HYUNG BO AND NAHL BO

In the province of Chullado, in Southern Korea, lived two brothers. One
was very rich, the other very poor. For in dividing the inheritance,
the elder brother, instead of taking the father’s place, and providing
for the younger children, kept the whole property to himself, allowing
his younger brother nothing at all, and reducing him to a condition
of abject misery. Both men were married. Nahl Bo, the elder, had many
concubines, in addition to his wife, but had no children; while Hyung
Bo had but one wife and several children. The former’s wives were
continually quarrelling; the latter lived in contentment and peace with
his wife, each endeavoring to help the other bear the heavy burdens
circumstances had placed upon them. The elder brother lived in a fine,
large compound, with warm, comfortable houses; the younger had built
himself a hut of broom straw, the thatch of which was so poor that
when it rained they were deluged inside, upon the earthern floor. The
room was so small, too, that when Hyung Bo stretched out his legs in
his sleep his feet were apt to be thrust through the wall. They had
no kang, and had to sleep upon the cold dirt floor, where insects were
so abundant as to often succeed in driving the sleepers out of doors.

They had no money for the comforts of life, and were glad when a
stroke of good fortune enabled them to obtain the necessities. Hyung
Bo worked whenever he could get work, but rainy days and dull seasons
were a heavy strain upon them. The wife did plain sewing, and together
they made straw sandals for the peasants and vendors. At fair time the
sandal business was good, but then came a time when no more food was
left in the house, the string for making the sandals was all used up,
and they had no money for a new supply. Then the children cried to
their mother for food, till her heart ached for them, and the father
wandered off in a last attempt to get something to keep the breath
of life in his family.

Not a kernel of rice was left. A poor rat which had cast in his lot
with this kind family, became desperate when, night after night,
he chased around the little house without being able to find the
semblance of a meal. Becoming desperate, he vented his despair in such
loud squealing that he wakened the neighbors, who declared that the
mouse said his legs were worn off running about in a vain search for
a grain of rice with which to appease his hunger. The famine became
so serious in the little home, that at last the mother commanded her
son to go to his uncle and tell him plainly how distressed they were,
and ask him to loan them enough rice to subsist on till they could
get work, when they would surely return the loan.

The boy did not want to go. His uncle would never recognize him on
the street, and he was afraid to go inside his house lest he should
whip him. But the mother commanded him to go, and he obeyed. Outside
his uncle’s house were many cows, well fed and valuable. In pens he
saw great fat pigs in abundance, and fowls were everywhere in great
numbers. Many dogs also were there, and they ran barking at him,
tearing his clothes with their teeth and frightening him so much that
he was tempted to run; but speaking kindly to them, they quieted down,
and one dog came and licked his hand as if ashamed of the conduct of
the others. A female servant ordered him away, but he told her he was
her master’s nephew, and wanted to see him; whereupon she smiled but
let him pass into an inner court, where he found his uncle sitting
on the little veranda under the broad, overhanging eaves.

The man gruffly demanded, “who are you?” “I am your brother’s son,”
he said. “We are starving at our house, and have had no food for
three days. My father is away now trying to find work, but we are
very hungry, and only ask you to loan us a little rice till we can
get some to return you.”

The uncle’s eyes drew down to a point, his brows contracted, and he
seemed very angry, so that the nephew began looking for an easy way of
escape in case he should come at him. At last he looked up and said:
“My rice is locked up, and I have ordered the granaries not to be
opened. The flour is sealed and cannot be broken into. If I give
you some cold victuals, the dogs will bark at you and try to take it
from you. If I give you the leavings of the wine-press, the pigs will
be jealous and squeal at you. If I give you bran, the cows and fowls
will take after you. Get out, and let me never see you here again.” So
saying, he caught the poor boy by the collar and threw him into the
outer court, hurting him, and causing him to cry bitterly with pain
of body and distress of mind.

At home the poor mother sat jogging her babe in her weak arms, and
appeasing the other children by saying that brother had gone to their
uncle for food, and soon the pot would be boiling and they would all
be satisfied. When, hearing a foot-fall, all scrambled eagerly to
the door, only to see the empty-handed, red-eyed boy coming along,
trying manfully to look cheerful.

“Did your uncle whip you?” asked the mother, more eager for the safety
of her son, than to have her own crying want allayed.

“No,” stammered the brave boy. “He had gone to the capital on
business,” said he, hoping to thus prevent further questioning,
on so troublesome a subject.

“What shall I do”? queried the poor woman, amidst the crying and
moaning of her children. There was nothing to do but starve, it
seemed. However, she thought of her own straw shoes, which were
scarcely used, and these she sent to the market, where they brought
three cash (3/15 of a cent). This pittance was invested equally in
rice, beans, and vegetables; eating which they were relieved for the
present, and with full stomachs the little ones fell to playing happily
once more, but the poor mother was full of anxiety for the morrow.

Their fortune had turned, however, with their new lease of life,
for the father returned with a bale of faggots he had gathered
on the mountains, and with the proceeds of these the shoes were
redeemed and more food was purchased. Bright and early then next
morning both parents went forth in search of work. The wife secured
employment winnowing rice. The husband overtook a boy bearing a pack,
but his back was so blistered, he could with difficulty carry his
burden. Hyung Bo adjusted the saddle of the pack frame to his own back,
and carried it for the boy, who, at their arrival at his destination
in the evening, gave his helper some cash, in addition to his lodging
and meals. During the night, however, a gentleman wished to send a
letter by rapid dispatch to a distant place, and Hyung Bo was paid
well for carrying it.

Returning from this profitable errand, he heard of a very rich man, who
had been seized by the corrupt local magistrate, on a false accusation,
and was to be beaten publicly, unless he consented to pay a heavy sum
as hush money. Hearing of this, Hyung went to see the rich prisoner,
and arranged with him that he would act as his substitute for three
thousand cash (two dollars). The man was very glad to get off so
easily, and Hyung took the beating. He limped to his house, where his
poor wife greeted him with tears and lamentations, for he was a sore
and sorry sight indeed. He was cheerful, however, for he explained
to them that this had been a rich day’s work; he had simply submitted
to a little whipping, and was to get three thousand cash for it.

The money did not come, however, for the fraud was detected, and
the original prisoner was also punished. Being of rather a close
disposition, the man seemed to think it unnecessary to pay for what
did him no good. Then the wife cried indeed over her husband’s wrongs
and their own more unfortunate condition. But the husband cheered her,
saying: “If we do right we will surely succeed.” He was right. Spring
was coming on, and he soon got work at plowing and sowing seed. They
gave their little house the usual spring cleaning, and decorated the
door with appropriate legends, calling upon the fates to bless with
prosperity the little home.

With the spring came the birds from the south country, and they seemed
to have a preference for the home of this poor family–as indeed did
the rats and insects. The birds built their nests under the eaves. They
were swallows, and as they made their little mud air-castles, Hyung
Bo said to his wife: “I am afraid to have these birds build their
nests there. Our house is so weak it may fall down, and then what
will the poor birds do?” But the little visitors seemed not alarmed,
and remained with the kind people, apparently feeling safe under the
friendly roof.

By and by the little nests were full of commotion and bluster; the
eggs had opened, and circles of wide opened mouths could be seen in
every nest. Hyung and his children were greatly interested in this
new addition to their family circle, and often gave them bits of
their own scanty allowance of food, so that the birds became quite
tame and hopped in and out of the hut at will.

One day, when the little birds were taking their first lesson in
flying, Hyung was lying on his back on the ground, and saw a huge
roof-snake crawl along and devour several little birds before he
could arise and help them. One bird struggled from the reptile and
fell, but, catching both legs in the fine meshes of a reed-blind,
they were broken, and the little fellow hung helplessly within the
snake’s reach. Hyung hastily snatched it down, and with the help
of his wife he bound up the broken limbs, using dried fish-skin for
splints. He laid the little patient in a warm place, and the bones
speedily united, so that the bird soon began to hop around the room,
and pick up bits of food laid out for him. Soon the splints were
removed, however, and he flew away, happily, to join his fellows.

The autumn came; and one evening–it was the ninth day of the ninth
moon–as the little family were sitting about the door, they noticed
the bird with the crooked legs sitting on the clothes-line and singing
to them.

“I believe he is thanking us and saying good-by,” said Hyung, “for
the birds are all going south now.”

That seemed to be the truth, for they saw their little friend
no longer, and they felt lonely without the occupants of the now
deserted nests. The birds, however, were paying homage to the king
of birds in the bird-land beyond the frosts. And as the king saw the
little crooked-legged bird come along, he demanded an explanation of
the strange sight. Thereupon the little fellow related his narrow
escape from a snake that had already devoured many of his brothers
and cousins, the accident in the blind, and his rescue and subsequent
treatment by a very poor but very kind man.

His bird majesty was very much entertained and pleased. He thereupon
gave the little cripple a seed engraved with fine characters in gold,
denoting that the seed belonged to the gourd family. This seed the
bird was to give to his benefactor in the spring.

The winter wore away, and the spring found the little family
almost as destitute as when first we described them. One day they
heard a familiar bird song, and, running out, they saw their little
crooked-legged friend with something in its mouth, that looked like
a seed. Dropping its burden to the ground, the little bird sang to
them of the king’s gratitude, and of the present he had sent, and
then flew away.

Hyung picked up the seed with curiosity, and on one side he saw the
name of its kind, on the other, in fine gold characters, was a message
saying: “Bury me in soft earth, and give me plenty of water.” They
did so, and in four days the little shoot appeared in the fine
earth. They watched its remarkable growth with eager interest as
the stem shot up, and climbed all over the house, covering it up
as a bower, and threatening to break down the frail structure with
the added weight. It blossomed, and soon four small gourds began to
form. They grew to an enormous size, and Hyung could scarcely keep
from cutting them. His wife prevailed on him to wait till the frost had
made them ripe, however, as then they could cut them, eat the inside,
and make water-vessels of the shells, which they could then sell, and
thus make a double profit. He waited, though with a poor grace, till
the ninth moon, when the gourds were left alone, high upon the roof,
with only a trace of the shrivelled stems which had planted them there.

Hyung got a saw and sawed open the first huge gourd. He worked so long,
that when his task was finished he feared he must be in a swoon, for
out of the opened gourd stepped two beautiful boys, with fine bottles
of wine and a table of jade set with dainty cups. Hyung staggered back
and sought assurance of his wife, who was fully as dazed as was her
husband. The surprise was somewhat relieved by one of the handsome
youths stepping forth, placing the table before them, and announcing
that the bird king had sent them with these presents to the benefactor
of one of his subjects–the bird with broken legs. Ere they could
answer, the other youth placed a silver bottle on the table, saying:
“This wine will restore life to the dead.” Another, which he placed
on the table, would, he said, restore sight to the blind. Then going
to the gourd, he brought two gold bottles, one contained a tobacco,
which, being smoked, would give speech to the dumb, while the other
gold bottle contained wine, which would prevent the approach of age
and ward off death.

Having made these announcements, the pair disappeared, leaving Hyung
and his wife almost dumb with amazement. They looked at the gourd, then
at the little table and its contents, and each looked at the other
to be sure it was not a dream. At length Hyung broke the silence,
remarking that, as he was very hungry, he would venture to open
another gourd, in the hope that it would be found full of something
good to eat, since it was not so important for him to have something
with which to restore life just now as it was to have something to
sustain life with.

The next gourd was opened as was the first, when by some means out
flowed all manner of household furniture, and clothing, with rolls
upon rolls of fine silk and satin cloth, linen goods, and the finest
cotton. The satin alone was far greater in bulk than the gourd had
been, yet, in addition, the premises were literally strewn with costly
furniture and the finest fabrics. They barely examined the goods now,
their amazement having become so great that they could scarcely wait
until all had been opened, and the whole seemed so unreal, that they
feared delay might be dangerous. Both sawed away on the next gourd,
when out came a body of carpenters, all equipped with tools and lumber,
and, to their utter and complete amazement, began putting up a house
as quickly and quietly as thought, so that before they could arise
from the ground they saw a fine house standing before them, with
courts and servants’ quarters, stables, and granaries. Simultaneously
a great train of bulls and ponies appeared, loaded down with rice
and other products as tributes from the district in which the place
was located. Others came bringing money tribute, servants, male and
female, and clothing.

They felt sure they were in dreamland now, and that they might
enjoy the exercise of power while it lasted, they began commanding
the servants to put the goods away, the money in the sahrang,
or reception-room, the clothing in the tarack, or garret over
the fireplace, the rice in the granaries, and animals in their
stables. Others were sent to prepare a bath, that they might don
the fine clothing before it should be too late. The servants obeyed,
increasing the astonishment of the pair, and causing them to literally
forget the fourth gourd in their amazed contemplation of the wondrous
miracles being performed, and the dreamy air of satisfaction and
contentment with which it surrounded them.

Their attention was called to the gourd by the servants, who were then
commanded to carefully saw it open. They did so, and out stepped a
maiden, as beautiful as were the gifts that had preceded her. Never
before had Hyung looked on any one who could at all compare with the
matchless beauty and grace of the lovely creature who now stood so
modestly and confidingly before him. He could find no words to express
his boundless admiration, and could only stand in mute wonder and feast
himself upon her beauty. Not so with his wife, however. She saw only
a rival in the beautiful girl, and straightway demanded who she was,
whence she came, and what she wanted. The maid replied: “I am sent by
the bird king to be this man’s concubine.” Whereupon the wife grew
dark in the face, and ordered her to go whence she came and not see
her husband again. She upbraided him for not being content with a house
and estate, numbers of retainers and quantities of money, and declared
this last trouble was all due to his greed in opening the fourth gourd.

Her husband had by this time found his speech, however, and severely
reprimanding her for conducting herself in such a manner upon the
receipt of such heavenly gifts, while yesterday she had been little
more than a beggar; he commanded her to go at once to the women’s
quarters, where she should reign supreme, and never make such a
display of her ill-temper again, under penalty of being consigned to
a house by herself. The maiden he gladly welcomed, and conducted her
to apartments set aside for her.

II.

When Nahl Bo heard of the wonderful change taking place at his
brother’s establishment, he went himself to look into the matter. He
found the report not exaggerated, and began to upbraid his brother
with dishonest methods, which accusation the brother stoutly denied,
and further demanded where, and of whom, he could steal a house,
such rich garments, fine furniture, and have it removed in a day
to the site of his former hovel. Nahl Bo demanded an explanation,
and Hyung Bo frankly told him how he had saved the bird from the
snake and had bound up its broken limbs, so that it recovered; how
the bird in return brought him a seed engraved with gold characters,
instructing him how to plant and rear it; and how, having done so,
the four gourds were born on the stalk, and from them, on ripening,
had appeared these rich gifts. The ill-favored brother even then
persisted in his charges, and in a gruff, ugly manner accused Hyung Bo
of being worse than a thief in keeping all these fine goods, instead
of dutifully sharing them with his elder brother. This insinuation
of undutiful conduct really annoyed Hyung Bo, who, in his kindness
of heart, forgave this unbrotherly senior, his former ill conduct,
and thinking only of his own present good fortune, he kindly bestowed
considerable gifts upon the undeserving brother, and doubtless would
have done more but that the covetous man espyed the fair maiden, and at
once insisted on having her. This was too much even for the patient
Hyung Bo, who refused with a determination remarkable for him. A
quarrel ensued, during which the elder brother took his departure in
a rage, fully determined to use the secret of his brother’s success
for all it was worth in securing rich gifts for himself.

Going home he struck at all the birds he could see, and ordered his
servants to do the same. After killing many, he succeeded in catching
one, and, breaking its legs, he took fish-skin and bound them up in
splints, laying the little sufferer in a warm place, till it recovered
and flew away, bandages and all. The result was as expected. The bird
being questioned by the bird king concerning its crooked legs, related
its story, dwelling, however, on the man’s cruelty in killing so many
birds and then breaking its own legs. The king understood thoroughly,
and gave the little cripple a seed to present to the wicked man on
its return in the spring.

Springtime came, and one day, as Nahl Bo was sitting cross-legged
in the little room opening on the veranda off his court, he heard a
familiar bird-song. Dropping his long pipe, he threw open the paper
windows, and there, sure enough, sat a crooked-legged bird on the
clothes line, bearing a seed in its mouth. Nahl Bo would let no one
touch it, but as the bird dropped the seed and flew away, he jumped
out so eagerly that he forgot to slip his shoes on, and got his clean
white stockings all befouled. He secured the seed, however, and felt
that his fortune was made. He planted it carefully, as directed,
and gave it his personal attention.

The vines were most luxurious. They grew with great rapidity,
till they had well nigh covered the whole of his large house
and out-buildings. Instead of one gourd, or even four, as in the
brother’s case, the new vines bore twelve gourds, which grew and grew
till the great beams of his house fairly groaned under their weight,
and he had to block them in place to keep them from rolling off the
roofs. He had to hire men to guard them carefully, for now that the
source of Hyung Bo’s riches was understood, every one was anxious
for a gourd. They did not know the secret, however, which Nahl Bo
concealed through selfishness, and Hyung through fear that every one
would take to killing and maiming birds as his wicked brother had done.

Maintaining a guard was expensive, and the plant so loosened the roof
tiles, by the tendrils searching for earth and moisture in the great
layer of clay under the tiles, that the rainy season made great havoc
with his house. Large portions of plaster from the inside fell upon the
paper ceilings, which in turn gave way, letting the dirty water drip
into the rooms, and making the house almost uninhabitable. At last,
however, the plants could do no more harm; the frost had come, the
vines had shrivelled away, and the enormous ripe gourds were carefully
lowered, amid the yelling of a score of coolies, as each seemed to get
in the others’ way trying to manipulate the ropes and poles with which
the gourds were let down to the ground. Once inside the court, and the
great doors locked, Nahl Bo felt relieved, and shutting out every one
but a carpenter and his assistant, he prepared for the great surprise
which he knew must await him, in spite of his most vivid dreams.

The carpenter insisted upon the enormous sum of 1,000 cash for
opening each gourd, and as he was too impatient to await the arrival
of another, and as he expected to be of princely wealth in a few
moments, Nahl Bo agreed to the exorbitant price. Whereupon, carefully
bracing a gourd, the men began sawing it through. It seemed a long
time before the gourd fell in halves. When it did, out came a party
of rope-dancers, such as perform at fairs and public places. Nahl Bo
was unprepared for any such surprise as this, and fancied it must
be some great mistake. They sang and danced about as well as the
crowded condition of the court would allow, and the family looked on
complacently, supposing that the band had been sent to celebrate their
coming good fortune. But Nahl Bo soon had enough of this. He wanted
to get at his riches, and seeing that the actors were about to stretch
their ropes for a more extensive performance, he ordered them to cease
and take their departure. To his amazement, however, they refused to
do this, until he had paid them 5,000 cash for their trouble. “You
sent for us and we came,” said the leader. “Now pay us, or we will
live with you till you do.” There was no help for it, and with great
reluctance and some foreboding, he gave them the money and dismissed
them. Then Nahl Bo turned to the carpenter, who chanced to be a man
with an ugly visage, made uglier by a great hare-lip. “You,” he said,
“are the cause of all this. Before you entered this court these gourds
were filled with gold, and your ugly face has changed it to beggars.”

Number two was opened with no better results, for out came a body of
Buddhist priests, begging for their temple, and promising many sons
in return for offerings of suitable merit. Although disgusted beyond
measure, Nahl Bo still had faith in the gourds, and to get rid of the
priests, lest they should see his riches, he gave them also 5,000 cash.

As soon as the priests were gone, gourd number three was opened,
with still poorer results, for out came a procession of paid mourners
followed by a corpse borne by bearers. The mourners wept as loudly
as possible, and all was in a perfect uproar. When ordered to go,
the mourners declared they must have money for mourning, and to pay
for burying the body. Seeing no possible help for it, 5,000 cash was
finally given them, and they went out with the bier. Then Nahl Bo’s
wife came into the court, and began to abuse the hare-lipped man for
bringing upon them all this trouble. Whereupon the latter became angry
and demanded his money that he might leave. They had no intention
of giving up the search as yet, however, and, as it was too late to
change carpenters, the ugly fellow was paid for the work already done,
and given an advance on that yet remaining. He therefore set to work
upon the fourth gourd, which Nahl Bo watched with feverish anxiety.

From this one there came a band of gee sang, or dancing girls. There
was one woman from each province, and each had her song and dance. One
sang of the yang wang, or wind god; another of the wang jay, or
pan deity; one sang of the sung jee, or money that is placed as a
christening on the roof tree of every house. There was the cuckoo
song. The song of the ancient tree that has lived so long that its
heart is dead and gone, leaving but a hollow space, yet the leaves
spring forth every spring-tide. The song of laughter and mourning,
with an injunction to see to it that the rice offering be made to the
departed spirits. To the king of the sun and stars a song was sung. And
last of all, one votary sang of the twelve months that make the year,
the twelve hours that make the day, the thirty days that make the
month, and of the new year’s birth, as the old year dies, taking with
it their ills to be buried in the past, and reminding all people to
celebrate the New Year holidays by donning clean clothes and feasting
on good food, that the following year may be to them one of plenty and
prosperity. Having finished their songs and their graceful posturing
and waving of their gay silk banners, the gee sang demanded their pay,
which had to be given them, reducing the family wealth 5,000 cash more.

The wife now tried to persuade Nahl Bo to stop and not open more,
but the hare-lip man offered to open the next for 500 cash, as he was
secretly enjoying the sport. So the fifth was opened a little, when a
yellow-looking substance was seen inside, which was taken to be gold,
and they hurriedly opened it completely. But instead of gold, out
came an acrobatic pair,–being a strong man with a youth dressed to
represent a girl. The man danced about, holding his young companion
balanced upon his shoulders, singing meanwhile a song of an ancient
king, whose riotous living was so distasteful to his subjects that
he built him a cavernous palace, the floor of which was covered with
quicksilver, the walls were decorated with jewels, and myriad lamps
turned the darkness into day. Here were to be found the choicest
viands and wines, with bands of music to entertain the feasters:
most beautiful women; and he enjoyed himself most luxuriously until
his enemy, learning the secret, threw open the cavern to the light
of day, when all of the beautiful women immediately disappeared in
the sun’s rays.

Before he could get these people to discontinue their performance,
Nahl Bo had to give them also 5,000 cash. Yet in spite of all his
ill luck, he decided to open another. Which being done, a jester
came forth, demanding the expense money for his long journey. This
was finally given him, for Nahl Bo had hit upon what he deemed a
clever expedient. He took the wise fool aside, and asked him to use
his wisdom in pointing out to him which of these gourds contained
gold. Whereupon the jester looked wise, tapped several gourds, and
motioned to each one as being filled with gold.

The seventh was therefore opened, and a lot of yamen runners came
forth, followed by an official. Nahl Bo tried to run from what he
knew must mean an exorbitant “squeeze,” but he was caught and beaten
for his indiscretion. The official called for his valise, and took
from it a paper, which his secretary read, announcing that Nahl
Bo was the serf of this lord and must hereafter pay to him a heavy
tribute. At this they groaned in their hearts, and the wife declared
that even now the money was all gone, even to the last cash, while
the rabble which had collected had stolen nearly every thing worth
removing. Yet the officer’s servants demanded pay for their services,
and they had to be given a note secured on the property before they
would leave. Matters were now so serious that they could not be made
much worse, and it was decided to open each remaining gourd, that if
there were any gold they might have it.

When the next one was opened a bevy of moo tang women (soothsayers)
came forth, offering to drive away the spirit of disease and restore
the sick to health. They arranged their banners for their usual
dancing ceremony, brought forth their drums, with which to exorcise
the demons, and called for rice to offer to the spirits and clothes
to burn for the spirits’ apparel.

“Get out!” roared Nahl Bo. “I am not sick except for the visitation of
such as yourselves, who are forever burdening the poor, and demanding
pay for your supposed services. Away with you, and befool some other
pah sak ye (eight month’s man–fool) if you can. I want none of
your services.”

They were no easier to drive away, however, than were the other
annoying visitors that had come with his supposed good fortune. He
had finally to pay them as he had the others; and dejectedly he sat,
scarcely noticing the opening of the ninth gourd.

The latter proved to contain a juggler, and the exasperated Nahl Bo,
seeing but one small man, determined to make short work of him. Seizing
him by his topknot of hair, he was about to drag him to the door, when
the dexterous fellow, catching his tormentor by the thighs, threw him
headlong over his own back, nearly breaking his neck, and causing him
to lie stunned for a time, while the expert bound him hand and foot,
and stood him on his head, so that the wife was glad to pay the fellow
and dismiss him ere the life should be departed from her lord.

On opening the tenth a party of blind men came out, picking their
way with their long sticks, while their sightless orbs were raised
towards the unseen heavens. They offered to tell the fortunes of the
family. But, while their services might have been demanded earlier,
the case was now too desperate for any such help. The old men tinkled
their little bells, and chanted some poetry addressed to the four
good spirits stationed at the four corners of the earth, where they
patiently stand bearing the world upon their shoulders; and to the
distant heavens that arch over and fold the earth in their embrace,
where the two meet at the far horizon (as pictured in the Korean
flag). The blind men threw their dice, and, fearing lest they should
prophesy death, Nahl Bo quickly paid and dismissed them.

The next gourd was opened but a trifle, that they might first determine
as to the wisdom of letting out its contents. Before they could
determine, however, a voice like thunder was heard from within, and
the huge form of a giant arose, splitting open the gourd as he came
forth. In his anger he seized poor Nahl Bo and tossed him upon his
shoulders as though he would carry him away. Whereupon the wife plead
with tears for his release, and gladly gave an order for the amount
of the ransom. After which the monster allowed the frightened man to
fall to the ground, nearly breaking his aching bones in the fall.

The carpenter did not relish the sport any longer; it seemed to be
getting entirely too dangerous. He thereupon demanded the balance of
his pay, which they finally agreed to give him, providing he would
open the last remaining gourd. For the desperate people hoped to
find this at least in sufficient condition that they might cook or
make soup of it, since they had no food left at all and no money,
while the other gourds were so spoiled by the tramping of the feet
of their unbidden guests, as to be totally unfit for food.

The man did as requested, but had only sawed a very little when the
gourd split open as though it were rotten, while a most awful stench
arose, driving every one from the premises. This was followed by a gale
of wind, so severe as to destroy the buildings, which, in falling,
took fire from the kang, and while the once prosperous man looked
on in helpless misery, the last of his remaining property was swept
forever from him.

The seed that had brought prosperity to his honest, deserving brother
had turned prosperity into ruin to the cruel, covetous Nahl Bo, who
now had to subsist upon the charity of his kind brother, whom he had
formerly treated so cruelly.