The farmer and the tokaebi

Tells this story that many years ago in a country in Asia called Korea, a man lived with his wife in a small farm. The two loved each other very much and enjoyed a quiet life surrounded by their animals, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. They did not need much more to be truly happy.

In the summer, after finishing the daily tasks, they used to dine next to a large window that they opened wide to be able to contemplate how the bright moon was slowly rising to the highest point of the sky and hear the little sounds that are only appreciated when everything is silent. For them, enjoying that magical moment was priceless.

But one night, while sharing the exquisite rice with vegetables that the woman prepared so well, they heard terrifying screams.

– But what is that scandal ?!

– I do not know, my dear, but something very serious must be happening. Let’s go outside and have a look!

They got up from the table scared and opened the door very quietly. In front of them, next to the stairs of the entrance, they saw six monsters not too big but ugly that they were fighting and screaming like madmen.

The woman put her hands to her head.

– Oh, no, they are tokaebi monsters that come to bother us! Be careful what you tell them, do not get mad at us. You know they have very bad slobber!

The good man, despite the fear of reprisals, steeled himself and shouted:

– Out of here! These lands are our property, take them away immediately!

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The tokaebi, far from cowardly and unwilling to obey, began to laugh out loud. One of them, the one who seemed to take the lead, dared to say:

– Hahaha! What do you think, comrades? … Let us leave, says this one! Hahaha!

The farmer’s legs trembled but he drew strength from weakness.

– You have not heard me? I want you to leave right now, leave us alone!

Nothing, no case. The Tokaebi stared at the farmer with a mocking face and the little chieftain of the gang took a few steps forward.

– Hey, you, shoddy farmer! … You say these lands are yours but I say they are mine. Let’s see how we fix this unpleasant business!

The good man and his wife were stunned, but they were very clear that the farm and the lands where they lived were theirs for more than twenty years and they were not going to allow an arrogant little monster to get away with it.

– But what are you saying?! This house and this land are ours! My wife and I are the rightful owners!

The tokaebi had risen that day with much desire to annoy someone and continued to pepper the man with his impudent tone.

– Do not put that face, farmer! I think we have a difficult problem because it’s your word against mine, so … I propose a challenge!

– What challenge ?!

– One very easy! You will ask me a question and I will ask you a question. Whoever hits it will be the owner of all this. Do you dare to accept my proposal or are you a chicken?

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The farmer clenched his teeth to contain the rage. That shameless tokaebi was calling him a coward! In the depths of his soul he felt that he should not enter his game because he also played everything to a question, but either he accepted or would never get rid of his presence.

– Okay I accept. Let’s get this over with once and for all.

– Have you heard guys? … He seemed like a wimp but not … this farmer is a brave guy!

The man had to endure the urge to kick him in the ass and send him to the top of the tree. His patience was about to run out.

– Ask me what you want, I’m not afraid of you!

The tokaebi was thoughtful for a few seconds.

– Okay, let’s see … How many glasses do you need to empty the sea?

The farmer concentrated well so as not to miss the answer.

– Depends on the size of the glass: if it is as big as the sea, a single glass is enough to empty it. If the size of the glass is about half the sea, two are needed.

The tokaebi was surprised by such good reasoning and very reluctantly had to give the answer as valid.

– Grrr! It’s okay, it’s okay, you’re right! I see you’re smarter than you seem. Now ask me!

The man stood in profile in the doorway, one foot inside the house and the other outside. Looking at the tokaebi in the eyes, he asked:

– Am I entering or leaving?

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The intelligent question outraged the monster because it was impossible to know.

– Grrr! What a question, farmer! I do not know i do not know!

– Ah! … What do not you know ?! Well, I won the challenge and you are already leaving my lands!

The tokaebis chief fired sparks from the mouth of the fury that invaded him, but he had to keep his word because many witnesses had witnessed his resounding defeat.

Very reluctantly he told his colleagues:

– Let’s go, here we do not paint anything! See you again, wise farmer!

The farmer and his wife watched in silence as the six monsters entered the forest and disappeared into the shadows. When they lost sight of them, they shook hands, entered the house, and with a smile of immense happiness finished the delicious rice with vegetables that they had left halfway.