The Fog Horn (Angae Godong) Chapter 5
“Well, the lighthouse is good. Just when I turned the boat around, a huge fog pushed in behind us. We were almost trapped.”
“Since the village head got a good grip on the front, we were all in order, and did not run into any trouble, so we caught fish with peace of mind.”
The fishermen gathered in the sushi restaurant by the dock and drank heavily as they praised the village head, who was sitting at the head of the table.
“How do you like your Jiri-tang  fish stew, plain or spicy?”
The hostess of the sushi restaurant peeked her head out, and all eyes turned to the village head. The village head spoke as he emptied his glass of soju  .
“It’s raining today, so the spicy Maeun-tang  fish stew is perfect.”
“Okay. I’ll make it spicy for you.”
Sitting at the end of a long table, Nuri picked out and ate only the things that adults wouldn’t touch, like the tempura and egg rolls that were served as side dishes. When he got a little full, he subtly dropped them one by one into a plastic bag he had brought from home.
Cheol Woong, who was pulling up his pants after going to the toilet, frowned blatantly at the sight of it, as he walked and said.
“Aren’t you a bastard?”
At the scolding, Nuri hid the bag behind his back. It was full enough anyway. Cheol Woong clicked his tongue and sat down next to his father. The distance between Nuri and Cheol Woong was like an eternity.
The village head called Nuri’s name. He was already drunk as hell. Nuri turned his eyes and looked at the village head.
“Did you see anything?”
“In the ocean.”
His eyes were clouded with alcohol, and there was a red hue rising to the top of his neck. Nuri had the distinct impression that he was drunk on something other than alcohol, something more frightening and strange than alcohol.
Nuri was about to say something when Ko Won-taek interrupted him.
“Ah, Hyungnim  . Do you know what the fuck this little bastard saw?”
His mouth closed as the village head made a gesture of silence. Nuri took on a more solemn air, clutching the driftwood in his hands.
“The fog was so thick that I couldn’t see anything.”
“The lives of the villagers are at stake, and they will all live if you do a good job.”
“If you see anything strange, tell me right away, and if it’s too hard, you can ask Cheol Woong.”
“Yeah, I’ll keep that in mind.”
For a moment, Nuri thought that if Ko Young-chun  saw the water demon, he might kill him on the spot, even if the water demon hadn’t killed the villagers.
That was the position of the village head, and as he always represented the village, he had to take responsibility for this incident.
A Gut ritual wasn’t enough for him, there had to be some sort of symbolic achievement that brought closure to the situation.
He needed something to reassure the villagers. The result of defeating the enemy. An enemy? Was the water demon an enemy? As Nuri bowed his head in thought, the chief spoke up.
“Jong-gu, please wrap up some fried perilla  leaves, and send them to Nuri.”
Nuri clutched what he was hiding behind his back. People didn’t easily turn a blind eye to things that would embarrass Nuri. They announced it, exposed it, humiliated him, and made him feel small. Nuri thought he was used to it, but he couldn’t help but feel small.
Nuri excused himself, saying he would go first, and hurried out of the room. Even if he stayed longer, it’s not like he would get another bowl of rice.
Nuri grabbed the fried perilla leaves piled up on the counter. He also grabbed the food he packed. He wasn’t going to turn his back on them just because he was humiliated. Nuri was poor, and life was hard.
The heavy rain had stopped, but thick raindrops were still falling. As he headed home, he saw the lighthouse standing tall in the fog.
Clutching the still-warm fried perilla leaves in his arms, Nuri walked towards the lighthouse. For some reason, he wanted to rest there.
Nuri was a little slower in the rain. It was because it was easy to fall because of his left leg. Walking slowly like a turtle, Nuri made his way to the lighthouse. There was nothing there.
Nuri took off his wet shirt, hung it on the ladder, and even took off his pants. He took off his socks and shoes.
Stripping down to a pair of underwear, Nuri sat down on the straw and opened a bag of fried perilla leaves and munched away. He was full, but for some reason, he wanted to eat those fried perilla leaves and get rid of them.
The taste of crunchy fries quickly turned soggy, and the grease felt foreign on his hands. He wiped his hands haphazardly on straws and climbed the lighthouse.
The light had been off for a long time, but still had a warm glow. Nuri leaned his back against it and yawned loudly. It was already evening. The sea was filled with an opaque darkness from the fog.
Nuri looked up at the star-studded sky. The raindrops made it hard to see. Nuri wanted to see the night sky as it was, even in the rain. He glanced at his numb legs once, which were heavy from all the walking up and down the lighthouse.
The raindrops got thinner and thinner. The thick sea fog rose to the sky and scattered like flower petals. Fluttering and Fluttering again.
Nuri stepped outside the lighthouse and stared at the stars in the rain. The densely packed stars were like watering cans that sprinkled rain.
Nuri was drenched in the rain, wearing only a pair of underwear. For some reason, he wanted to.
As Nuri stood there, he heard a crashing sound in the middle of nowhere. The water rushed in under his feet, and in an instant, the air around him became humid and smelled like the ocean.
Nuri turned his head in surprise. A person was walking towards him from the other side of the lighthouse.
Or, to be more precise, a water demon in human form. The water demon was wearing a loose-fitting shirt and black pants. He had apparently been wearing nothing, but in the blink of an eye, he had gone from being naked to being nicely dressed.
Nuri found it even creepier and was horrified. A gigantic creature stomping towards him. Something that looked human, but wasn’t.
‘Is it really trying to capture me and take me away?’, he thought.
Nuri looked at him with his body clumsily covered. He was standing at a reasonable distance from Nuri.
Nuri was terrified and looked around to see what was around him, but there was nothing that could be used as a weapon. He wasn’t even wearing any clothes. Nuri pointedly raised the umbrella he was carrying and shouted.
“Who, who are you! you!”
“Are you really a water demon? Are you here to catch me?”
He shook his head. He walked a little closer to Nuri. Nuri gripped the umbrella tighter.
“Don’t come near me! I’ll hit you! I’m really going to hit you!”
Nuri squeezed his eyes shut and raised the umbrella. But at that moment, Nuri’s aching leg was lifted. It was wet, but the touch was gentle. The water demon knelt down and placed Nuri’s foot on his thigh. Then he kissed the instep of his foot briefly.
“At that time.”
“If only I had met you earlier.”
The voice of the water demon was very low and resonant, like something echoing in a cave. It was a nice sound to hear. A voice that seemed to have absolutely no malice, just a friendly, sweet and sincere voice.
“Me, have you ever met me? What are you? Are you a real demon?”
“Try to remember.”
“Oh, no, how would I know!”
He slowly put Nuri’s foot down. The rain was about to stop. He looked at Nuri and said,
“I’ll come again.”
He turned and headed towards the sea. What a strange water demon. What he did to him now was more of a protection than an attack.
The instep of his left foot had been covered in ugly stains since he was a child. But now there were shiny, glistening marks on it, like a seashell that had been crushed into small pieces.
Never before had someone other than his mother been so close to this scar, touching it, holding it.
Nuri instinctively shouted at his back, which was moving farther away.
“If you get caught, you might get killed.”
Nuri’s voice gradually faded. Technically, it would be right to run over and tell the village head that a water demon had appeared……. But for some reason, he didn’t want to do that. His heart seemed to lean towards the water demon of its own accord.
He looked at Nuri and smiled. Then, without another word, he jumped from the rocky mountain into the sea. Nuri was surprised and quickly reached the spot where he had disappeared, only to find nothing but water bubbles rising.
Nuri looked at his feet again. The sparkling marks were gone. It was as if everything was an illusion. The rain had stopped completely. Then, from the other side of the rocky mountain, he heard Ko Cheol-woong’s voice.
“Hey you lazy bastard! What are you doing wearing nothing but underpants?”
He saw Ko Cheol-woong running towards him, drunk and red-faced. He strides over him as if everything Nuri experienced just now was a dream, and this is reality. For some reason, Nuri felt sad that he was getting closer.
- 1. Daegu tang (or daegu jiri) is a mild Korean fish stew made with cod fish and vegetables
- 2. Soju is a clear and colorless distilled alcoholic beverage popular in the Korean Peninsula.
- 3. Maeun-tang (매운탕) or spicy fish stew is a hot spicy Korean cuisine fish soup boiled with gochujang and chili powder, and various vegetables
- 4. Older brother+nim (Mr.). It’s a dialect of Chungdo.
- 5. this is name of village head
- 6. sesame
Hello, I hope you are enjoying the novel so far, this is really a great story so give it a try and
Consider buying me a kofi if you enjoyed my translations so far. Thank you!