Kim Yong Ik, "Gourd Dance Song"

Even cruel village men and lusting village boys are rooting for the local songbird.

(Short Story International, #59)

“Look at me with a skyward gourd on my back.
Look at me with a good luck on my back.”

Well, they’re rooting for her to a degree. They want to possess her, her body (a little) and her voice (a lot). Now, to my eyes, they’re a little too into their amorphous Gourd Dance tradition. So much so that they would limit Lotus’s potential and clip her dreams just to have her around to sing the song they’re really digging. Also, most of the people in this charming, near-parable talk in that awkward, grandiose style I’ve come to expect in translated texts, like: “Did you stumble again? Were you watching the far mountain.” This is not terribly distracting, however. The distance in time, place and mindset is already apparent. If they talked like me I’d call shenanigans.

This story was published December, 1986. Of course it’s not on the web. I wonder what became of the Korean-born Kim Yong Ik.

3 thoughts on “Kim Yong Ik, "Gourd Dance Song"

  1. rwellor

    Kim Yong Ik died in 1995 in Korea. He wrote a variety of other novels and short stories (many of the best of which are collected in “The Wedding Shoes”).

    Worth checking out if you can find a copy used on Amazon…

  2. Lee Kim

    To supplement the information about Kim Yong Ik (who was my father), I wanted to add the following as per his old CV:
    The Happy Days, was a “Notable Children’s Book for 1960″ selected by The American Library Association and a “Best Youth Book for 1965″ in West Germany. It was also selected as an outstanding juvenile book of 1960 by the New York Times. That is also worth checking out.

    In addition to ~50 publications (novels, short stories, screen plays, etc.), “The Wedding Shoes” was a movie that was broadcast in South Korea and “Crown Dick” was a made-for-television movie that was produced by Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.

    I am happy to see that his work still lives on.

    /s/ Lee Kim
    Pittsburgh, PA – 10/10/2009

  3. Anonymous

    “The Happy Days” is a wonderful book indeed. I read the German version of it as a child in the 1970s, now my children read my old copy of the book.
    Michael, Vienna


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