Brave Pak (Храбрый Пак, 1953) by Vladimir Degtyaryov and Yevgeniy Raykovskiy

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Brave Pak
Brave Park
Courageous Pak
Храбрый Пак
Khrabryy Pak (ru)
Kuraĝa Pak (eo)
Chàng Phác dũng cảm (vi)

Year 1953
Director(s) Degtyaryov Vladimir
Raykovskiy Yevgeniy
Studio(s) Soyuzmultfilm
Language(s) Russian
Genre(s) Folklore & myth (non-Rus./USSR)
War & battles
Animation Type(s)  Drawn (cel)
Length 00:21:04
Wordiness 5.92 profile Ru, En
308 visitors

Date: June 22 2022 21:39:38
Language: English
Quality: good
Upload notes: 89 characters long (view)
Creator(s): Eus, Audvide, Niffiwan

Date: November 28 2013 17:43:43
Language: Esperanto
Quality: unknown
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Creator(s): Audvide

Date: August 10 2019 22:50:58
Language: Vietnamese
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Creator(s): Cynir

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A Korean village gets terrorized by a dragon burning their fields. A man named Pak goes on a quest to defeat the dragon.

The name of the main character is a common Korean surname that can be spelled "Pak", "Park" or "Bak.

The screenplay for the film was published in "Фильмы-сказки. Сценарии рисованных фильмов. Выпуск 2. — М.: Госкиноиздат, 1952. — 184 с." (the scan can be found online in several places).

The above video is in 25fps, not 24fps as originally released, hence the time is a little shorter. The colours are also a bit dark, but it seems to be the best currently available.




This story has been included in the book «Stories for Third Grade» (Truyện đọc lớp Ba) in Vietnam (when I was a kid, every Saturday morning there was a hour to ask pupils reading one story from this book in class and at home they must read an other - so this is a supplementary subject, not a study one). I remember when I was in Second Grade, I borrowed this book from a neighbor girl, so I could not sleep all summer night... out of fear. ☹



This film belongs to the theme of humans searching for truth. East Asian folk literature in general has very few adventure stories, so perhaps it also reflects that Asian people are not interested in exploring or even conquering fate. Therefore, stories like "Brave Park" are very commendable. They seem to be both ironic and question the elite's attitude towards society : Do you sit and feel sorry for yourself or do you want to improve your situation ?

The following is a very famous Vietnamese story, which was composed around the 1950s under the influence of Andersen and Grimms. The film adaptation is also quite popular (made in the Czechoslovakian style), although the effects are quite poor.


Once upon a time there was a poor scholar. During the day, he had to work as a hired laborer to have money to go to school. He lived a miserable life until he was thirty years old but was still poor.

One day, he thought : "I heard that in the East Sea there is an island where the Jade Emperor often comes to rest. I have to go there to meet Him to complain because He has left us poor for too long".

The next day, he packed his bags and left. The journey was truly arduous. Soon the food he brought with him ran out, so he had to stop at a roadside house to beg for food. This homeowner is a rich man. He was kind and sent servants to prepare dinner for him to eat. Hearing him talk about going to see the Jade Emperor, the homeowner gave him some travel money and advised : "By the way, please ask Jade Emperor to do me a favor. I haven't done anything wrong in my whole life, but why did my wife and I only have one daughter and she was mute right from her birth ?".

He accepted and left to continue his journey. Soon, the money was gone and he had to stop at a small house to ask for help. The owner also served him food to eat. After knowing the purpose of his trip, that man kindly gave him rice and said : "If you meet Jade Emperor, please ask something for me. I have an orange tree planted in front of my house. The branches and leaves are lush and green, but why do oranges never bear fruit ?".

He accepted and left. He walked forever until he reached the beach. Looking out at the vast ocean, not seeing a ship, he felt depressed. Suddenly a huge turtle emerged from the water. Turtle told him : "Climb on my back ! I will take you to the island to meet Jade Emperor. However, by the way, please ask Jade Emperor for me why I've been here for a thousand years and am still living as a turtle without changing my fate ?".

Waiting for the scholar to step down, the turtle suddenly parted the waves and swam away. Soon the island appeared before him. He said goodbye to the turtle and then stepped onto the island. Encountering a mountain range blocking his way, he tried to climb to the top and then sat down at a tree stump to wait.

One morning, while waiting, he suddenly saw a bright light on the top of the mountain. Then the Jade Emperor leisurely stepped out from that light. He walked up to the Jade Emperor and immediately asked about the turtle's advice. After listening, Jade Emperor said : "He must release the pearl in his mouth to be reincarnated".

He continued to tell the matter of the orange grower. Jade Emperor said : "That orange does not bear fruit because there is gold under its root". If so, he asked the fate of the mute maiden, then Jade Emperor replied : "She can't speak just because she hasn't met the principal graduate to open her mouth yet".

Finally, he was about to ask about himself, Jade Emperor suddenly snapped : "How unlucky ! I left my Celestial Palace and came down here to find some peace and quiet, but I didn't expect to be disturbed by mortals".

Having finished speaking, Jade Emperor rode a cloud and flew back to Heaven. The scholar had to sadly turn on his heel. When he reached the sea, he saw turtles waiting. While carrying him back to the mainland, the turtle asked : "How is my business ?". He replied : "You must spit out a pearl from your mouth to be reincarnated". The turtle spit out the pearl and gave it to him. He immediately turned into a beautiful goldfish to swimm around.

When he arrived at the orange grower's house, the owner came out to greet him and asked : "Have you asked the Jade Emperor for me ?". He replied : "Already ! There is gold under the orange tree. Dig up the gold and your orange tree will bear fruit". Indeed, the homeowner took a hoe and dug up a pot of gold. He was so happy that he gave half to the scholar.

After that, he continued on his way. He arrived at the capital right at the time when the king was organizing the poinsettia exam. Because he carries a precious pearl in his body, he becomes unusually intelligent. Having the gold, he immediately stayed to buy a tent and bed, then prepare some books to enter the exam. That year he passed the exam and ranked first in the gold board.

Not long after, principal graduate rode the royal horse honorably back to the village. When he passed by a rich man's house, he did not forget his promise and stopped his horse to visit. It's strange ! Before the scholar could tell the owner about Jade Emperor's answer, the mute daughter came out to welcome the principal graduate. Seeing him, she suddenly exclaimed out loud. Her father was so happy that he married his daughter to the principal graduate.

Replies: >>3


Thanks a lot for that story, Cynir, I enjoyed reading that!

Although I have a few comments and questions:

>She can't speak just because she hasn't met the principal graduate to open her mouth yet
This seems worded a bit awkwardly. Actually, I wasn't sure what "principal graduate" is, though it seems to be explained later in the story.

>Poinsettia exam
What is that? I tried to search for it on Google but didn't find anything.

>Because he carries a precious pearl in his body, he becomes unusually intelligent.
Did he swallow it after the turtle gave it to him? That seems odd, as it seems like you would carry a precious pearl in a pocket or something, rather than swallow it.
Also, I didn't know that having a pearl inside you makes you intelligent - is this common in East Asian stories?

>ranked first in the gold table.
What is "the gold table"?

Anyway, despite all of that I understood the story well. The attitude of the Jade Emperor (seemingly grumpy and short-tempered with the question-asker, but actually giving great advice whose worth isn't apparent at first) reminded me of the Good Magician in Piers Anthony's Xanth novels.



Yes, I'll explain right here !

The "principal graduate" (狀元, trạng nguyên) or "first doctoral candidate" is the title given to the scholar who achieved the highest score on highest level of the Imperial Examination. In fact, during more than a thousand years of East Asian imperial examination, there have not been many exams that applied this degree. Why so ? As a rule, each exam selects only one principal graduate and this person will almost certainly become the prime minister within a few years. However, the evaluation standards are extremely difficult, even more difficult than today's Doctor degree. It requires not only abilities and qualities but also personal history within three generations of his family. Therefore, the principal graduate appears in life only as a myth about education and morality. When it is mentioned in a literary context, we just need to understand that the character is very talented and behaves with integrity. In this story, the principal graduate degree plays a role as the result of the character's rigorous process of moral and educational training. Strange events just positively support that.

Besides, I can also help you understand that : "Poinsettia exam" (科舉) is an informal name for the imperial examination. This exam is held every 3-4 years, if the country is in chaos, we will have to wait even ten years or more. Contestants must go through three rounds like EURO and World Cup : Province, Capital and Court. Candidates are given a small travel fee by the government, and they must bring tents and beds (these items are woven from bamboo, small in size and can be folded and worn over the shoulder) to the exam venue. In the past, this was a very difficult journey, but in return, the candidates were respected by the whole society (because the majority of people were illiterate), they were exempted from paying taxes, joining the army and doing social work. However, the exam is very strict, any cheating by both examiners, candidates and guards can lead them to the guillotine. In addition, the words and meanings in the test are not allowed to refer to all royal figures, anyone who violates (accidentally or intentionally) can spend many years in prison. Because of these strict regulations, most students only hope to pass the first exam to have the opportunity to teach or become a pharmacist. There were even ridiculous cases where many candidates took the exam for decades and still could not pass. As for the final exam, the emperor directly sets the questions and supervises the exam, because this round usually only has a few dozen persons passing. The list of successful candidates will be announced on several boards placed at the royal palace gate. Of course, the highest passer will have their name listed on the golden board (I'm sorry that this detail caused you to misunderstand : Board, not Table). The golden board later is an allegory for success today, actually, in the past it was just a wooden board painted yellow. According to the law, yellow and golden are the emperor's exclusive colors, anyone else using them will be considered a violation, so being named on the golden board is a huge honor for Asian students of all time.

About the hidden meaning of the story, as I understand it, the turtle symbolizes longevity, and anyone who lives long will accumulate many valuable experiences, therefore the pearl is a symbol of wisdom. The scholar is given a gem as well as a precious book to pass the exam. Speaking of this, I think of stories "The Sleeping Beauty" and "The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs". Obviously, the maiden is very young and has little life experience, so she needs to be "opened her mouth" by a very experienced man. This is a problem of physiological psychology education. :D



Luckily I found the animated film adaptation of The Poor Scholar and the Jade Emperor : "A Temple on the Sea". Maybe I'll spend a few days of Lunar New Year to translate it.


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