Deciding to Be a Good Brother by Grace

Enjoy this Korean folk tale masterfully translated by my student Grace.  Encouraging comments would be appreciated!

swallowA long time ago, there were two brothers, Nolbu and Hyungbu. Interestingly, the two of them were very different. Nolbu, who was the older brother, was unimaginably cruel and greedy. Hyungbu, who was the younger brother, was kindhearted. After their father died, Nolbu extorted Hyungbu’s inheritance and claimed it for his. Ever since then Hyungbu and his family were very poor. Hyungbu had to work hard, because he and his wife had many children. Although they didn’t have much, they were a very happy family. They loved each other. On the other hand, Nolbu’s family was in very bad terms with each other. There were many fights and arguments in his family.

One day, when Hyungbu was on his way home from his work in the field, he found a swallow with a broken leg and gently took care of the bird. When  the swallow’s leg had recovered, he let it fly away. After one year, the same swallow came back with a gourd seed in his beak. The swallow gave it to Hungbu. He planted it in the ground. In the autumn, Hyungbu harvested some enormous gourds. When he opened a gourd, he could see why it was so huge. It was filled with thousands of gold coins. Obviously, Hyungbu got very rich that day. When Nolbu heard about this, he ran all the way to Hyungbu’s house and ordered him to tell him how he became so rich. Hyunbu told him the truth. After Nolbu left Hyunbu’s house, he found a swallow, which was very unlucky, an broke his leg on purpose and took care of him.

When the bird was well again, he let it fly away. After one year, Nolbu got a gourd seed too. He quickly planted the seed and waited for it to be full-grown. In the fall it was ready. Hyungbu opened a gourd with a huge saw. Nolbu wished that gold coins would come out of the gourd. Unexpectedly, dirty water came out from the gourd and flooded his house. Suddenly he became very poor. Nolbu had nothing to dine on and no place to stay. He and his family desperately went to Hyungbu’s house and asked him to help them. Hyungbu who was very kind, helped his brother to get a new home. Nolbu realized his mistakes and decided to be a good brother.

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© 2012 by Grace  All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means – except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without prior written permission of the author.