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Nammae Park

Nammae Park


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The Legend of Lake Nammae

    • Lake Nammae, which is loved by the citizens as a downtown waterside park, has a heart-breaking legend about a brother and a sister among a number of old stories about it.
    • During the Chosun Dynasty, a blind mother, her daughter, and her older son, who had a burning desire to have a successful life, spending all his spare moments studying while working as a slave for a rich family, lived together in a tiny village.
    • One day, the brother and sister were told by their mother that their father, who failed to pass the national examination for selecting high-ranking officials, had died from some emotional disorder. Their mother, who was crying almost all the time, eventually went blind. The son, who was determined to pass the national examination to appease his father’s spirit, worked as a slave for a rich family, borrowed books, and devoted himself to studying, oblivious to the other villagers’ pronouncements, such as “What’s the point of studying hard when you’re just a slave?” Nevertheless, his efforts were in vain because he had to give up the national examination as he didn’t have enough money for it; his meager annual salary did not allow him to go to Seoul, where the examination was administered, and to come back home.
    • His younger sister, who was determined to help her brother get on in the real world and to appease her father’s spirit by raising money against all odds, worked as a kitchen maid at the house of Hwang, the richest man in the village, and earned enough money to send her brother to Seoul. After her brother’s departure for Seoul, the son of Mr. Hwang, a roughneck, raped her, depriving her of her chastity, which was more precious to her than her very life. In desperation, she jumped into a large lake in front of the village. Her blind mother, who tried to rescure her, also drowned to death.
    • The son, who at last passed the national examination, made a glorious return to his village, only to hear the harrowing story about his younger sister and mother. He then lost his will to live as he was now bereft of his mother, whom he intended to give a comfortable life, and his younger sister, who was supposed to share his happiness owing to his success. He wrote a letter to the king, telling him in detail what Mr. Hwang’s son had done to his sister, and then walked into the lake where his mother and sister were resting in peace on a night when the glorious silvery full moon was shining. Afterwards, the villagers called this lake “Lake Nammae” to commemorate the poor brother and sister and their blind mother.