It happened on October 7, 2002, when General Kim Jong Il was looking round Samjiyon Hotel No. 1.
He saw a large landscape painting Delight by the Sobaek Stream adorning the wall in the lobby.
He was feasting his eyes on the painting, when the deer and pheasant in it attracted his gaze.
Watching the painting closely, he asked, “Does a pheasant live by the Sobaek Stream?”
As a matter of fact, many officials had been there and lauded the art work in the lobby, but nobody wondered if deer and pheasants occurred by the stream.
Noting that the painter might not have been to the area, Kim Jong Il said, “Moose may live in the Sobaeksu Valley but other species of deer and pheasants do not occur there.”
Stressing that painters must not distort facts, he told a story: I once saw a painting at an art studio, which depicted the scenery of the Sobaek Stream. In the painting were three mallards, as well as deer and pheasants, so I jokingly asked the painters where the mallards could live away from the stream. …
The officials broke into laughter.
Afterwards, the deer and pheasant disappeared from the landscape painting.