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"Granny Mago that Came to My House" by Yoo Eun-sil

#Books on Demand l 2019-05-14

Books on Demand

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This story begins when a special housekeeper shows up at the nine-year-old Yuni’s house one day. 

An old housekeeper arrived. She was taller than my dad and had big feet. She came to our house carrying a big bag. 

도우미 할머니가 오셨다.

아빠보다 키가 크고 발도 커다란 할머니가

큰 가방을 들고 우리집에 나타났다.

Interview by children’s literature critic Kim Yu-jin

In Korean mythology, Granny Mago is a giant goddess who created the mountains and seas. The earth she carried in the folds of her skirt became the land or islands and her urine became the rivers. This great goddess created the world.


Yuni tries to find the secret, believing that the housekeeper was actually Granny Mago. Granny was an amazingly quick worker, as if on fast-forward at triple the speed, and capable of multitasking. 

‘Maybe she is a fairy godmother who turned a pumpkin into a carriage,’ thought Yuni.

“Wake up!” 

Dad, Mom, and I were startled up by Granny’s deafening wakeup call. Then we saw the dining table and all three of us became speechless. On the table were eleven banchans or side dishes, all freshly made. 

“Granny, did you stay up all night?”

“No, I got up around six.” 

It was exactly 7:20. 

“You made all this food in just an hour and 20 minutes?” 

“Stop asking questions and just eat!” 

Mom and Dad quickly sat at the table.

“Wait, I forgot to bring out the grilled fish.” 

She quickly set the twelfth dish on the table.

“This is insanely good.” 

“This is wonderful. I don’t think she’s human.” 

Even when Mom and Dad were praising her cooking, Granny kept on eating as if she didn’t hear a word. That was when I noticed that her rice bowl was a little strange.

“You, the girl. You’ve never seen a person eat? Why are you staring at me like that?” 

Her golden rice bowl was about double the size of my Dad’s and it was filled to the brim with rice.

I was amazed by the speed of her cooking and how good the food tasted and even more by the size of her rice bowl. I grew more frightened of her and more curious about her at the same time.  


할머니의 우렁찬 ‘기상’소리에 벌떡 일어난 엄마, 아빠 그리고 나는 식탁 위를 보고

잠깐 아무 말도 하지 못했다.

식탁 위에는 자그마치 열한 가지 반찬이 올라가 있었다. 그것도 모두 새로 만든 것으로.

“한 시간 이십분 동안 이 많은 음식을 하셨단 말이에요?” 

“잔소리 말고 얼른 먹어!” 

“이건 사람의 솜씨가 아니야”

그런데 할머니 밥그릇이 좀 이상했다.

“너, 애기 너. 밥 먹는 거 처음 봐? 왜 그렇게 빤히 들여다보는거야“

금빛 밥그릇은 아빠 밥그릇보다 두 배쯤 컸다.

나는 할머니의 요리속도에 놀라고, 맛에 놀라고, 커다란 밥그릇에 놀랐다.

나는 할머니가 점점 더 이상하고, 무섭고, 궁금해졌다.

Granny Mago that Came to My House

Yoo Eun-sil (Born in Seoul, 1974)

Debuted with “My Name is Baek-seok” in 2004

Won the 28th Korea Children’s Book Award in 2007 with “The Bunting Boy”

Included in the 2010 IBBY Honor List with “Lee Yu-jeong the Perfect” 

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