Tales of a Korean Grandmother

Tales of a Korean Grandmother by Frances Carpenter Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Tales of a Korean Grandmother by Frances Carpenter Read Free Book Online
Authors: Frances Carpenter
far more interesting, he knew, than the lessons in his book.
    "Well, this farmer caught the wild goose. He clipped off its wings so that it could not fly away with the other birds, to the south. Thinking to gain favor, he made a present of that wild goose to the Governor of his province. The Governor was indeed pleased. He put the goose in his garden, and his servants fed it good grain.
    "One day as the Governor walked in his garden, a servant addressed him. 'Honorable Sir,' he said, bowing low, 'that fat wild goose would make a very fine feast. Its flesh is sweet and tender. Its flavor is fine. I pray you, kill it and eat it.'
    "'Kill a wild goose and eat it?' the good Governor replied. That I will not. The wild goose is the bird of all the Five Virtues, In-eui-ye-chi-shin.'
    "'How could that be, Honorable Scholar?' the servant asked. 'How could a bird know about the Five Virtues?'
    "'Think, Man!' the Governor said. 'First, the wild goose is an example of love. It does not fight like the eagle nor hunt like the falcon. It lives in peace and friendship with its fellows. Second, the wild goose is a bird of excellent behavior. When it takes a mate, it observes all the rules of right living. And when its mate dies, the goose mourns her loss like a true wife. She comes back again and again to her former nesting place, alone and a widow. What wedding in our land is complete without the wild goose as a symbol of wifely devotion?
    "'No, my good man, I should not wish to kill a bird with such a fine character. Watch the wild geese, how they fly. In order, and with ceremony, they make their procession across the blue sky. And what wisdom they show, seeking the warmth of the south in the cold winter and the cool air of the north when the hot summer comes!
    "'You have seen for yourself, how they come back to our north country every year at the same time. Thus they keep the faith. Ai, the wild goose lives by the Five Virtues. Who would destroy so noble a bird?'
    "Read the Five Laws to me from your primer, my young schoolman," the Korean Grandmother said when her little story of the wild goose came to its end.
    "Amid heaven and earth," Yong Tu repeated in the singsong voice he always used in studying his lessons, "man is the noblest being. And man is noble chiefly because he follows the Five Laws. As the wise Mencius said,
    "'There should be between father and son proper relationship, with love from the father and duty from the son;
    "'Between king and his courtiers there should be right dealing, the king being correct and the courtier being loyal;
    "'Between husband and wife, there should be kindness and obedience;
    "'Between old and young there should be consideration and respect; and
    "'Between friend and friend, there should be faith that is kept.'"
    The boy drew a long breath. He had learned his lesson well, and he did not forget to add, "If man does not follow these laws, he is no better than the beasts."


    Sim Chung's face was as smooth as a piece of ivory carving. Her brows bad the curves of a butterfly's wings.

    T HOSE words are as precious as clearest green jade, Yong Tu," Halmoni declared when her grandson had ceased reciting the Five Laws of Behavior. "But most precious of all are those that tell of the duty of a child to his parents. Obedience in all things, respect for the aged—those are the most important, and the ones which bring great rewards. Have I ever told you the story of Chung, the dutiful daughter of Sim, the blind beggar?
    "Well, it happened five hundred years ago, perhaps even more. In a certain village there lived this good girl whose name was Sim Chung. Her mother was dead, and her father was growing blind. Chung was the one treasure of that poor man. Her face was smooth and white, like a piece of ivory carving. Her brows had the curves of a butterfly's wings, and her hair shone like the lacquer on the shining black table in Ancestors' House. In all her life no illness had ever

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