True love waits. I will wait for you even it takes forever. How about? I’ll die waiting if I have to… Wow! What a precious vow and promise someone could make. However sometimes, I don’t even understand the promises that I have made. Do I say it because I am in love or excited or that’s really how I feel? But when my promise has been tested, after my husband left, I have to fight against loneliness, cold nights and keeping the love alive despite of the doubts and insecurities. Now, how long should I wait? Fellow toastmasters and dear guests, tonight I’m going to share with you, a KoreanTale that illustrates the importance of being faithful to your husband.
Yi Mong Yong who always studies hard, goes out to get some fresh air. He sees Chunyang on a swing under the trees and he finds her so lovely. He called his servant. The servant told him that her name was Ch’unhyang, who is not only beautiful but talented in poetry and art . However, she was a daughter of a Kisaeng or an entertainer who sometimes sleeps with the Kings. Despite of what he learns, the noble or Yangban’s son insisted to tell her that he wished to meet her. “Don’t you know that the butterfly must pursue the flower?”. The lady retorted. She was afraid at being watched by this lad. She jumped down from her swing and run toward her house. So, Yi Mong- Yong went home to sit at dinner with his parents. With the meal finished. He went to his room, lit a candle and opened a book. But, it is really hard to read when the words seemed so blurred reads “ Spring and Fragrance means Chunyang – Chunyang… Oh! Our lad was so in love to this girl. Did she say, a butterfly should pursue the flower? I must pursue the flower. I must see her tonight, “ he said this to the servant.
To make a long story short and because of his persistence, Chunyang fell in love. He asked her hands for marriage. Since, she is daughter of Kiseang, there will be no formal wedding. They agreed to have a secret marriage and he had to write a promise not to desert her.
Not long after the secret marriage, Yi Mong- Yong’s father, a government official, has to move to another region, so he has to leave to follow his father. The young couple had to say tearful goodbye. She gave him a ring as the sign of her love. “ Keep it until we meet again.” Chunyang utters. After he leaves, a new governor comes to Chunyang’s village. The new the governor is greedy and selfish. He is partying all night with courtesan. He forced Chunyang to come to his party even though she is not courtesan. He forced her to sleep with him, but Chunyang keeps refusing because she is married. The governor gets angry and imprisons her. He decides to punish her on his birthday.
Meanwhile, Yi Mong- Yong had arrived in Seoul, where he studied so hard and pass the government examination. He chose to be King’s inspector. He traveled around the country and disguised as beggars. Soon, they arrived near in Namwon, where Chunyang lives. He heard all the sufferings of the people during the new leadership. He approached one of the farmers. He was surprise how angry the farmers were against Chunyang’s fate. She was ever faithful to her husband, but she was executed because of her fidelity. The farmers anger and comments against him shocked Yi Mong Yong because the people thought he abandoned her.
Next morning, he went to the palace, climbing on the shoulders of his servants and going over the wall. He begged for food to one of the guests who had compassion called one of the Kisaeng to bring him food. Yi Mong- Yong gave him a little poem as his payment.
This beautiful wine in golden goblets is the blood of a thousand people.
This magnificent meat on these jade tables is the flesh and marrow of a thousand lives.
Reading these lines, everybody went panicking because this beggar who gave this poem is not an ordinary beggar but a King’s inspector. As they cowered together in a corner of the courtyard, Yi Mong Yong revealed his identity and ordered the runners to fetch Chunyang from her cell.
Chunyang who wished to see her mother and husband cried and frightened because she thought her death is yet to come. The King inspector tests his wife by asking her to marry him as the King’s messenger.” If you refuse, I should order my men to cut your head off. “ All she know this time that her husband is a beggar.
She replied.” Finally. How unhappy are the people of this country. First, the injustice of the governor, then you, the King’s inspector who should help the unhappy people – you think to condemn to death a poor girl whom you want. Oh! How pitiful is to be a woman! He ordered his men to untie her and said,” Now, look at me. No, “ she said,I shall not look at you. Cut my body into pieces if you like, but I shall never go to you. Yi Mong Yong was deeply touched. He took off his ring and ordered a courtesan to show it to her. It was the ring she had given her husband Yi Mong -Yong and she left her eyes and recognized her lover. “Oh, yesterday my lover was a beggar and today he is the King officer.”
Yi Mong Yong took his bride back to Seoul and wrote a story Chunyang as his official report. The King was surprised to find such fidelity in a country girl of low birth. Her loyalty proof that she was good Yangban’s daughter, even though her mother is a Kisaeng or courtesan, and her conduct should be a model for all women. Finally, they live happily with five children ever after.
This Tale of Chunyang brought me to a realization that fidelity is a choice even in the absence of communication. Like me, she has doubts and insecurities, but she assures her husband that she will remain faithful. How long should I wait? I will wait for my husband even it takes forever that is the promise I make. I should let God guard my heart and pour out all the love that we need. I should be like Chun’hyang.