The Dokkaebi’s Friend
Once there was a penniless old man who lived far from town deep in the woods. One evening there was a knock at the door of his hovel and what should he find but a dokkaebi. The man was terrified of course, but, not forgetting his manners, invited the dokkaebi in for a small bite and a stiff drink.
The two became fast friends and every night the sound of raucous gabbing and laughter would emanate from the old man’s shack. This went on for many weeks until, one day, the man saw his reflection in the stream. Much to his horror, his face was starting to look more and more like a dokkaebi. Fearing the prospect of transforming into a dokkaebi, the old man hatched a plan.
The next evening, after downing a few shots, the old man said, “I bet you can’t guess my greatest fear!” The dokkaebi guessed all sorts of creatures, spirits and things, but the man denied them all.
“My greatest fear, the one thing I cannot suffer, is gold. I fall into a fearful rage and pull out my hair when I so much as smell it. That is why I am bald and why I live so far from town.”
The dokkaebi replied, “Dear friend! It isn’t fair for me to know your weakness while you remain ignorant of mine. As it turns out, my greatest fear is blood. Fresh blood.”
The next day, the old man killed a deer and smeared the blood all over the doors and windows of his abode. That night, the dokkaebi came by and started to howl.
“You treacherous fiend!” It cried, “You smear this blood to insult me and scare me away? Well you forgot that I know your greatest fear as well!
The next morning the old man found the entrance to his hovel blocked with the largest pile of gold he had ever seen. He spent all day hauling as much of the money into town where he lived, quite comfortably, for the rest of his life.