Annyeong Oppa Feature Drama / Series

Recollecting the 16 Fairy Tale Stories in “It’s Okay To Not Be Okay”

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay became the talk of the town every weekend for almost two months because of its dark yet realistic plot that draws connection to our hearts for being open to personality and mental health issues.

This drama primarily opens our understanding as a person towards other people, as well as to know and truly understand our own selves to achieve genuine happiness. It also teaches us a lot of lessons and even the title itself is a lesson reminding us that it is okay to not be okay.

With that, each episode has its own fairy tale story to tell. These fictitious, however, depicts the reality of life fairy tales are amazingly used in the drama to make us remember the essence of life; that even in the fairy tales, we suffer and took the chances to find the way out of that suffering.

Now, let us look back and feel the warmth of these 16 fairy tale stories that were mentioned in It’s Okay To Not Be Okay:

Episode 1: The Boy Who Fed On Nightmares

The boy woke up from another awful nightmare. Bad memories from that past that he wanted to forget were replayed on his dreams every night and haunted him nonstop.

He was terrified of falling asleep, so one day, he went to the witch and begged. “Please get rid of all my bad memories, so that I won’t ever have a nightmare again. Then, I will do everything you ask.”

Years went by, and the boy became an adult. He no longer has nightmares but for some strange reasons, he wasn’t happy at all.

One night, a blood moon filled the sky and the witch finally showed up again to take what he had promised in return for granting his wish. And he shouted at her with so much resentment, “All my bad memories are gone but why can’t I become happy.”

Then the witch took his soul as they had promised and told him this, “Hurtful, painful memories. Memories of deep regrets. Memories of hurting others and being hurt. Memories of being abandoned. Only those with such memories buried in their hearts can become stronger, more passionate, and emotionally flexible. And only those can attain happiness.”

Ko Moon Young

It is the beginning of the series wherein the characters were introduced. It depicts the suffering they’re still carrying from the past, most specifically, Sang Tae and Gang Tae who always run to different places.

This story tells us that bad memories and suffering are part of our lives, and that makes us human. How can we differentiate the sadness and happiness if we tend to feel only one thing? So, we need to overcome the pain that we have been hiding deep inside our hearts to finally move on. By that, we can only find the happiness we’ve been looking for.

Episode 2: The Lady In Red Shoes

The little girl wore her red shoes everywhere she went, even to a God-fearing church.

Once you wear those shoes, your feet start dancing on their own and you can never stop dancing or take off those shoes. But even so, the little girl never gave up on those red shoes.

In the end, the executioner had to cut off her feet. But the two feet that got cut off still continued to dance in those red shoes.

Ko Moon Young

This story shows Ko Moon Young’s (Seo Ye Ji) obsession with Gang Tae and sharp objects. Whatever and whoever it is, she’ll always get what she wants in any way she can.

The Lady In Red Shoes reminding us that there are things we’ve been holding on for a long time and it is hard to just let it go. Also, there are things that can not be torn apart no matter how hard we try to do so.

Episode 3: Sleeping Witch

Once upon a time, in a castle in the middle of a deep forest lives a princess who had been asleep for many years.

A needle on a spinning wheel will kill her — that was the curse the evil witch put to the princess the day she was born.

Frightened, the king burned every spinning wheel in his kingdom to avoid the curse, but the princess ended up getting prick by a thorn on the rose given to her by the witch in disguise and fell asleep.

Ko Moon Young

In this story, it clearly states that if things are really meant to happen, even if you tried to avoid it, it will eventually happen. There’s no way you could escape from that situation, you just need to face it with all your might.

Episode 4: Zombie Kid

A baby boy was born in a small village. He had pale skin and large eyes. While raising the boy, his mother naturally came to the realization that he had no feelings at all.

All he had was the desire to eat like a zombie. So, his mother locked him up in the basement so that the villagers wouldn’t see him. And every night she stole livestock from her neighbors to feed him. That’s how she raised him in secret.

One night she’d steal a chicken. The next day, she’d steal a pig. A number of years passed like that, then one day, an epidemic broke out. It left the remaining animals dead, and it also killed many people.

Those who survived the epidemic left the village. But the mother couldn’t leave her son all alone. And to appease her son crying of hunger, she cut off one leg of hers and give it to him. After that, it was her arm. She gave him all her limbs when she was left with nothing but her torso, she embraced her son for the last time to let him devour what was left of her.

With his both arms, the boy tightly held his mother’s torso and spoke for the first time in his life, “Mom, you’re so warm.”

Moon Gang Tae

Parents give everything and willing to do anything for their child even if it means less for them. But is it what the child really/only wants?

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Money, food, toys, and other material things are wonderful gifts that could make one’s life better and secure. But the kids are also longing for attention, love, and care from their parents — these are the priceless and needed things they would love to have.

Episode 5: Rapunzel and the Cursed Castle

A long time ago, deep inside the forest, there lived a little girl in a cursed castle. The little girl’s mother always told her daughter that she’s too special to live among everyone else outside the castle. The mother told her that she must only live inside the castle.

However, the little girl felt like she was imprisoned. So she prayed to the moon every day, “Please send me a handsome prince who can save me from here. Will he come today? Will he come tomorrow?”

The little girl waited every day for her prince to show up.

Ko Moon Young

The story of Rapunzel reflects Ko Moon Young’s story who had been waiting for someone to come and make her free. It also teaches us to be patient and keep on believing because everything has it’s own right pace. Things will eventually happen in the perfect time and place.

Episode 6: Bluebeard’s Secret

Once upon a time, a count with a blue beard lived alone in a huge castle. He was very wealthy but everyone avoided him out of fear because of his blue beard.

But one day, a poor woman came to the castle and said that she wanted to be his bride. Brimming with joy, Bluebeard brought out all the jewels and treasures from each room and gave them to his wife as a gift.

However, there was an exception, the room in the basement. He warned her to never go into that room but his curious wife eventually opened the secret door without telling her husband.

Do you know what was in that room? Corpses of women were displayed on the walls. They were the wives of Bluebeard who had ignored his warning and opened that door. That’s how they all ended up.

Moon Gang Tae

This gives hint to what happened to Ko Moon Young’s parents. Moreover, asking why the villagers are afraid of the Bluebeard, it is because he’s different from the others. Society recognizes and favors those who pass their standards but neglects those people who seem different in their eyes.

But being different is not something to be afraid of. We need to accept and embrace one’s differences because they are also worthy of love and acceptance. And even if you’re different, there’s someone who will love and accept you on who you really are. Someone who’s not afraid of you and tells you that it’s okay to be different.

Episode 7: The Cheerful Dog

Once upon a time, there lived a dog that was very good at hiding his emotions. The dog was tied beneath a shade tree. He always wagged his tail and acted cutely. So he got the name, the cheerful dog because he is as cheerful as springtime.

The dog always had lots of fun with the village kids during the day. But every night, he’d moan and whine when no one was around. That’s because he wanted to cut off the leash and freely run around out in the spring field. However, he couldn’t. And that’s why he cried every night. Every single night.

One day, the voice inside him asked the Cheerful Dog, “Hey, why don’t you just cut off the leash and run away?”

And this was the cheerful dog said, “I’ve been tied up for way too long so I forgot how to cut myself free.”

Moon Sang Tae

Humans are good at hiding their emotions. They wear a mask showing only what they want others to see. And in the Cheerful Dog’s story, it reminds us to let go and move on while we still have time, as long as we are not in the deep trap of our own emotions.

If we keep on holding onto someone and/or something that wouldn’t make us any better, we will forever be living in fear, pain, and regrets. As much as you can still get off the leash, as much as you have the chance to find the way out, do it now.

Do not live a life where you are trapped, it’s time to take a step and muster your courage. It’s now the time to move on and be happy.

Episode 8: Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast is a story about Stockholm syndrome. The beast lives alone in the castle because of a curse. He holds a lady named Belle hostage in the castle and grooms this victim of his. That’s what the story is about.

The Beast is usually selfish and harsh on Belle. So doing something nice once in a blue moon and gazing at her with a faint smile on his face was enough to move the naive lady, Belle.

“The Beast is lonely. I should embrace him with my love. Only I can change him.”

Ko Moon Young

No. The Beast turns into a prince because of the power of Belle’s true love.

Belle’s love calmed the Beast’s violent nature. That love embraced his wounded soul. The greatest thing anyone can do as a human being, it’s pure love.

Areum

The Beast and Belle’s story proves the power of true love. You may build a sturdy wall to protect and distance yourself, there’s someone out there who will break that and will embrace you wholeheartedly.

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Episode 9: King Donkey Ears

The guy goes to the forest and shouts, the king has donkey ears!” — Sang Tae

If you keep a secret to yourself, you end up getting frustrated. You need to tell someone in order to relieve your stress. — Moon Young

King Donkey Ears is a story about a king who has donkey ears. He keeps that as a secret to the people aside from his hairdresser. The hairdresser keeps the king’s secret for years, but one day, he couldn’t keep it anymore and shouted the king’s secret in the forest.

Just like what happened at the end of its episode, Sang Tae shouted the abhorrence he deeply keep in his heart towards Gang Tae. Therewith, keeping everything to yourself will only bring nothing but disturbance.

We are all familiar with the saying that no secrets can be kept forever and the truth shall prevail.

Episode 10: The Girl Who Cried Wolf

The shepherd boy lied all the time. The boy repeatedly lied to the villagers that a real wolf showed up.

Do you know why the boy tricked the villagers like that? Because he was lonely. He did that because he was lonely all by himself in the mountains.

Ko Moon Young

The Girl Who Cried Wolf refers to Ko Moon Young who lied about her trip with Gang Tae. She explains it to Sang Tae using the above’s story that she is lonely and wants to do something.

If you are known to be a liar, it is so hard to make other people believe whatever you have said. Dishonesty ruins the trust and relationship we once built with the people. So, as much as possible, be true to yourself and always tell the truth.

Episode 11: The Ugly Duckling

The other ducks are mean to the ugly duckling. They bully him because he looks different from them. — Sang Tae

So he gets really lonely and leaves his family. — Gang Tae

If the mother duck gives a lot of love, duckling wouldn’t leave. If the adult embraces the kids, the ducks and swan can get all along and live together just fine.

Judgements can really bring down someone’s self-esteem. We need to understand and embrace everyone’s differences and make it as their asset not as something to be mocked off.

Episode 12: Romeo and Juliet

We look like Romeo and Juliet. — Ko Moon Young

The ill-fated mortal enemies. Who should’ve never crossed paths. — Gang Tae

No. they’re meant to be. It’s fate. — Moon Young

It’s a tragic fate. — Gang Tae

In this episode, it slowly unveils the connection of their families. And just like Romeo and Juliet, the two have an ill-fated fate. But this story also shows that we can create love out of hatred between the families. Love is so powerful after all.

Episode 13: The Father of the Two Sisters

A Tale of Two Sisters. I hated the father in the story. Even though his daughters were abused by their stepmother and were on the verge of death, he turned a blind eye to all of it.

The one who neglects and turns a blind eye to the abuse is worse than the abuser. Those two sisters were practically killed by their father.

Ko Moon Young

Among all, this is the story Ko Moon Young hated the most. This is not just for the parents but also to all the people who turn a blind eye in every situation. Those individuals who keep their mouth sealed as if nothing had happened.

Our voices may literally save a life if we will take a step and use it in a right way.

Episode 14: The Hand, The Monkfish

Once upon a time, a beautiful baby girl was born into a wealthy family. She was as beautiful and flawless as magnolias. Her mother loved her so much that she pledge she’d do anything for her baby. She said she would even present to her the sun and the moon.

When the baby started eating solid foods, her mother was thrilled, “My sweet child, I will feed you everything you want to eat. Open your mouth wide like this ahhh”

When the baby started walking, her mother ran hurriedly to where she was. “My sweet child, I will carry you. Come on, hop on my back.”

After raising the baby by always providing her with everything she needed, the mother said this, “My beloved child, I need some rest now. Can you get me some food?”

Then the child spoke, “Mom, I have no hands. I never used them so they’ve vanished.”

“Then my sweet child, can you carry me on your back? My legs hurt.”

Then the child said this, “Mom, I have no feet. You always carried me on your back. So, I’ve never even stepped on the ground. But instead, I have a huge mouth,” and she opened her humongous mouth.

Then the mother shouted in anger, “You weren’t my perfect baby after all. You’re like a useless monkfish. All you can do is eat what I feed you. You can’t do anything on your own. You’re an utter failure.”

Then the mother threw the baby into the far away sea. Even since that day, it’s been said that the fisherman can hear a baby’s cry on spooky, windy days out on the sea.

“Mom. Mom. What did I do wrong? Please come and get me. Please come back and get me.”

Nurse Park

This is a very sad story. Spoiling your kids and not letting them do something on their own will eventually get back to the parents. Not all the time we have someone to lean on. There are times that we need to face the world alone.

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Episode 15: A Tale of Two Brothers

A long time ago, there lived two poor brothers who cared for each other very much.

One day, it was the harvest season so they both harvested rice. The older brother was worried his little brother might run out of rice. So he secretly carried a sack of rice at night and left it in front of his little brother’s house.

The same day, the little brother also carried a sack of rice and put it in front of his older brother’s house. Thinking that his older brother might need more due to his big family.

When they woke up the next day, they both noticed that they still had the same amount of rice as before. The two brothers thought it was strange so they did the same thing at night and left a sack of rice in front of each other’s house. And that continued for days.

Moon Gang Tae

Unlike the latter, this story shows appreciation and love towards other people, especially to your siblings. Nothing can beat one’s kindness and it will get back to you a thousandfold in the future.

This is the lesson of the story according to Sang Tae: Siblings who care a lot about each other should live together so that they won’t end up doing pointless work.

Episode 16: Finding the Real Face

Once upon a time in a castle in the deep forest, there lived three people who had their real faces stolen by the Shadow Witch.

The Box Man spoke, “If we want to stop fighting and find happiness, we must retrieve our stolen faces.”

So they hopped on their camping car and began their journey to find their real faces. Then one day, they run into a mother fox who was bawling, curled up on the snow.

The Masked Boy asked the mother fox, “Ma’am, why do you keep crying?”

“Oh I came out here to find some food but dropped my baby whom I was carrying on my back somewhere in the snow,” the mother fox’s tears had run dry. She wailed while beating her chest.

When the masked boy saw that, warm tears started gushing from his eyes. Then the snow began to melt quickly and the baby fox who was frozen under the snow soon appeared.

The three of them resumed their journey. Soon, they ran into a clown who was dancing naked in a field of thorny flowers. The Emotionless Princess asked, “Why are you dancing with all your might knowing you’ll be pricked by the thorns?”

“I feel that this is the only way to make people look at me. But it hurts and no one’s looking at me,” he answered. The Emotional Princess walked into the field of thorny flowers and started dancing with the clown, “I am an empty can so I won’t be hurt even if I get pricked by the thorns.”

When she began hopping and dancing, loud clanking noises echoed from her empty torso. And upon hearing those sounds, the people began to flock to where they were. The crowd watched their dance and applauded them.

They began a new journey to find their stolen faces and the evil Shadow Witch appeared in front of them once again. She kidnapped the Masked Boy who shed tears on behalf of the mother fox, as well as the Emotional Princess who danced with the clown, “The two of you will never be able to find your happy faces.”

After putting such a curse on them, she locked them in a deep, dark mole tunnel. The Box Man found the mole tunnel a few days later but the entrance was so narrow that he couldn’t go in. “What do I do? I need to take this box off my head in order to go into the tunnel.”

That moment, the Masked Boy’s voice reached him from the inside of the tunnel, “Mister, don’t worry about us. Just ran far away. The Shadow Witch will return soon.”

However, the Box Man mustered up the courage to take the box off his head. He went inside the tunnel and save the Masked Boy and the Emotional Princess.

Upon getting out of the dark tunnel, the two of them saw the man’s face covered with dirt and grime instead of the box and burst out laughing. They laughed and giggled.

While laughing uncontrollably, the Masked Boy’s mask suddenly fell off. The can surrounding the Emotional Princess’ torso also fell off and made a clanking noise.

The Box Man, now out of his box, said this when he saw the two of them finding their true faces while laughing, “I’m happy.”

What the Shadow Witch had stolen from them was not their true faces but their courage to find happiness.

Ko Moon Young, Moon Sang Tae, and Moon Gang Tae

This is a very beautiful story summarizing its own drama, It’s Okay To Not Be Okay. It teaches us to always take the courage in finding our own happiness, as well as in overcoming the struggles of life.

The journey of life is not easy at all. There are lots of bumpy roads and confusing paths that we need to face in order to be directed in the right direction.

Aside from that, the whole casts from the main down to the supporting actors nailed their roles by giving justice to their characters.

And of course, this wouldn’t happen without the imagination and creativity of the writer, director, and the whole production staff!

Among the 16 stories, what are your favorite? Share it with us!

All stories (excerpts) are from the drama. Screen shot photos by Al Lee via Netflix.
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5 comments

  1. I loved this series. I found it very artistic. Out of all the stories, even though all were vey interesting and nicely ilustrated, my favourite was the hand, the monkfish. I tend to be that kind of a mother that adores her daughter and wants to do everything for her not realizing that a spoiled child is a handicapped one. I am restraining as much as I can. I hope that my love won’t harm my child in the end like in this fairy tale.

  2. I love the story “The Cheerful Dog.” I don’t know…I just get it. My life sometimes feels like what the dog is going through. I really need to cut my leash and escape all that I’m holding on to. This drama was excellent. On so many levels.

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