The Hen who dreamed she could fly by Sun-Mi Hwang
Translator – Chi Young Kim
Original title – 마당을 나온 암탉
Source – personnel copy
Make your sail
And every heart will know
Of the tale
Make you tune
For none may sing it
Just as you do
Look at the way I glide
Caught on the wind’s lazy tide
Sweetly how it sings
Rally each heart at the sight
Of you silver wings
I choose Neil Diamonds lyrics from his songs for Jonathan livingstone seagull
I visit Korea again this woman in translation month . With a best seller in Korea by Sun-Mi Hwang .As a young girl her family couldn’t afford to send her to primary school but thanks to a kind teacher manage to be able to read books after school and got into high school because of this .The book came out in 2000 in Korea and was made into one of the best-selling animated films in Korea also a comic and Musical .
Sprout liked to stare out into the barnyard .She would much rather watch the ducks scuttle away from the dog than peck at feed .Closing her eyes she imagined herself wandering freely about . She fantasized about sitting in a nest on an egg , about venturing into the fields with the rooster , and about following the ducks around .
THe opening lines and we see how Sprout daydreams .
This book it seems is part of a trend of Korean fiction , like the other book from this genre of Korean fiction I reviewed earlier in the year the salmon who dared to leap higher . These fairy tale / fable tales have a greater meaning under the basic story . So this is well as it says on the tin the story of a Hen her name is sprout .She lives in a farm and is in a cage with other hens laying eggs . But this hen by chance glimpse the outside world and wants to not lay and lose her eggs but also see the wider world beyond the cage . She manages to escape and journey outside to the barn , then she meets the ducks .This is where she meets greentop ,whom she adopts greentop is an orphan duckling , whom she has to help along in life as well as finding her own way in the wider world and does she finally get to fly .
“Baby careful ”
“Mum look where I am !” he waved his little wing joyously . the Lilly pad tipped and he fell into the water .
“Baby ” Sprout panicked ,surprised , Baby flailed about .Sprout ran into the reservoir , but her feathers became waterlogged , and she barely managed to get out .
he motherly instinct comes to the front her to save baby even at the rick of her own life .
I read a lot into this about Korean life in general .I see sprout somewhat as Korea of today , maybe greentop is North Korea in some way the child you didn’t give birth too but want look after but maybe don’t want to let go off .Sprouts journey could also maybe be seen as Korea own journey into the world and discovering the world after the Korean war . Now that could be me seeing too much into it it could just be a story rather like the kids books like Charlotte’s web or Jonathan Livingstone about someone make the way in the world their own way . You could also connect this in part to the film chicken run which follows a group of chickens as they try to escape by learning to fly .Anyway this is a fun book with some lovely illustrations that the uk publisher commissioned for the book . I managed to find a trailer to the film .