Dreams in Korean History
57 BCE – 935 CE
Samguk Yusa, Book1, part 34, Chunchu gong
Munhui buys a dream from her sister Bohui.
She then marries Chunchu who later become King Muyeol of Silla (654-661)
One night Munhui’s sister Bohui had a dream in which she climbed So-ak Mountain and urinated,
the stream of water from her body rolled down in waves and inundated the whole city of Kyongju.
In the morning she told her sister about it:
“That is very interesting,” said Munhui, “I will buy your dream”
“What will you give me for it” Bohui asked
“I will give you my skirt of embroidered brocade.”
“Very well. I agree.”
Munhui spread her skirt and said, “I am ready to catch your dream.”
“Fine” laughed Bohui.
"I give you my dream of last night.” Munhui smiled.
“Thank you, sister. Here is my skirt. Wear it and you will look more beautiful.”
Chunchu and Munhui were formally married.
His six sons, the princes Papmin, Inmun, Munwang, Notan, Chigyong and Kaewon
were all born of Munhui who thus fulfilled her sister’s dream, flooding the capital with the issue of her body.
918 CE - 1392 CE
Goryosa, Jakjegeon tales - Jineui Maemong
A story about the grandfather of the Goryeo Taejo Wang Geon
Bo-yuk had a dream of peeing in Gok-ryeong and covering Samhan.
Bo-yuk tells his brother Lee Je-gun this story.
Lee Je-geon said, "This dream is to give birth to a king," and made his daughter Deok-ju his wife.
Bo-yuk then had two daughters, whose young daughter was named Jineui.
Jineui's sister dreamed of letting her pee cover the world at Ogwan Mountain.
Jineui bough her sister's dream with a silk skirt.
- This tale originates from the "Maemongsulhwa" of Munhui and Bohui, the sisters of Kim Yu-sin, which are listed in the "The History of the Three Kingdoms(Samguk Yusa)."
1392 CE – 1910 CE
Among the historic documents from Yeoju Yi clan of GyeongjuOksan that the Jangseogak Archives at the Academy of Korean Studies discovered is a very revealing contract detailing the sale of a dream. Drawn up in April, 1900, it provides a remarkably vivid glimpse of how people from a century ago put a price on a certain kind of dreams. This contract is the only one of its kind among the known historical documents.
According to the contract, on the 23rd day of the second lunar month in the year of 1900, a man named Park Hae-myeong had a very propitious dream of a dragon and a tiger appearing together. The word traveled through word of mouth and reached the ear of Yi Byeong-yu, who lived in a nearby village called Oksan.
Judging from its opening phrase, "As I have a urgent need of money…" it is clear that Park Hae-myeong was intent on selling his dream. Where there is supply, there will be demand. When Yi Byeong-yu, a scholar from Oksan came forward as a potential buyer with offer of 1,000 nyang(a unit of Joseon's coinage system), a huge sum of money equivalent to 100million won today, the deal was struck. As dreams obviously have no real substance, the agreement was solely based on trust between the seller and the buyer. Despite the intangible nature of the product, they prepared a contract conforming to slave sale contracts or land sale contracts, had the witness and the preparer sign it. Having met all the terms and conditions for the agreement, the ownership of Park's dream was transferred to Yi on April 3, 1900.
Who was Yi Byeong-yu and what compelled him to spend such a huge sum of money for one propitious dream? He was known as a proper/well-behaved scholar.
Yi was a 13th generation descendant of the great Confucian scholar Yi Eon-jeok, who is also known by his pen name Hoejae. Yi was known as a decent seonbi in Gyeongju region; being a learned man himself, he took the civil service exam in 1891. At the time of the contract, Yi lived ina stately house with no less than 62 rooms. We also know that he owned 11 slaves until around 1891. Yi's personal residence, also known as Dokrakdang (now designated as South Korea's Treasure No. 413), was inherited from Yi Eonjeok and was a very elegant residence appropriate for a nobleman.
Kim Hak-soo, chief researcher at The Academy of Korean Studies