A Dokkaebi’s Idea of a Good Joke
Near a small hamlet there lived a farmer and his family. During the off-season, the farmer would often visit his friends and stay out drinking late. One night, the farmer had one too many drinks but, fearing the consequences of not returning home at all that night, he decided to start the long walk home.
His home, as it turned out, was on the other side of a small hill, which during the day posed no significant problem, but, late at night and with a well inebriated mind, it looked as tall as Mount Baekdu. During his walks home he would call it ‘Mount You’re Coming Home, Aren’t you?’ This night the farmer had a bad feeling about the hill, but he chalked it up to indigestion.
Half-way up, he saw some dancing lights in the trees. They didn’t seem to have any predictable pattern, but they did appear to be coming closer. Soon he heard a soft, soothing voice calling to him. “Hello there handsome. Why don’t you come over here and relax for a bit?”
Well, it had been ages since anyone had called the farmer handsome and the voice was so gentle and soothing, so he went off the path and followed the voice into the woods. As he approached the light, a young, nubile woman made of fire and light approached and danced around him.
“Sit and stay awhile,” she whispered in his ear. “Come close and have some rice cake.” She held the rice cake between her teeth and let the farmer take a bite. Ah, the farmer was in heaven as this fiery woman gently stroked his hands and whispered in his ears.
Despite himself, the farmer soon fell asleep. The next day his son found him lying in the forest, his clothes covered in mud, his hands torn and scratched, and his mouth half full of canine feces. Having never seen his dad in this bad a state, his son asked, “What happened dad?”
He replied, “A dokkaebi happened my son. A dokkaebi happened.”