There were sixteen food stations. The caterer added a special treat to each bag of fried squid pieces: in each bag was one chungmangi.
A chungmangi is the best of all foods. It is so delicious, heaping with gobs of fresh foliage and crispy with golden flakes on the outside; it is the one treat everyone wants.
After finishing the game of Yunori, the group was ready to eat. Every station had a bag of fried squid, each with a chungmangi, many oranges and grapes, cola and orange juice.
The first person to notice the chungmangi in the bag was Han Mayor, who casually commented: “Oh, what a nice surprise, a chungmangi.”
But the mayor knew as much as anyone else that if he ate the chungmangi, he would be thought of as a poor leader, savoring the delights of which his people were deprived. So he did not take it. Everyone else at the food station, fearing they would be exalting themselves above the mayor, also left the chungmangi uneaten.
At another food station, there was Park Principal. He noticed the chungmangi and thought: “Ah, a delicious chungmangi. Surely I deserve it!”
But the principal had taught his students about humility and generosity, and a chungmangi was such a rare and expensive delight that he would not be putting his principle into practice. He left it alone. Everyone else at the food station, fearing they would be exalting themselves above the principal, also left the chungmangi uneaten.
At every food station, until the last one, the food station of Shin Director, the chungmangi was not eaten. The director found the chungmangi and thought to himself: “Oh, surely I will be the one to have the chungmangi.”
But every other station had an uneaten chungmangi, and the director had heard the murmurs of the people. No one felt they deserved the chungmangi, and if the director exalted himself above everyone, he would appear to be a tyrant. He did not touch the chungmangi, nor did anyone else at his station.
At the end of the eating period, the mayor, director, principal and teachers all filed out of the food room. Some of them commented on how generous the caterer had been, including such a rare and expensive treat, the chungmangi, in every bag. Many agreed that this caterer was very kind and he should be called upon next time for the food service, although not a single person there had eaten a chungmangi.
The janitor came to clean up the food room, and to his surprise, all of the food had been eaten but sixteen chungmangi. At first he was confused, but then he was elated.
He brought the chungmangi home to his family. When his wife saw the chungmangi in his bag, she swatted him on the head and said,
“You foolish man! Have you spent our savings on sixteen chungmangi?”
“No,” he replied, “I didn’t pay anything for them!”
She swatted him again and said, “You mean you risked our family’s reputation and stole these chungmangi?”
“No,” he replied, “They were left uneaten during the food period!”
Again she swatted him and said, “You expect me to believe that?”
He explained what happened and why he thought the chungmangi were left uneaten. Soon his wife was happy and the family gathered together and ate chungmangi.
The next day, the children each took a chungmangi with them in their lunches because there were many left over. Can you guess what happened when their friends saw them?
Perhaps I will tell you that story another time. Good bye!