In the last post: Morris sets off to look for magic toadstools. Alf sees his fright and rubs his hands with glee...
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Eerie Eve ® James Field. Part 12
Alf followed Morris at a safe distance and glanced at his watch: five minutes to midnight. The moon had risen high and shone with an uncanny brightness. He watched as Morris shook the tension from his shoulders, shamble deeper into the trees, and clamber to the top of Trollop Knoll.
Then, at precisely midnight, around Morris’s feet, the moss-covered ground began to shift and rustle. Alf stared wide-eyed. Toadstools pushed up through the mulch, growing with unnatural speed and glowing with a brilliant fluorescence. When they had reached the size of saucers, Morris picked a few and placed them carefully in his basket. Within two minutes the basket was full.
Alf crept closer. He crossed a piece of spongy bog and hid behind the trunk of a large oak tree. Legend said that Merlin had stopped here once on Trollop Knoll and trimmed his beard, the little tufts of hair swallowed by the earth. Could that have something to do with the strange toadstools? wondered Alf. Twaddle!
Morris’s wife, Sibyl, the Cloud Mansion’s governess and self-proclaimed white witch, wanted the toadstools for her potions. Although Alf considered Sibyl a canny woman, with almost as much gumption as him, he worried she might poison someone. What worried Alf, even more, was that Morris had actually found the toadstools: making the pompous little git a champion!
The best for all, reasoned Alf, is that Morris goes home empty-handed. Time to act a troll and put the fright of hell into him.
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A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To save the jobs of those in the Japanese government who helped him escape, Masaji Ishikawa wrote: “…obviously I wasn’t going to start talking to the press.” Instead, he wrote this mammoth best-selling book? Sorry, but I don’t believe this man’s autobiography can be true. If it is, then he is likely responsible for the sacking of those government officials who helped his return to Japan, and worse, expose his family to torture or execution in North Korea.
It may well be that he moved to North Korea in 1960, aged thirteen, where he lived until his escape in 1996. However, I rather believe his memoir is an over dramatised collection of exaggerated incidents he picked up from others. In which case, good for him.
I hope this is the case; otherwise, he puts himself in a poor light. From his book, he already comes across as egoistic, beating up anyone who upsets him and often leaving his family to starve while he runs off to find work to feed himself.
North Korea is undoubtedly not an agreeable place to live, but propaganda and false news flourish. The story in this book is captivating and mind-bogglingly tragic, hence four stars. I just don’t accept Mr Ishikawa’s life was as awful, or maybe I don’t want to believe, as he relates.
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