On Assignment In Jeju – Part 5
When I travelled to Jeju a year and a half ago to research my animated short film, The Legends of Seolmundae Halmang, much of the trip was spent searching for the ancient mythical sites where the story plays out. Some of the sites were relatively easy to get access to, while others were more elusive:
홍릿물 (HongLit Mul)
The single most difficult site to find was Honglitmul (홍릿물). In fact, I’m not entirely certain I even did find it. Out of all the spots on my checklist, this one alone had no modern corresponding site that I could pinpoint.
There were a few clues, though. Honglitmul literally means ‘Water of Hong Village’ — and there are a couple neighbourhoods named 서홍 (West Hong) and 동홍 (East Hong) on the edge of Seogwipo City, on the south side of the island.
I had found at least one source in Korean which correlated the site I was looking for with 지장샘 (Ji Jang Saem), a spring that runs through East Hong.
When I tracked it down, I found this:
In the story, Seolmundae Halmang brags that she is so tall, no river or lake on Jeju is deeper than her height. When she dips her feet in HongLit Mul, it barely covers her ankles. But this place couldn’t even fit her baby toe, let alone a whole foot!
So, I took a short detour to Donnaeko waterfall, at the foot of Halla Mountain. It’s not a part of any of the legends about Seolmundae Halmang, but it feels much more like what I imagined HongLit Mul would look like:
물장오리 (Muljang Ori)
The final site on my checklist for the trip was the oreum known as Muljang Ori. It is here that Seolmundae Halmang finally meets her match: at its top is a lake so deep that when she steps into it, she disappears below the surface and is never seen again.
However, Muljang Ori has been closed down for the last few years for revitalization, and when I arrived at the trailhead I was confronted with this:
So unfortunately, this was as close to Muljang Ori as I was able to get. *sad face*
All in all, a bit of a run-around for nothing.
These last few sites were a bit disappointing, but I still finished by trip with a vast wealth of images, sounds and other material for my animation. So much, in fact, that it’s taken over a year for me to get it all sorted!
Arriving on Jeju
Attending a Shamanist Ceremony Honouring Seolmundae Halmang
Recording Character Voices for the Animation