The Song of Hungbu

Nolbu, a greedy brother, seizes his father’s entire fortune and leaves his brother Hungbu in poverty. When Hungbu appeals to his brother for help in order to feed his family, Nolbu refuses to help him and accuses him of being lazy. Hungbu and his wife rescue and tenderly care for a swallow with a broken leg. When it recovers, the swallow flies away, only to later return to Hungbu and his wife with a gourd seed that grows gourd plants.

Happy to be able to have the gourd pulp for kimchi and the gourds as dippers, Hungbu and his wife are overcome with joy when they find the gourds are filled with gold, silver and precious stones. When Nolbu discovers that his brother has become rich, he goes to him to ask what has happened. Hungbu tells him about the swallow and the seed.

Nolbu goes home and starts to hunt for swallows. Upon finding one, he purposely breaks its leg, crudely cares for it and orders the swallow to return in the spring with a gourd seed. When the swallow returns, Nolbu and his wife expect to become rich. But instead of a treasure, the gourds contain a shaman and a goblin. The shaman forces Nolbu and his wife to give up their riches. Hungbu then nurses Nolbu and his wife, caring for them as though nothing bad has ever happened. Nolbu finally realises his bad behaviour, and they all live happily together.

Video clip: Phansori performance of Song of Heungbo Veli Rosenberg
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