Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Farting Woman: Alternate Endings

The three versions of this folktale that I have heard all essentially start the same. Beautiful young woman with a strong farting problem, stops farting, gets married, lives happily, becomes sick, blows the house down after being confronted by concerned parents-in-law... and that's where the commonalities end.

The version of the story I told in my last post is paraphrased from a text book at my school, from a unit about Korean folktales. It's obviously meant for children, and mean to be appropriate to teach in the classroom within a restrained time frame, which is perhaps why it is both shorter and less colorful than the two varieties that I am about to relate to you.

A book of Korean folktales found by another blogger says that after the house had been destroyed, the parents-in-law were worried for their son and sent the poor woman back to live with her parents in disgrace. On her way back to her parents home, she encounters many adventures and uses her superfarts to save the day, becoming very rich in the process. After she becomes very rich, the parents-in-law see the error in their ways and welcome her back with open arms.

The same blogger's mother used to tell her Korean folktales as a child and in her mother's version of the folktale, the mother-in-law comes back to the ruins of the house, still dazed by the fart. Seeing her daughter-in-law unharmed, while her husband and son are crawling out of the wreckage, blood pouring from various wounds, the mother-in-law calls her a monster and chases her away with a shovel. So mortified is the poor daughter-in-law that she went into the deep mountainside and died of a broken-heart. And the moral of this story is, never trust your mother-in-law.


Just as with any folktale I'm sure there around a million more possible variations out there. Since I posted it yesterday, I have heard that it is sometimes called the farting daughter-in-law, that the woman only lives with her new family for a few weeks before she gets sick, that she needed a match maker to get married etc. etc. But the guts of the story is the same, and its still hilarious, no matter what permutation you hear. I wish our traditional folk tales were this amusing!


  1. I almost feel like you made this up to make fun of me... good thing I'm not coming to Korea! I'd scare your students away - a real, live poison gas lady!

    Maybe when I get married it will stop. I like that idea. :)

  2. Ha ha ha... but then you will get very sick, and eventually blow everyone and everything to smithereens. I wouldn't risk it! hahaha


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