By Sungju Lee, Susan Elizabeth McClelland
Read or Download Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea PDF
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Additional resources for Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea
One day a snake was climbing up a tree near Heungbu’s house, wanting to eat a swallow. Heungbu chased the snake away and helped the swallow heal from its injuries. The swallow’s family gave Heungbu a seed as a thank-you. That seed grew into gourds that, when opened, were full of jewels that brought Heungbu and his family great wealth. “On hearing of Heungbu’s good fortune, Nolbu wanted a gourd, too. So he broke a swallow’s leg and then fixed it, hoping the swallow would repay the kindness with a magic seed.
Hwanung ordered them to eat only cloves of garlic and mugwort for one hundred days. The tiger gave up, but the bear pressed on. When the bear became human, she was pregnant and husbandless. Hwanung married her. The bear’s son, Dangun, became the leader of the heavenly kingdom on earth and moved the capital to outside Pyongyang. In my imagination, Kim Il-sung was a descendant of Dangun. He was part god, too. After history, we moved on to geometry, biology, algebra, dance and music, the last of which I hated, for I felt these were subjects for girls.
But I was more lonely than afraid, so I pushed on, tiptoeing down the concrete staircase. Just as I pushed open the side door to our apartment building and felt the warm night air embrace me, a strong hand grabbed the collar of my shirt and pulled me through. I pinched my eyes shut, convinced I was about to face the ghost of the eternal leader. “Open your eyes, my little yaeya,” a familiar voice said. I looked into my grandfather’s wrinkled face, lit by the match he was using to light a cigarette.