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Little Sister Tai Mi
by Berit Braeme
p.17-18 Korea is the name of the country where Tai-Mi lives, but the people there call it "the country where it is silent in the morning," so we will call it that too.
It is a lovely country. It has high mountains and green valleys, there is snow there in the winter, and it has sea all around it.
The people who live there have slanting eyes and smooth black hair. They are very like the Chinese. The food they eat is quite different from the food we eat. Instead of bread they eat rice, and the th ing they like best for dinner is vegetables cut up into tiny pieces with sugar, salt, mustard, and vinegar. They call that food "kimtshikk."
Their houses are also different from ours--at any rate, the houses out in the country and in the tiny country villages. The whole family--father, mother, children, grandfather and grandmother, uncles and aunts--live together in square houses with straw roofs and a little yard in the middle. They have a large kitchen, which they all share, and then they each have their own rooms along the four sides of the house.
Inside the rooms there is almost no furniture, only some low tables, for they sit on the floor when they eat, and therefore they all take off their shoes when they come in so that the floor will not get dirty. During the day all the children play in the yard or out in the fields, and at night they sleep on thick mats, which they roll out on the floor.
Now you can perhaps imagine the sort of home Tai-Mi had and what she looked like. She was small and neat, with slanting eyes and black, silky smooth hair. Her skin was soft as velvet. Her name suited her very well, for Mi means "the good and the pretty," and good and pretty she certainly was. As a matter of fact, Tai-Mi had three names. She was called Tai-Mi Ja. Tai was her surname, Mi her Christian name, and Ja the name of the tribe to which she belonged, for that is the custom in an Oriental country. But we will just call her Tai-Mi, which easier to say and remember.
p.48-49 Another thing that Grandpa possessed was a large red egg. It was as big as an ostrich egg and very smooth and comfortable to hold. When it was opened, there was a blue egg in the middle of it, and inside the blue egg was a yellow one, and inside the yellow one there was a green one, and inside that a white one. The eggs grew smaller and smaller. Tamar and Trina had never counted how many there were. In the very center lay a little golden egg, and that could not be opened.
Tamar stood there a long time, holding the little golden egg in his hands and looking at it.
"What do you think is in the golden egg?" he asked Grandpa.
"No one knows," said Grandpa, "but I was told when I was in China. There was an old Chinese who whispered to me and told me what was in the golden egg. It was a secret."
"What did ye say?" asked Trina.
"Well, the sad thing was that I did not understand Chinese," said Grandpa.
NAMES: Doffen, Trond, Olaf, Trinita, Achmed, Sin-Yun, Ragnar, Tamar, Trina, Elsa