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His only son was a nameless fugitive by ceaseless report already Passed Beyond his party scattered and crushed out like the sparks from his blackened Capital, while nothing that men thought dare pass their lips. The usurper Fuh-chi sat upon the dragon throne and spake with the voice of brass cymbals and echoing drums, his right hand shedding blood and his left hand spreading fire.

At a later period it was told how Kwo Kam had been crowned and installed upon his father's throne, after receiving a mark of celestial approbation in the Temple of Heaven, how Fuh-chi had escaped and fled and how his misleading records had been publicly burned and his detestable name utterly blotted out. At this period an even greater misfortune than his consistent ill success met Ten-teh.

"It is well said," replied Fuh-chi. "How is it, then, that any can eat of our rice and receive our bounty and yet repay us with ingratitude and taunts, holding their joints stiffly in our presence? Lo, even lambs have the grace to suck kneeling."

"There existed, many cycles ago, a path of a single foot's width, it is said along the edge of the Pass called the Ram's Horn, but it has been lost beyond the memory of man." "It has been found again," said the stranger, "and Kha-hia and his horde of Kins, joined by the vengeance-breathing Fuh-chi, lie encamped less than a short march beyond the Pass."

In the fourteenth year of the reign of the usurper Fuh-chi a little breeze rising in the Province of Sz-chuen began to spread through all the land and men's minds were again agitated by the memory of a hope which had long seemed dead.

Let them dispose themselves about the eleven villages and, overlooking the invaders as they assemble, strike when they are sufficiently numerous for the victory to be lasting and decisive. The passage of the Ram's Horn has been found and the malignant Fuh-chi, banded in an unnatural alliance with the barbarian Kins, lies with itching feet beyond the Kang-lings.

In such a manner those who had remained behind learned that the great rising had been honourably received by the justice-loving in every province, but that many of official rank, inspired by no friendship towards Fuh-chi, but terror-stricken at the alternatives before them, had closed certain strong cities against the Army of the Avenging Pure.

"The decision is too ever-present in my mind to need reflection," replied Hoang resolutely. "The choice has been made and the words have been duly set down," said the Being. "If you maintain your high purpose to a prosperous end nothing can exceed your honour in the Upper Air; if you fail culpably, or even through incapacity, the lot of Fuh-chi himself will be enviable compared with yours."

One discriminating adviser alone had stood at the foot of the throne, and being no less resolute than far-seeing, he did not hesitate to warn Fuh-chi and to hold the prophetic threat of rebellion before his eyes. Such sincerity met with the reward not difficult to conjecture.

"Who are our enemies?" exclaimed Fuh-chi, turning to a notorious flatterer at his side, "and where are they who are displeased with our too lenient rule?" "Your enemies, O Brother of the Sun and Prototype of the Red-legged Crane, are dead and unmourned. The living do naught but speak of your clemency and bask in the radiance of your eye-light," protested the flatterer.