Daily Myth-Korean: Janghwa Hongryeon Jeon

So Saturday has been a very long day, and I was not planning on making a myth for Sunday cause of how tiring it was but I did it anyways. I could not find any pictures to go with this myth, because if you try looking it up all you will find is the popular, horror movie made based on this folklore. So I decided I would put pretty pictures of girls with flowers, since the titular female characters that were named after flowers. Also as always, if anyone knows who the artists are of these pictures, please tell me so I can reference them.

Todays folklore comes from Korea and is the story of Janghwa and Hongryeon.



So the story begins with a man and his kind wife. The woman has a dream one night that a gorgeous flower was given to her by an angel, and surely enough, nine months later she gives birth to a daughter they name Janghwa (which means Red Flower). Then after two years pass, the wife gives birth again to a little girl that they name Hongreyeon (which means Red Lotus).

1Their mother dies five years later, and the husband remarries to a cruel woman. She is kind of like Cinderella’s stepmother: evil, jealous, vindictive, and selfish. Anyways, she abuses the girls, but they never complain or tell their father (Maybe that’s their mistake, but just like Cinderella’s story being badly treated and not complaining is seen as a good quality. I personally think both Cinderella and these girls should have stepped up to those women. Just my opinion though). So that woman gives birth to three sons, which made her even more full of herself and cruel (because she gave him boys who would take over his lineage).

After much time, Janghwa becomes engaged, and her father asks the stepmother to help her plan the wedding. This makes her so angry, because not only does she have to help her, but she does not want to waste her sons’s future fortune on these girls to wed. So she hatches a nasty plan to destroy the poor girl’s reputation, life, and future.


One night, she to tells her eldest son to skin a dead rat and put it into Janghwa’s bed. Then, when first it became morning, the stepmother told the father that she had a horrid dream about his daughter and feared that something bad had happened. So together they went to check on her and found in her bed what looked like a miscarriage. The stepmother accused her of having been unchaste, and her father believed it all. Janghwa ran away crying into a forest, and the step mother told her eldest son to follow and drown Janghwa in a pond. After he did just that, a tiger attacked, eating one arm and one leg.

2The mother was furious at what happened to her son, so she treated Hongryeon more horribly than she ever did before. Hongryeon suffered so much before, after being unable to bear her sister’s death, her loneliness, and the stepmother’s cruelty, she went to the forest and also drowned (I am not sure if the son did this also, but I doubt it since he was disabled now. Maybe in some versions he never lost limbs and killed her. In other versions, he lost the limbs and the stepmother’s cruelty coxed the girl to suicide). After the two girls’s deaths, every mayor of the town died mysteriously.

One day, a very brave, fearless, and youthful man became the mayor. Two weeping ghost girls visited his office one night. He asked them why they killed the mayors. They denied killing the mayors (I think maybe it was the stepmother trying to keep her secret hidden), and they begged him to let the people know the truth, especially their father. They told him to check the unborn fetus, for he would see that it was a lie.

That next morning he did just that. He called forth the father, the stepmother, and her eldest son, and he cut open the body revealing it was a rat. The stepmother and her eldest son were sentenced to death, and the father released since he too was tricked by the stepmother.

Many years later, the father married a third time. He dreamt that his daughters had visited him. They told him that they wished to be with him once more, and that they would soon return. Nine months later, his wife gave birth to twins, that they named them Janghwa and Hongryeon. The new wife, the father, the sisters, and their two remaining half brothers lived happily together.

If you want to know more, check out this website: http://koreansaywhat.tumblr.com/post/10583721404/fact-of-the-day





2 thoughts on “Daily Myth-Korean: Janghwa Hongryeon Jeon

    • The anime is called Kaibutsu kun. It is very cute and enjoyable to watch 🙂
      As for the mythology, I do some research looking it up in my school’s database, I have a few books in my personal library that I have collected on mythology, or ask friends of mine who are Korean if they know any folklore.
      -Blog Barista

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