How Three Heroes Came By Their Deaths Because of Two Peaches
I have slain the enemy’s general-in-chief, and captured the enemy’s flag. I have extended the borders of the Duke’s land till the size of his realm has been increased by a thousand miles. How is it with my merit?”
The Duke said: “Great is your merit! A peach is your just due!”
Then Gu I Dsi arose; his eyes started from their sockets, and he shouted with a loud voice: “Once, when the Duke was crossing the Yellow River, wind and waters rose. A river-dragon snapped up one of the steeds of the chariot and tore it away. The ferry-boat rocked like a sieve and was about to capsize. Then I took my sword and leaped into the stream. I fought with the dragon in the midst of the foaming waves. And by reason of my strength I managed to kill him, though my eyes stood out of my head with my exertions. Then I came to the surface with the dragon’s head in one hand, and holding the rein of the rescued horse in the other, and I had saved my prince from drowning. Whenever our country was at war with neighboring states, I refused no service. I commanded the van, I fought in single combat. Never did I turn my back on the foe. Once the prince’s chariot stuck fast in the swamp, and the enemy hurried up on all sides. I pulled the chariot out, and drove off the hostile mercenaries. Since I have been in the prince’s service I have saved his life more than once. I grant that my merit is not to be compared with that of the prince and that of the chancellor, yet it is greater than that of my two companions. Both have received peaches, while I must do without. This means that real merit is not rewarded, and that the Duke looks on me with disfavor. And in such case how may I ever show myself at court again!”
With these words he drew his sword and killed himself.
Then Gung Sun Dsia rose, bowed twice, and said with a sigh: “Both my merit and that of Tian Kai Giang does not compare with Gu I Dsi’s and yet the peaches were given us. We have been rewarded beyond our deserts, and such reward is shameful.