Samshin - goddess of birth

Once upon a time in the Korean peninsula, there wasn’t anyone in the human world
to look after the affairs of giving birth and raising children. So the god of high heaven summoned
a young unmarried woman who was known to be dutiful to her parents and family,
saw that she was a bright young woman and appointed her the goddess of birth - Sam(birth)shin(god).

Descending to the human world, Samshin met a young woman weeping under a willow tree.
She said she was an exiled daughter of the Dragon King of the East Sea
and had come to the human world to become the goddess of birth.
But because she never had a chance to learn how the babies are born,
she was just after letting a woman in labour die.
“But I am the goddess of birth appointed by the high god of heaven,” Samshin said.
Unable to accept this, the daughter of the Dragon King grabbed Samshin’s hair and hit her very hard!

“Let’s ask the god of heaven to make the judgement,” Samshin suggested.
The god gave them each a seed to sow in a desert in the Western Land.
The daughter of the Dragon King managed to grow a plant that had one root, one stalk and one leaf.
But from the seed that Samshin looked after grew a plant with 45600 branches and 33 flowers on each branch.
The angry daughter of the Dragon King pledged to give babies nasty diseases,
and this is why people made offerings to her after the babies were born.

Once again, Samshin was appointed the goddess of birth.
She built a huge mansion with a beautiful garden within secure walls,
and the babies were sent from here to their mothers’ wombs holding a flower from Samshin’s garden.
When the babies are being born, Samshin sits in the delivery room with the women in labour and loosens their bones.
She also looks after children and keeps them healthy until they are 15 years old.
Ung-nyo: Bear Woman 

Hwan-ung was a son of god.
Since he always longed to live with humans, god permitted him to rule and benefit the world.
So Hwan-ung descended onto the Korean peninsula with 3000 subordinates including ministers of wind, rain and cloud,
and looked after human affairs.

A bear and a tiger were living in a cave and both prayed to Hwan-ung that they become humans. 
Hwan-ung promised their wish would be granted if they stayed in the cave out of sunlight for 100 days
eating only the sacred mugwort and garlic he gave them. 

So the bear and the tiger went to stay in their cave for 100 days,
but the tiger got tired of the vegan diet and soon ran away.
The bear, however, managed to stay put and after 21 days became a woman. 

Ung(bear)-nyo(woman) prayed again, this time for an offspring,
and Hwan-ung transformed into a human and married her.
Ungnyo gave birth to a son named Dan-gun - the first king of Ancient Chosun who ruled for 1500 years.
Baridegi: Abandoned Princess

A king had 6 daughters and no son.
When his 7th baby turned out to be another girl, the king got so mad that he threw out the newborn.
Baridegi(Thrown-away Thing) was raised by an old woman without knowing her real identity.

Years later, the king became gravely ill. The only cure was an elixir and flowers from a faraway land.
All 6 princesses refused to make a dangerous journey for the medicine.
So the king tracked down and found Bari as the last resort, and she traveled to the western land.

After a long adventure, Bari located the elixir and the flowers.
But the guard of the medicine said she couldn’t have them until she gave him 3 sons.
So she married him, gave birth to 3 boys, and only then was able to travel back home with the cure.

When Bari arrived at her father’s castle, she was met with the king’s funeral procession.
Bari touched the king’s dead body with the flowers and moistened his mouth with elixir.
Flesh and blood came back into the corpse and the king came back to life.
Bari became the goddess in the land of the dead.
Red Bean Soup Granny & Tiger

A tiger tried to eat a granny who was working on a field of red beans.
The granny begged the tiger to wait until the winter solstice
when she would have harvested the red beans and made soup out of them.
So the tiger came to tea on the solstice day, to eat the granny and red bean soup!

The tiger went into the granny’s kitchen.
As he tried to taste the red bean soup, baked chestnuts popped out from the furnace and burned the tiger’s eyes.
He put his head into the water bucket to cool down his eyes, and a turtle bit the tiger’s nose.
Retreating from the bucket, the tiger stepped on cow dung and slipped. Then a punch poked his bumhole.

The tiger took a big fright from all these attacks and tried to run out of the kitchen.
One last blow came from a grinding stone that jumped and fell onto the tiger’s head, and the tiger passed out.
A mat wrapped the tiger tight, and a timber carrier took him down to the river and threw the tiger away. 
Then the granny, chestnuts, turtle, cow dung, punch, mat and timber carrier had a red bean soup party! 
The Rabbit & The Turtle

Dragon King of the South Sea fell gravely ill & no medicine worked for him.
One last thing the doctor suggested was a rabbit’s liver.
So a turtle was sent on a perilous journey onto the land and into the woods
and brought a rabbit to the ocean palace with a false promise of a great position in the ocean court. 

When the rabbit realised he was about to be killed,
he said his liver was indeed such a precious medicine that he left it hidden in a secret den on land,
and that he would happily go and get it for the king.
Despite the turtle’s plea, the court decided that the rabbit was telling the truth. 

Before the rabbit departed, the king threw a banquet
and the rabbit got drunk and danced with the ocean beauties.
Looking at him dancing, the ministers of the court wondered what could be wiggling in the rabbit’s belly, if not a liver.
The rabbit dared them to cut him open to see there was only poo in his belly.
They couldn’t, in case there was no liver and they would have killed the rabbit for nothing.

The poor turtle was ordered to shuttle the rabbit back to land and bring the liver.
The moment they arrived on the shore, the rabbit ran into the woods and was never to be found.
The turtle knew he would be killed if he went back empty-handed,
so he picked up some rabbit poo and presented it to the king.
The king took the medicine the turtle brought and recovered.

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