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11. Epitaph of a Loyal Sapsaree

Near the Nak-dong riverside, there is a 300 year-old tombstone labeled "Ee-goo-chong" (Picture #20). After liberation and during the Liberal Party period, while new roads were being constructed, the tombstone was struck by a laborer's pickaxe and the last letter "chong" was lost, leaving behind only "Ee-goo." The damaged tombstone was collected by a native teacher Soo-gi Kim and placed it on a hill next to newly constructed roads. In 1993, it was said that the tombstone was decorated with expenditures received from the Sun-san County Office (Picture #21). Within the book Ee-yeol-do, which was written by Heung-chang Ahn in 1665, the detailed story regarding the tombstone's history is recorded together with four pictorial scrolls (Picture #22).

A scholar named Sung-won becomes drunk one day and, on his way back home, falls asleep in a riverside near the Wolpajeong Pavilion. The field becomes suddenly set on fire and a Sapsaree, who was following his master, Sung-won, and keeping guard, repeatedly wets himself by jumping into the river and putting the fire out. In the process, the dog saves Sung-won's life but, unfortunately, the dog dies from exhaustion.

The book, Ee-yeol-do, which includes a story about a rightful cow in Sun-san, a rural region, is a rare example of a book whose historical narration has been well conserved. It might have been due to the Confucianism society, which appraised loyalty, that stories like these about loyal dogs have been passed down, but it is no doubt that Sapsarees were representative symbols of justice and loyalty.

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