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Li keaChi cken onaFol di ngScr een


Tr ans l at edbyEugeneLar s en-Hal l ock

Like a Chicken on a Folding Screen By Kye Yong-muk Translated by Eugene Larsen-Hallock

Literature Translation Institute of Korea


Originally published in Korean as Byeongpung-e Geurin Dalk-i in Yeoseong, 1939 Translation ⓒ 2014 by Eugene Larsen-Hallock

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and Literature Translation Institute of Korea. The original manuscripts to these translations were provided by Gongumadang of Korea Copyright Commission.

The National Library of Korea Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Kye, Yong-muk Like a chicken on a folding screen [electronic resource] / by Kye Yong-muk ; translated by Eugene Larsen-Hallock . -- [Seoul] : Literature Translation Institute of Korea , 2014 p. 원표제: 병풍에 그린 닭이 Translated from Korean ISBN 978-89-93360-62-2 05810 : Not for sale 813.61-KDC5 895.733-DDC21



About Kye Yong-muk

Kye Yong-muk (1904 - 1961), was born Ha Tae-yong on September 8, 1904, in Seoncheon, Pyeonganbuk-do, Korea. He attended Whimoon Normal School (present day Whimoon High School), and began his literary pursuits alongside the pioneers of modern Korean literature, including authors such as Yom Sang-seop, Nam gung-byeok, and Kim Dong-in. In 1928, he travelled to Japan to enroll in Toyo University. The real beginning of Kye’s career as a writer can be said to have begun with the publication of his short story “Mr. Choi” (Choi Seobang) in the literary magazine The Joseon Literary Sphere (Joseon Mundan). His reputation as a writer would then be firmly established with the publication of works such as “The Human Arachnid” (Indujiju), “Idiot Adada” (Baekchi Adada). “Idiot Adada” played an especially large role in bringing Kye to the attention of a mass audience and securing his position as a writer of short fiction, well known and remembered even to the present day. While most of his earlier works, including “Mr. Choi” and “The Human Arachnid,” evince a tendency toward the class-conscious realism of the 1920’s, his work after “Idiot Adada” largely embraced an aestheticism that stressed a humanistic focus on art as the creation of beauty. While Kye was not a prolific writer, he is highly regarded for the highly compressed aesthetic of restraint seen in the rich descriptions and taut structures of his stories. Following independence, Kye attempted to maintain neutrality even as the Korean literary world was riven by an increasingly fractious left-right divide, and published the literary journal Joseon with Jeong Bi-seok. He passed away in 1961, in the midst of the serialization of a novel for Modern Literature (Hyeondae Munhak). His stories in this collection include “Like a Chicken on a Folding Screen” (Byeongpung-e Geurin Dalk-i), “Idiot Adada,” and “Counting Stars.”

About “Like a Chicken on a Folding Screen” “Like a Chicken on a Folding Screen” was first published in 1936 in Yeoseong (Women), a women’s interest magazine with an explicitly didactic, modernizing focus. The story is an ironic look at the traditions and superstitions that governed family life in pre-war Korea, from the perspective of a “daughter-in-law.” It is typical for Korean women to not change their name after marriage. In the case of the story’s Park-sshi, however, her last names serves as a constant reminder that she can never genuinely be one with the family she has married into. “Like a Chicken” follows Park-sshi over the course of two days, charting the ways in which she attempts to confront the disintegration of her family life as a 3

result of her failing to provide her husband with a son and the arrival of her husband’s new mistress, Byeon-sshi.


Like a Chicken on a Folding Screen

She should have been able to finish weaving a roll of coarse hemp cloth within three days, but it was now the fourth day and she still wasn’t done. She knew that if she wasn’t finished by today, she’d be sure to get a scolding from her mother-in-law, whose tongue was as sharp as a buckwheat kernel. And if that happened, she’d feel it down to her very insides. But she couldn’t concentrate on her weaving, so there was no avoiding it. Park-sshi swallowed hard and thought to herself that it wouldn’t be good if this happened more than a couple times. She picked the shuttle back up and began rapidly moving it back and forth across the loom. But no matter how smoothly and quickly the thread unspooled through her hands, there was no resolving the tangle of anguish in her heart, and she soon set the spindle down distractedly, overcome by sorrow. When she thought of it, it seemed as though she would cry tears of blood. Even if she was guilty of not yet having given birth to a child, she never thought that her husband’s affection for her would fade as it had. Hadn’t she been devoted to him? Looking back, ten years had already passed. When she first came to her husband’s family, her husband couldn’t wipe his own nose, and was still dribbling snot and eating boogers. He also couldn’t properly tie the ends of his hanbok pants, and he went around in the mornings with his pant cuffs wrapped in the wrong direction. Mortified by the thought that someone might see, Park-sshi would wipe his nose and fix his pants out of the sight of her in-laws, as though he was her son. Their family never knew where their next meal was coming from, and they were so poor they starved more often than they ate. As young as she was, the responsibility for making ends meet fell to her, weeding fields and taking in weaving for others. For a few years, she sold fish from a large stoneware pot carried above her head, and she even sold yeot taffy from a basket. But she made sure they never had to borrow rice and even managed to right their family’s circumstances. And for those things no one could reproach her. All the abuse from her mother-in-law, and the loss of her husband’s love—it was all because she hadn’t been able to have a child. “It’s not for lack of wanting that I haven’t had a child. I’ve prayed to Seongju [the spiritual protector of the home in the Korean folk religion] several times—and I’ve never been lax about making offerings at the temple at the right times. If I still haven’t gotten pregnant after all that, what more am I supposed to do…?” Every time she thought about it, painful sobs tore at her breast. But there was no doubting that it was her fault. She would be responsible if the family line came to an end. Other people approaching forty would already have a son and a 5

daughter—maybe even three or four little ones in a house filled with joy and delight. Having to watch while her husband sat about sighing with worry was too much for her to bear. So one day she said to him, “I haven’t been able to give you a son. You should take a mistress.” “Well, I don’t want to do that if it will cause trouble here at home. Bringing a mistress into the house would just make things worse for you, wouldn’t it?” He was going to restrain himself for her sake—or at least that’s what he said until he found Byeon-sshi. Now he was head over heels for his new mistress. At first Park-sshi expected that he would come over to her room at night once every couple of days, but she hadn’t even seen his shadow since the spring. But what did it mean? No matter how bad the abuse from her mother-in-law got, she had always thought that as long as she had the love of her husband things would be fine. So she had served her mother-in-law as though she were her own mother, and her husband had stuck up for her in arguments. But now even her husband was taking his mother’s side. Who could she trust? Whatever else, she needed to give birth to a young son before the mistress did—then she would be able to smooth the prickliness of her mother-in-law’s tongue, take back all of her husband’s love, and bring peace to her family. She had been eager to go one more time to the gut ceremony being held by the Seondal1 to pray for a child, but it wasn’t as easy for her to go as she had hoped. When she brought up the topic of going to a gut to her mother-in-law the day before, she’d been severely rebuked. But tonight was the last night of the gut. As afraid as she was of getting a tongue lashing, there was no way she could let such a wonderful opportunity go to waste. Park-sshi set aside her shuttle, put down her loom, and went across to the other side of the house to try once more at winning her mother’s approval to go. “Mother! I really think I should go to the gut.” But her mother-in-law just kept spinning and didn’t even acknowledge that she had said anything. “Who knows? Maybe Seongju will bless me with a child this time,” Park-sshi ventured. “Hah! Seems to me like you might just be fooling around with other guys. You don’t do the weaving I’ve told you to do, and instead you just sit around staring off at the mountains. Who knows what you’ll get up to if you go out. Just look at you! Running off to spread your legs at the gut for all the men that’ll be there!” This was too much. It felt as though Park-sshi’s heart was tearing in half. How could her mother-in-law possibly say those sorts of things? She was so angry that she 1

Joseon period: a man who passed the civil service exam, but failed to receive an official position


wanted to stand up to her mother-in-law and release of some of the fury that was wound up inside of her, no matter what the consequences might be. But there was no way that she, as a daughter-in-law, could directly oppose her mother-in-law. “Mother! What are you talking about? Isn’t it important for me to have a child? Just give me one doe (1.6 kg) of rice to take to the gut tonight.” “Aigu, if you’re going to ruin our family, the least you could do is not make a scandal out of it. Imagine, everyone talking about the way you ruined our home with your fooling around! You’ve got ears. Even you must have heard the things that people all over the neighborhood are whispering about you.” “They can say whatever they want to, it only matters that I haven’t actually done anything wrong. I’m going to go to the gut.” “Oh, are you now? Well, if you’ve already decided to go anyhow, what are you running your mouth off at me for? That mouth of yours! I know the gut is just an excuse— so tell me what you’re really planning. I can see straight through you, you bitch. You just try going off to the Seondal’s gut tonight. See if I let you set foot back inside the door of my house. You’re worthless! Worthless! Why did I have to end up with a good-for-nothing daughter-in-law like you…?” Park-sshi didn’t want to talk anymore. If her husband heard this, would he possibly believe that she was cuckolding him and kick her out of the house? No. No matter how much his love might have shifted to the mistress, it was impossible to imagine that, after having lived together for ten years, he would fail to see that her heart was true. Just imagine her husband believing those unspeakable fabrications she was being attacked with! Park-sshi would almost feel better if her husband actually did hear a bit of what his mother was saying. She believed that there was no way her husband could help but comfort her when he saw her heartbreak at the baseless accusations being laid upon her. No matter how callous her husband might be, if he was any better than an animal he’d caress her—emotionally, at least, if nothing else. She longed for her husband terribly. When her husband got back from the market, she wanted to tell him about all the things his mother had said and release some of the rage she felt inside. If her husband knew what was in her heart, it wouldn’t be possible for him to deny her some rice for an offering… Park-sshi thought this to herself and then, pushing down the rage that was overflowing from her breast, went back to her loom. Try as hard as she might to restrain her tears, sobs tore at her breast. It seemed as though she might feel better if she just cried without holding anything back. It would have been difficult to restrain her tears, and she didn’t even try. She just let the tears fall, and before she knew it the tail of the sun’s shadow had stretched like the Milky Way across her loom. 7

The long shadow of the sun laying across her loom was a sign that she needed to begin preparing dinner. Wiping her tears, Park-sshi gathered her skirt and stood up. Even after they’d finished dinner, her husband had not returned home. Hoping he might come soon, Park-sshi stepped outside to watch for him—and heard the far-off sound of the Seondal’s gut! Doong doong-doong doong-doong-doong! Doong doong-doong doong-doong-doong. It was the excited pounding of a janggu drum. Hearing the sound of the drum, Park-sshi grew even more restless. If she could just go to the gut, it seemed like the spirits would be certain to give her an overflowing armful of good fortune. Park-sshi went in and out of the house, waiting for her husband and thinking to herself that her husband, trying to assuage his disappointment at not having a son, must have gone drinking again. Park-sshi felt sorry for him. It was getting darker, and she couldn’t stand to think that the gut might end while she waited for him. How could she ever escape her mother-in-law’s wrath if she didn’t give birth to a child? It would be easy for her to sneak off to the gut without her mother-in-law seeing, but her mother-in-law had the storeroom key on the tie-string of her dress, and Park-sshi didn’t know where else she might get an offering of rice to pray for good fortune at the gut. But there was no way she could just let the night pass. At wit’s end, she pulled from beneath the dresser a silver sewing box that she had placed there for safe keeping. When she had gotten married, her mother could not afford to give her a norigae pendant to tie on the front of her dress. Instead, saying it was the least she could do, Park-sshi’s mother had given her this silver sewing box, even though it cost six mal2 of corn to have made. This box was Park-sshi’s one treasure amongst all her possessions, and now she planned to sell it to buy the offering of rice that she would use to pray for a child. Without any hesitation, Park-sshi took her sewing box to the old match-maker at the tavern near the village entrance and sold it to her for all of two won, which she then used to buy one dwoe of rice and two sheets of white paper before rushing off to the Seondal’s gut. The gut was bustling with people. Men, women, young children, older children, the old, the young: it seemed as though nearly everyone in the village had come, packing themselves so tightly around a small clearing it seemed as though the crowd might explode. Park-sshi looked at the clearing, and saw that tables had been set to both sides, heaped with


nearly 100 kg


offerings of rice cake and meat. Between them a mudang3 in a dark navy sleeveless coat and pointed white cap danced merrily to the beating of drums. When Park-sshi told the Seondal’s wife the reason she had come, she was given two brass bowls that she filled to the brim with rice before placing them on the offering table with a sheet of paper beneath each bowl. Park-sshi wasn’t the only person who had come to pray for good fortune. There was a young wife that had come to learn the fortune of her ailing husband, an old woman who had come to make an offering for the health and wellbeing of her children and grandchildren, and a young man who had come to ask for help finding a missing cow—whether it was for this thing or that thing, an uncountable number of people had come to convey their wishes. After dancing for a while, the mudang began calling up all the people who had come to ask for a blessing. Park-sshi was the eighth. “Hey, listen up!” The head mudang called out to her players, who had been beating animatedly on their drums. “Hey!” they cried out in response. “Players, listen close! Kim Manbok from Gimhae has no son to carry on his line. His wife has come now after three days of ablutions with an offering of rice to ask Lord Seongju for a child. We must summon Lord Seongju so that he may provide her with a handsome son, as precious as jade and gold, this very night. Now, play! Play! Play! Eyhey!” The head mudang spread her arms and resumed her rhythmical dance, as the players drummed along, dancing in their seats. Doong-doong doong-doong doong-doong-doong! Doong-doong doong-doong doong-doong-doong! The head mudang danced briefly and then called Park-sshi up. The mudang gave Park-sshi the sleeveless coat and pointed white cap and helped her put them on. Park-sshi was embarrassed to be in front of so many people, but she was in no position to worry about that. She needed to try her best to follow the mudang’s instructions. Her one concern, however, was that she had never danced before and had no idea how she was supposed to hold her arms or move her legs. Her face momentarily reddened at the thought of everyone laughing at her ungainly dancing. But this dance was a prayer for a child, and before she knew it she had lost herself in it completely. “Oh, Lord Seongju! Are you here with us? Kim Manbok of Gimhae asks for a child. I implore you, give him a son. Please, give him a son. Hey, you lot! Players! Now—bang your drums! Play, hey, hey!” 3

a woman shaman in the Korean folk religion


“Ok!” Following the head mudang’s command, the players began drumming. “Koong!” Park-sshi raised one arm. “Koong! Koong! Koong-dak-koong!” Park-sshi raised and lowered her arms in time to the beat of the drums. Lifting her arm had been the most difficult part, and everything after that was nothing at all. Her arms rose and fell, and she danced very gracefully. After Park-sshi had danced for a while, the head mudang called out to the players to stop the music. The mudang grasped Park-sshi and took back the sleeveless coat and pointed hat, then she reached into a brass bowl, taking a handful of rice that she then threw into the air. She began picking the rice grains back up in pairs, throwing out the ones that didn’t match and handing Park-sshi the ones that did. When Park-sshi received the grains of rice she—reverentially—chewed them up and swallowed them. They were her blessing. The mudang repeated this process until the number of matched rice grains was equal to Park-sshi’s age. The mudang chanted, “O-huh-ni-ya… O-huh-ni-ya!” Then she began dancing rhythmically, saying, “Lord Seongju has blessed Kim Manbok from Gimhae with all the fortune of heaven and great happiness. There were a whole 35 or 36 matching grains. Before long you will have a handsome son, as precious as jade and gold. Do not ignore the Lord Seongju when he comes to you. Hey, Park-sshiii!” The mudang picked up some rice cake that had been sitting on the offering table, and, telling Park-sshi to make a basket with the front of her skirt, put the rice cake inside. “This rice cake is a son, as precious as gold.” Then the mudang placed another rice cake in Park-sshi’s skirt, “This one is another son, as precious as jade.” Then the mudang tossed in three more, one after the other. “Here are five sons, as precious as gold and jade. Take this blessing, and pass it on to Lord Seongju in the form of an offering. Aa-ha!” Lest the rice cakes fall, Park-sshi carefully bundled them in her skirt as she went out the gate and returned home. Just as the mudang had instructed, she dutifully placed the rice cakes she had received into a woven straw pouch that she laid beneath the chestnut tree in the backyard. She then bowed, grasping her hands in front of her, as she said, “Lord Seongju! Please find a way to give me a son.” Then she bowed once more, saying, “And please soften Mother-in-law’s heart.” 10

And after bowing once more, said, “Please also make my husband come across to my room.” Then she bowed one last time before carefully backing into the house. Light shone ruddily within the window of Byeon-sshi’s room, making it glow like the sheath of a ripe gooseberry. Wondering if her husband had returned from the market, Park-sshi tiptoed over and listened at the door into Byeon-sshi’s room. It was as silent as if no one was there, but her husband’s rubber shoes sat in front of the door, with Byeon-sshi’s shoes lying neatly alongside. He had already come back. He wouldn’t be asleep yet, so why was it so quiet? The window was slightly ajar, and peeking in she saw that her husband was sprawled out drunk on the warmest part of the floor while Byeon-sshi was plumped in front of the lantern darning the heel of one of his socks. Seeing this made Park-sshi long for her husband even more. Even if it seemed unlikely, Park-sshi wanted to ask him if he wouldn’t like to come across to her room to sleep. She wanted him to know she was home. “When did you get back? I was waiting for you until it got dark,” Park-sshi said flinging the door open. But her husband was dead to the world. Byeon-sshi gave her a single pointed glance and said, “Huh! And just where were you off to by yourself this late at night?” With that barbed comment, Byeon-sshi looked back to her darning. Park-sshi’s longing for her husband made her want to sit beside him for a moment before leaving his room, but the sight of Byeon-sshi was like a thorn in her eye. “He was drinking again?” Park-sshi looked at her husband’s face one more time and then crossed back over to her own room. She lit the lamp and sat down, with a fresh feeling of even greater misery. She felt too dejected to even spread out her bedding. Sitting anxiously, her attention was focused on Byeon-sshi’s room, waiting for any indication that her husband might have woken up. But no matter how long she waited, she couldn’t hear any sound that would suggest her husband had awoken. She considered going across to look one more time, but when she opened her door the light was already out in Byeon-sshi’s room. And they shouldn’t go into each other’s rooms when the light was out. Standing there with the door still in her hand, staring across at Byeon-sshi’s room, Park-sshi was as miserable as could be. It hurt so much she wanted to cry. But there was nothing she could do. Despite herself, she let out a heavy, sorrow-filled sigh and weakly shut her door.


Dawn was beginning to break by the time Park-sshi closed her eyes. She awoke to the chirping of sparrows. When the sparrows began emerging from their roost beneath the eave, it meant it was time for Park-sshi to begin getting ready to cook breakfast, and she woke up out of habit. Park-sshi rubbed open her sleep-creased eyes. She fetched the wicker ash scoop from the backyard and then headed down to the kitchen. But as soon as she stepped into the kitchen she discovered a surprise that stopped her in her tracks. Her mother-in-law had already come down and was sitting in the kitchen washing rice—something she’d never done before. This was very strange. Park-sshi looked at her, stunned, for a moment before saying, “Mother! What are you doing down here so early?” Park-sshi put one foot across the kitchen threshold. Mother-in-law just continued washing the rice and didn’t reply. “Aigu, Mother! The mornings are getting cold lately, why are you out here?” Park-sshi started to take the wooden mixing bowl from her mother-in-law to wash the rice herself. “You sleep the day away and now look at the fuss you’re making, you slut! After whiling the night away who knows where… Any rice made by a dirty whore like you is too dirty to eat. Give me that bowl now! Just where were you last night?” Park-sshi stood where she was, without setting the bowl down or handing it over. “You! I just told you how dirty you are, and you stand there taking it? Why don’t you leave? Why are you still here?” Then she called for her son, “Hey, Manbok! Where are you?” Turning back to Park-sshi, she continued, “What, are we supposed to keep putting up with you? Just look at you—staying out until the middle of the night!” When Park-sshi’s mother-in-law yelled for her son to come out, the door of Byeonsshi’s room slammed open in response. Park-sshi, still holding on to the bowl, collapsed to the ground with a thump. Her husband soon came running and, without any warning, began kicking her in the side. “You slut! You’re worse than a dog, you whore! Where were you last night? I tell you to give me a son, but instead of doing that you’re out sleeping around? Slut! What can you say about a woman who goes off and sells her sewing case without her man knowing? If that’s not something a whore would do, then what is? Did you think I wouldn’t find out? I heard all about it at the tavern. And to think that I brought you here as my wife! It disgusts me.” Park-sshi was speechless. Even if her husband’s heart had been stolen from her by Byeon-sshi, she had trusted him completely and had no idea she’d ever hear something like that come out of his mouth. No matter how much her mother-in-law tried to rile him up, 12

there was no possible way he would treat her like this unless he hated her. She was so furious that she wanted to stand up to him, even if it resulted in her dying right then and there. But he was still her husband, and it wouldn’t be right. “Dear! What are you doing? I had no idea that you knew me so little! The gut was ending last night, and you hadn’t come back from the market yet, so I just went there and then came right back here to sleep. What’s all this fuss about?” Park-sshi stood up, dusting off her dress as though nothing had happened. She snuggled up beneath her husband’s chin, almost begging him to see how innocent she was. “You can repeat yourself a hundred times, but I won’t believe a word that comes out of the mouth of a whore like you,” he said, roughly grabbing her by the hair. He began shaking her and pulling her about. “You slut! Just try setting foot in my house again. You can go drop dead someplace or shack up with some guy for all I care, but don’t come here again.” He pulled hard at her hair, twisting. Park-sshi struggled to stay upright, but she tripped over the garden fence and fell flat on her face. Park-sshi didn’t want to get back up. She wanted to just die right there. What was the point of living if ever her husband made those sort of filthy accusations against her? It would be easier to die. But you can’t just die when you want to. And if she couldn’t die, she didn’t want the embarrassment of someone else seeing her like that. Park-sshi stood up. But the house door was locked. She had nowhere to go. She felt a rush of sorrow, like sand swept up by a surge of water. If her parents were still alive, she could do what other women do and go back to them. But it had been a long time since her parents had passed away, her father first and then her mother soon after. But no matter what, anywhere would be better than sticking around someplace where she’d just be abused. She thought to herself, “If I die, I die. And if I live, I live. Even if I’m only a woman, I can make it on my own. And if I can’t make it, I can just get married again. Don’t some other women get married two or even three times? Aigu, no matter what house I end up in, nothing could be as bad as the mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and mistress I have to deal with here.” With that thought, Park-sshi walked around the village to the new main road and set off. But it felt as though regret for what she was leaving behind was dragging at her feet and preventing her from moving forward. She took one step, and another. Then she looked back at the village. When she spotted her own house, she started crying. She didn’t even know what direction she was going. She would walk a bit, lower herself weakly to a seat on the mountain slope by the side of the road, then get up again and continue walking. Walk awhile and then rest; before she had repeated this process more than a few times, the sun began to set. She went to the home of an old woman she had sold yeot with before she was married. The old woman fed her dinner, and Park-sshi decided to rest there for the night. 13

After eating and laying down to rest, she began to quietly think about everything that had happened. In reflection, it seemed as though, in leaving like she had, everything she had done was wrong. She didn’t have anywhere to go, but if she got established someplace she could learn to like it and live there. That said, though, no matter how bad her mother-in-law was and no matter how poorly her husband understood her, she was a member of their home. No matter what trials might lash her, it was her duty to withstand those tribulations and set her family upright. That was the obligation she had assumed. “They can curse me. Or beat me. I’ll take it all. Whether it’s with vile words or the whip, I just need to bear it. Why in the world did I walk out the gate of that house and come to this old woman’s home to sleep?” She deeply regretted not having had the fortitude to stay. Like a chicken on a folding screen, even if she was so mad she wanted to squawk and peck at her perch, she couldn’t leave her home. If she died, she would die in that house. And if she lived, it was her duty to live there. Park-sshi started back the way she came. The day was already beginning to grow dark, and she was worried about having to walk nearly twenty li4 at night, but even if she was so unlucky as to die along the way, she couldn’t turn back. She fumbled about, as though she were swimming through the darkness, and by the time she arrived in front of the village it must have been nearly midnight. A peaceful silence lay over the town, interrupted only by the occasional barking of a dog echoing off the mountains. Park-sshi was surprised to see that there was still light coming from inside the tavern. Hurrying over, she used what she had left over from selling her sewing box to purchase two candles and five sheets of white paper. The first place she went next was the village shrine on the hill behind the town. She was going to confess to the spirit that guarded their village everything she had done wrong. Lighting both candles, she placed them neatly side-by-side in front of the tree in which the spirit resided. She then bowed deferentially, grasping her hands in front of her. Standing, she repeated everything that had happened during the day, tears streaming from her eyes. She prayed that her mother-in-law’s heart would be softened, and that her husband would be made to understand her. Then she prayed ardently that, however it might come about, her house be given a son so that her husband’s worry could be eased as soon as possible and the continuance of the family line assured. She then bowed once more and burned the five sheets of paper in offering, one after another.


about 8 km


She then turned towards home. Looking down on the village, she saw that light was glowing warmly in the rooms of her husband and her mother-in-law. Only her room was shrouded in darkness, almost as if it was waiting for its owner to return and brighten it. Park-sshi hastened her steps and headed for the light. From below the hill, the barking of a dog could be heard.


Like a chicken on a folding screen  

Kye Yong-muk (1904 - 1961), was born Ha Tae-yong on September 8, 1904, in Seoncheon, Pyeonganbuk-do, Korea. He attended Whimoon Normal Schoo...

Like a chicken on a folding screen  

Kye Yong-muk (1904 - 1961), was born Ha Tae-yong on September 8, 1904, in Seoncheon, Pyeonganbuk-do, Korea. He attended Whimoon Normal Schoo...