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Hwanung

by Charles La Shure
The son (Korean: seo-ja, meaning second or lower son) of Hwanin, he descended from heaven to Mount T'aebaek and founded the City of the Gods beneath a sacred tree. From this city he ruled the people and instructed them in agriculture, medicine, justice and other matters. He was hailed by the people as "King of Heaven."

Two animals, a tiger and a bear, desired to become human, so they prayed daily to Hwanung. Hwanung heard their prayers and appeared to them. He instructed them to stay in a cave for one hundred days, eating only mugwort and garlic. The tiger was impatient and failed the test, but the bear persevered and was transformed into a beautiful woman. Hwanung married her, and she bore him a son, Tangun Wanggeom, who would later found the first Korean kingdom.


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