Back before there were people, there was the Heavenly King and his son, the Heavenly Prince. Now, the Heavenly Prince wanted to go down to Earth and govern the peninsula of Korea. The Heavenly King agreed and sent his son down with three Heavenly seals and 3000 followers. The Heavenly Prince landed under a sandalwood tree and set up a city there with three ministers to carry out his orders – Wind, Rain, and Cloud. The ministers were in charge of officials who controlled things like life and death, sickness and health, and good and evil.
Nearby this sandalwood tree there lived two animals, Bear and Tiger, and they wanted very much to become human so every day they went to the sacred tree and prayed as hard as they could. The Heavenly Prince heard their prayers and said he would make them human if they completed a certain task.
Bear and Tiger lived together in a cave and their task was that they would stay in their cave for 100 days without once seeing the light of day. There would be enough garlic and mugwort stashed in the cave for them to survive for that time frame. If they ate anything else or if they left the cave, they would remain animals.
After a short time of this strenuous diet Tiger’s hunger, sense of smell, and boredom caused it to give up and leave the cave. But Bear continued on because becoming human truly was her heart’s desire. For her perseverance the Heavenly Prince turned her into a beautiful woman after only 21 days instead of waiting the required 100 days. And thus the first human female was created from a bear.
Bear was overjoyed to be a woman but then she couldn’t find a man to be with her so she grew sad and prayed at the sandalwood tree again, this time to ask for a child. The Heavenly Prince again heard her prayers and came to her himself. She became his queen and the two of them had a son, Dan-gun, who later reigned as the first human King of Korea.