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One evening recently I went to a restaurant in Insadong that
I often frequent; as I entered the dining room I noticed a mirror-stand
with a mirror about the size of a book, and struck suddenly with an uncharacteristically
laudable idea, I asked the proprietress:
-- Let me know what shop round here sells those mirrors, and I'll get one too.
-- You want to give one to your granddaughter?
and at the end of the evening as we were leaving, I was handed that mirror-stand all kindly wrapped up and not allowed even to think of paying for it.
I carried it home cheerfully and said to my wife, with a show of bravado,
-- Now at long last, how about a luxurious experience thanks to your dear old husband?
and gave it to her; she unwrapped it, looked, then, seemingly disappointed, said,
-- It's too early to give it to Hyang-na, she's barely four, we'd better keep it a while, then give it to her.
As a matter of fact, the big mirror-stand that my wife brought with her when we married forty-four years ago got lost when we fled southwards soon after Liberation in 1945 and from that time until now, when she is seventy, she has made do with hand-mirrors or wall-mirrors; it's needless to say carelessness on my part, though with her position as a practising physician if she had really wanted a mirror-stand it would not have been beyond our possibilities, but since she is by nature someone with no interest in prettifying herself, she gets along fine with just a hand-mirror.
A few days later I went back to that restaurant, taking a pottery flower-vase adorned with a painting of a landscape by Unpo by way of return:
-- And was your granddaughter pleased then?
-- She's still only a baby; she doesn't know what a mirror-stand is!
and made up my mind that I really would arrange to give my wife an Yi Dynasty-style mirror-stand, but as of the time of writing this I have not actually got round to doing so.
Note: Unpo is the professional name of a famous contemporary deaf artist, Kim Ki-chang.