Peaches and Pickled Cucumbers

In August 2011 Kim Jong Il paid an unofficial visit to Siberia and Far East region of Russia.

On the 21st, after looking round the Bureya hydropower station, the governor of Amur arranged a luncheon in honour of the DPRK leader there.

The table was filled with a wide assortment of dishes.

The Russian President’s chief delegate to the Far Eastern Federal District nudged the governor and gave him a nod as a token of satisfaction.

Kim Jong Il with a broad smile asked if the fruits and vegetables on the table were from Amur.

The governor said yes and the chief delegate affirmed that they were.

Kim Jong Il asked:

Is that so? Then are these peaches from Amur as well?

To this question the governor could not give an answer, blushing with embarrassment.

As a matter of fact, the peaches were not from Amur.

The governor said, “Frankly speaking, these peaches have been imported. By the way, how do you know that? You are knowledgeable, indeed.”

Kim Jong Il said: Don’t mention it. As far as I know, peaches do not grow well in this region. When I was in China, I saw peaches of this species. So I have asked you the question.

Both the governor and the chief delegate were struck with admiration for the DPRK leader.

Well, why aren’t there pickled cucumbers on the table?

Kim Jong Il asked again.

It is widely known that the Russians like drinking and they drink mostly with pickled cucumbers and salted herring.

The governor said that pickled cucumbers seemed inappropriate to the occasion.

Kim Jong Il said:

You have not had pickled cucumbers put on the table, and I guess you have no intention of drinking with me.

“No, sir. I will have them prepared immediately,” said the governor.

The dish was brought in no time and the governor, as well as the chief delegate, was drinking in small sips.

Kim Jong Il asked:

Why don’t you drink, chief delegate?

“The President instructed me to attend you with scrupulous care, stressing that I must never drink.”

You must do as your President instructed. But the governor should drink.

“How can I drink as my superior doesn’t?”

Then I will not insist any more. I wish you come to our country later. This is my formal invitation. You must follow my instructions in Korea. Then I can see how much you can drink.

Kim Jong Il said this and laughed. Everyone was smiling and the atmosphere grew friendlier.

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