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Samseong myth

by Charles La Shure
This myth tells of the first settlement on Cheju Island, located off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula. In the beginning, before any people roamed the land, three demi-gods (Yangeulla, Koeulla, Pueulla) emerged from the ground. They wandered through the land and hunted, making clothes from the skins and subsisting on the meat. One day they discovered a large wooden chest on the eastern shore of the island. They opened up the chest and a messenger wearing a purple robe and red belt emerged. Also in the chest was a stone box, and inside were three girls wearing blue clothing, a calf, a colt, and the five grains (barley, rice, soybean, foxtail millet, and millet; in Korean folk literature these five grains represent all of agriculture).

The messenger announced that they had been sent from Byeongnang (some sources indicate that the messenger and girls came from Japan, which makes geographical sense). The king of that land had sent the girls to be the brides of the three demi-gods. After delivering his message, the messenger returned to his land on a cloud. The three demi-gods each married and went their separate ways, founding each their own village.


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