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“You Left Behind Eight Hats” by Park Wan-suh

#Books on Demand l 2022-01-04

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우리 집 오동나무 이층장 위칸에는 남자 모자가 여덟 개나 들어 있다.

아래 칸은 비어 있다.

그 장 위에는 한 남자의 독사진이 놓여 있다.

The upper shelf of the two-tier dresser made of royal foxglove wood at my house contains eight men’s hats. The lower shelf stands empty. On top of the dresser stands a photograph of a lone man. 



여덟 개나 되는 모자는 다 그의 죽음을 앞 둔

마지막 일 년 동안에 사 모은 것이다.

Those eight hats were purchased during the last one year prior to his death. 


모자가 유행하는 시대도 아닌데, 일 년 동안 모자를 여덟 개 씩이나 사다니,

누가 들으면 그가 몸치장 따위에 취미가 각별한 

멋쟁이 신사였다고 여길지도 모르지만 전혀 아니다.

Hats were not in fashion in those days, but he had bought eight hats. Someone could have mistaken him for a dandy gentleman with a keen interest in fashion but that wasn’t the case at all.


나는 그의 유품을 정리하면서 

어쩌면 이렇게 단 한 가지도 값나가는 게 없을까 

놀라고 민망해한 적이 있다.

While I was cleaning out his belongings, I was surprised and embarrassed to find that he had owned nothing of value.  



# Interview with SNU Professor Bang Min-ho

The narrator of this story got married when the Korean War was still in progress. Most of the goods were imported as was the expensive fedora hat, which had a label marked in English. Her family had nothing to give her. She only had a month’s salary that she had kept from her family, the money she spent on a really fancy hat for her future husband. The hat was the ultimate demonstration of her deep love for her husband. 



그가 선택한 인간다운 최선은 

가장 아까운 시간을 보통처럼 구는 거였고,

내가 할 수 있는 최선은 그에게 순간순간 열중하는 것이었다.   

The best humane thing he chose to do was to treat the precious time as ordinary and the best I could do was to focus on him at every moment. 


마지막 일 년은 참으로 아까운 시절이었다.

죽을 날을 정해놓은 사람과의 나날의 아까움을 

무엇에 비길까.

The last one year of his life was so precious. Nothing can compare to the preciousness of the time remaining until your certain death. 


세월의 흐름이 빠른 물살처럼 느껴지고

자주자주 시간이 빛났다.

아까운 시간의 빛남은 행복하고는 달랐다.

Time flowed like the rapids and shined bright all too often. The brilliance of the precious time was different from happiness. 


여덟 개의 모자에는 그 빛나는 시간의 추억이 있다.

Those eight hats contain the memories of that brilliant time, 

나만이 아는.       

 the memories that only I know.




Park Wan-suh (Born in Gyeonggi-do, Oct. 20 1931~Jan. 22, 2011)

Debuted with “The Naked Tree” in 1970

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