“Sir, I’ll be off now.”
Now that I have come of age, I asked my father-in-law for a wedding. But I got the same usual answer.
“Hey, it’s too soon to think about a wedding. Must grow up first!”
The one who had to grow up first wasn’t me, but my future wife, Jeom-sun.
My employer just said he would give me her hand once she grew up. It wasn’t like someone was constantly checking to see how much she has grown up.
“장인님! 인젠 저....”
내가 이렇게 뒤통수를 긁고,
나이가 찼으니 성례를 시켜줘야 하지 않겠느냐고 하면 대답이 늘 이렇다.
“이 자식아! 성례구 뭐고 미처 자라야지!
이 자라야 한다는 것은 내가 아니라
장차 내 아내가 될 점순이의 키 말이다.
덮어놓고 딸이 자라는대로 성례를 시켜주마, 했으니
누가 늘 지키고 섰는 것도 아니고
그 키가 언제 자라는지 알 수 있는가~
Kim Yu-jeong’s “Spring, Spring,” published in 1935, is an amusing short story about a conflict between a simple, innocent young man and his cantankerous employer and future father-in-law over a wedding. This is considered the most humorous piece among Kim’s stories.
I couldn’t get up for a while. But then, I mustered up all my strength and crawled toward him to snatch his pantleg.
“Hey, let me go, you punk!”
The old man flopped his arms in vain and shrieked like a chicken captured by a hawk.
Jeom-sun’s mother would side with the old man, because he’s her husband, but Jeom-sun would surely take my side. But to my surprise, that was not what happened.
It was Jeom-sun who goaded me into fighting with her father in the first place. But now she grabbed my ear and was bawling her eyes out.
“You wretch! You’re killing my father!”
I felt my fighting spirit leave me at her words.
나는 한참을 못 일어났다.
그러다 사지를 부르르 떨면서 나도 엉금엉금 기어가
장인님의 바짓가랑이를 꽉 움키고 잡아나꿨다.
“아!아! 이놈아! 놔라, 놔”
장인님은 헛손질을 하며 솔개미에 챈 닭의 소리를 연해 질렀다.
나의 생각에 장모님은 제 남편이니까 역성을 할는지는 모른다.
그러나 점순이는 내 편을 들어서 속으로 고소해 하겠지~
그런데 대체 이게 왠 속인지~
아버질 혼내 주기는 달려들며 내 귀를 뒤로 잡아당기며 마냥 우는 것이 아닌가
“에그머니! 이 망할게 아버지 죽이네!”
그만 여기에 기운이 탁 꺾이어나는 얼빠진 등신이 되고 말았다.
Kim Yu-jeong (Born in Chuncheon, Gangwon-do Province, Jan. 11, 1908~Mar. 29, 1937)
: Debuted with the publication of “Wanderer Among the Hills” on Chosun Ilbo in 1935
Noted works inclued “Spring, Spring,” “The Golden Bean Patch,” “Camellias,” etc.