Holy Hogwan, people, just when I think I might be getting a handle on the culture here, even a little bit, I discover that even if I spent the rest of my life here, I would never, but ever, get it.
Some of the kids are sick (yes, again. But everyone is on the mend, though I am praying everyone will be well enough to get on an airplane this Thursday). I did, however, manage to get some shopping done downstairs in the Coex mall. One can’t return home empty handed, after all.
Among my purchases was an innocuous looking book of Korean folktales for children with both Korean and English text. I didn’t get a chance to look at the book in the store, so when I returned home I sat down for a minute to flip through it. I was expecting something along the lines of the Tale of Simcheong, the girl who sacrifices herself to the Dragon King of the Sea in order to get enough rice to donate to Buddha to restore her blind father’s sight. Or maybe something like the Frog Brothers, a story of a dysfunctional amphibious family in which the brothers ruin their mother’s afterlife by doing the opposite of what she asked for all her life, only to repent when she died and screwing up her burial, anyway. You know, heavy duty filial piety stuff.
I was not expecting the first story in this book.
For the sake of intercultural exchange, I will share it with you now, slightly edited because this book was written for the local market’s command of English.
This is the Story of the Piping Tiger, a tale of resourcefulness, creative thinking, and what the Koreans really wish they could do to the Japanese, whom they’ve never forgiven for a single invasion from paleolithic times on through World War II.
Then, along came a tiger and began sprinkling water with his tail on the sleeping man’s face.
The man panicked. “What a disaster!” He thought. “What should I do?!”
Pretending to be asleep, the young man thought up a plan.
“Oh, I got it! What a good idea!” He thought.
The young man stuck his pipe in the tiger’s rear end.
The startled tiger let out a fart.
Pilili Bung~, Pilili Bung~
The tiger, more startled by the piping sound,
began to run off like a wind.
Pilili Bung~, Pilili Bung Bung~
But as the tiger ran faster and faster, the piping sound with the fart became louder and louder.
All the animals of the forest laughed loudly.
“Ha ha ha, a pipe in the tiger’s rear end!” they jeered.
“Ho ho ho, a fart with a pipe sound!”
So the tiger became embarrassed and ran off, deep into the forest.
~ The End ~
Now don’t you just want to listen to the accompanying CD? I know I do.
Go ahead. Fill the comments up with the obvious puns.
But, please, remember, this is a family friendly blog.