A Carp Pieced Together

One evening in September 1971, President Kim Il Sung arrived at his residence from an inspection trip, and entered the dining-room together with three children of an official of Chongryon (General Association of Korean Residents in Japan) who were staying there.

The youngest boy, aged 6, was seated beside him, and he boasted that he had caught a carp in a nearby lake in the afternoon, and that he had been the only one of his companions to do so.

The boy, indulging in the special care of the President, was a spoilt, wilful child.

On his return with the carp, he had allowed nobody to touch it, assuming the air of a hunter who had caught a tiger. “My carp is going to be served, and you’ll see it’s as big as my arm,” he bragged to the President, lifting up his arm again and again. “That big?” said Kim Il Sung, urging him further and holding his arm upward. “How could it bite the bait? Perhaps thinking it was safe?” Inflated with praise, the child demanded that the cooked carp be brought immediately.

When the dish was served, the child suddenly burst into tears. He cried nonstop before crawling under the table and kicking his feet in the air in a tantrum. He was upset because the fish had been cut into slices, and so nobody could tell how big it was.

His brother and sister tried to soothe him, but in vain.

“A bit too headstrong,” said Kim Il Sung, chuckling. He proceeded to gather the slices together in order to form a whole fish.

“Now come out,” he said, gesturing to the child under the table. “The carp is whole again. Oh, it’s so big!”

The boy stopped crying, crawled out and stole a glance at the table, wiping away his tears as he did so.

The fish was just as big again as when he had caught it. With eyes popping, he exclaimed, “Grandfather, it’s the carp I caught. Please help yourself.”

The President gave a hearty laugh, and was soon joined by the others in his mirth.

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