September 13, 2011

The Tree Frog's Fable -- A Korean Children's Story

I've finally finished reading/translating my first Korean children's story, and I have to say, I'm quite excited about it (though I have to admit I don't remember half the words I learned while doing it).

And reading this story reminded me of all those tales I loved hearing and reading while growing up.  They're simple, colorful and usually have some kind of lesson at the end.  Kind of like Les Fables de Jean de la Fontaine, or those Full House episodes (and no, not the kdrama one)...

So here's my translated version of the story, with below (for those of you who are curious) the Korean version.  Enjoy!

Word of the day:  gaegul (개굴):  ribbit.

The Tree Frog's Fable

     Once upon a time, lived in a Korea village a tree frog and his widowed mother.  The tree frog loved his mother, but he was a troublemaker.  He was a child who went West when his mother told him to go East, and did this when she told him to do that.
     Mother tree frog said, "Ribbit, ribbit.  Today's warm and sunny.  Go play with your friends in the stream. Ribbit, ribbit."
     So then the tree frog went to play alone in the mountain.
     The next day, mother tree frog said, "Don't go too far today.  I've heard a snake has come."
     However, the tree frog went to find his friends.  "Ribbit, ribbit.  Don't you want to go on an adventure?" he said.  "Let's go find a snake."
     This kind of behavior continued on and on.  The mother tree frog's heart was troubled.  Eventually, the mother caught a disease.  Even then, the tree frog didn't listen to his mother. 
     Mother asked, "What did you do to that plant tree?"
     That's right, he'd cut the tree.  The mother tree frog's health gor worse, and she knew it wouldn't get better.  Before she died, the mother asked a request from her son, "When I'm dead, bury me by the stream, don't bury me in the hill."
     Actually, the mother wanted to be buried in the hill but because she knew her son well, she told him the opposite of her wish.
     "Ribbit, ribbit.  Mom, please don't die.  Ribbit, ribbit."
     But it was already too late.
     The tree frog was sad.  "Ribit, ribbit.  Because of me, mom is dead," he thought.  "Because I never listened to her words, she got sick.  I will listen to mom's last wish."
     The tree frog did what he though was correct and buried his mother by the river.  Then he came to see his mother's grave every day.
     One summer day, heavy rain started to fall down.  The rain didn't stop and cotninued to fall for many days.  The rain grew the river all the way up to the mother tree frog's grave, until it was covered in water.  The tree frog got worried and with a sad sound cried, "Ribbit, ribbit.  My mother got washed away!  Ribbit, ribbit."
     That's why, when it rains, frogs cry by the rivers.  And that's also why when people in Korea do the opposite of what they're told, they're called Cheong Kaeguli, tree frog.

청개구리의 교훈

     옛날 옛날 한국의 어느 마을에 청개구리가 홀어머니와 살고 있었어요.  청개구리는 엄마가 시키면 뭐든지 반대로만 하는 말썽장이였여요.
     엄마 개구리가, "개굴 개굴.  오늘 날씨가 따뜻하고 화창하구나.  친구와 냇가 가서 놀으렴.  개굴 개굴." 하고 말했어요.  그러자 청개구리는 혼자서 산에 가서 놀았어요.
     그 다음 날 엄마 개구리가 "오늘은 멀리 가지 말아라.  뱀이 나올지도 모른단다."  하자 청개구리는 친구를 찾아가, "개굴 개굴.  얘들아, 모험하러 가지 않을래?  우리 밤 찾으러 가자." 핬여요.
     이런 일이 계속 되자 엄마 개구리는 속이 상했어요.  결국 엄마는 병이 들었어요.  그래도 청개구리는 엄마 말을 듣지 않았어요.  엄마가 나무를 심으라고 하자 청개구리가 무엇을 했을까요?  그라요.  나무를 베었어요.  엄마 개구리의 건강은 나빠져만 갔어요.  엄마는 병이 낫지 않을 것을 알았어요.
     엄마가 죽기 전에 아들을 불러 부탁했어요.  "내가 죽으면 냇가에 묻어다오.  언덕에 묻지 말고."  사실 엄마는 언덕에 묻히기를 바랬지만 아들을 잘 알기 때문에 소원을 반대로 말한 갓이었어요.  "개굴 개굴.  엄마, 돌아가시지 마세요.  개굴 개굴."  그러나 이미 늦었어요.
     청개구리가 슬퍼서 "개굴 개굴.  엄마가 나 때문에 들아가신 거야.  내가 너무 말을 안 들어서 병이 나셨어.  엄마의 마자막 소원은 들어드려야지."  하고 생각했어요.  청개구리는 엄마를 냇가에 묻고는 자기가 옳은 일을 했다고 상각했어요.  그리고는 매일 엄마 산소에 찾아왔어요.
     어느 여름날, 큰 비가 내리기 시작했어요.  비가 그치지 않고 며칠 계속 내렸어요.  이 비로 냇물이 불어 엄마 개구리의 무덤까지 차 올랐어요.  청개구리는 엄마 산소가 물에 잠길까 봐 걱정이 되어 슬픈 소리로 크게 울었어요.  "개굴 개굴.  우리 엄마 떠내려간다.  개굴 개굴."
     그래서 비가 오면 개구리들이 냇가에서 운답니다.  또 그래서 한국에서는 뭐든 반대로만 하는 사람을 청개구리라고 부른답니다.


  1. this is a very nice story for kids, it tells them to obey their mothers ...

  2. I do like this story quite a bit myself too. Reminds me of Aesop's fables which have the same flavor.