Intangible National Heritage: Legends of Mt Myohyang

 

Mt Myohyang, well-known for its beautiful scenery and time-honoured history, has a number of legendary tales.

Some of them tell that it is a celebrated mountain which could produce a prominent person who would go down in national history.

For example, the “Tangun Grotto and Tangun” is related with the birth of Tangun, the founder-king of the Korean nation, and the “Sonyu Peak and Haemosu” embellishes the “Legend of Haemosu,” one of the typical ancient myths of Korea, in relation with the natural landscape of the mountain.

Some of the legendary tales deal with the patriotic feats the Korean people performed in the struggle against foreign aggressors.

Typically, Thakki Peak of the mountain carries a tale about General Kim Chwi Ryo who played a great role in repulsing foreign aggressors in the first half of the 13th century.

In dealing with the origin of the formation of the peak, the legend reflects the aspiration and desire of the local people to convey General Kim Chwi Ryo and the victory achieved by the Koryo soldiers led by him to posterity as a great pride of the locality.

The legend of Rhododendron yedoense and a crescent moon extols the undaunted fighting spirit and national principles of the Korean women who, though weak, fought to the last against predatory and rapacious foreign invaders.

Besides, the “Tinkle of Windbells That Warned an Imminent War,” “Story about the Stick of Abbot Sosan” and many others tell of the patriotic monk who devoted himself to saving his country from crisis during the Imjin Patriotic War (1592-1598).

Meanwhile, some others including “Kumgang Grotto,” “Oson Peak,” “Inho Rock,” “Ryongyon Falls,” “Myongan Spring,” “Saja Falls” and “Kamno Spring and the Salamander” praise the natural scenery of Mt Myohyang.

As the legendary tales reflect the Korean people’s national pride, patriotic fighting spirit and aspiration to new things, they constitute valuable cultural heritage of the Korean nation.

 

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