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Korean Myths and Tales :The love story on Chilwol-chilsuk
Kyonu the Herder and Chiknyo the Weaver





Once upon a time in a land beyond the stars there lived a loverly princess called Chiknyo.
She was the weaving was Chiknyo's favorite pastime. She was very skillful and no one in the land could weave more beautiful or sturdier fabrics than her.
Than was why she was called Chiknyo, meaning Weaving Maiden.

The King was very proud that Chiknyo was uncommonly diligent and he would often watch her as she worked at her loom.
One day when he was watching her weave, he waas struck by her beauty. He realized that she was no longer a little girl but a lovely young woman and decided that it was time for her to marry.
He called a meeting of his advisors to consult about eligible bachelors. After several days one of his closest advisors announced that he had found the perfect match for Chiknyo in a neighboring kingdom.
"He is a prince", explained the man. "But he is also a herder. That is why he called Kyunu. A herder and a weaver, there could not be a better match."
All of the advisors agreed so the King sent a high court official to the neighboring kingdom to try to arrange a marriage between Kyonu and Chiknyo. The neighboring King was delighted with the offer for he had been looking for the perfect wife for his son.
After the King's emissaries met several times, a day was selected for the marriage and everyone in the two kingdoms began preparing for the royal wedding. Kyonu and Chiknyo were counselled by their parents about how to behave as man and wife and how to be an exemplary couple.

Finally Kyonu and Chiknyo were married. There was not a happier or more hard working couple anywhere. However, they began to neglect their duties. They would lay in each other's arms and count the stards or run hand-in-hand through the meadows. Chiknyo's loom became dusty and Kyonu's cows wandered about freely, even into the palace flower gardens.
Their subjects began to worry because Chiknyo's father was a stern ruler and did not tolerate idleness. When he heard that Kyonu and Chiknyo were neglecting their work, he was sad and angry. He sent word that they were to appear before him.
"I want you out of my sight. I can't bear to look at the two of you."he said in a stern voice as Kyonu and Chiknyo knelt before him.
"You disobeyed your King. I told you to work hard and not neglect your duties and you would always be happy. But you have spent your time together only playing. By being irresponsible, you have set a bad example for your countrymen. Your irresponsibility apparently comes from living together. So you will live apart from now on. Kyonu, you will live in the east and you, Chiknyo, will live in the west."
"Oh, My Lord, My Lord. Please forgive us. We made a mistake." cried Kyonu. Please don't make us live apart. We will change. We will work hard. Please forgive us."
"Oh, Father, Please don't make us live apart. I will do whatever you say but please don't make me live without my husband," pleaded Chiknyo, tears streaming down her face.
"I will work hard at my loom. Please let us live together."

But, the King was unmoved. He sent Kyonu to a remote kingdom in the east to tend cows and Chiknyo to a remote kingdom in the west to weave.
The two wept so much that the King took pity on them and said they could meet once a year alongside the Silvery River on the seventh day of the seventh moon.
Although he tended his cows, Kyonu could not keep his mind on his work. He passed the time thinking about the blissful days he had spent with Chiknyo, staring at the western heaven where she lived and counting the days until the could be together. Chiknyo spent her days in frromt of her loom but her eyes were on the eastern heaven where Kyonu lived.

Finally a year passed and it was time for them to meet.
With racing hearts, each set out on the long walk to the Silvery River.
But, they were greatly disappointed when they arrived there for it was so wide that they could hardly see each other or talk. And there was no bridge or boat they could use to cross. They stared at each other across the river and wept.
Kyonu and Chiknyo's tears fell to earth as rain.
They cried so much that their tears resulted in floods. Fearing for their lives and homes, the birds and animals on earth came together to decide how to stop the torrents of tears.

"If this rain is to stop," grunted a bear, "Kyonu and Chiknyo must be able to meet face to face."
"That's right," said the rabbit.
But the Silvery River is so vast, how can they get across?"
"There should be a bridge," said an owl. "Let's build one."
"How can we?" roared a tiger. "The silvery River is too high."
"I know," chirped a magpie.
"My fellow magpies and I can do it with the help of our cousins the crows."
"That's a great idea," said a crow. "Let's go!"
The sky became black as all the magpies and crows on earth flew off toward the silvery River. With their wings spread wide, the birds formed a bridge across the river.

When they realized what the birds had done, Kyonu and Chiknyo stopped crying and rushed to weach other across the feathery bridge. They held each other all night and talked about their happy life together and how much they missed each other.
As dawn began to break, they shed a few tears and parted to return to their posts in the east and west.
Since that time, magpies and crows have not been seen on earth on the seventh day of the seventh moon. However, on the next day they can be seen with noticeable less head feathers, no doubt the result of Kyonu and Chiknyo stepping lightly on their heads to cross the Silvery River.
There is always a light sprinkling of rain in the early morning of the seventh day of the seventh moon which is the tears Kyonu and Chiknyo shed as they part for another year's separation.

Thoese in the West know Kyonu and Chiknyo as the bright stars Altair and Vega and the Silvery River as the Milky way.
In the early evening of the seventh day of the seventh moon(7th of July in Asian calendar), The two stars are actually visible directly overhead on each side of the Milk Way.


This is all for now everyone.
Until the next time, An-Nyoung-Hee Kae-Sei-Yo(Goodbye)!

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