More precious than gold

            From early childhood, Yi Oknyon, a Kaesung governor of the late Koryo dynasty, was very close to his younger brother Yi Jonyon.

            One day, the two brothers were walking along a road when they came upon some lumps of gold lying on the bank of the Han River, and decided to share them. Then they boarded a ferry to cross the river, and when they were about midway, Yi Oknyon’s younger brother suddenly threw his gold into the water.

            The older brother, in shock, asked, “Why did you throw it overboard?”

            He answered, “Although I knew the gold was precious, I know that our kinship is even more precious. After we found the gold, the wicked thought occurred to me that if you had not been there, I could have kept the gold all for myself. I was afraid that this jealousy might harm our kinship, and so I threw my gold into the river.”

           Oknyon, upon hearing his younger brother’s words, agreed with him and threw his share into the river as well.

            Since then, that branch of the Han River was called “Tu Kum Tan,” meaning “the stream where gold was thrown away”.

Source: the book Chung Hyo Ye - Tales of filial devotion, loyalty, respect and benevolence from the history and folklore of Korea, Chapter 3: Wuae- Fraternal love, p. 71



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