작성날자 : 2020-07-13    조회 : 391
 
The Turtle That Failed to Return to the Palace of the Dragon King

If you go uphill for a short distance along the Manphok Valley, the valley of ten thousand waterfalls, you will reach a small pond. This is Turtle Pond.

By the pond there is a rock shaped like a plump turtle and a broad, flat rock with a large hole in it.

The following is a traditional tale concerning the turtle-shaped rock and the hole in the broad, flat rock.

Long, long ago, there lived a turtle in the Dragon King's Palace in the East Sea.

One day the turtle heard interesting news from one salmon that had been to spawn in Onjong River in Mt Kumgang.

According to him, Mt Kumgang had so famous and beautiful mountains that a mere glimpse of them would improve one's eyesight. The turtle had been suffering from falling eyesight, so he presented himself before the Dragon King and asked to be allowed to visit Mt Kumgang. The Dragon King readily granted the request of the diligent and kindhearted turtle. But he told him he must not fail to return before the maple leaves fell.

“Yes, I will do as I’m told, Your Majesty!” said the turtle.

Much delighted, the turtle set out on the long journey to Mt Kumgang.

The king, realizing that the turtle could only move slowly, used his magic wand to cut a straight tunnel for him to the Manphok Valley in Mt Kumgang.

The hole through the broad, flat rock is said to be the exit of the tunnel made by the Dragon King's magic wand.

The turtle crawled out of the tunnel into the Manphok Valley.

“Wow!”

The turtle was dazed by the enchanting scenery unfolded before his eyes.

It was autumn and the whole valley was ablaze with autumnal colours.

A waterfall thundered down over sheer cliffs, sending up silvery clouds of spray to form a beautiful mist in the sky.

Beneath the waterfall was a pond brimming with crystal-clear, sky-blue water.

Overwhelmed by the wonderful scenery, the turtle stood riveted to the spot for a long time before walking around the pond to take a look at it.

As the salmon had said, his eyesight seemed to be improving.

He went around the pond again. The more he saw, the more beautiful and awe-inspiring it seemed.

The turtle was so delighted by the blue pond that he did not want to leave the place.

He went round and round the pond, now drinking its clear water and now trying the ripe hawthorn fruit growing by its side.

Day followed day.

The turtle went around the pond more than fifty times.

He had forgotten all about going back to the Dragon King's Palace.

One day the turtle went to the side of the pond to drink and was quite astonished to find that the pond was littered with red and yellow leaves.

Immediately he raised his head and looked around.

All the trees were almost bare of their tinted autumnal leaves.

“Dear me! What shall I do?” said the turtle, reminded of the Dragon King's words that he should return before the fall of the maple leaves.

“I shall be punished for being late,” he thought.

Terribly worried, the turtle hastened to the hole in the rock through which he had come and thrust his head into it.

But alas! His body would not pass through it.

He twisted and turned his shoulders and body, but all his efforts were to no avail. The hole was not big enough for his body.

“I came through this tunnel. What's the matter?” he wondered.

The turtle took his head out of the hole and considered.

He racked his brains to find the answer. He made another attempt to get into the hole, but in vain. The turtle, exhausted, threw himself down on the broad, flat rock.

The turtle had grown stout in the several days he had been enjoying the beautiful scenery, drinking the water of the pond in the Manphok Valley. But the turtle failed to realize this.

No one knows when he was changed into a stone, as he did all he could to push himself into the tunnel, with the sole desire to return to the Dragon King's Palace.


 
   

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