3 - First King Dies, Tiger Dies

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Death of the Frist Emperor of Korea

When the heavenly Prince, Hwan-Ung died, he returned to his Heaven Father and Sister. When his wife, the Bear Maiden died, The Heaven Prince came for her and granted her into Heaven. When the First Earthly Emperor, Dan-Gam, died; he is of the earth, so he goes back to the earth.

Dan-Gum called his sons and his daughter to his bedside. "I have had a long and eventful life, honor and celebrated by the people of Korean. I'm giving you my Mother gifts so you can remember me and as well as your Grand Mother, Bear Maiden while helping the people of Korea."

The three son and the daughter bowed to their Father.

"To my eldest son, I grant the bamboo stick, rope, a bowl made of the gourd, and my knife. As a Carver, you will guard our Forests and Woodlands of for the people; you are the totem carver keeper for our festival and stories of the mountains. To my next son, I give the milling stone. As a Miller, you will help the farmers grow and grind their crops to feed our people. To my last son, I give you my drum with the narrow waist and my pipes. As a musician, you will offer music, and tell stories for laughter, and so the people dance and relax. To my faithful, daughter who takes care of me, while her husband serves the wars helping the Generals, I give you the precious clays and glazes to create pottery so the people can store their foods and eat on on porcelain dishes."

The children bowed to their Father and with sadness watched their Father smile happy with them, then silently slipped into his sleep and as an earthly man, gone from his life.

After the ceremony, the three sons and the daughter hugged each other. They packed belongings, and their families, and left the palace. In the path where the fork opened to their destination, they stopped. Each promised to meet at their Father's Palace with their families in ten years from that today to celebrate her Father as 'the man of the mountain,' the first Emperor of Korea.

The Return of Tiger

Tiger spread himself across the Himalayas of India, the Mongolian Chinese Mountains down into South East Asia to Java across into the Islands then across to Iran and into Greece. After many adventures and old, he decided to come back to Korea. He wanted to visit the Heavenly Prince. On the high lonely road in the Northern Himalayan Mountains, Tiger, after a long walk and exhaustion, laid down to rest and died.

Walking home after classes in these high Himalayas along the farms, four Brahmins found they might Tiger rotting in a field beside the dirt road. They were charmed by his skin and the large bones.

One Brahmin said, "Because Tiger is the King of Beast, Guard of the West and honored by God Shiva; let us put life back into this beast."

One Brahmin with common sense warned, "Tiger has power and will hungry. Beware to protect yourselves." With that said, the fourth  Brahmin climbed a tree to watch.

One said, "I am a sculpture, I will sculpt the bones back together." With that said, the Brahman carefully picked up the bones, studied them like pieces of a puzzle, and gently fit them back together in a tiger's form. Greatly pleased with his work.

Another Brahmin said, "I am a potter, I will sculpt the mud and make his inside and muscles and fit the skin around his body." Finished the Potter step back and was pleased with his work.

The next Brahmin stepped up, "I am a yoga. I shall put breath back into Tiger." And saying this, the Brahmin approached the tiger with his bones in place, his skin covering his muscles, and blew into the tiger's great mouth once, twice, and on the third breath step back to enjoy what he have done.

The Brahmin of common sense from the tree shouted, "Join me in the tree, now, before Tiger moves. He will be hungry."

The three Brahmins were so enthralled and proud of their work, they raised their hands in prayer and bowed to the grand tiger they built, who was King of the Beasts, Guard of the West, and honored by Shiva.

Revived, the hungry Tiger stood with power and hungry. He sniffed smelling the air, stretched, seeing the meat waiting for him. Swap and zap, naturally, before the Brahmins could run, Tiger pounced on the meat, which was the three Brahmins. Satisfied with his enormous meal Tiger fell asleep.

Sliding from the tree, the Brahmin with common sense found farmers working in the field. "There is a tiger in the field; we need to cage and take him to high into the mountains."

One farmer said, "Yes, we saw the Tiger lying there wasting away; we were afraid of him. You say, he ate three Brahmins who brought him back to life."

"Tiger is now magical with their special powers and as you know King of the Beast, Guard at the West, and honored by Shiva. We must be careful."

While Tiger slept, the farmers squatted down in the field and designed a cage that would have a big piece of meat with herbs to put Tiger asleep, sitting on the bottom of the cage with long log underneath for caring. They would attach four walls to be drawn up by ropes capturing Tiger inside. Then quickly, they would attach the lid and tie securely.

With this planned, they built their cage from bamboo and strong twine. They placed the cage far enough from Tiger, so when he woke up, he would smell the meat. The Brahmin with common sense and the farmers waited.

Eventually, Tiger woke; of course, he was hungry. He smelled the meat and walked over with power to devour it. WAP, WAP,  WAP, and WAP! The four sides went up. Then the last, WAP, the top attached and tied down securely by the farmers.

While Tiger clawed and roared, the farmers lifted the two long logs under the cage with two men on each side front to the back. Altogether with the Brahmin of common sense, they carried that heavy, powerful sleepingTiger to the outer Mong Mountains while he shouted his rage and tore at the bamboo poles.

They left Tiger on the road and ran as fast as they could climbing trees.

Furious Tiger with his powerful paws and jaws ripped the cage apart. He jumped out.

Tiger travels on his way to find the Heavenly Prince, only now Tiger had Brahmin magic, was Guard of the West, and King of the Beast and honored by God Shiva. Tiger was arrogant, proud, and powerful. He used his strengths to be cruel and fierce with his Cousin the Animals.


Check the Sources -  Bibliography of Korean Stories


© This version 'First King Dies, Tiger Dies' is mine as told at the Asian Art Museum in the Korean Gallery, 2002 -2012.

There are only 2,000 Tigers left in our world and causes great sadness for this mightiest of earthly beasts! ~~~~~~~~~~ from a million.

😋 I Hoped you enjoy the segue of the stories about Tiger as a character in Korean History more than 4,500 years ago. Please leave a ⭐️ vote and a comment to make telling better.

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