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North Korea's Kim "blocked the howling wind of history"

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il "blocked the howling wind of history" in life and died at a time of abnormally cold weather and stormy seas, state media reported on Thursday.

Kim, who ruled isolated and impoverished North Korea from 1994 until his death on Saturday, was born on a sacred mountain, the moment foretold by a swallow and heralded by a double rainbow, according to the official narrative.

In life, he was extolled by North Korea's fawning media with feats like a miraculous ability to control the weather and several holes-in-one on the golf course.

Of his death, the official KCNA news agency said: "In the morning of December 17 when he was on the train to make a journey of field guidance for the people the temperature was 4-7 degrees centigrade lower than the average, scoring the lowest this winter."

The day earlier, it said: "In East and West Seas, the wind blew 10-15 meters per second, causing the waves to rise up to 2-3 meters."

Kim - depicted by official media as a humble servant of the people - died on the train on his way to dispense the advice that he regularly gave to factories, farms and the military, Pyongyang said when it released news of his death on Monday.

"Those weather data make one more keenly feel the painful labors of Kim Jong-il who continued in common attire his journey of field guidance with patriotic devotion despite the biting cold weather," KCNA said.

KCNA said that Kim Jong-il, who foreign media and intelligence reports have linked with an opulent lifestyle, "worked hard day and night, having uncomfortable sleep and taking rice-balls" while serving his nation.

"Seeing his dedication, in tears, the people would ask him to stop making any more journeys along snow-covered roads in cold weather and sitting up all night," it said.

More than 100 poems had been written in Kim's honor in the past two days, KCNA said, with titles like "Rise Up, People of Great General," "Field Car Has Not Stopped" and "Soldiers Do Not Forget General."

The news agency said after the bad days surrounding Kim's death, a "spring of prosperity under socialism will surely come to the country thanks to the patriotic devotion of Kim Jong-il who blocked the howling wind of history till the last moments of his life."

(Writing by David Chance; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Jonathan Thatcher)

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