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CHAPTER CVI.
DEFEAT AND DEATH OF KUNGSUN YÜAN;

PRETENDED ILLNESS OF SSUMA I. This Kungsun Yüan was of a family long settled in Liaotung. When Ts'ao Ts'ao was pursuing Yüan Shang, who had fled eastward, Kungsun K'ang, the father of the present rebel, had captured him, beheaded him and sent his head to Ts'ao. For this service Kungsun received the title of "Marquis of Hsiangp'ing." After Kungsun K'ang's death, as his two sons were young, his brother took the chiefship, and Ts'ao P'ei, beside confirming the marquisate, gave him the rank of General. A few years later, the second son, Yuan, being now grown up, well-educated and trained in military exercises, obstinate and fond of fighting, took away his uncle's power and ruled the heritage of his father. Ts'ao Jui conferred upon him the title of Yang-lieh, "Wielder of Ferocity," and made him Prefect.

Then Sun Ch‘üan, anxious to secure his support, sent two envoys with gifts and offered Kungsun Yüan the title of “Prince Yen.” Fearing that the capital would resent any dallying with Wu, the Prefect slew the envoys. For this proof of lealty Ts'ao Jui gave him the title of Minister of War and the Dukedom of Yüehlang. However, he was dissatisfied, and his thoughts turned toward independence. He took council with his officers and proposed to style himself “King Yen” and to adopt a reign-title of his own.

One officer, Chia Fan, opposed this and said, "My lord, the central authorities have treated you well and honoured you. I fear that Ssúma I is too skilful a leader for rebellion to succeed. You see even Chuko Liang cannot defeat him; how much less can you ?"

Kungsun's reply was to condemn Chia Fan to death. However, General Lun Chih ventured upon further remonstrance.

“Chia Fan spoke well. The Sacred One says that extraordinary phenomena presage the destruction of a state. Now this time portents are not wanting, and wonders have been seen. A dog, dressed in red and wearing a turban, went up the length of a room walking like a man. Moreover, while a certain person living in a village south of the city was cooking his food, he saw a child in the pan, boiled to death. great cave opened near the market-place and threw out a large, fleshy body completely human save that it lacked limbs.

Swords could not cut it; arrows could not penetrate it. No one knew what to call it, and when they consulted the sortes they obtained the reply, 'Incomplete shape, silent mouth: a state is near destruction. These prodigies are all inauspicious. Flee from evil and strive to walk in fair fortune's way. Make no move without most careful thought.”

This second remonstrance enraged the rebel still more, and he sent Lun to death with Chia. Both were executed in the public place.

Kungsun then prepared to make a bid for empire. He raised an army of fifteen legions, appointed a general, Pei Yen, and a leader of the van, Yang Tsu. This army set out for the capital.

King Jui was alarmed at the report of this rising, and sent for Ssúma I. Ssúma was not greatly perturbed, and said, "My four legions will be equal to the task.”

The king replied, “The task is heavy, for your men are few and the road is long."

“The strength of an army is not in numbers, but in strategy. Aided by Your Majesty's good fortune I shall certainly be able to bring this fellow a captive to your feet."

“What do you think will be the rebel's plan?"asked the king.

"His best plan would be flight before our army can arrive; his second best is defending his position; his third, and worst, would be to try to hold Hsiangp'ing. In the last case I shall certainly capture him."

"How long will the expedition take?” “We have to cover four thousand li, which will take a hundred days. Attack will consume another hundred. The return will need a hundred, and with sixty days to rest we shall take a year."

"Suppose during that year we are attacked by Wu or Shu."

“My plans provide for that; Your Majesty need have no anxiety."

The king being thus reassured, formally ordered Ssúma to undertake the expedition.

Hu Tsun was appointed to lead the van. He went and camped in Liaotung. The scouts hasted to tell Kungsun, who sent his general and van-leader to camp at Liaochui. They surrounded their camp with a wall twenty li in circumference and placed "deer-horns" outside the rampart. It seemed very secure. Hu Tsun saw these preparations and sent to tell his chief. Ssóma smiled.

“So the rebel does not want to fight, but thinks to weary my men,” said Ssŭma. "Now I am disposed to think that most of his army is within that wall, so that his stronghold is empty and undefended. I will make a dash at Hsiangpʻing. He will have to go to its rescue and I will smite him on the way. I should score a great success."

So he hastened to Hsiangp'ing along unfrequented ways.

Meanwhile the two captains within the walled camp discussed their plans.

Yang Tsu said, “When the Wei army comes near we will not fight. They will have come a long march and their supplies will be short, so that they cannot hold out long. When they retreat we shall find our opportunity. These were the tactics Ssúma I used against Chuko on the Wei River, and Chuko died before the end of the expedition. We will try similar means."

Presently the scouts reported that the Wei army had marched south. Pei Yen at once saw the danger and said, “They are going to attack Hsiangpʻing, which they know is defenceless. If that be lost this position is useless."

So they broke up their camp and followed the enemy. When Ssúma heard it he rejoiced, saying, “Now they will fall into the snare I have laid for them.'

He sent the two Hsiahous to take up position on the Chi River. They were to attack if the men of Liao came near them. They had not long to wait. As soon as Pei Yen and his army approached they exploded a bomb, beat the drums, waved their flags and came out, one force on each side. The Liao leaders made but a feeble fight and soon fled to Shoushan, where they joined the main army under Kungsun Yüan. Then they turned to give battle to the Wei army.

Pei Yen rode to the front and reviled the enemy, taunted them with trickery and challenged to a fight in the open. Hsiahou Pa rode out to accept the challenge, and after a few bouts Pei fell. In the confusion caused by the death of their leader, Hsiahou urged on his men and drove Kungsun back to Hsiangp'ing. He took refuge in the city.

The city was surrounded. It was autumn, and the rain fell day after day without ceasing. At the end of the month the plain was under three feet of water, so that the grain boats sailed straight from Liaohok'ou to the city walls. The besiegers suffered much from the floods.

The Commander of the Left went to Ssúma and asked that the army might be moved to camp on the higher ground, out of the mud and water. But Ssúma flouted the suggestion.

“How can the army move away just when success is in sight? The rebels will be conquered now any day, and if any other speaks about drawing off he will be put to death.”

Pei went away muttering angrily to himself. Soon after, his colleague in command of the right wing repeated the suggestion and was put to death. His head was suspended at the camp gate as a warning to others. The soldiers were much depressed.

Then the south camp was abandoned, and the men marched twenty li south. This side of the city being thus left clear,

the soldiers and people came out to gather fuel and pasture their cattle. The attacking army could not understand this move, and Ch'ên Chün spoke about it.

"When you besieged Shangyung, O T'aiyü, you attacked all round at eight points, and the city fell in as many days. Mêng Ta was taken, and you won a great success. Now your four legions have borne their armour many days over long marches and you do not press the attack, but keep the men in the mud and mire and let the enemy gather supplies and feed their cattle. I do not know what your intention may be.”

"Sir,” replied the Commander-in-chief, “I see you are ignorant of war after all. You do not understand the different conditions. Mêng Ta then had ample supplies and few men; we were under exactly opposite conditions, and so we had to attack vigorously and at once. The suddenness of the attack defeated the enemy. But look at present conditions. The Liao men are many and we few; they are on the verge of starvation, and we are full fed. Why should we force the attack? Our line is to let them flee and smite them as they run. Therefore I leave a gate open and the road free that they may run away.”

Ch'ên then understood and acknowledged the correctness of the strategy. Ssúma sent to Loyang to hasten supplies, that there should be no shortage.

However, the war was not supported in the capital, for when the messenger arrived and the king summoned his courtiers, they said, “In Liaotung the rain has been continuous for a month, and the men are in misery. Ssúma ought to be recalled and the war renewed at a more convenient season."

The king replied, “The leader of our army is most capable and best able to decide upon what should be done. He understands the conditions and is teeming with magnificent plans. He will certainly succeed. Wherefore, O Nobles, wait a few days and let us not be anxious about the result.”

So the king heeded not the voice of the dissentients, but took care that provisions were sent. After a few days the rain ceased, and fine, clear weather followed. Ssúma went out of his tent that he might study the sky. Suddenly he saw a very large and bright star start from a point over Shoushan and travel over toward Hsiangpʻing, where it fell. The soldiers were rather frightened at this apparition, but the leader rejoiced.

"Five days from now Kungsun Yüan will be slain where that star fell,” said he. "Therefore attack with vigour."

They opened the attack the next morning at dawn, throwing up banks and sapping the walls, setting up ballistæ and

rearing ladders. When night came the attack did not cease. Arrows fell in the city like pelting rain.

Within the city, grain began to run short, and soon there was none. They slaughtered bullocks and horses for food. The soldiers began to be mutinous and no longer fought with any spirit. There was talk of slaying Kungsun and yielding the city.

Kungsun was disheartened and frightened, and decided to sue for peace. He sent a minister and a censor out of the city to beg Ssúma to allow him to submit. These two had to be let down from the walls by ropes, as no other means of exit were possible. They found their way to Ssúma and said, “We pray you, o Tai-, to retire twenty li and allow the officers to come forth and surrender.”

"Why did not Kungsun himself come?said Ssŭma. "He is rude."

He put the two envoys to death and sent their heads back into the city.

Kungsun was still more alarmed, but he resolved to make one more attempt. This time he sent Wei Yen, a Shih-chung, as his envoy. Ssúma received this messenger sitting in state in his tent with his officers standing right and left. The envoy approached on his knees, and when he reached the door of the tent recited his petition.”

"I pray you, O T'ai-, to turn your thundrous wrath from us; we will send the son of our leader as hostage and all the officers shall appear before you bound with cords.

Ssúma replied. “There are five possible operations for any army. If you can fight, fight; if you cannot fight, defend; if you cannot defend, flee; if you cannot flee, surrender; if you cannot surrender, die. These five courses are open to you, and a hostage would be useless. Now return and tell your master.”

Wei Yen put his hands over his head and fled like a rat. He went into the city and related what had happened to him.

The Kungsuns, father and son, resolved to flee. They chose a company of mounted men, and in the dead of night opened the south gate and got out. They took the road to the east and were rejoiced to find it clear.

All went well for a distance of ten li, when a bomb exploded. This was followed by a roll of drums and the blare of trumpets; and a cohort stood in the way. The leader was Ssúma I, supported by his two sons.

"Stop, O rebel!” cried they.

But Kungsun lashed his steed to a gallop. Then Hu Tsun and the two Hsiahous, with their men, came up and quickly surrounded them so that they were helpless. Kungsun saw that escape was impossible, so he came with his sons, dis

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