“Let’s go crane hunting before we go!”

Writer Hwang Sun-won might have written “Cranes” just to say this single sentence.


“Hey, let’s go crane hunting before we go.”

Seong-sam spoke all of a sudden. Seong-sam untied the rope and held it in his hand. Soon, he was already crawling on the grassy field. 

But the blood drained out of Deok-jae’s face. What Seong-sam had said about being shot to death flashed through his mind. Far off Seong-sam suddenly looked back.

“Hey, why are you just standing there like an idiot? Go and drive the cranes!”

Appearing to have realized something, Deok-jae started crawling along the grass as well. Just then, a couple of red-crowned cranes were gliding slowly across the blue autumn sky with their big wings stretched out.

“얘, 우리 학 사냥이나 한번 하구 가자.”

성삼이가 불쑥 이런 말을 했다.

포승줄을 풀어 쥐더니, 어느새 성삼이는 잡풀 새로 기는 걸음을 쳤다.

대번 덕재의 얼굴에서 핏기가 걷혔다. 

좀 전에, 너는 총살감이라던 말이 퍼뜩 머리를 스치고 지나갔다. 

저만치서 성삼이가 홱 고개를 돌렸다.

“어이, 왜 멍추같이 게 섰는 게야? 어서 학이나 몰아오너라!”

그제서야 덕재도 무엇을 깨달은 듯 잡풀 새를 기기 시작했다.

때마침 단정학 두세마리가 높푸른 가을 하늘에 큰 날개를 펴고 유유히 날고 있었다.

#Interview by literary critic Jeon So-yeong

His works steadfastly contain his faith in humanity, which cannot be destroyed by any ideology. This overarching theme was expressed through his very poetic and sensitive writing and use of metaphor. “Cranes” is a beautiful manifestation of Hwang’s spirit.

Hwang Sun-won probably wanted to show a way to overcome the tragic history of the Korean War by writing about the enduring friendship between Seong-sam and Deok-jae. 

Hwang Sun-won: Mar. 26, 1915~Sep. 14, 2000

Born in Daedong-gun County, Pyeongannam-do Province

“Cranes” was first published in Sincheonji, vol. 52 in May 1953

Included in the short story collection titled “Cranes” published by Chungang Publishing Co. in 1956, along with “Rain Shower” and “The Hawk.”