Hello, everyone. Welcome to “Korean Folktales.” In this weekly corner, we introduce you to interesting traditional Korean folk stories. I’m Jinny Na.
Once upon a time, there lived an old man who was very rich. He had three sons and three daughters-in-law. The man’s first and eldest daughter-in-law was a greedy woman, and she thought that her wealthy father-in-law would and should leave all his property to her husband. The second daughter-in-law, who was just as greedy as the first one, also wished that her husband would inherit the family fortune. But the third and youngest daughter-in-law was different. She didn’t expect anything from her father-in-law.
One day, the old man brought his three daughters-in-law together. “Today, I’ll give something to all three of you. Keep them well until I ask you to return them to me.” With these words, the man gave them three beans each. The first daughter-in-law was very disappointed. She said to herself, ‘I thought he would give me some kind of treasure. But what is this? A mere three beans? How ridiculous!’ She threw away the beans, which were then eaten by a rat. The second daughter-in-law was also pretty upset. ‘Why on earth should I keep these useless beans?’ The gluttonous woman roasted the beans and ate them right away. The third daughter-in-law, meanwhile, kept the three beans in a small box. The next spring, she planted them in the field. The beans grew well. In the coming autumn, she harvested a lot of beans.
After a while, the old man called in the three daughters-in-law again. He told them to bring the three beans he had given them the previous year. The first daughter-in-law bowed her head in shame. “Father, the beans were eaten by a rat. I’m sorry.” The second one was also empty-handed, as expected. The two women were surprised and embarrassed as they didn’t expect their father-in-law to ask for the beans. The old man turned his eyes to the third one. “What about you? Did you bring the beans?” The youngest daughter-in-law replied. “Father, the beans are kept in the storeroom. I want you to go there to see them yourself, if you don’t mind.”
The first and second women laughed at her. “In the storeroom? Do you think the beans still remain there? They must have rotted a long time ago.” But contrary to their expectations, they found bags of beans in the storeroom. The youngest daughter-in-law said, “Father, I sowed the beans in the field and was fortunate enough to reap a good harvest.” The father-in-law looked pleased. He said, “Well done. Now I found that the third daughter-in-law is smart and diligent, while the first one is rather lazy and the second one is too greedy. After I die, my fortune will be passed on to the youngest since I believe she will be able to manage it properly and even increase it.”
The first and second daughters-in-law were unhappy to hear that, but they felt so ashamed that they couldn’t say anything.
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.