The drama It’s Okay To Not Be Okay has been a huge hit all over the world. Starring Seo Ye Ji as Ko Moon Young, a cruel but beautiful writer of children’s books and Kim Soo Hyun as Moon Kang Tae, a guardian at hospitals for the mentally troubled, the two fall in love as Kang Tae begins to understand the deeper meanings behind Moon Young’s seemingly cruel actions.
The drama often narrates from the fictional fairytales that Moon Young has written, and each story, although seemingly grotesque and harsh, carries a valuable lesson for everyone. The three covered stories so far include A Spring Day’s Dog, Zombie Child and The Teenaged Boy Who Grew Up Eating Nightmares. As the tales are stretched out over episodes, we begin to see the true meanings and lessons behind each one. Here is each of them laid out for those too busy to catch a rerun.
1. “A Spring Day’s Dog”
This one is a short one, compared to the others, with a very simple story line. There was once a dog who lived tied to a small porch near a tree in a village. He was great at hiding his feelings, and so, he was beloved by all the villagers who loved to play with him.
But when nightfall came, he would always whine sadly.
The dog longed to frolic around freely by himself, but he was unable to, as he was tied firmly to the porch.
One day, his heart whispered to him, “Hey! Why don’t you just cut off your leash?”
The dog only sadly responded that he was unable to do so, as he had forgotten the way to. He was used to being tied up that he did not know how to be free. So the moral of the story – sometimes happiness and freedom is right at the tip of our nose, but we overlook it as we are used to the status quo.
The story may or may not be continued in the next episode, as it was left as a cliffhanger the past week. Catch a narration clip of the fairytale here.
2. “The Teenaged Boy Who Grew Up Eating Nightmares”
One of the first books to be narrated in the series, the book tells of a young boy that experienced severe nightmares daily.
Fed-up with dealing with his nightmares, he went off in search of a witch to help him take the nightmares away. He promised the witch that he would do anything she wanted in exchange.
Just like that, the witch took away his unhappy memories and the boy was cured of his nightmares. As years passed and he grew into an adult, he began to realize that even if he does not experience such nightmares anymore, he was not the least bit happy.
The witch came to him on a night where the moon shone full, and he asked her why it was so. The witch told him that only by experiencing bad things in life, will one become stronger, more adaptable and passionate in return. She advised him to win over these inner battles and negative experiences, rather than merely forgetting about them.
The moral of the story is simple – if you are unable to fight and win your battles, you will not be a true adult. By choosing to forget about the negatives, you may remain in oblivion, but sometimes, ignorance is not bliss.
3. “The Zombie Child”
The book was noted in the drama for being to gruesome in illustration and story, but it may be a heartwarming one after all. There was once an ugly baby born in a village. He was pale and had deep-set eyes, and thorns prickling out all over him.
The mother realized soon, that her baby, was not human, but a zombie child that had no affection or emotion, only a desire for food.
Fearing the worst and needing to protect him from the other villagers, she hid him away in her basement. She would bring him food stolen from other farms, such as a chicken, or a pig.
One day, there was an illness and famine in the village – everyone living left hurriedly, while the mother remained as she realized she could not bear to leave her child.
Slowly, supplies depleted and she cut off her own leg, then arm, to feed her boy.
At the last moment, when she was only left with her torso, she crawled to her child and hugged him, letting him devour her whole.
The zombie child finally spoke for the first time in his life, to say, “So Mom is rather warm after all…”
Perhaps, it was not a desire or greed to be fed with food that the boy had, but simply, to feel the warmth and love of someone instead, for he grew up repulsed and hidden away. The clip narrated can be watched below.
Fans of the drama and the fairytales by Ko Moon Young may rejoice, as all three fairytales have been printed with illustrations and released for sale as of today. The books are available on the Korean Yes24 and Gyobo Books websites. There is even a special print edition up for sale.
The special print contains a compilation of all three fairytales as well as a special set of 5 illustrated postcards. Prices vary with each book, membership type and from site to site, starting at ₩10,800 KRW ($9 USD).
In other news, the latest episode of It’s Okay To Not Be Okay will air tomorrow night on the 18th of July at 10pm KST on Netflix in selected countries.