Official orders were issued to each of the eight governors to catch and bring to the city, at once, the robber Kil Tong. These orders were so well obeyed that upon a certain day soon after, a guard came from each province bringing Kil Tong, and there in a line stood eight men alike in every respect.
The King on inquiry found that Kil Tong was the son of Hong Pansa, and the father was ordered into the royal presence. He came with his legitimate son, and bowed his head in shame to the ground. When asked what he meant by having a son who would cause such general misery and distress, he swooned away, and would have died had not one of the Kil Tongs produced some medicine which cured him. The son, however, acted as spokesman, and informed the King that Kil Tong was but the sou of his father's slave, that he was utterly incorrigible, and had fled from home when a mere boy. When asked to decide as to which was his true son, the father stated that his son had a scar on the left thigh. Instantly each of the eight men pulled up the baggy trousers and displayed a soar. The guard was commanded to remove the men and kill all of them: but when they attempted to do so the life had disappeared, and the men were found to be only figures in straw and wax.
Soon after this a letter was seen posted on the Palace gate, announcing that if the govern-ment would confer upon Kil Tong the rank of Pansa, as held by his father, and thus remove from him the stigma attaching; to him as the son of a slave, he would stop his depredations. This proposition could not be entertained at first, but one of the counsel suggested that it might offer a solution of the vexed question, and they could yet be spared the disgrace of having an officer with such a record. For, as he proposed, men could be so stationed that when the newly-appointed officer came to make bis bow before His Majesty, they could fall upon him and kill him before he arose. This plan was greeted with applause, and a decree was issued conferring the desired rank; proclamations to that effect being posted in public places, so that the news would reach Kil Tong. It did reach him, and he soon appeared at the city gate. A great crowd attended him as he rode to the Palace gates; but knowing the plans laid for him, as he passed through the gates and came near enough to be seen of the King, he was caught up in a cloud and borne away amid strange music; wholly discomfiting his enemies.
Some time after this occurrence the King was walking with a few eunuchs and attendants in the royal gardens. It was evening time, but the full moon furnished ample light. The atmosphere was tempered just to suit; it was neither cold nor warm, while it lacked nothing of the bracing character of a Korean autumn. The leaves were blood-red on the maples; the heavy cloak of climbing vines that enshrouded the great wall near by was also beautifully colored. These effects could even be seen by the bright moonlight, and seated on a hill-side the royal party were enjoying the tranquillity of the scene, when all were astonished by the sound of a flute played by some one up above them. Looking up among the tree-tops a man was seen descending toward them, seated upon the back of a gracefully moving stork. The King imagined it must be some heavenly being, and ordered the chief eunuch to make some proper salutation. But before this could be done, a voice was heard saying: "Fear not, O King. I am simply Hong Pansa [Kil Tong's new title]. I have come to make my obeisance before your august presence and be confirmed in my rank."
This he did, and no one attempted to molest him; seeing which, the King, feeling that it was useless longer to attempt to destroy a man who could read the unspoken thoughts of men, said:
"Why do you persist in troubling the country ? I have removed from you now the stigma attached to your birth. What more will you have?"
"I wish," said Kil Tong, with due humility, "to go to a distant laud, and settle down to the pursuit of peace and happiness. If I may be granted three thousand bags of rice I will gladly go and trouble you no longer."
"But how will you transport such an enormous quantity of rice?" asked the King.
"That can be arranged," said Kil Tong. "If I may be but granted the order, I will remove the rice at daybreak."
The order was given. Kil Tong went away as he came, and in the early morning a fleet of junks appeared off the royal granaries, took on the rice, and made away before the people were well aware of their presence.
Kil Tong now sailed for an island off the west coast. He found one uninhabited, and with his few followers he stored his riches, and brought many articles of value from his former hiding-places. His people be taught to till the soil, and all went well on the little island till the master made a trip to a neighboring island, which was famous for its deadly mineral poison, - a thing much prized for tipping the arrows with. Kil Tong wanted to get some of this poison, and made a visit to the island. While passing through the settled districts he casually noticed that many copies of a proclamation were posted up, offering a large reward to any one who would succeed In restoring to ber father a young lady who had been stolen by a band of savage people who lived in the mountains.
Kil Tong journeyed on all day, and at night he found himself high up in the wild mountain regions, where the poison was abundant. Gazing about in making some preparations for passing the night in this place, he saw a light, and following it, he came to a house built below him on a ledge of rocks, and in an almost inaccessible position. He could see the interior of a large hall, where were gathered many hairy, shaggy-looking men, eating, drinking, and smoking. One old fellow, who seemed to be chief, was tormenting a young lady by trying to tear away her veil and expose her to the gaze of the barbarians assembled. Kil Tong could not stand this sight, and, taking a poisoned arrow, he sent it direct for the heart of the villain, but the distance was so great that he missed his mark sufficiently to only wound the arm. All one of them threw aside her veil and implored for mercy. Then it was that Kil Tong recognized the maiden whom he had rescued the previous evening. She was marvellously beau-tifol, and already he was deeply smitten with her maidenly charms. Her voice seemed like that of an angel of peace sent to quiet the hearts of rough men. As she modestly begged for her life, she told the story of her capture by the robbers, and how she had been dragged away to their den, and was only saved from insult by the interposition of some heavenly being, who had in pity smote the arm of her tormentor.
Great was Kil Tong's joy at being able to explain his own part in the matter, and the maiden heart, already won by the manly beauty of her rescuer, now overflowed with gratitude and love. Remembering herself, however, she quickly veiled her face, but the mischief had been done; each had seen the other, and they could henceforth know no peace, except in each other's presence.
The proclamations had made but little impression upon Kil Tong, and it was not till the lady had told her story that he remembered reading them. He at once took steps to remove the beautiful girl and her companion in distress, and not knowing but that other of the savages might return, he did not dare to make search for a chair and bearers, but mounting donkeys the little party set out for the home of the distressed parents, which they reached safely in due time. The father's delight knew no bounds. He was a subject of Korea's King, yet he possessed this island and ruled its people in his own right. And calling his subjects, he explained to them publicly the wonderful works of the stranger, to whom he betrothed his daughter, and to whom he gave his official position.
The people indulged in all manner of gay festivities in honor of the return of the lost daughter of their chief; in respect to the bravery of Kil Tong; and to celebrate his advent as their ruler.
In due season the marriage ceremonies were celebrated, and the impatient lovers were given to each other's embrace. Their lives were full of happiness and prosperity. Other outlying islands were united under Kil Tong's rule, and no desire or ambition remained ungratified. Yet there came a time when the husband grew sad, and tears swelled the heart of the young wife as she tried in vain to comfort him. He explained at last that he had a presentiment that his father was either dead or dying, and that it was his duty to go and mourn at the grave. With anguish at the thought of parting, the wife urged him to go. Taking a junk laden with handsome marble slabs for the grave and statuary to surround it, and followed by junks bearing three thousand bags of rice, he set out for the capital. Arriving, be cut off his hair, and repaired to his old Louie, where a servant admitted him on the supposition that he was a priest. He found his father was no more; but the body yet remained, because a suitable place could not be found for the burial. Thinking him to be a priest, Kil Tong was allowed to select the spot, and the burial took place with due ceremony. Then it was that the son revealed himself, and took his place with the mourners. The stone images and monuments were erected upon the nicely sodded grounds. Kil Tong sent the rice he had brought, to the government granaries in return for the King's loan to him, and regretted that mourning would prevent his paying his respects to his King; he set out for his home with his true mother and his father's legal wife. The latter did not survive long after the death of her husband, but the poor slave-mother of the bright boy was spared many years to enjoy the peace and quiet of her son's bright home, and to be ministered to by her dutiful, loving children and their numerous offspring.