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Culture Tour




Introduce sultural sightseeing of Boeun.

Along the national road from Cheongju, passing Hwoein, to Boeun, there are two high mountain passes ?
One is Pibalryeong between Cheongwon county and Boeun county, and the other is Suritije between Hwoein-myeon and Soohan-myeon. There are legends surrounding the origins of their names, and both of them are related with Ori Deagam.

Ori Daegam was Lee Won Ik who famously served three kings as prime minister from king Seonjo to Injo in the Joseon dynasty. He was also famous for his abnormally short stature. His personality was simple and straightforward. He just did what he had to do, and did not associate with others unnecessarily, or show himself off to others. And he was so humble that, though he had held high government positions for such a long time, he lived in a old grass hut in which it was difficult to protect himself from rain and wind. When he became old and sick, he is said to have had difficulty supporting his everyday meals, no to mention buying medicine. Many episodes regarding him have been handed down like legends.

Once, appointed as the Moksa (mayor) of Gyeongju, Ori Daegam left for Gyeongju. When he arrived at Cheongju, the Gyeongju Hojang (head of local officials) was waiting for him there with saingyo, palanquin carried by four people. Ori Daegam, new mayor, was supposed to go to Gyeongju on the palanquin. The season was June by lunar calendar (July or early August by solar calendar). Especially, it was so hot on that day. Palanquin carriers got exhausted, and Hojang, who was walking beside the palanquin, also had hard time walking along with his clothes soaked with sweat.

Walking for about half a day, they faced a high and stiff mountain pass. Palanquin carriers got depressed. Hojang glanced at the new major, and found out that Ori Daegam, almost as short as dwarf, was enjoying the passing sceneries fanning himself slowly on the palanquin. Despising the mayor, Hojang wished to test him.

Arriving at the foot of the mountain, Hojang ordered carriers to stop, and came to the mayor. With his back bended, Hojang appealed to Ori Daegam, "Sir, this pass is the highest to the south of Seoul. If you climb over the pass riding on the palanquin, its carriers become too exhausted at the end, and we probably have to take a rest for three or four days when we arrive at the other side of the pass." Ori Daegam said, "We must be hurry to reach Gyeongju as soon as possible to treat procrastinated official works. We cannot waste days on the road. I will go over the pass on foot," and started to stride along the way. Then, accedentally, Daegam glanced at Hojang behind him and noticed that he was grinning.

At that moment, Daegam recognized that Hojang was making fun of him. He stopped, and told Hojang, "You and I are different in estates. If I walk, you should crawl." At the order of Deagam, Hojang had no choice but to crawl up the stiff pass. When Hojang reached the ridge of the pass, his palms and knees were all bloods. He repented his making fun of Daegam. Resting at Hwoein at that night, they started again to Boeun the next day. Along the way, they met another pass. Scared that he might be ordered again to crawl up the pass, Hojang had the palanquin carriers make a cart by cutting trees, and put the palanquin on it, and climbed over the pass.

Afterwards, the pass Hojang crawled over became to be called "Pibalryeong" reminiscent of the fact that Hojang became "pibal" (bloody foot in Korean), and Suritije was the pass Daegam climbed over on cart ('surae tada' is 'ride on cart' by Korean pronunciation. je is pass.)

There is another legend regarding Pibalryeong pass. On the way from Pibalryeong to Hwoein, there is a bridge called the Sageun Dari ('dari' is bridge in Korean). The time was when Japan attacked Joseon and raped it for seven years (1592-98). Ming China sent the Chinese army to help Joseon to fight back the Japanese army. The commander of the Chinese army was Lee Yeo Song. General Lee had some knowledge about poongsoo jiri, the theory of divination based on topography. Looking around the landscape of this area, he noticed that the topography of this area was so good that many excellent persons could be born around here. He judged that Joseon with many excellent persons might harm its neighbor, the Ming dynasty. So he decided to change the topography by cutting the mountain range, according to the legend.

He ordered Ming soldiers to cut a specific site of the mountain range. When the soldiers did it with swords and picks, a huge amount of blood began to flow out of the cut spot, making a stream of blood down the valley. The pass where the blood had flown down along became to be called afterwards "Pibanryeong" (pi is blood in Korean, and ryeong is Korean pronunciation of the Chinese character for pass), and the site where the blood stream finally had stopped to flow became to be called Sageun Dari (sageun means subside, and dari is bridge).