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"Sister Star" by Oh Young-soo

#Books on Demand l 2019-10-08

Books on Demand

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His father woke him up in the middle of the night by grabbing his wrist. He was then led away by his father. That was the night the boy left his hometown with his parents. 



When his mother and father returned home, drenched in sweat, and finished dinner, the boy would roll up a straw mat and climb up the hill behind the shack.


He laid down on the mat, looking straight up at the sky, and let the stars fall on him. 


The stars were the same as the ones he had seen in his hometown. 


In a town where everything was unfamiliar and different, a town where even the sun and the moon seemed to rise and set in a different fashion, only the stars were the same as the stars he had seen in his home village.


When he saw those stars, he longed for his home and his sister. He couldn’t separate his hometown and his sister. He named one particularly shiny star “Sister Star” and ached for his hometown as he saw Sister Star from the hilltop every night.


아버지, 어머니가 함빡 땀에 젖어 돌아오고 저녁도 치르면,

소년은 버릇처럼 거적을 말아들고 집 뒤 언덕빼기로 올라간다.


거적을 깔고 반듯이 누우면 별이 한눈에 쏟아져 내린다.

고향에서 보던 꼭 같은 별. 

모든 것이 낯설고 다른 고장, 해 뜨고 달 지는 방향마저 다른 고장에

오직 별만이 고향에서 보던 별과 꼭 같은 별이었다.


별을 바라보면 고향이 그립고, 누야가 보고 싶다.

고향과 누야를 뗄 수 없는 소년이었다.

소년은 유난히 광채를 내는 별 하나를 누야 별로 정해두고,

밤마다 이렇게 언덕빼기에 누워 누야 별을 바라보고 고향을 그린다.



Interview by SNU Korean Literature Professor Bang Min-ho

The boy’s grandmother told his parents to take only the boy, not the girl. So they fled south while the old woman and the girl stayed behind in the north. “Sister Star” may sound like a children’s story, but it was inspired by a tragic reality. Oh Young-soo wrote about the issue from a child’s perspective and as a psychological trauma. 



The boy counts the stars every night. 

He dreams of his hometown as he looks up at Sister Star. 

He left everything in his hometown. He misses his sister and his home village. 

Stars at last settle in the eyes of the boy who looks at Sister Star and longs for his hometown.


소년은 밤마다 별을 헨다.

누야 별을 바라보고 고향을 그린다.

소년은 고향에 모든 것을 두고 왔다.

누야가 보고 싶다.

고향이 그립다.

누야 별을 바라보고 고향을 그리는

소년의 눈시울에 끝내는 별이 잠긴다.




Oh Young-soo (Born in Ulju, Gyeongsangnam-do Prov., Feb. 11, 1909~1979)

: Debuted by publishing “Nami and the Taffyman” in journal Shincheonji in 1949

Awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in 1978, etc.

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