SEOUL (Reuters) - The passing of North Korean strongman Kim Jong-il has been marked by plunging temperatures, mourning bears and now, according to North Korean state media, by flocks of magpies.
Kim, who died in December aged 69 years after 17 years running the world’s most reclusive state, was reputed to be able to control the weather, as well as to have scored a miraculous 38 under par round of golf.
“At around 17:30 on December 19, 2011, hundreds of magpies appeared from nowhere and hovered over a statue of President Kim Il Sung on Changdok School campus in Mangyongdae District, clattering as if they were telling him the sad news,” state news agency KCNA reported on Monday.
Kim’s death was announced on December 19, although he was reported by official media to have died on December 17 on a train journey to give guidance to his subjects.
He has been succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, who will become the third of his line to head the world’s only hereditary totalitarian Stalinist state. Mythmaking is a key part of the personality cult that surrounds the family of founding father Kim Il-sung.
KCNA reported last week that a family of bears who usually hibernate through the fierce Korean winter had been seen lamenting Kim Jong-il’s death.
“The bears, believed to be a mother and cubs, were staying on the road, crying woefully,” it said.
Mythmaking for Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his late 20s, has already started. He is portrayed as the spitting image of his grandfather and has been dubbed the “genius of geniuses” in military affairs despite having no known military experience.
Reporting by David Chance; Editing by Paul Tait