An Order Issued to a “Boy Husband”

A young man who had been wandering about in rags joined the army after the country’s liberation and served as a guard of Kim Il Sung’s office building.

One November day in 1949, he was summoned by the leader. He entered the office, and found some other guards there. They lined up and saluted the General. He shook their hands warmly and said that he would grant a furlough to all of them, who had married before joining the army.

The young soldier was surprised. He looked at the others from the corners of his eyes and saw all of them were married soldiers.”

How on earth did he know I’m married?” he said to himself, blushing.

He was the youngest among his colleagues, and in the fear that they might make fun of him as a “boy husband,” he had kept it secret that he was married, more than a year into his military service. But how could the General have possibly discovered it?

The soldier could never guess that Kim Il Sung had found a letter to his wife while checking his notebook.

That day the soldiers going on leave received a thick envelope each. Kim Il Sung shook their hands again after stressing, “You must not open the envelopes before the train starts.”

Then he told the young soldier: When you get home, you must ask your wife to bring up your child to be a pillar of the country.

The soldier felt a catch in his throat.

As soon as the train started rolling, he took out the envelope and ripped it open. It contained 3 000 won and Kim Il Sung’s written order that ran: “Before reaching home, you must buy wine, tobacco, a tobacco pouch and a pipe with this money. With the remainder, you must get clothes for your grandparents and mother. You must report upon this on your return.”

Tears coursed down the cheeks of the young soldier.

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