The Statue that Sneezed.
Hello, This is Jana and welcome to Storynory. I’m here to tell you a couple of amusing stories from Korea. The first is entitled, the Statue that Sneezed.
Kim was a man who in today’s language we might call Chilled. He liked to do nothing better than to sit out in his yard in the sun and play on his lute.
Meanwhile, his family, which included his old parents, his wife, his four children, and a puppy, did not always have much to eat.
One day his wife said to him, “Get up you lazy layabout, go and get something for us.”
Kim finished the tune he was playing, before rising to his feet, stretching, and saying, “Sure thing, my primrose petal.”
So he went off, up the mountain path, with a sharp eye for something good enough to keep his family satisfied for a while. At first, he was optimistic enough to think he might spot a lump of gold or perhaps a precious stone, or maybe a root of ginseng. As he went further on up the path, and his legs grew more weary, he thought that some grapes or berries or pears would do well enough.
No doubt, anything worth finding near the path, would have been picked up already by some lazy good-for-nothing. So Kim decided that it would pay to be a little more adventurous. He scrambled over some rocks, and then down into a ravine, and up the other side. Finally, his eyes were rewarded with a magnificent sight. He came across the ruins of an old monastery. At the back, carved out of the rock, sat a colossal statue. Long ago, the monks had spent many years chipping away at the face of the mountain, smoothing its curves and surfaces, and forming the calm features and body of the Buddha. The monks had long ago gone away, and the statue was all but forgotten. Local people had heard of it, but few had seen it with their own eyes. It truly was huge. Kim calculated that 10 people could easily stand on its head. While he was studying the head of the Buddha, he noticed that a pear tree was growing out of a crack in the stone. And dangling from a branch of the tree was a prize worth coming all this way for. It was a giant fruit, larger than any he had seen before. In fact, it was as big as his own head.
The statue was partly covered with vines that looked as strong as ropes. Kim grabbed hold of one and started to climb up the statue. With great effort, Kim clambered all the way up to the chin of the statue. Here he was in the shadow of a huge overhang of stone. It was the nose of the statue. At first, he thought that he would never be able to climb over it. Then he came up with an idea. If he couldn’t go over it, he would climb through it. The nostrils were wide enough for him to climb inside. He hoped that once inside the skull of the statue, he could find a way out through an eye or an ear. He crouched with his back pushed against one side of the left nostril, his knees bent, and his feet on the other side. And then he began to in noch his way up using his feet and his hands behind him. But he hadn’t gone more than halfway up when he felt the walls of the nose tremble, and a giant gust of wind shot him out of the nostril.
What do you think happened?
The statue of the Buddha had sneezed of course! Kim must have tickled the inside of his nose.
So out he flew! And he landed with a crash in a clump of bushes. When he came to, he was bruised and covered in dust, but otherwise, he was more or less not too hurt. Fortunately, he was so chilled by nature, that when he fell, his body did not tense up. In fact, he chuckled to himself when he realised what had happened. Even better, he saw that the giant pear had fallen too, and landed nearby. The sneezing statue must have shaken it loose. And so he picked up the pear
in his arms and carried his prize back down the mountain. It not only made a fine dessert for his family, but a great tale for him to tell too!
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The Mole’s Wedding
On the bank of a broad river, stands a great stone statue. It is many meters tall and the wind likes to play and whistle around its head. Its feet and base sink deep into the ground.
Now once upon a time, a mole lived in a burrow beneath the feet of the statue. He had a daughter, whom he loved dearly, and thought she was the most beautiful mole who had ever lived. In fact, he thought she was the most lovely living thing in the world. When she was almost grown up, he set out to find her a suitable husband. Only the grandest, and most powerful husband would do for the mole’s wonderful daughter.
He consulted far and wide, and all agreed that his Royal Highness The Great Blue Sky was above everything else in glory and magnificence. So the mole climbed up to the surface of the earth and looked up at the sky.
“Your Greatness, Your Honour, Your Royal Highness, the Great Blue Sky,” he called out, “I am told that you are the most powerful and glorious thing in the whole wide world. Only my beautiful daughter will make a fitting match for one so magnificent as you. Will you marry her?”
And the Great Blue Sky looked down at the mole and said, “Dear Sir, thank you for your kind offer, but I am afraid that your information is not correct. His Royal Radiance the Sun is more powerful and more magnificent than I. Only when he rises, can I wear my bright blue robe. When he goes down, darkness covers the world. Better take your charming daughter to him.”
So the mole thanked his Royal Highness, the Sky, and called up instead to the Sun.
“Your Greatness, Your Honour, Your Royal Radiance, the Sun, he called out, “I am told that you are the most powerful and glorious thing in the whole wide world. Only my beautiful daughter will make a fitting match for one so magnificent as you. Will you marry her?”
And the sun shone down, dazzling the poor mole’s eyes that were not used to the light. And he replied.
“Dear Sir, thank you for your kind offer, but I am afraid that your information is not correct. His Royal Fluffiness, the cloud is more powerful than I. For when he flies in front of my face, he covers me up and blocks my light. The world falls dark when he so chooses, not I.”
So the mole thanked his Royal Radiance the Sun and called up instead to the Cloud.
“Your Greatness, Your Honour, Your Royal Fluffiness, The Cloud,” he called up, “I am told that you are the most powerful and glorious thing in the whole wide world. Only my beautiful daughter will make a fitting match for one so magnificent as you. Will you marry her?”
And the cloud, who was in a dark mood, frowned down at the mole and said:
“Mr Mole, I am afraid that your information is not correct. His Royal Blustryness the Wind is more glorious and powerful than I. For when he blows, I cannot resist his force, and he drives me he wishes. It is he, not I who makes the world go dark or light. I suggest you present your charming daughter to him.
And so the mole thanked his Royal fluffiness the Cloud and called out to the Wind.
“Your Greatness, Your Honour, Your Royal Blusteryness, The Wind, I am told that you are the most powerful and glorious thing in the whole wide world. Only my beautiful daughter will make a fitting match for one so magnificent as you. Will you marry her?”
And the wind huffed and puffed making the mole’s hair stand on end before replying:
“Mr Mole, I am afraid your information is not correct. I am not the most powerful thing on earth. His Royal Stoniness, The Statue is more powerful than I. For although I whistle and play around him all day, my strength cannot budge him one inch. Huff and puff as I might, he does not move, let alone topple over.”
So the mole thanked his royal Blusteryness the Wind, and spoke at last to the Statue.
Your Greatness, Your Highness, Your Royal Stoniness, The Statue I am told that you are the most powerful and glorious thing in the whole wide world. Only my beautiful daughter will make a fitting match for one so magnificent as you. Will you marry her?”
And the statue tilted his stone head and stared coldly down at the mole. Dear Sir, thank you for your kind offer, but I am afraid that your information is incorrect. For there is one who is more powerful than I.”
“And would you be so gracious as to inform me who that might be, your Royal Stoniness?” asked the mole timidly.
“Certainly. That person would be the mole, for he digs his burrows right under my feet. In doing so, he undermines me. One day, I might sink right down into his burrow and topple over.”
“Oh,” said the mole, more than a little surprised by the answer, “Thank you, your Royal Stoniness for the information.”
And so he returned to the burrow where all the moles lived and spoke to his neighbour. As it happened, his neighbour’s son had gone to the underground school with his daughter and they were extremely fond of one another. They made a wonderful love match and were soon married and had a family full of lots of beautiful moley sons and daughters.
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