Enriched by the writer’s creative imagination, this folktale-style picture book unravels the origin of Korean seaweed soup.
- Book Intro
* The Origin of Korean Seaweed Soup Explained by Delightful and Creative Imagination *
According to some Chinese records on the Goryeo Dynasty, “After learning that whale mothers heal their postpartum wounds by eating seaweed, Goryeo people feed mothers seaweed after childbirth.” Another document from the Joseon Dynasty says that mothers give three bowls of rice and seaweed soup to Samshinhalmeoni (the three gods governing childbirth) before their first meal after childbirth, and they eat them all after the ritual. Therefore, the Korean tradition of having seaweed soup on birthdays is to remind us of the annual appreciation of our mothers who had the same dish after childbirth.
Enriched by the writer’s ingenious imagination, this folktale-style picture book unravels the origin of Korean seaweed soup. The imaginative creature, Dragon, adds fantastical elements to the story, and the adopted Western folktale of Stone Soup enhances the dramatic effect and plot quality. It is a brilliant children’s book about the origin of Korean seaweed soup that harmoniously mingles Eastern and Western folktales.
* This Book Conveys the Obvious, but Precious Truth that Sharing Even the Smallest Thing Brings Bigger Happiness *
Dragon comes down to the people’s village to get some food. But people treat him inhospitably because of a drought that struck the village that year. Then, a great idea occurs to Dragon. He borrows a huge cauldron and boils seaweed with mongdol (stones) in it. In the Western folktale Stone Soup, on the way back home from war, hungry soldiers ask for food in a village. But no village people help them. Then, the soldiers convince the people that they will make great stone soup using various ingredients donated by the people. Just like that story, Dragon gets many different ingredients from the villagers, cooks a delicious and aromatic soup, and shares it with the village people.
People say that they can find happiness by sharing small things during difficult times, but this is easier said than done. It is even more difficult in hard times. Therefore, this statement rings especially true to us, who are living in the times of the pandemic. The economy is declining, and people are becoming cold-hearted. The pandemic forbids people from gathering and sharing food together; but even in this dire situation, sharing small happiness with our neighbors is something we must not give up. Today, children wear masks all the time. When will they be able to get together and share food happily with their friends? The writer hopes that children will at least get vicarious satisfaction through this book and experience small happiness.
- About the Author
When I was a child, one month before my birthday, I started counting down to my birthday. The seaweed soup that my mom cooked for me in the morning of my birthday always smelled so good and made me feel great. Time passed by, and the seaweed soup that I had after the pain of childbirth felt completely different. This seaweed soup meant that I had become a mom. I then realized that every mother is someone’s daughter. I wrote this book, hoping to deliver a warm-hearted story about the seaweed soup we always have on our birthday.