Folktale Week 2020 Day 2: Ritual
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 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 a 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 a 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.