Manchurian crane mourns Kim's death: state media

Even Mother Nature is mourning the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, with ice cracking around his birthplace and expressions of grief from a bird, Pyongyang's official media said Thursday.

On Saturday morning when Kim passed away, layers of ice ruptured with an unprecedentedly loud crack at Chon Lake on Mount Paektu and a snowstorm and strong winds hit the area, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Mount Paektu is considered a holy place for North Koreans as the country's founding father Kim Il-Sung commanded anti-Japanese guerrillas from a secret camp there.

North Korea maintains his son Jong-Il was born there in 1942. Historians say he was actually born in Siberia, where his father had taken refuge from Japanese troops.

The snowstorm ended suddenly at dawn Tuesday and the sunrise lit up the horizon and the mountain peaks, the news agency said.

A message from Kim Jong-Il carved on the rocks -- "Mt Paektu, holy mountain of revolution. Kim Jong Il" -- glowed brightly, it said, in a phenomenon that lasted till Tuesday evening.

A glow was seen atop the mountain's Jong-Il Peak for half an hour on Monday when the death was announced by Pyongyang, according to KCNA.

A natural wonder was also observed around Kim Il-Sung's statue on Tonghung Hill in the northeastern city of Hamhung.

"At around 21:20 (1220 GMT) Tuesday a Manchurian crane was seen flying round the statue three times before alighting on a tree," the news agency said.

"The crane stayed there for quite a long while with its head bowed and flew in the direction of Pyongyang.

"Observing this, the director of the Management Office for the Hamhung Revolutionary Site, and others said in unison that even the crane seemed to mourn the demise of Kim Jong-Il, born of heaven, after flying down there at dead of cold night, unable to forget him," KCNA said.

The founding father and his son are the subject of an extravagant posthumous personality cult, which bestows godlike status on them.

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