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`Phone Call at Dawn' From `Dear Leader'

THE regime of the late Kim Il Sung created one of the world's most bombastic propaganda efforts to shore up his rule and to ensure that his son, Kim Jong Il, would be similarly venerated. Much of this propaganda records the most trivial activities of the two with excruciating reverence. The excerpt that follows is from a booklet called ``The Great Man: Kim Jong Il,'' published in English by Foreign Languages Publishing House in Pyongyang in 1988. The grammatical peculiarities appear in the original text.

It was at dawn of one June day in 1980.

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A leading official worked in his office until late at night, and fell into a doze towards dawn resting his head on the table. There was no knowing how long he dozed, and he heard a faint phone bell in his sleep and woke up. He hastily picked up the receiver....

The gentle voice of the telephone girl came over the line. ``The dear Comrade Kim Jong Il wants you on the phone. Soon I will put you through.'' He came to his senses in a moment and sprang to his feet smoothing his clothes....

``Dear Comrade Leader! I am on the phone,'' he spoke hastily. But there was no reply from him. One second after another passed, but there was no reply yet. The sound of his rhythmic breathing was only heard over the line. At this his heart throbbed.

The dear Comrade Kim Jong Il was certainly dozing off with the receiver in his hand. The official bated his breath for fear that he would disturb him in his sweet sleep.

Thus 15 minutes or so passed. His tender voice was heard over the phone. ``I'm sorry. I called you up and dozed off for a while.''

The official said in a trembling voice, ``Dear Comrade Leader! What time is it now? I am worried that you do not go to bed every night like this.''

``Well, the same story over again,'' said the dear Comrade Kim Jong Il. After some time he added as if excusing himself: ``As the night is far advanced, I wanted to discuss this matter next morning, but when I was reading the submitted documents some ideas struck me, so I unexpectedly rang you up. Excuse me.''

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The official listened to him silently, his eyes glistening with tears.

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