The Golden Ax
I first saw a wall-full of this series at Kyobo Book in Seoul in July, '04. I bought one copy, came home, and worked to order the full set of thirty booklets, workbooks, and audio cassettes from the publisher. Each set cost 9,800 Won. I have divided that cost among the book (6800 Won), booklet (1000 Won), and cassette (2000 Won). The colored booklet features twenty-eight thick, sturdy pages and excellent color reproduction. The art is cartoon-like, simple, and direct. This version features a dutiful woodcutter whose mother is sick and needs medicine; he chops his wood to help her. The second main character here is an otherwise undescribed Spirit, a balding old man who comes out of the water wearing a green robe. After three rounds of diving and coming out with an ax, he awards the woodcutter all three axes because he is an honest man and a devoted son (14). One of the book's best illustrations shows the woodcutter carrying the three axes in the wood-rack on his back, as he meets the inquiring fellow woodcutter (15). This second woodcutter already expresses to the original woodcutter his idea of doing just what he had done, and the latter tells him that he finds it a bad idea. The base second woodcutter claims the golden ax as his own. Then he also claims the silver ax but not his own iron ax. Thereupon (24) the whole forest turns dark, there is thunder and lightning, and the spirit, now menacing, calls him a greedy man and a terrible liar. The woodcutter asks for at least his iron ax back, but does not get it. Honest and diligent men are rewarded and greedy men are punished.
Alific Language Plus