Korean Entry 2: Bul-Gae

“What an exhausting costume!” A bul-gae (불 개) or fire dog has grown tired of the act! Bul-gae are fiery dogs from Korean mythology that are said to hail from the kingdom of darkness. They are depicted chasing the sun and the moon causing eclipses as the bite down on them. As the story goes, the only reason eclipses end, is because the sun is too hot for the to keep in there mouth for too long and the moon is too cold. They were said to have been sent to retrieve the celestial bodies under the order of the ruler of the kingdom of darkness. The king was tired of the darkness, so he sent the hounds to fetch the sun and moon, but to no avail. The bul-gae is not known to shapeshift in Korean legend (like the fox can), but the idea of a stubborn fiery character representing the bul-gae really interested me. Many animals in Asian mythology are known to transform, and I though that a humanized bul-gae could be very intriguing. She is hiding among the humans as wealthy young maiden, with little knowledge of the norms and fashion. What caused her to finally show her true colors?

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