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Ching K'o trying to assassinate the King of Ch'in

Prince Tan of the State of Yen, for some cause or other had been living in Ts'in as a hostage.

There he had been treated most cruelly by King Chung, so that when he returned to his home his heart was burning with a desire to revenge his wrongs. He was determined that Chung should die, for nothing short of his death would satisfy him. In order to accomplish his purpose he consulted with a man named King-k'o as to the means by which it could be carried out. The latter volunteered to do the bloody deed, but the question was, How was he to penetrate through the guards that surrounded the king, so that he could get near his person ?

At that time there was living in Yen a traitorous general Fan-yu Chi from Ts'in, for whose head Chung had offered a thousand pieces of gold and high official employment. King-k'o proposed that this man should be executed, and that he should take his head to Chung and seize the opportunity of murdering him. The prince, who by this time had become Duke, revolted from this proposal, not only because he was under his protection, but also because he had been kind to him when he was living in Ts'in. King-k'o said, "If you have any scruples about the matter I shall settle it with Fan-yu himself."

He accordingly visited him and told him that a plan was being matured to kill Chung, and that he was the man that had been appointed to assassinate him. He soon found that he had a willing listener, for he had suffered terribly, and he was prepared to assist in any scheme that would bring sorrow upon his enemy. King-k'o then showed him that his great difficulty was in devising some way by which he could approach the tyrant. " There is only one way," he continued, "that I can see out of the difficulty. " "And what is that ? " eagerly asked Fan-yu. " By taking your head," he replied, " for you know that he has offered a large reward to the man that brings it to him." " Most willingly will I give my life," he said, "to rid the world of a man who has not only sought my destruction, but has also murdered my wife and family and driven me a hopeless fugitive from my home."

He accordingly committed suicide, and King-k'o, with his head and a map of Yen, showing its boundaries and productions. Prince Tan then obtained the sharpest possible dagger, refined it with poison, and gave it to Ching K'o. Prince Tan and other guests wore white clothing and white hats at the Yi River to send the assassins off. Ching K'o sang a song "wind blow, river freeze. The hero fords, never returns!"

Ching K'o proceeded to the court of Chung, under the pretence of bringing Fan-yu's head, and also of pointing out to him how easily he could conquer Yen and add it to his dominions. He was received with the greatest honour by the king, but whilst King-k'o was showing him the map, and waiting for a propitious moment in which to stab him, Chung saw the gleam of his knife, and starting up in the greatest alarm began to struggle with the would-be assassin, who was soon overcome and slain. He was so enraged at this attempt on his life that he determined to avenge himself by invading Yen. This he did, and soon this state was added to his own.
Jing Ke

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