The following happened in the spring of 1937, when the main KPRA force was bivouacking in the forests near Donggang in China.
The soldiers on night guard duty brought some maize from a field yet to be harvested. It might have been a vast relief to the unit that had been making do with rice husks and water for days, but it was a grave offense, for they had not got permission from the field owner.
Kim Il Sung immediately ordered them to bring the owner.
Hours passed, and a gray-haired Chinese man was brought.
The Commander apologized and offered him 30 yuan.
“Why do you apologize, sir?” protested the owner. “A few knapsacks of maize amount to nothing. I must not be paid by the revolutionary army! If the villagers know, they will criticize me. I’ll not receive money or take the maize back.”
Kim Il Sung was grateful, but he finally persuaded the old man to take both the money and the knapsacks of maize. He asked some of the other guerrillas who was the Commander.
When he learned the name, he lamented over his “offense.” He brought out all his family members to pick maize, load it onto a horse-drawn sleigh and drive it to the unit.
Kim Il Sung could no longer decline his kind offer. The old man volunteered the news that a lot of maize was available at an insam (ginseng) field some eight km away, and that he could help the guerrillas purchase it.
Thus the unit, several hundred strong, secured a supply of food and salt enough to last more than a month.