The Legend of Kumdang and Sindok Natural Mineral Water

One day in August 1985 President Kim Il Sung was having a meal with Chongryon officials. During the meal he asked them to drink some Sindok Natural Mineral Water, saying that it was good for the health.

They tried it and found it refreshing.

Looking around at them, Kim Il Sung said: “There’s a place called Kumdang-ri in Onchon County, South Phyongan Province. ‘Kumdang’ means golden donkey.”

Then he told them the legend of how Kumdang village had come into being.

Once upon a time, a hunter lived in a village. One day he went hunting. He saw a deer and shot an arrow at it. The arrow lodged in the deer’s leg. The hunter ran after the deer. Suddenly, the deer was engulfed in a ring of haze, and disappeared.

After a moment the haze lifted and revealed a golden donkey. The hunter was so astonished that he gave no thought to shooting the donkey. The golden donkey disappeared and the deer reappeared. It limped towards a spring, drank the water and washed its bleeding leg in it.

Then, to the surprise of the hunter, the deer stretched out and leapt up to the top of a nearby mountain, as if it had never been wounded. The hunter tried the water, and found it refreshing.

Afterwards he built himself a house beside the spring. As time went by he grew stronger and stronger, until he could fire an arrow as far as 40 km.

The story spread rapidly across the country and lots of people gathered where he lived. Thus a village was created, called Kumdang-ri.

Winding up his story, Kim Il Sung said: “The water of Kumdang-ri is Sindok Natural Mineral Water. Ten years ago, I visited Kumdang-ri and I saw elderly people over 100 years old making straw ropes, cushions and reed mats.”

The Chongryon officials, who had been fascinated by his story, fell into deep thought. Although they had heard that Kim Il Sung was very knowledgeable about nature, geography, history and customs, they had never imagined that he would know even the history of the spring water from a small rural village far from the capital city.

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