Korean Folktale: The Boy who cried Tiger too often

A few days ago I was looking for a few Korean folktales and I came across this one. Well, many of you might have already heard about it from the Aesoph's Fables. 

A long time ago, in a small village there lived quite a mischievous boy. One day he decided to play a prank on his friends. So when he and his friends went to cut wood in the mountain, he cried “Tiger”. You can imagine what happened next. The boy's friends ran away screaming and the people from the village hearing the cry came into the mountians to save all the people who were cutting wood in the mountain. When they found out it was a prank, they werent too pleased about it. They scolded the kid and went away.

The next day, the boy went to cut wood in the same mountain and unfortunetly for him, a tiger appeared behind him. He cried out “Tiger!” for real this time. But the villagers thinking it was a prank again, ignored the cry and went about their work. Nobody came to save him and the tiger ate him.

This is more tragic than the Aesop's Fable of “The boy who cried wolf”. In the Fable, the boy plays the same prank but all he does is lose the sheep. Both tales were told so that children could understand the importance of honesty and that punishment for dishonesty is sometimes horrifying. 

Along with Aesop's Fable and the Korean folktale, there is also an Indian version to the folktale but the ending is more similar to "The boy who cried wolf."

The Korean tale was first transcribed by Im Tonggwon in 1953 while the story was told by Kang Wonsok.



Source : Myths and legends from Korea: an annotated compendium of ancient and modern By James Huntley Grayson

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