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THE UNMANNERLY TIGER
AND OTHER KOREAN TALES
 
WILLIAM ELLIOT GRIFFIS
   
NEW YORK
THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1911


The tiger climbed up and out. 

To
HORACE NEWTON ALLEN
Pioneer of Science and American
Minister Plenipotentiary in Korea

 

ON THE DOOR-STEP
1871-1911!

 
IT is forty years since folk-lore and firearms met in the forts on the Han River, in Korea. The brave tiger-hunters, in padded cotton and sheet iron armor, equipped with their jingals and firelocks, faced the eleven-inch shells of the American gunboats, the grape and cannister of the Dahlgren howitzers, and the Bridesburg rifles of our marines and sailors. Waving defiance to the invaders under the stars and stripes    the red, white and blue  — were the native flags, rich in symbols of cosmic evolution and of the perpetual succession of day and night. The Chinese philosophy, as embodied in the yellow and blue of Heaven and Earth, and in the Eight Diagrams from the back of the Dragon-Horse, antedating Confucius, supplemented a rich picture gallery of folk-beliefs    the product of the native imagination    on the banners of the patriot defenders.

At that date, as pioneer of science and of the American school system in the far interior of Japan, I was myself busy in depopulating, by means of chemistry and physics, the rather overcrowded Japanese world of gods, oni, imps, dragons, etc., and, by training Japanese teachers to do the same, was helping to transform multitudes of more or less maligant and uncanny creatures of the imagination into harmless fairies.

Studying the Korean flags captured by our men, I was delighted to find in them an album of Korean folk-lore, racy, original, and with a background wholly its own. Here was a revelation of what the natives actually believed, richer by far than anything which aliens could disclose. The mountain spirit riding his piebald pony, the statant, winged tiger holding the lightnings in his grasp, the flying serpent, able after a thousand years of evolution to rise from air into air and smite Korea's foes, showed what was the oldest of all faiths in the Land of Morning Splendor. To me, these symbols opened a great gate into the Korean's mind, and since then I have enjoyed many a holiday of mental recreation in company with the Korean fairies. What if they are not as lovely as those of Greece?

 A few years later, the pioneers of science, of the healing art, of the greatest of all hopes, and of good news for the soul, entered Korea. They opened the language and mines of scholarship and research. To them and their French predecessors, how great is my debt! How can I utter it? To Allen, Hulbert, Gale, Jones, Appenzeller, Underwood    all shining names, as well as to anonymous workers, my thanks are heartily given here and always. When will the Repository, the Review, the Asiatic Society of Korea recommence their good work?

In these days, what with science, dogma, the awful variety of "doxies," and the crass pragmatism and most harmful prudery of people who have no imagination, the fairies are having a hard time of it. Among those who would rob the children of the divine gifts and the joys that lie outside the domain of science, let the writer be counted last. What a dark world it would be, if the dogma doctors and fact-mongers should reduce the mind's world to a Sahara of sterile reality!

W. E. G.

Itheca, March 2, 1911.

CONTENTS
 
THE UNMANNERLY TIGER
TOKGABI AND HIS PRANKS
EAST LIGHT AND THE BRIDGE OF FISHES
PRINCE SANDALWOOD, THE FATHER OF KOREA
THE RABBIT'S EYES
TOPKNOTS AND CROCKERY HATS
THE SNEEZING COLOSSUS
A BRIDEGROOM FOR MISS MOLE
OLD WHITE WHISKERS AND MR. BUNNY
PEACH-BLOSSOM, PLUM BLOSSOM, AND CINNAMON ROSE
TOKGABI'S MENAGERIE, CATS AND DOGS
THE GREAT STONE FIRE EATER
PIGLING AND HER PROUD SISTER
SIR ONE LONG BODY AND MADAME THOUSAND FEET
THE SKY BRIDGE OF BIRDS
A FROG FOR A HUSBAND
THE VOICE OF THE BELL
THE KING OF THE SPARROWS
THE WOODMAN AND THE MOUNTAIN FAIRIES 
   
ILLUSTRATIONS
 
THE TIGER CLIMBED UP AND OUT
SHOUTED EAST LIGHT, "LET US FLEE!"
THEY CRACKED THEIR CROCKERY
WITH PATIENCE MIRYEK LISTENED TO THE PROUD FATHER
A PARTY OF CHILDREN CAUGHT SIGHT OF THE ODD PAIR
SHE HEARD A WHIR AND RUSH OF WINGS
THE LOVELY LADY THAT STANDS BY THE STARRY RIVER TO MEET HER LORD
ALL THE CHILDREN CLAPPED THEIR HANDS