For many years I have dreamed of the day that I would leave this wretched house, at last it has come. I am to be married to a poor farmer who lives in the outskirts of the village, Cuckoo says it’s a place fit for an ugly creature like me. I don’t disagree, but I won’t let her remarks get to me for today is the last day I will have to listen to her rude remarks. When I do return to the House of Hwang it will be with my husband and baby boy, I am the one who will have bore sons, and she will be nothing more than a concubine for the Old Master. I usually work in the kitchen so I don’t get to bath very often but the old mistress told me to try to presentable so I had to draw a bath and clean myself quickly. I dried off and slipped into my plain coat, I looked at myself in my small mirror. Ugly, that was all I saw, that was all I was told. I combed my hair carefully and twisted it into a neat knot at the top of my head. I did what I could with my cleanliness but I looked down at my large hideous feet with distaste, my soon to be husband will probably hate them but there’s not much I can do now. I took one more glance in the mirror and waited to be summoned by the Old Mistress. Alas the time had come; I was hurried into the main room where the Old Mistress and my betrothed waited. When I entered the room I kept my head down and my eyes downcast, I felt the farmer’s eyes bore into my head. I kept my face calm but inside the nerves were eating me away, did he like me? Did he think I was ugly? Of course he did, why do I even bother to think otherwise? Once the Old Mistress ordered me to be a good and faithful slave we left the great House of Hwang. That is when I looked upon my husband, he was neither handsome nor ugly and I considered myself lucky. He was a kind man, he bought my peaches and I nibbled on them timidly for I hadn’t eaten today. I remained silent and submissive as we continued to walk along the dirt road. At last we arrived to a small temple, in it stood figures of the gods of the fields, he handed me one incent. I stared at the burning tip and pushed over the ash, when I realized what I had done I worried he’d be upset and quickly cast my eyes towards his face. But as I mentioned before he was a kind man; he ignored my action and continued with the ceremony, and we were married. I know nothing of the man, but I made a promise to myself to remain faithful to him for as long as I am with him.
Return back to the House of Hwang
Just as I’d hoped I gave birth to a baby boy! There was so much joy Wang’s eyes when he’d first lain eyes on our son, he even went into town to buy red eggs and a pound of red sugar for the boy and me. As I made fine cakes for our visit to the Great House I thought of how good it would feel to prove to everyone in that wretched house that I was the one who bore sons, the ugly kitchen slave. Now I was not the ugly kitchen slave but the wife of a farmer and the mother of a son. I had always had a vision of how I’d look when I returned to the House of Hwang with a son in my arms, how proud I’d feel. The moment my son and I were upon the Old Mistress I felt proud of both my family and myself, here I was standing in the great House of Hwang not as a slave but a visitor. I noticed that the Old Mistress did not have a new coat, nor did the slaves. It was strange for that had never happened before; I suspected that the house had undergone a bad year. What was even stranger was that she even offered to sell us land. I thought it was ironic how I was once nothing here but now I am someone who is considered worthy of buying their precious land. Although they still may be richer than Wang and me, I think one day this great house will be in ruins, the Old Mistress and lord in the rubble and Wang and me on top.
In the city Life was hard back home, the lack of rain has caused us to starve and flee to the south where food is plentiful. I remember when I was a child my mother and father would…