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“The Dog of Crossover Village” by Hwang Sun-won


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“The Dog of Crossover Village” by Hwang Sun-won

One had to go over a hill no matter where he tried to go. Surrounded on all sides by mountains, one had to climb over the mountain pass no matter where he wanted to go. This was why it was called Crossover Village. 

It was springtime. At a mill next to Gannan’s간난 house at the foot of the mountain located west of Crossover Village, a dog was licking a long-neglected, dust-covered winnowing machine. It was a moderate-sized bitch.

동네에는 이전의 그 미친개가 서산 밑 방앗간에 와 잔다는 소문이 났다.

차손이 아버지가 보았다는 것이다.

아직 어두운 새벽에 달구지 걸댓감을 하나 꺾으러 서산에 가는 길에

방앗간에서 무엇이 나와 달아나기에 유심히 보니 그게 이전의 미친개더라는 것이다.

그리고 이 미친개는 어두운 속에서도 홀몸이 아니더라는 것이다.

The rumor said that the rabid dog from before was sleeping at the mill again. It was spotted by Chason’s father. He was on his way to the mountain to get lumber for his cart early in the morning when he saw something dash out of the mill. It was that mad bitch from before. He could clearly tell even in the dark that the dog was pregnant.

작은 동장이 이 말을 듣고

홀몸이 아니고 새끼를 뱄다면 그게 승냥이와 붙어 된 것일 테니

오늘 밤에 지켰다가 때려잡자는 것이었다.

When the chief’s brother heard this, he urged the villagers to kill it that night since it must have mated with a wild dog. 

# Interview with literary critic Jeon So-yeong

Many refugees, including Hwang Sun-won, displaced by war and division could not find any place to settle down comfortably. But the story’s conclusion implies that the author dreamed of a future where people reconcile and live together, because all the villagers end up raising Shindung’s puppies in the last scene. Hwang Sun-won must have believed that when time passes and ideological conflicts die down, people would open their minds and form a peaceful community once again. 

간난이 할아버지는 여웃골에서 강아지를 본 뒤부터는

한 층 조심해서 누가 눈치 채지 못하게 

나무하러 가서는 이 강아지들을 보는 게 한 재미였다.

Ever since Gannan’s grandfather found the puppies in the mountain, he acted more carefully so that no one would suspect that he cared for the little ones when he went up to the mountain to get firewood. 

사람이 먹기에도 부족한 보리범벅이었으나,

그 부스러기를 집안사람 몰래 가져다주기도 했다.

아주 강아지가 밥을 먹게쯤 됐을 때

간난이 할아버지는 아무 곳 아무개한테서 

얻어 오는 것이라고 하며 강아지 한 마리를 안고 내려왔다.

한 동네 곱단이네도 어디서 얻어준다고 하고 한 마리 안아다 주었다.

그리고 절골 사는 아무개네도 한 마리,

서젯골 사는 아무개네도 한 마리,

이렇게 한 마리씩 다섯 마리를 다 안아다 주었다.

He even brought leftover barley cake without telling his wife. When the puppies were old enough to eat solid food, the old man brought one down to the village, saying that he got it from someone. Then he brought one for Gopdan who lived in the same village, then another one for someone living in the valley and another one for someone living in a different village. In the end, he brought all five puppies to give them away one by one. 

간난이 할아버지는 지금 자기네 집에 기르는 개가

그 신둥이의 증손녀라는 말과 

원체 종자가 좋아서 지금 목넘이 마을에서 기르는 개란 개는

거의 다 이 신둥이의 증손이 아니면 고손이라고 했다.

Gannan’s grandfather said that the dog in his house is the great-granddaughter of Shindung and claimed that all the dogs living in Crossover Village are the great-grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren of Shindung. 

크고 작은 동장네 두 집에서까지도

요새 자기네 개가 낳은 신둥이개의 고손자를 얻어갔다는 말도 했다.

Even the village chief and his brother took in Shindung’s great-great-grandchildren. 

이런 말을 하는 간난이 할아버지는

이제는 아주 흰 서릿발이 된 텁석부리 속에서 미소를 띠는 것이었다.

Gannan’s grandfather had a big smile behind his graying beard as he said this.

Hwang Sun-won (Born in Daedong, Pyongannam-do Prov., Mar. 26, 1915~Sep. 14, 2000)

Debuted with short story “My Dream” in 1931

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