Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Aid and Assistance

Dear people of New Orleans as well as all others directly affected by Hurricane Katrina,

I'm thinking of you. We all are thinking of you. We are going to do what we can to help. Whether it is donating money to the Red Cross, joining the volunteer rescue squads, or anything else of benefit, we are going to do all we can to the best of our abilities and resources.

In the meantime, here is a Flood story from Korea. It has many familiar elements of the fairy tales you know, not the least of which is helping others in distress:

A son was borne to a fairy and a laurel tree; the fairy returned to heaven when the boy was seven years old. One day, rains came and lasted for many months, flooding the earth with a raging sea. The laurel, in danger of falling, told his son to ride him when it came uprooted by the waves. The boy did so, floating on the tree for many days. One day a crowd of ants floated by and cried out to be saved. After asking the tree for permission, the boy gave them refuge on the branches of the laurel. Later, a group of mosquitoes flew by and also asked to be saved. Again, the boy asked the tree for permission, was granted it, and gave the mosquitoes rest. Then another boy floated by and asked to be saved. This time the tree refused permission when its son asked. The son asked twice more, and after the third time the tree said, "Do what you like," and the son rescued the other boy. At last the tree came to rest on the summit of a mountain. The insects expressed their gratitude and left. The two boys, being very hungry, went and found a house where an old woman lived with her own daughter and a foster-daughter. As everyone else in the world had perished and the subsiding waters allowed farming again, the woman decided to marry her daughters to the boys, her own going to the cleverer boy. The second boy maliciously told the woman that the other boy could quickly gather millet grains scattered on sand. The woman tested this claim, and the first boy despaired of ever succeeding, when the ants came to his aid, filling the grain bag in a few minutes. The other boy had watched, and he told the woman that the task hadn't been done by the first boy himself, so the woman still couldn't decide which daughter to marry to which boy. She decided to let the boys decide by chance, going to one room or another in total darkness. A mosquito came and told the Son of the Tree which room the old woman's daughter was in, so those two were married, and the second boy married the foster-daughter. The human race is descended from those two couples.

--Zong In-Sob. Folk Tales from Korea, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., London, 1952.


abcgirl said...

hmmmm... this kinda sorta reminds me of noah's ark. was there ever really a giant flood that killed off lots of people? or is it just a common folklore thread of imagination?

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Does it have to be either/or?:) The Flood is as much a part of many peoples' mythic history as their Creation stories. Was the world of Noah's ark the entire earth, or "just" the Mesopotamian region? It knocks my socks off that people have found old fish-fossils in the Sahara, too.

By the by, do you know the book Life Story, by Virgina Lee Burton? As a child, I thought it was quite exciting, and I still get a thrill when I read it.

Melangell said...

I am working with the Grimm story "The Queen Bee", and I am excited about the parallels with this story. Hmmmm!

Lone Star Ma said...

I have always been really drawn to Noah's ark stories.