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Habaek

by Charles La Shure
Water deity who lived in the Yalu River. He had three daughters--Yuhwa, Hweonhwa, and Wuihwa--the eldest of which was taken by Haemosu to be his bride. Habaek was angered that Haemosu did not honor him with an official offer of marriage and the ensuing ceremony, so he sent a message to Haemosu demanding that he return. Haemosu descended to Habaek's palace, where they tested each other's skill. Being deities, they tested each other in power of metamorphosis. Habaek first changed himself into a carp, but Haemosu changed himself into an otter and caught Habaek. Then Habaek changed into a deer, whereupon Haemosu changed into a wolf and chased him. Finally, Habaek changed into a quail, but Haemosu changed into a falcon and caught him again. Habaek gave up and acknowledged Haemosu's supremacy (the three stages represented Haemosu's supremacy on air, land, and sea). An official marriage ceremony was held and Habaek sent his daughter Yuhwa to heaven with Haemosu.

Before Haemosu's chariot could leave the water, Yuhwa escaped and returned to her father. Habaek was infuriated, and he ordered his daughter's lips stretched out and placed her in a stream. She was later caught in a net by the king's fishermen, and after cutting her lips three times she was finally able to speak. The king took her into his household, where she was impregnated by Haemosu through a sunbeam.


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