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Hae-Sun, or, The Korean Little Red Riding Hood (5 min)

Hae-Sun, or, The Korean Little Red Riding Hood (5 min)

Do you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood? Did you know she is called “Le Petit Chaperon rouge” in France? In Korea, she is simply known as Hae-Sun.


Once there was a woman with 3 daughters, whom she loved more than the light in the sky. This woman sold buckwheat pancakes at the market. [Has anyone ever had a funnel cake at the state fair? Nice & hot with all that powdered sugar and maybe some strawberries on top.] Well, she made pancakes like that all day long and sold them by the handful. At the end of the day, she always put aside her three best pancakes for her three daughters, Hae-Sun, Dael-Sun & Byun-Sun. Every night, she would put them in her basket and that would be her daughters’ supper.

One night after work, she carefully packed her three special pancakes in her basket and began to walk down the road. Suddenly, a tiger jumped out in front of her. She saw his orange & white fur and his big, sharp claws, and his long teeth. And she could see he was hungry. She reached into her basket and threw one of her precious pancakes at him. He reached up & caught in his teeth and gobbled it down, while she ran down the road as fast she could.

But there was a problem. The tiger was still hungry. He took a shortcut up through the woods and leaped down to meet the woman again. She threw a second pancake at him. He caught in his teeth and she ran down the road as fast she could.

But there was a problem. The tiger was still hungry. He took a shortcut up through the woods and leaped down to meet the woman again. She threw a second pancake at him. He caught in his teeth and she ran down the road as fast she could.

But there was a problem. The tiger was still hungry. He took a shortcut up through the woods and leaped down to meet the woman again. [Now, how many pancakes did the woman put in her basket? Three. How many pancakes has she thrown at the tiger’s head? Two. So, how many pancakes does she have left? One.] She threw the last pancake at him. He caught in his teeth and she ran down the road as fast she could.

But there was a problem. The tiger was still hungry. He took a shortcut up through the woods and leaped down to meet the woman a last time. The woman had no more special pancakes in her basket and so...  the tiger gobbled... her right up.

But there was a problem. The tiger was still hungry. He picked up her basket and walked down the road until he came to the cottage where the woman’s daughters were waiting for their supper. He tried to disguise his voice to sound like their mother and knocked on the door,

“Daughters, daughters, come & open the door for your poor mother. I am tired from the market and need your help.”

The girls didn’t think that sounded like their mother. Byun-Sun asked, “Mother, what is wrong with your voice?”

“Oh uh, it’s just rough from shouting all day at the market. If you open the door, I can get some water.”

Dael-Sun stood on her tippy toes and looked through the peephole. But she didn’t see her mother. She only saw the big red eye of the tiger looking back at her.

“Mother, what is wrong with your eyes?” she asked.

“Oh uh, someone blew black pepper in my eye. Open the door and I’ll be able to wash it out.”

Hae-Sun... was not fooled at all. She opened the window just a little bit and said,

“Show us your hand, if you are our mother. Then we will open the door.”

The tiger put its paw on the windowsill and then girls saw its orange fur and sharp claws, digging into the wood. That was not their mother. Hae-Sun grabbed her sisters’ hands and called out, “Just wait a minute, mother; we are coming to open the door.”

Then the three of them turned and ran out of the back door.  The tiger waited for a little while. Then he realized, he had been tricked. He burst down the door and tore up the house, looking for the three girls. He didn’t find them, until he went out the back door and into the garden. There he found them, hiding under a tree.

Hae-Sun was very brave. She stood right up & began to pray to her Mother in Heaven to save them and show them mercy. Suddenly, a miracle happened. A thick metal chain fell down from the clouds. The three girls climbed into the safety of the clouds. The tiger? Well, they don’t have thumbs, so they can’t climb chains very well. The girls drew the chain up after them, leaving the tiger behind.

And that’s where they are still, for Hae-Sun became the Sun; Dael-Sun became the Moon; and Byun-Sun became the Northern Star, bringing the sailors home at night. But they all watch over us, lighting our path in the dark and keeping us safe from wolves and bears and tigers, oh my.

Views: 1018

Tags: Hood, Korea, Little, Perrault, Red, Riding, Sun

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