Once upon a time, there lived a man called Baker King.
Remember that name well because failure to give it due mention (in a year-end review, for example) might incite a stream of Bard-inspired curses such as “A plague on both your houses!” But don’t let the chorus of “What about Baker King?” drive you batty and definitely do not brandish your rolling pin in irate response. Stiff upper lip, there you go.
Baker King was also called Kim Tak-gu and he began life in a mansion so sprawling the resident mice needed maps just to get around. By “began life,” it didn’t mean he was born there, just conceived there. Wait, let’s not get into a “when does life begin” debate because if we must be so exacting, then surely Tak-gu was conceived even before he was conceived because his father was obsessed with the idea of a son and even had a name all readied for the momentous event long before the momentous event. As the Bard wrote, “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,” so Gu Il-jong lived every day hoping for a male heir. The waiting took its toll on his mouth and he spoke little and smiled even less. His hair, however, suffered no ill effects and gleamed proudly atop his pate, every strand in place thanks to liberal dollops of hair cream.