A Study on the Motif of Supernatural Birth: Comparison Between Korean and Turkic Folk Tales
Ancient people regarded nature as a holy entity, manifesting mystical power. At the same time, nature was a realm, that shared similar status with humans. So, ancient people perceived that humans could acquire mystical powers, through interacting with nature. This is well-shown in heroic folk tales. In general, a hero is portrayed as an offspring of nature and a human. This type of story line is often found in folk tales of many ethnic groups across the globe, and have been perpetuated through generations.
As such, this article investigated types and characteristics of the above- mentioned motif, by analyzing heroic folk tales of Korean and the Turkic people (Kazakhs, Yakuts, and Bashkirs), who live in the Eurasian region. Throughout this study, it was found that a number of similarities, despite minor differences to meanings, exist between Korean and Turkic folk tales. First, both groups worshipped trees, and shared a common belief, that plants have the power of fertility and fecundity. Additionally, worshiping of a heavenly god is also portrayed in both folk tales. The heavenly god descends to Earth disguised as sunlight or moonlight, to conjoin with a human. As a result, heroes are born. In Korean folk tales, humans conjoin with the god of heaven, or the god of water. However, in Turkic folk tales, humans conjoin only with the god of heaven. Also, animal worshiping is also a common feature found in Korean and Turkic folk tales. However, there exist differences in certain aspects. Such difference may have evolved as a result of different socio-economic systems that Koreans and the Turkic people relied upon. As for Koreans who lived in an agrarian society, water was an integral source of sustenance. Meanwhile, for Turkic people who relied on a nomadic economic system, water was not as integral as for Koreans.