Small Spring is a favourite with the Korean people, young and old alike, after a lapse of many years since its publication.
The medium-length novel depicts truthfully the noble and beautiful mental world of heroic soldiers of the Korean People’s Army displayed during the Fatherland Liberation War (June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953). The KPA soldiers fought unto death in defence of their country and dear home against the US imperialists that unleashed a war of aggression against the young DPRK. The author of the book is Ri Kye Sim who was a war correspondent.
In June 1950 when the US imperialists made an armed invasion, Ri joined the Korean People’s Army. In the fierce flames of the war she always remembered the past five years she had spent after national liberation (August 15, 1945).
Those were such happy times that she could never forget them: her imposing tile-roofed house not inferior to that of landlord, straw sacks of rice heaped up in the yard, her mother who was elected a first woman deputy in the county, her entrance to Kim Il Sung University after graduation of Sariwon Girls’ Middle School, and so on.
Ri was born on April 8, Juche 20 (1931) into a poor farmer’s family in Pongsan County, Hwanghae Province, and suffered all sorts of misfortunes under the Japanese military occupation of Korea. At that time she was called Munyo, a nameless girl. Therefore, the happy time she spent for five years after liberation was so dear to her that she fought bravely to defend her grateful country.
With a firm determination not to be called Munyo again, Ri cared for the wounded, braving the fierce flames and wrote poems to encourage the combatants.
After she became a chief editor of her corps’ journal, she never hesitated to rush to the fields of decisive battles, herself fighting bravely while writing articles and editing.
The journals issued in the flames of war sparked off the spirit of defending the country and mass heroism in the service personnel.
After she was promoted to the Joson Inmingun in December Juche 41 (1952), she continued her news coverage as a war correspondent until the V-day. In the postwar days acting as a poet she led a passionate life just as she did in the days of war.
Living in the mind of an eternal woman soldier, her collected poems, carries medium-length novels, poems and essays based on the wartime life, which makes an active contribution to hardening the spirit of defending the country unto death as the faith and will of all the Korean service personnel and people.
That’s why she is still called “our chief editor” and “woman war correspondent” among her comrades-in-arms and readers, even though scores of years have passed after the war.
Ri Kye Sim, far advanced in age, continues to create literary works just as she did in the days when she inspired the soldiers to fight in defence of the country.
Ri Kye Sim, war veteran, living at Wolhyang-dong,
Moranbong District, Pyongyang