The Heavenly Princess loses her sacred golden fish in the waters below heaven. Tiger spirit, Guard of the West, who guards the heavenly palace for the Heavenly Father, Hwam-In, the sun god, calls Tiger to find his daughter’s jeweled fish. Tiger jumps into the waters, which cover what we know as Korea. He sifts the waters and packs the mud finding the golden fish with some of the jewels missing.
Later in time, Tiger, as we know him, roams the Korean woods as Guard of the West and King of the Beasts then travels beyond.
The Heavenly Prince, Hwan-Ung, tells his Father he will rule this new land. When he arrives, he asks Bear and Tiger to be the first people. Tiger who rather live free leaves the cave and hides in the trees to watch for Bear. Tiger sees Bear Maiden, who becomes the first woman. She dances with the Heavenly Prince, who gives her a child, the first Earthly Man, Dan-Gum. The Korean Emperors claimed they ascended from the Heavenly Prince.
By now the First Earthy son, Dan-Gum of the Heavenly Prince is the first Emperor. He dies as ‘the old man of the mountain’ and gives his mother’s, Bear Maiden, gifts to his children. The daughter received clay and pottery; her husband is in the army. The oldest son gifted a rope, gourd, and bamboo stick, the totem carver. The second son gifted the millstones. The youngest son gifted the drums, the musician. They traveled on different paths to meet in ten years to honor their father at the feast ‘the old man of the mountain’.
Tiger died on his way to see the Heavenly Prince, Hwan-Ung. Revived by three unwise Brahmins, Tiger eats them. Captured a cage, he is carried far back into the Mong Mountains and abandoned.
At this time, Tiger has with Shaman powers, is King of Beast and Guard of the West. He travels to Korea searching for the Heavenly Prince. Tiger climbs to the mountain where the Prince entered earth. Tiger finds the palace in rubble with no scent of the Heavenly Prince.
The tiger becomes a tyrant, (use of stick Confucianism on the people). As a vain and arrogant ruler, he bullies the beasts and taunts the forest with cruel, selfish rules, and wasteful greed. Cousin Rabbit tricks Uncle Tiger and leaves great Tiger for a great lesson about greed.
Tricked by the small Cousin Rabbit, Tiger is more humble and carefully crawls through the woods, which are now filled with hunters. Tiger falls into a pit dug for catching pigs. The Totem Carver (Shamanism) is a son of the First Earthly Emperor. Dan-Gum. The Carver helps Tiger out of the pit, as Tiger is the Guard of the West and King of the Beasts. To Tiger, the Carver resembles the Heavenly Prince only does not smell like him and too long and thin. When tiger wants to eat the Carver, Cousin Rabbit who tricked Tiger before gets Tiger back into the pit.
Tiger becomes extremely careful because Rabbit tricked him twice. The Miller (agriculture), the second son of the First Emperor, travels milling grains with his stones for the farmers. When Tiger chases pheasants to eat (Buddhist), the Miller, who looks like the Heavenly Prince, throws a millstone and hurts Tiger’s front paw. Wanting revenge, Tiger plans to eat the Miller. The pheasant rings a temple bell causing Tiger to lose his power.
Tiger injured, starving, and hides in a cave, humiliated. Finding the Tiger, the woman approaches, “My husband is emotionally injured by the wars. A shaman told me to bring him a whisker from a live tiger to heal him.” The young woman looks like Bear Maiden. Tiger allows the woman to feed him. After, his paw heals; he gives her a whisker. She brings her husband to meet Tiger, who is gratified and stays in the cave until he hears a drum play.
Tiger hears drumming as in the court of the Heavenly Prince, and see a young man that resembles the Prince. Tiger leaves the cave and dances behind the man. He dances from city to city for celebrations. Tiger goes to “the old man of the mountain” ten-year celebration. Here the Heavenly Prince comes for Tiger; together they visit mountain celebrations in Korea every year.
THE BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR TAMING OF TIGER, KOREAN STORIES: