#Interview by literary critic Jeon So-yeong
Kim has no equal in Korean literature history in terms of satire and humor. This story demonstrates the true value of this writer. This short story has both his demeaning view of farmers who wanted to escape from their destitute lives by striking gold and his sympathy and compassion for them.
It would be wiser to dig for gold than to get a few bushels of beans in return for a year of hard work. A day of good digging would bring more money than the beans harvested after toiling for a year. I’d rather be a man and go ahead with this venture, whatever the results may be, than to live on miserably like this.
It was beyond the wife’s wildest dream to find gold in the bean patch. The thought of eating dried pollack that she had craved so much made her heart almost explode.
딴은 일 년 고생하고 끽 콩 몇 섬 얻어먹느니보다는 금을 캐는 것이 슬기로운 짓이다.
하루에 잘만 캔다면 한해 줄곧 공들인 그 수확보다 훨씬 이익이다.
이렇게 지지하게 살고 말 바에는 차라리 가로지나 세로지나 사내자식이 한번 해볼 것이다.
아내는 콩밭에서 금이 날 줄은 아주 꿈밖이었다.
올에는 노냥 침만 삼키던 그놈 코다리를 짜장 먹어보겠구나만 하여도
속이 메질 듯이 짜릿하였다.
Yeong-shik probably knew that the get-rich-quick dream was absurd. But his lot in life was so dire that he couldn’t help but expect a run of good luck. His wife also egged him on, dreaming of a richer life. With the hopes and expectations of Yeong-shik and his wife running high, his search for a gold vein in the bean patch began.
“We struck gold! We struck gold!”
Yeong-shik hastened over to Su-jae. He hurriedly took the soil and combed through it to discover the reddish clay that he had never seen before.
“Come and look. He says this is gold,” Yeong-shik calls to his wife.
“There was gold in the ground, right?”
When the elated Yeong-shik’s wife was dreaming of having fish and living in a grand mansion, Su-jae confidently answered, “Yes, we’ll get 50 won per bushel,” while thinking that he would definitely run away that night.
영식이는 수재 앞으로 살같이 달려들었다.
헝겁지겁 그 흙을 받아들고 샅샅이 헤쳐보니 딴은 재래에 보지 못하던 불그죽죽한 황토이었다.
“이리 와봐. 이게 금이래.”
이윽고 남편은 아내를 부른다.
“그 흙속에 금이 있지요?“
영식이 처가 너무 기뻐서 코다리에 고래등같은 집까지 연상할 재
“네, 한 포대에 오십 원씩 나와유‘하고 대답하고
오늘 밤에는 꼭 정녕코 꼭 달아나리라 생각하였다.
Kim Yu-jeong (1908~1937): His writing career began when his story “Rain Shower” won an award in a short fiction contest sponsored by Chosun Ilbo in 1935. “The Golden Bean patch” was published in literary magazine Gaebyeok in the same year. Until his death at age 29, he published nearly 30 stories, including “Spring, Spring,” “The Golden Bean Patch,” “Camellia Flower,” and “Wretched Lives.”