Prisoners Eating Salamanders, Frogs and Anything Else To Stay Alive

Former Child Prisoner of the North Korea Gulag  |  2005-10-25 14:30
As the days passed by, I began to tell myself, “You should not die here like a dog. You must eat anything and stay alive.” I was ready to take part in catching frogs and snakes. Once a friend of mine, working next to me, showed me a salamander he just caught.

“You want eat it?” Even though I felt like I could eat anything, I hesitated.

“Never mind,” he said as he put it back into his pocket, I stopped him in a hurry and said,

“I’ll take it, I mean I’ll take it. But you have to show me how to eat it.”

“OK, you watch me.”

He gave me one and produced another from his pocket. He held it up by its tail and swallowed the whole thing, head first. I pushed it into my mouth like he did, but I could not swallow it. The creature was struggling to get out of my mouth. I was frightened, I closed my eyes and bit it hard. My mouth was suddenly full of bitter and stinking juice and I had to spit it out. My friend complained.

“How can you waste such dear meat?”

“I can’t eat it.” I replied.

My friend said, “Don’t chew it. You have to swallow it without chewing . You want try again?”

I nodded my head because I needed the meat.

“I am generous with you this time because it was your first time,” my friend. He gave me another one. This time I was successful and could feel the creature passing through my throat and into my stomach. After this experience, I began to hunt frogs, salamanders, snakes, worms and insects like anybody else here.

We were always so hungry that we even ate worms. When we catch a worm, we dry it on a sunny rock. We eat the worm when it is half-dry.

Once I found a big worm about the size of a big chop stick. I was trying to catch in and it was struggling to get out of my hand. For a moment, I imagined that I was a security officer and the worm was a prisoner.

Soon, other children saw it,

“It’s big! Catch it. If you don’t, I will.”

Then, several children pushed me aside and competed to catch it. Alas. I lost my chance.

I often brought frogs home for my sister. The first time, she did mot eat it. Very soon, however, she began to like it like everybody else. Frogs tasted better than worms. Soon, I became an “expert hunter.” Certainly, I felt better after eating the “wild meat.” Perhaps it was due to the psychological effect of the notion that you had had meat for the day.
 
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