The Kind Old Lady and the Goblin


The Kind Old Lady and the Goblin

Hello, everyone. Welcome to “Korean Folktales.” This Monday corner takes you into the world of interesting Korean folk stories. I’m Jinny Na. Today’s story tells us how evil is punished and good is rewarded.

A long, long time ago, there lived two old women in a mountain village. The first woman was a good-natured person, who was always caring and considerate. Unfortunately, she couldn’t see well because her eyesight became weaker with age. In contrast, the second woman had good eyesight but was mean and bad-tempered. The nasty old woman habitually played tricks on the kind lady. For instance, she would give her a stone, saying that it was a potato. Also, she often stole firewood from the other woman’s house, thinking that the woman with bad eyesight would never notice.

One day, the two ladies went to the stream in the mountains together to wash their clothes. While doing the washing, the wicked woman wanted to tease her companion again. So she asked her to get some rice cakes from her bag under a tree. The tenderhearted woman wandered into the mountains, looking for her friend’s bag. The evil woman laughed out loud at the weak-eyed lady as she walked into trees while looking for the bag. After finishing her laundry, the bad woman returned home, without saying anything to her friend.

Night fell. Left all alone in the mountains, the lady sat under a tree, wondering how to get home. Suddenly, a goblin appeared out of nowhere. With a horn on its head, the goblin looked so terrifying that everyone who saw it ran away in fear. However, the scary-looking creature was actually timid and cowardly, and he was even terrified of small insects. Although the goblin was standing right in front of the old woman, she just stayed where she was. The goblin shouted, “Old lady! Aren’t you afraid of me? Why aren’t you running away?” The woman answered softly that she couldn’t see well because of her poor eyesight, so she wasn’t really scared of anything. The goblin was surprised and felt envious at the same time. He wished he would have nothing to fear, just like the woman. “Oh, your eyes are amazing. Why don’t you give me your eyes and take mine instead? In exchange, I’ll give you a lot of treasure as well.” The woman said yes, and the excited goblin swung his magic club, chanting a spell. Instantly, their eyes were magically exchanged, and there was a heap of treasures in front of the woman. Overjoyed, the goblin quickly left the scene, worried that the woman might change her mind. Now, the lady was blessed not only with excellent eyesight but also with various treasures.

The news spread throughout the town and eventually reached the ears of the evil old lady. She was green with envy. She rushed to the mountains and waited under the tree until late at night. As she wished, the same goblin appeared. She introduced herself as a woman who was not afraid of anything and told him to give her treasures. The goblin with poor vision touched the old woman’s face with his hands. Obviously, he mistook her for the woman he had met the other day. “Oh, you old woman! Because of your awful eyes, I’m as blind as a bat. It’s quite uncomfortable. We should exchange our eyes again.” Before the woman could say anything, the goblin swung his magic club, and the woman was left with poor eyesight.

The greedy woman never received any treasures and only lost her good eyesight. From then on, she could not make a fool of the good-hearted woman ever again.

That’s it for today’s program and the last edition of “Korean Folktales.” Thank you for listening. I’m Jinny Na. Goodbye, everyone.

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