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“Flying Men” by Rho Yang-geun

#Books on Demand l 2022-05-03

Books on Demand

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Having fallen into the cold stream and hurting his ankle on the rocks, Myeong-gu became too sick to go to school for a few days. Fortunately, Geum-sun didn’t get hurt because she fell on top of the boy, but still Geum-sun’s mother felt bad for Myeong-gu and brought over some medicine. Geum-sun and Mun-ki came to see him every day and Myeong-gu was very grateful for their company. 



정말로 놀라운 일이 생겼습니다.

아까부터 명구가 가지고 놀던 인형 둘이서 서로 번갈아가며

방안을 빙빙 떠다니고 있지 않겠습니까?

Something amazing was happening. Myeong-gu’s two dolls were flying about in the room.


“거참, 신통하구나” 

“Wow, that’s wonderful.”


그것은 고무풍선에 바람을 잔뜩 불어 넣어서 불룩하게 한 다음,

인형의 어깨 밑에 붙잡아 맨 것이었습니다.

Full-blown balloons were attached to the shoulders of each doll. 


“이까짓 걸 가지고 그래요?

 이제 진짜 사람들이 날아다닐 수 있어야 

 우리들도 그 외나무다리가 아니고도 학교에 마음대로 날아다니고, 

 장마가 져도 괜찮죠”

“This is nothing. It should be able to carry real people. Only then can we fly over to school even in the rainy season instead of crossing that bridge.” 


“산 사람이 무슨 재주로 날아다닌단 말이냐?”

“How can people fly in the air?” 


“그것도 잘 생각하면 할 수 있어요.  그까짓 비행기 다 필요 없어요.

이제 이것 가지고 잘 생각하면 우리도 그냥 마음대로 훨훨

어디든지 새처럼 날아다닐 수 있을 거예요.

그럼 그까짓 말 자동차는 아무것도 아니지요” 

“I can figure that out if I try harder. We don’t need a plane. If I think of a way to fly with these balloons, we can fly anywhere like a bird. A horse car cannot even come close.”



# Interview with SNU Korean literature professor Bang Min-ho

Lots of things we use today were imagined in the past, like the airplane, which was envisioned by Leonardo da Vinci. And then there is something called a wingsuit, a personal gear that can make a person fly like a rocket. People can now fly in the air like a bird not by riding in an airplane or an air balloon but by wearing a wingsuit. Given that many things that Rho Yang-geun had imagined in this story have actually been produced now, it is amazing how powerful imagination in stories can be. 



저 날아다니는 사람 봐라, 날아다니는 사람,

학생들은 손뼉을 치면서 소리소리 질렀습니다.

“Look at those flying men. They are flying!” 

Students clapped their hands and shouted in joy. 


그러고는 인형이 날아가는 데로 우우 몰려가고 몰려오며 미친 것처럼 덤볐습니다.

학생들은 그것이 어디서 날아온 것인가 서로 궁금해 못 견디었습니다.

They followed wherever the dolls went and tried to catch them in their hands. The children wondered where they had come from.


그 때 누군가,

야, 저거 아까 대장장이가 띄우더라, 하고 

소리를 지르면서 뛰어왔습니다.

Then somebody ran toward them shouting, “I saw the blacksmith making them fly.”


뭐, 대장장이?

물에 빠져 앓고 있던 대장장이가 어느 틈에 날아다니는 사람을 발명했니, 하고

명구를 찾느라고 이러저리 둘러보았습니다.

“What? The blacksmith? When did he have time to invent the flying men? Hasn’t he been sick after falling in the water?”

Children looked around to find Myeong-gu. 


한 편 구석에서 그 모습을 가만히 바라보는 명구의 눈에는 

어느 덧 감격의 눈물이 맺혀 있었습니다.

명구는 눈물이 글썽글썽한 눈으로 다시 한 번 결심했습니다.

Watching the students while hidden in one corner of the yard, the deeply moved Myeong-gu suddenly started to tear up and made up his mind once again.


‘그렇지만 사람은 먹어야 사니까

이제 누구든지 마음대로 먹을 수 있는 쌀도 만들어야지’ 

‘People need food to live on. I should make rice that anybody can have freely.’




Rho Yang-geun (Born in Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do Prov., 1900~?)

Debuted with “A Snowy Day” in 1934

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