National Geographic : 1919 Jul
EXPLORING UNKNOWN CORNERS OF THE "HERMIT KINGDOM" nothing and saw no birds. A few old deer tracks still showed near the stream, but the animals had not been there for months. WE FIND LAKES FORMED BY AN ERUPTION OF A SACRED MOUNTAIN When we broke camp and I told the Koreans that we were to go to the Sam cheyong, there was an open mutiny, but with considerable difficulty they were per suaded to go on. I spent two sleepless nights about the camp-fire with the rifle on my arm to prevent the horses being stolen, but the third day we marched into a vast burned track thousands of acres in extent. A tremendous fire had devastated the forest Io or 12 years before and left in its wake a cheerless waste of blackened tree skeletons and charred stumps. All day we tramped through this area of desolation, and at night camped on the shores of a beautiful lake 3,700 feet above the level of the sea. We found that there really were three lakes and a long connecting pond between two of them. They seemed to have been formed by some violent eruption of the Paik-tu-san many years ago, for the basins and shores were of volcanic ash, and my gun-bearer said that if we dug down about 12 feet charcoal would be found. All were cir cular, the largest about three miles in cir cumference, and beyond them rose the beautiful white slopes of the Paik-tu-san, the sacred mountain of the Manchus. By building a log raft to enable us to take soundings, we found the largest lake to be about 8 or io feet deep, but during the season of rain or melting snow the water would undoubtedly rise greatly. In the center of the lake was a beautiful little island, heavily wooded, with a long sand-spit projecting toward the shore. I was greatly disappointed upon re turning to Seoul to find that the lakes were known to the Japanese. A military map showed them under the Korean name of Samcheyong, and they were probably located either from some ancient Chinese map or from the statements of Koreans. So far as I have been able to learn, none of the foreigners in Seoul or other parts of the country knew of their existence. KOREA'S SWEET SIXTEEN The lot of the average woman of the Hermit Kingdom is not an enviable one, as she is kept in semi-slavery by her master. Plural mar riages are not recognized by the Koreans, but concubinage has a definite status in their social life, as it has had throughout the Far East for many centuries.