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12. Sapsarees in Modern Resources

Dogs are wolves' closest relative. Dogs' wolf-like instincts and their faithful loyalty to its master has been so highly appraised that dogs became the first domestic animal during the dawn of civilization. Dogs were known to protect people from darkness and warn of any outside approaches as they loyally stayed near their master. Perhaps that is why dogs have become a symbol for driving evil spirits away. In any case, dogs are man's most trustworthy mates who will never betray their master. President Seung-man Lee, in a Chinese poem titled "Blue Sapsaree," appraised the Sapsaree as being more faithful than his own subjects. The appraisal was probably a result of lamentation over the unfortunate fact that there were no trustworthy subjects under him.

It discriminates people's faces well
It joyfully greets a familiar face
it is surprised to see a deer descending but barks when a crane starts flying away
It is devoted only to its master and a rational minister cannot match to its devotion
As a guest passes by outside covered with snow, a Sapsaree, under the moon, barks and resonates the mountains


Cheon-myung Noh was the poet who frequently mentioned Sapsarees in the poems most of us know today.

I desire to enter a small mountain valley
and to be a nameless woman
Putting the pumpkin vines on top of a straw roof


Placing cucumbers and pumpkins on the field and weaving the fence with wild roses
Bringing all the skies I want into the yard
Hugging night stars
Sapsaree barks at the moon
and I am happier than a queen

When the donkey's bells are heard, Sapsaree is its master's first greeter


The Sapsarees that appear in her poem that speak of the long-ago sentiment were our courteous "black dog" and "yellow dog" that joyfully greeted with wagging tail.

Poet Ji-yong Jung also wrote a poem titled "Sapsaree" in which the poet indirectly shows his love for "thee" as he describes the utmost devotions and feelings the Sapsaree has for its beloved master.

Since Sapsarees mix well with our ancestors' sentiment, it seems that the Sapsarees often appear frequently in nostalgic folk-songs containing the vague memories of our traditional countryside villages.
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