Making a Detour for Three Years

One day in the early spring of 1970, President Kim Il Sung left Pyongyang for field guidance in Onchon County. The car travelled along the Pyongyang-Nampho road, and was veering in the direction of Ryonggang, when the leader told his driver to stop and drive toward Nampho, instead of Ryonggang.

“Aren’t you going to Onchon?” asked his aide.

“Yes, I am.”

The aide wondered. Onchon was 16 km away via Ryonggang township, but 24 km away via Nampho. Moreover, the leader always used to go through Ryonggang on his way to Onchon or back from there to Pyongyang. But now he was going to make a detour. The aide and the driver looked at each other with a questioning look.

“I do not want to pass through Okto-ri,” said the leader.

They were surprised, for he had always been glad to pass through Okto-ri, in Ryonggang County, where Hero Rim Kun Sang was living, whom he had known since the national conference of model farmers held during the Korean war. Back then, when Rim took the floor and said how he had invented a wide-row wheat sower, Kim Il Sung highly praised him for his diligence and devotion, calling him a “real farmer.” For nearly 20 years since then, he had treated him as his revolutionary comrade and dear friend.

Whenever he was passing Okto-ri, Kim Il Sung would tell the driver to go slowly and looked out as if in search of someone.

Every time, Rim would run up and greet him, and they joyfully discussed farming, oblivious of the passage of time.

When the car turned towards Nampho, the leader spoke in a hoarse voice: “I don’t want to pass Okto-ri because I won’t be able to see Rim Kun Sang.”

Only then did the aide and the driver remember that Rim had passed away not long before.

When Kim Il Sung had learned that Rim was suffering from a terminal illness, he showed him every possible care, but finally death overcame the farmer-hero. The leader dried his eyes with his handkerchief at the heartrending memory.

For the next three years, Kim Il Sung always made a detour via Nampho on his way to Onchon.

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