In the third year of Shen-ch'ueh of Han, in early summer, when the Great Bear Stood in the Serpent, Haemosu came to Korea, a true Son of Heaven. He came down through the air in a five-dragon chariot, with a retinue of hundreds, robes streaming, riding on swans. The atmosphere echoed loudly with chiming music, and banners floated on the tinted clouds. From ancient times men ordained to rule have come down from Heaven, but in daylight he came from the heart of the sky - a thing never before seen.
In the mornings he dwelt among men, in the evenings he returned to his heavenly palace. The ancients have told us that between heaven and earth the distance is two thousand billion and eighteen thousand seven hundred and eighty ri. A scaling-ladder could not reach so far, flying pinions could not bear the strain, yet morning and evening he went and returned at will. By what power could he do it?
North of the capital was the Green River, where the River Earl's three beautiful daughters rose from the drake-neck's green waves to play in the Bear's Heart Pool. Their jade ornaments tinkled, their flowerlike beauty was modest -- they might have been fairies of the Han River banks, or goddesses of the Lo River islets. The King, out hunting, espied them, was fascinated and lost his heart, not from lust for girls, but from eager desire for an heir. The three sisters saw him coming and plunged into the water to flee, so the King prepared a palace to hide in till they came back:
He traced foundations with a riding whip: A bronze palace suddenly towered, silk cushions were spread, bright and elegant, golden goblets waited with fragrant wine. Soon the three maidens came in, and toasted each other until they were drunk. Then the king emerged from hiding; The startled girls ran, tripped, and tumbled on to the floor. The oldest was Willow Flower, and it was she whom the king caught.
The Earl of the River raged in anger, and sent a speedy messenger to demand, "What rogue are you who dares behave so presumptuously?" "Son of the Heavenly Emperor," replied Haemosu, "I'm asking for your noble daughter's hand." He beckoned to heaven: the dragon car came down, and straightaway he moved unto the Ocean Palace where the River Earl admonished him: "Marriage is a weighty matter, needing go-betweens and gifts. Why have you done these things? If you are God's own heir, prove your powers of transmogrification!" Through the rippling, flowing green waters the River Earl leapt, transforming into a carp; the king turned at once into an otter that seized the carp before it could flee.
The earl then sprouted wings, flying upward, transformed into a pheasant; but the king was a golden eagle and struck like a great bird of prey; the Earl sped away as a stag, the king pursued as wolf. The Earl then confessed that the king was divine, poured wine, and they drank to the contract. When the king was drunk, he was put in a leather bag, set beside the girl in his chariot, and set off with her to rise to Heaven together. But the car had not left the water before Haemosu woke from his stupor and, seizing the girl's golden hairpin, pierced the leather and slid out through the hole, alone to mount the car beyond the crimson clouds. All was quiet; he did not return.
The River Earl punished his daughter by stretching her lips three feet long, and throwing her into the Ubal stream with only two maidservants. A fisherman saw them in the eddies, creatures disporting themselves strangely, and reported the fact to King Komwa. An iron net was set in the torrent, and the woman was trapped on a rock, a monster of shocking appearance, whose long lips made her mute. Three times they were trimmed before she could speak. King Komwa recognized Haemosu's wife, and gave unto her a palace where she might live. The sun shone in her breast and she bore Chumong in the fourth year of Shen-ch'ueh.
His form was wonderful, his voice of mighty power. He was born from a pottle-sized egg that frightened all who saw it. The king thought it inauspicious, monstrous and inhuman, and put it into the horse corral, but the horses took care not to trample it; it was thrown down steep hills, but the wild beasts all protected it; its mother retrieved it and nurtured it, till the boy hatched. His first words were:"The flies are nibbling my eyes, I cannot lie and sleep in peace." His mother made him a bow and arrows, And he never missed a shot.
Years passed, he grew up, getting cleverer every day, and the crown prince of the Puyo began to grow jealous, saying, "This fellow Chumong is a redoubtable warrrior. If we do not act soon, he will become trouble later." So the king sent Chumong to tend horses, to test his intentions. Chumong meditated, "For heaven's grandson to be a mere herdsman is an unendurable shame." Searching his heart, he sought the right way: "I had rather die than live like this. I would go southward, found a nation, build a city -- but for my mother, whom it is hard to leave." His mother heard his words and wept; but wiped her glistening tears:
"Never mind about me. Rather I fear for your safety. A knight setting out on a journey needs a trusty stallion." Together they went to the corral and thrashed the horses with long whips. The terrified animals milled about, but one horse, a beautiful bay, leapt over the two-fathom wall, and proved itself best of the herd. They fixed a needle in his tongue that stung him so he could not eat; in a day or two he wasted away and looked like a worn out jade.
When the king came around to inspect, he gave this horse to Chumong, who took it, removed the needle, and fed the horse well, day and night. Then he made a compact with three friends, friends who were men of wisdom; they set off south till they reached the Om, but could find no ferry to cross. Chumong raised his whip to the sky, and uttered a long sad complaint: "Grandson of Heaven, Grandson of the River, I have come here in flight from danger. Look on my pitiful orphaned heart: Heaven and Earth, have you cast me off?"
Gripping his bow, he struck the water: Fish and turtles hurried, heads and tails together, to form a great bridge, which the friends at once traversed. Suddenly, pursuing troops appeared and mounted the bridge; but it melted away.
A pair of doves brought barley in their bills, messengers sent by his mysterious mother. He chose a site for his capital amid mountains and streams and thick-wooded hills. Seating himself on the royal mat as King Tongmyong, he ordered the ranks of his subjects. Alas for Songyang, king of Piryu, why was he so undiscerning? Was he a son of the immortal gods, who could not recognize a scion of Heaven?
He asked Tongmyong to be his vassal, uttering rash demands, but could not hit the painted deer's navel, and was amazed when Tongmyong split the jade ring; he found his drum and bugle changed and dared not call them his; he saw Tongmyong's ancient pillars, then returned home biting his tongue.
Tongmyong went hunting in the west, caught a tall snow-white deer, strung it up by the hind feet at Haewon, and produced a great malediction: "Let Heaven pour torrents on Piryu, and wash away his capital. I will not let you go till you help me vent my wrath."
The deer cried with great sounds so piteous they reached the ears of Heaven. And from the horrible music of the deer, a great rain fell for seven days, floods came like Huai joined with Ssu; Songyang was frightened and anxious. He had thick ropes stretched by the water, knights and peasants struggled to clutch them, sweating and gaping in fear.
Then Tongmyong took his whip and drew a line at which the waters stopped. Songyang submitted and thereafter there was no argument. A dark cloud covered Falcon Pass, the crests of ridges were hidden, and thousands upon thousands of carpenters were heard hammering there. The king said, "Music from Heaven is for me preparing a great fortress up yonder." Suddenly the mist dispersed and a palace stood out high and splendid, where Tongmyong ruled for nineteen years, till he rose to heaven and forsook his throne.