State media in North Korea, notorious for its far-fetched claims like the late Kim Jong Il’s near-impossible golf scores and how the earth around his birthplace cracked at the moment of his death, is reported to have told its public last week that the lair of a mythical unicorn-like creature had been discovered by archaeologists.
Cue the sound of crayons being dropped the world over and dewy-eyed children turning to their parents and yelling “See!? They are real!”
North Korean media is reported to have announced that the soil-digging team believe that they have stumbled across the very breeding ground of beasts ridden by King Tongmyong, a figure of legend in the country who is believed to have founded the ancient kingdom of Kokuryo, which later became Korea.
The unicorn nest is said to be located just 200m from the Yongmyong Temple, which is itself situated in North Korean capital city Pyongyang.
North Korean officials point to a stone tablet – itself believed to be hundreds of years old – standing outside the nest, identifying the spot as a “unicorn lair”. Although there is little to suggest that the carving was itself made by a credible witness, as one Japanese commenter wrote: “well, if it’s carved into a bit of stone then it must be true…”
But why is this discovery so important to the famously proud country? The “evidence” of the unicorn nest allegedly suggests that, unlike South Korea with its abundant food and healthcare and freedom, the North is the true capital of the land that we all now know as Korea, with its great leaders – unicorn riding Tongmyong included – all hailing from that location.
Since initial reports of the bizarre announcement, western media has been scrabbling to pin down facts and shine light on the claim, with some suggesting that we may all be being led astray by the wording of the official announcement, and that any mention of unicorns is in itself a mistranslation. Newspapers in China – North Korea’s closest ally – meanwhile suggest that the story is little more than “a fabrication designed to attract attention.”
Well, it certainly took my mind off the issue of the country potentially manufacturing nuclear weapons, anyway…