 거지보고 똥통에 들어가라고 하고 부자는 꿀통에 들어가라고 하였어. 부자는 아주 기뻐하며 꿀통에 들어갔고 거지는 아주 억울하고 비통한 심정으로 똥통에 들어갔어. 염라대왕이 두 사람에게 통에서 나오라고 하였어 그리고 뭐라고 했는줄 알어???????
너희 둘은 서로의 몸에 묻은것을 핥아 먹어라 라고 했대.

Back in the day, a poor man* and a rich man died, and then went up to God. With that said, the rich man was quite a bad person in his lifetime who only wanted to fulfill his own greed, and the poor man* was a person who had no shame about anything. God asked the rich man how he lived his life, and so the rich man, lying, told God that he lived quite virtuously helping others. God then asked the poor man how he lived his life, and the liar told God that he lived shamefully without any possessions: he roamed the streets for food and begged people for money. God looked at the poor man* and told him to go into the manure bath, and then he looked at the rich man and told him to go into the honey bath. The rich man was rather happy as he entered the honey bath, whereas the poor man* entered the manure bath with feelings of injustice and bitterness. God told the two people to come out of the baths and do you know what he said then?

He said, ‘You two now lick what is coating the other person.’


Okay, this was so strange to me when I first read it. So I asked around and it finally came to me.

The rich man, when asked how he lived his life, told a false, sugar-coated ‘honey’-like story about being a good person, when in reality, he is a selfish and rather bad person.

The poor man* told God, in his natural lying nature, that he lived a dirty, ‘manure’-like life full of shame, when in fact, he was an average person with nothing to be ashamed of.

God told the rich man to go into the honey because according to the rich man’s story, he was a honey-like person (sweet and caring etc.)

God told the poor man* to go into the poo because according to his story, he was a shit-filled person (begging people for money is considered really shameful in Korea, rather that pitiful :s)

When they come out of the baths (not really baths, but I wasn’t sure how to translate LOL), God told them to lick each other. This is a punishment to the rich man: he is a shitty, selfish person and so he has to lick the poo. However, this is somewhat a reward to the poor man*: he had nothing to be ashamed of, so he gets to lick the sweet, tasty honey. I say somewhat, because he is still coated in shit nevertheless.

*update: 거지 is a poor man/beggar, not a liar.

In Asian culture, it is believed that there are ten Hells, and 염라대왕 is the king of the fifth Hell.

I’ve been told that this is just a children’s story, so perhaps I’m looking into it a bit too deep xD