Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Lazy Boy Who Became a Cow

December 2002
Folk Tales from Around the World

There once was a boy who hated work.  He loved to lie around the floor and do nothing all day.  Taking naps all afternoon was his favorite hobby.  Since he always slept and didn't even enjoy seeing his friends, everybody called him "Lazy" instead of his name.  He was so lazy that he even wanted to eat his meals in bed.  Therefore, his mother would talk to him in a worried voice.  "Lazy, if you lie down right after your meal, you will become a cow after you die!"  Lazy would say, "That's nonsense, but I think it would be better to be a cow.  They can sleep whenever they want!"
   Then one day, his mother was sick and could not prepare breakfast.  However, Lazy paid no attention to his mother and stayed in bed all morning.  "Lazy, will you get me a glass of water?"  his mother pleaded, but he ignored her request.  "You won't even get a glass of water for oyur sick mother?"  She became angry at Lazy and she began to cry and scold her son.  The boy didn't want to listen to his mother yelling at him anymore.  "She is so annoying!  Why can't she just leave me alone?"  The boy walked down the street slowly, still mumbling to himself.
   At that moment, the boy heard someone asking, "So you don't want to work?"  The boy looked up to see an old man sitting on the side of the road.  In his hand, he was holding a mask that looked like a cow. The old man said, "Go ahead, try on this mask.  Once you put it on, you will become the cow you always wanted to be.  You can sleep and rest all day.  Nobody will bother you."  Finally, the boy snatched them ask from the old man and put it on immediately.  He suddenly felt the leather pasted on his face.  In shock,  he tried to ask the man to help him take it off, but all that came out of his mouth was a desperate "moo....!" sound.  The boy had turned into a cow.  The old man put a rein around the boy's head and was ready to take him away.  "Hush, or I'll whip you until you're quiet," said the old man.  They were going towards a market.  The market was crowded with people looking for a bargain.  There, the old man sold the boy to a farmer.  "This cow will die if you feed it any turnips.  Don't even show them to the cow.  And also, this cow is very lazy, so you will need to ship it once in a while," said the old man.
   The boy tried as hard as he could to resist, but the farmer whipped him and forcefully led him to his farm.  "I'm not a cow.  I'm a human!..." the boy cried.  The farmer became angry, because the cow was making so much noise.  He whipped him harder to make him quiet.  For the first time in his life, the boy had to work all day under the farmer's endless whipping, and the boy worked every day.  Also, he missed his mother so much.  Finally, the boy thought, "She was sick when I left; I wonder if she's felling better now.  If I could only go back home, I would work hard and be a good son."
   The boy worked every day, but he wanted to escape the situation.  Suddenly, the boy thought that if he ate a turnip, he would die.  AFter that, he determined that he would eat a turnip.  The moment he swallowed a mouthful of turnips, he felt something hit him.  When he looked around, he realized that he had fallen from where he was taking a nap.  That was just a bad dream.  AFter that day, his lifestyle changed, and the boy was industrious.

-Kitae Kim

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