President Kim Il Sung wrote as follows in his reminiscences With the Century:
“During my life I have met many people who helped me. Many benefactors saved me from the death which shadowed me. … Consequently I sometimes think that Heaven looks after a patriot and that a saviour always appears to rescue him. This is not merely wishful thinking. Everywhere the people help individuals who are ready to dedicate their lives for the people. This is a truth and dialectic.”
In the summer of 1930, Kim Il Sung dropped in at a village in Jiaohe to restore underground organizations ruined by the Japanese imperialists. But all of a sudden, there were policemen on his heels.
He thought he was caught and despaired of his situation, but a woman saved him from the danger. She said to him, “You seem to be in danger, though I don’t know who you are. Be quick and go into the kitchen.” Quickly she put on his back the baby she was carrying on hers. She said, “I will answer the door. Sit quietly and tend the fire.”
The police opened the kitchen door and asked her, “A young man just came this way. Where has he gone?” The woman replied with composure, “What kind of young man? No one has come to my house.” The baby on Kim Il Sung’s back cried incessantly, as it was shy of him. He wanted to soothe the baby but could do nothing, fearing that an awkward act on his part might reveal his identity, so he merely stoked the fire with the poker.
The police talked among themselves, wondering where he had gone and whether they had missed him, before heading for another house.
After they had gone the woman said with a smile, “Please act as if you are my husband until the police leave the village. My husband is out in the field. When he comes back, let’s discuss what we should do.”
After a while the police came back and shouted at him to come out as they wanted to send him on an errand. She said calmly, “How can this sick man run an errand? If you have some urgent errand, I will do it in his place.” Then she went on the errand in his place and returned home.
Thus, with the help of a woman quite strange to him, he escaped from the critical situation.
An Old Man Named Ma on the Luozigou Heights
In late 1932, Kim Il Sung was conducting the work with the Chinese anti-Japanese units. Around this time, the Japanese imperialists, alarmed at the prospect of forming a common front between the Korean and Chinese forces, pressed on with their attack in large numbers on the Luozigou area.
The guerrilla army could not but retreat immediately from the area. At that time, there were only 18 men left in the unit led by Kim Il Sung.
In the sky aeroplanes were flying around, dropping leaflets urging the guerrillas to surrender, and on the ground hordes of Japanese soldiers mobilized for a “punitive expedition” were closing in on them from all directions. The sharp frost and the waist-deep snow made it hard for them to advance. As the provisions had run out and the uniforms were torn, there was no way to overcome cold.
They were at the crossroads of life and death suffering from hunger and cold for several days. Then they met an old man named Ma on the Luozigou heights, who helped them escape death.
Though they were unexpectedly provided with a resting place, Kim Il Sung felt his heart heavy as he had to find a way out for the 18 men in a deserted place. At that time, the old man came up to him and encouraged him, saying that, at the sight of his face, they would surely win the struggle against the Japanese imperialists, and informed him of a method for tiding over the crisis.
In the dead of night, the old man guided them to a mountain hut all of 12 miles away to be invisible to the stragglers from the national salvation army and the Japanese soldiers. They stayed there for about 20 days, recovering their strength. After that, they left the Luozigou heights safely guided by the old man, breaking through enemy encirclement.
People Met in the Jaws of Death
In late January 1935, while Commander Kim Il Sung and his guerrillas were taking a short break on a 700-metre-high mountain ridge, they encountered all of a sudden the “punitive” troops in pursuit of them. They had to exchange fire with the enemy chasing like leeches and carry on their march, licking snow balls to allay their hunger as their food had run out.
At this juncture, Kim Il Sung caught a chill on Tianqiaoling. A high fever and a terrible fit of shivering cramped his limbs, with the result that he lost consciousness.
When his illness began to take a turn for the worse and his 16 men were about to be buried under the snow on Tianqiaoling, they met with a helping hand.
They found a way to break through the enemy siege with the help of an old man Kim, an employee at the Tianqiaoling timber mill. His plan for their escape, which could not be mapped out even by military commanders, presupposed his self-sacrifice.
The guerrillas disguised themselves as workers of the timber mill and safely passed the enemy’s three sentry posts. Later, they found the house of old man Jo Thaek Ju living in the primeval forests of the Laoyeling. Thanks to the whole-hearted devotion of his family members, Kim Il Sung recovered his health.
The people were always protectors of and grateful benefactors to Kim Il Sung. With their love and support, he led the Korean revolution to victory by believing in and relying on them throughout his life.