…they put a man on the moon—man on the moon!
Last week I read a very simple children’s book, 우산 하나로 달에 가 볼까? (Roughly, Can you Take an Umbrella to Go to the Moon?)
A girl gets a letter from the rabbits on the moon, inviting her to visit them beneath the tree. (Enter automatic confusion.) She thinks of rice cakes. (Why?) Someone (a bird? her imagination?) says, “But there’s a big problem. How will you go?”
“It’s OK, I’ll walk.”
“But there’s a big problem. It’s raining.”
“It’s OK, I’ll use an umbrella.”
And so on the bird and girl go through rain, a tornado, a clear sky, falling in the river, meeting a family of crocodiles, climbing a mountain, reaching the cliff-like top of the mountain, the clouds dissipating, and sliding down a rainbow. Where she meets the rabbits under the tree.
And then eats rice cakes.
“I am so confused,” I said to Good Man, “how come she never visits the moon? Why is she eating rice cake?”
“Oh, she’s eating rice cake with the moon rabbits.”
“What are you talking about?”
“We believe, in Korea, that there is a rabbit in the moon making rice cakes.”
I blinked at Good Man. “How come I’ve read so many stories in Korean and never heard this one before?”
He shrugged. “I dunno, we think there is moon rabbit, not man.”