Steal The Firewood From Under the Pot
When faced with an enemy too powerful to engage directly you must first weaken him by undermining his foundation and attacking his source of power.
Legendary Era Japan
Japan's ancient hero Yamato Takeru was one of the eighty children of emperor Keiko. One day he was sent to kill a notorious outlaw who was such an expert swordsman that all who had gotten in his way were killed. Yamato Takeru did not intend to duel with the bandit and pretended to be ignorant of the man's reputation in order to befriend him. They became such good friends that they even went swimming together on a regular basis. When Yamato Takeru was assured the bandit harbored no suspicions he was ready to act. One day when they went swimming he brought with him a wooden sword that he hid in his travel kit. They were in the habit of racing each other around a small island but this time while they were racing Takeru let the bandit take the lead and, once he was out of sight behind the island, Takeru swam back to shore and quickly replaced the bandit's sword with the wooden one. After they had gotten dressed Takeru turned to the bandit and revealed his true purpose. The bandit immediately went for his sword, but the wooden sword had become wedged in the scabbard. While he was struggling to draw the wooden sword, Takeru took the bandit's head off in a single stroke.
Trouble The Water To Catch The Fish
Before engaging your enemy's forces create confusion to weaken his perception and judgment. Do something unusual, strange, and unexpected as this will arouse the enemy's suspicion and disrupt his thinking. A distracted enemy is thus more vulnerable.
Spring and Autumn Period China
In 632 BC the armies of Jin and Chu faced each other at Chengbu before the battle of the same name. Chu sent an envoy to Jin requesting to fight a chariot duel the next day to which the Jin ruler, Duke Wen, agreed. In the morning Duke Wen climbed to the top of an observation tower and looking down on his camp's preparations said: A Young and old conduct themselves according to ritual. They are fit for use!" He then ordered his troops to cut down trees to be used as part of an unorthodox tactic. While the chariot duel was underway Duke Wen launched a sudden cavalry attack against the Chu right wing causing it to collapse in. At the same time as the right was being pushed into the main body, the Jin troops in the center raised the retreat pennants and began pulling back. As the Jin troops retreated they dragged behind them the trees they had cut down earlier that morning. This raised such a dust cloud that the Chu commanders thought the Jin were fleeing in panic and eagerly gave chase. When the main body of the Chu army was enveloped in the cloud of dust they were unable to see that the Jin forces had split into two divisions and had turned around. The Jin attacked in a classical pincer movement on both of the Chu flanks. The result was a resounding defeat after which the Chu general was ordered to commit suicide. Duke Wen had taken advantage of the distraction provided by the chariot duel to launch both a surprise attack, and a retreat, manipulating the Chu forces into a trap.
Shed Your Skin Like the Golden Cicada
When you are in danger of being defeated, and your only chance is to escape and regroup, then create an illusion. While the enemy's attention is focused on this artifice, secretly remove your men leaving behind only the facade of your presence.
Three Kingdoms Period China
The warlord Cao Cao of Wei, was pursuing the fleeing army and population of Shu led by the heroes of the Peach Grove, Liu Pei and Chang Fei. The retreating column came upon the Changpan bridge over the Wei river with the enemy army only hours behind. On the opposite side of the river there was heavy forest. Chang Fei turned to his general Liu Pei and said: "This bridge is the only crossing point for miles and provides us with an advantage. You take the army and people across while I hold off the Wei army to give you as much of a lead as possible." After the Shu army had crossed over, Chang Fei sent his small group of cavalrymen across the bridge into the forest where they tied branches to their horses tails and rode around in circles. Chang Fei remained sitting on his charger in the middle of the bridge. When the pursuing army of Wei came upon the sight of Chang Fei alone on the bridge they stopped. Cao Cao noticed the huge dust cloud in the distance behind the woods and suspected a trap. Chang Fei roared out a challenge to the Wei army but Cao Cao, now convinced this was a ruse, turned his men around to retreat. Chang Fei seeing the Wei army turn about spurred his charger towards the Wei as though to attack them single handedly. This so unnerved the Wei forces that they made a mad scramble to escape the area convinced a trap was closing around them. This trick bought Lui Pei and Chang Fei enough time to escape with their men and regroup at Chianling.
Shut the Door to Catch the Thief
If you have the chance to completely capture the enemy then you should do so thereby bringing the battle or war to a quick and lasting conclusion. To allow your enemy to escape plants the seeds for future conflict. But if they succeed in escaping, be wary of giving chase.
Warring States Era China
In 449 BC the state of Wu had invaded the state of Yue and carried off its duke Guo Jian holding him prisoner for three years before releasing him back to his kingdom. When he returned Guo Jian planned his revenge. For seven years he ruled with benevolence and generosity making a reputation as a wise and virtuous ruler until he felt his loyal subjects were prepared to undergo any hardship for him. He accordingly assembled his forces and attacked Wu gaining a decisive victory.(See Chapter 5) The king of Wu had to flee but it would only be a matter of time before he was caught. He sent ambassadors to Guo Jian begging for mercy. They reminded him of how Wu, though she had him firmly in her grasp, had released him to return to his state. The king of Wu now asked to be granted the same favor. Guo Jian was contemplating granting this appeal when his prime minister Fan Li intervened and said: "When heaven gave the duke of Wu the grand opportunity for gaining power he did not take advantage of it and so he is a fugitive today. Should you fail to accept what fortune has now given you, you may be driven from your state, and then all the years of hardships you have bourn will have been endured in vain." The duke was swayed by the argument and sent the ambassador back with the message that he would not grant any mercy. When the king of Wu received the message he gave up all hope and committed suicide.
Befriend a Distant Enemy to Attack One Nearby
It is known that nations that border each other become enemies while nations separated by distance and obstacles make better allies. When you are the strongest in one field, your greatest threat is from the second strongest in your field, not the strongest from another field.
Han Dynasty China
In 110 AD the province of Honan had suffered through droughts and floods, the harvests were poor and the people starving. The corrupt government only made matters worse and soon the whole province was in chaos. The numerous bands of bandits and robbers that roamed the countryside pillaging and terrorizing the population thwarted any hope of bringing in outside relief. A provincial official by the name of Yu-Hu was appointed full powers to try to restore some order to the province. When he arrived at the district capital he issued a notice that he was going to organized a military force and that he was looking for recruits. First he promised a pardon for past crimes and immunity for anyone who joined up. Then he announced that he was looking for men for three classes of troops. The first class of troops were to consist of men who had committed robbery and murder. They would be the commanders and receive the highest salaries. The second class would consist of men who had committed mere thievery. They would receive the next highest salaries. The third class would consist of men who had joined the robber bands simply because they were lazy and wished to avoid real labor. They would be paid the lowest salaries. Within a couple of weeks Yu-Hu had over three hundred new recruits. When they had been issued uniforms and weapons he had them paraded before him and addressed them as follows: "Your past deeds are now forgiven and you are free from prosecution. But you must still atone for the crimes you have committed against society. To do this you must now go out and hunt down all your past colleagues who have not answered my call." This they did and within a year the fraternity of bandits was extinct and the countryside made safe.
Borrow the Road to Conquer Guo
Borrow the resources of an ally to attack a common enemy. Once the enemy is defeated, use those resources to turn on the ally that lent you them in the first place.
Spring and Autumn Period China
The small states of Yu and Guo bordered the larger state of Jin. Duke Xian of Jin desired to conquer both states. This desire was not unknown to the two smaller states and both had taken steps to defend their borders with Jin. The duke's general, Xun Xi, suggested they make a roundabout attack at Guo through the state of Yu to catch them by surprise. General Xun suggested that since the duke of Yu was a greedy man he could be bribed with gifts of jade and horses in exchange for safe passage through his territory. Duke Xian objected to the idea of giving away so much treasure and asked: "What if the duke of Yu accepts our gifts but refuses us passage?" but general Xun replied: "If he doesn't intend to let us through, then he wouldn't accept them, but if he does accept the gifts, and he does let us through, then it will only mean that the treasure is stored temporarily in his storehouse rather than ours."
When the bribe was sent to the duke of Yu one of his ministers, Gong Ziqi, cautioned against accepting them saying: "Yu is to Guo, like lips are to teeth. Our ancestors had a saying; `If the lips are gone, the teeth will be exposed to cold'. That Guo is able to exist depends on Yu while Yu's ability to survive hinges on Guo. If we make way for Jin, then the day will see Guo perish in the morning to be followed by Yu in the evening. Why should we ever let Jin pass?" The duke of Yu, however, refused to listen to this advice. Jin was given safe passage and succeeded in conquering Guo. On their way back they stopped to conquered Yu. After taking the Yu capital and recovering the treasure, general Xun returned the jade and horses to the duke. Duke Xian was pleased and said in good humor "The jade is untouched but the horses seem to have gained some more teeth!"
Replace The Beams With Rotten Timbers
Disrupt the enemy's formations, interfere with their methods of operations, change the rules in which they are used to following, go contrary to their standard training. In this way you remove the supporting pillar, the common link that makes a group of men an effective fighting force.
Six Dynasties Period China
In 383 emperor Fu Jian of Qin, personally led an advance guard of 5,000 horses to attack the Jin general Xie Shi. Discovering that the Jin forces were greater than he anticipated, the emperor had his army form defensive positions along the bank of the river. The Jin armies likewise encamped on the opposite side. Neither side wished to cross first since it was well known that an army is most vulnerable when crossing a river. General Shi sent an envoy across the river with a message that read: " My lord, your army has entered deeply into our territory, and in deploying your ranks you have crowded upon the river. This is the plan for a lengthy stalemate. Do you really want to fight? If you will order your men to withdraw to a safe distance and allow us to cross we can then fight it out and settle the matter quickly."
The emperor agreed to the request. When his advisors objected, emperor Fu Jian told them that he planned to turn his army about and attack the Jin after half their troops had crossed. But general Xie anticipated the emperor's treachery and sent scouts disguised as imperial troops to infiltrate the Qin ranks. When the emperor ordered his army to pull back, the disguised Jin troops began to incite panic by spreading the rumor that Qin was withdrawing in defeat and that Jin was in hot pursuit. The retreat quickly turned into a rout as the Qin troops broke formation to escape. The emperor and his generals raced frantically after the fleeing soldiers with whips in hand to stop them, but to no avail. The Jin army quickly crossed the river and pursued the Qin forces inflicting enormous casualties. The emperor was wounded and narrowly escaped. He was captured and strangled a few weeks later.
Point At The Mulberry But Curse The Locust Tree
To discipline, control, or warn others whose status or position excludes them from direct confrontation; use analogy and innuendo. Without directly naming names, those accused cannot retaliate without revealing their complicity.
Han Dynasty China
After Gaozu had become Emperor he invested many of his followers. One day while he was strolling along the balcony of his palace he noticed several ministers milling about below speaking in hushed tones. "What are they talking about?" he asked his advisor Chang Liang. "Your majesty does not know? They are plotting a revolt."
"But peace has been restored to the empire. Why should they be planning a revolt?"
"When your majesty rose from among the common people, it was through these men that you seized control of the empire. You have become the Son of Heaven, but those whom you have invested have all been close friends from the old days. Now these younger officers of your army, reckoning up the merits they have won, believe that there is not sufficient land in the whole empire to invest them all. So some of them fear they will not receive their just allotment. Therefore they plot rebellion."
"What should I do?" asked the Emperor
"Among all your followers whom do you dislike the most?"
"Yong Chi and I are ancient enemies," replied the Emperor.
"You must hurry and invest Yong Chi before anyone else, and make known what you have done to your other followers. When they see Yong Chi has been invested, they will all feel assured of their own rewards." said Chiang
The emperor agreed and held a feast honoring Yong Chi with lands and titles. When the other ministers left the banquet they said to each other happily, "If even Yong Chi can become a marquis, the rest of us have nothing to worry about!"
Feign Madness But Keep Your Balance
Hide behind the mask of a fool, a drunk, or a madman to create confusion about your intentions and motivations. Lure your opponent into underestimating your ability until, overconfident, he drops his guard. Then you may attack.
Sui Dynasty China
During the final years of Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty there appeared a ballad that foretold the fall of the house of Sui and the ascent of a man named Li as emperor. The ballad became immensely popular among the disaffected subjects of Emperor Yang's infamous rule. The emperor, being superstitious and believing in the prophecy himself, began a campaign to search out and execute anyone of importance with the surname Li. He had numerous ministers and officials along with their entire families put to the sword. A minor official whose name was, Li Yuan, was serving as superintendent in the provinces when he was summoned to the court. Li Yuan delayed appearing in court by claiming poor health. Li Yuan had a niece who was a palace maid and one day the emperor asked her where her uncle Li has been. The lady replied that her uncle was ill. The emperor said: "I wonder if he is courting death?" When Li Yuan heard this he was certain that if he obeyed the summons to court he would never return. Thereupon he feigned madness and pretended to become an incorrigible drunk. When the imperial spies reported Li's behavior the emperor thought that a madmen could never fulfill the prophesy and was no longer suspicious of Li. Surprisingly, two years later the Sui emperor placed Li in charge of a field army to defend the empire against barbarian incursions. Li fought bravely, won the respect of his troops, marched on the capital, and went on to found the illustrious Tang dynasty thus fulfilling the prophecy.
Lure Your Enemy Onto the Roof, Then Take Away the Ladder
With baits and deceptions lure your enemy into treacherous terrain. Then cut off his lines of communication and avenue of escape. To save himself he must fight both your own forces and the elements of nature.
Han Dynasty China
After defeating the rebel kingdom of Wei, the famous Han general Han Xin was sent to quell the other two kingdoms that had revolted, Qi and Chu. General Han set out towards Qi but Chu sent its general Long Chu with a force of two hundred thousand men to intercept Han's invasion of Qi. The two armies met on opposite sides of the Wei river. General Han ordered his men to fill over ten thousand sandbags and carry them up-river to dam the flow of water. The next morning General Han led his army across the lowered river and attacked Chu, but after a short engagement pretended defeat and fled back across the river. General Long announced, " See I always knew Han Xin was a coward!" and he led his army across the river in pursuit. Through a prearranged signal, General Han had his men break the dam and free the pent up waters. Only half of the Chu army was across the river when the flood cut the army in half drowning those caught midstream. General Han then wheeled around his retreating forces and attacked the advance guard of Chu killing its general Long Chu. The remaining troops panicked and fled in all directions but were captured by the pursuing Han soldiers.
Tie Silk Blossoms to the Dead Tree
Tying silk blossoms on a dead tree gives the illusion that the tree is healthy. Through the use of artifice and disguise make something of no value appear valuable; of no threat appear dangerous; of no use, useful.
Three Kingdoms Period China
During the final years of the Three Kingdoms, Suma Yan usurped the throne of Wei, made himself king, and changed the name of the kingdom from Wei to Jin. News of this reached the neighboring king of Wu who knew that his kingdom would be the next likely target of the ambitious Suma. He worried so much that he died several days later. Sun Hao then inherited the throne of Wu and immediately took to pleasure and vice neglecting state affairs. Over the next few years the new king of Wu grew increasingly paranoid and had dozens of his advisors and commanders and their entire families executed on the slightest suspicion and as a result he was widely reviled. Hearing that the people of Wu despised their king, Suma ordered a naval attack led by commander Wang Chun. The king of Wu had no idea of what to do against the impending naval attack. He convened what remained of his council and one advisor recommended stringing a bamboo barrier across the river to prevent the fleet from reaching the Wu capital of Jian Yeh. The king agreed and heavy bamboo cords were made and strung just below the surface. When Commander Wang heard about the barrier he laughed. He ordered his men to build huge rafts from timbers on which were erected straw dummies dressed in armor and holding weapons. The dummies were soaked in oil and a trip mechanism was attached that would ignite the dummies when the rafts struck the barrier. The rafts burned through the bamboo and continued on down stream to the Wu capital. The spectacle of a fleet of rafts full of burning men so frightened the Wu troops that they fled in terror. Suma captured Wu and went on to found the short-lived Jin dynasty.
Exchange the Role of Guest for that of Host
Defeat the enemy from within by infiltrating the enemy's camp under the guise of cooperation, surrender, or peace treaties. In this way you can discover his weakness and then, when the enemy's guard is relaxed, strike directly at the source of his strength.
Japanese Folk Tale
In feudal Japan there lived a venerable Kendo master who decided to test his three highest-ranking students. He brought them one by one to an old temple in the nearby mountains where he told each student the following: "You have studied with me many years, now lets see if my teaching has been in vain. There within the temple awaits your test, pass and you will have graduated."
Within the dimly lit temple the Master had hidden four Samurai armed with clubs and instructions to jump anyone who entered the temple. The first student entered the temple and before his eyes could adjust to the light, was surprised and beaten by the Samurai."I am sorry, you have failed." Said the master.
The second student entered the temple and sensed the attackers. He was able to deftly evade their attack and defeat them. The student came out of the temple triumphant, but again the master said, "I am sorry, you have failed'
Finally the third student was brought to the temple and told about the test. The student replied, "But venerable master, protocol dictates that when entering a temple the master must always precede the student, so if you please, I shall follow you in." To which the master replied, "You rascal, you have learned all I can teach you."
The Strategy of Beautiful Women
Send your enemy beautiful women to cause discord within his camp. This strategy can work on three levels. First, the ruler becomes so enamored with the beauty that he neglects his duties and allows his vigilance to wane. Second, other males at court will begin to display aggressive behavior that inflames minor differences hindering co-operation and destroying morale. Third, other females at court, motivated by jealousy and envy, begin to plot intrigues further exasperating the situation.
Han Dynasty China
In 199 BC the Han emperor, Gaozu personally led his army against the invading Xiongnu. The emperor, however, was no match against the cunning tribesmen and he was led into a trap and suffered serious casualties. (See chapter 15) He and his remaining forces retreated to the city of Pingcheng for refuge but were surrounded by some 300,000 horsemen. There the emperor remained surrounded for seven days with no possibility of bringing in either provisions or reinforcements. The emperor thought here was nothing left to do but surrender when his advisor, Chen Ping, came up with another strategy. Chen had a painting made of a beautiful Chinese princess that he secretly delivered to the wife of the Xiongnu commander. Along with the painting he sent a message that read: `My Emperor intends to surrender to your husband and so to win his favor he is sending him a present of one of China's famous beauties to be his concubine.' When the Xiongnu commander's wife saw the painting and read the note she was mad with jealousy. Fearing that such a beautiful rival would steal her husband's affections, she persuaded her husband to lift the siege and return home. The next morning when the emperor awoke he discovered the Xiongnu had left and he was able to return safely to his capital.
The Strategy of Open City Gates
When the enemy is superior in numbers and your situation is such that you expect to be overrun at any moment, then drop all pretence of military preparedness and act casually. Unless the enemy has an accurate description of your situation this unusual behavior will arouse suspicions. With luck he will be dissuaded from attacking.
Three Kingdoms Period China
In 234 BC, Kong Ming the famous strategist of Shu, launched an attack against the state of Wei by sending an advance force to scout for the enemy. Leading the army of Wei was Suma-I who also sent an advance force of fifty thousand troops. The two vanguards met and engaged in battle but the Wei forces were superior and won the day. The defeated Shu vanguard raced back to the main body of Kong Ming's army whose troops, seeing the look of fear in the faces of their comrades, thought that the enemy was upon them and fled in panic. Kong Ming and a few bodyguards fled to the city of Yangping with the Wei army in hot pursuit. Vastly outnumbered and unable to either retreat or sustain a siege, Kong Ming played a last resort strategy that made him famous throughout China. He removed all the guards and battle flags from the walls and had all four of the city gates flung open. When Suma-I approached the city he could see only a few old men nonchalantly sweeping the grounds within the gates. Kong-Ming was seen sitting in one of the towers smiling and playing his lute. Suma-I remarked to his advisors: "That man seems to be too happy for my comfort. Doubtless he has some deep laid scheme in mind to bring us all to disaster." As they stood spell bound, the strains of Kong Ming's lute reached their ears and this only heightened their sense of foreboding. Such peculiar behavior was too suspicious and, fearing a clever trap, Suma-I turned his army back and retreated. After the army left Kong Ming and his remaining troops departed in the opposite direction and made their way safely back to their capital.
The Strategy of Sowing Discord
Undermine your enemy's ability to fight by secretly causing discord between him and his friends, allies, advisors, family, commanders, soldiers, and population. While he is preoccupied settling internal disputes his ability to attack or defend, is compromised.
Six Dynasties Period China
In the later Wei dynasty, the emperor Tai Wu led a hundred thousand troops against the Song general Zang Zhi. The emperor, with his superior forces, chased general Zhang to the city of Yu where he was cornered. The city was strongly fortified and so the emperor planned to surround it and starve the defenders into surrender. Feeling confident of his position, the emperor sent a cart carrying a large jar of wine to the city gate with the message asking for the traditional exchange of wine before commencing his siege of the city. Zang Zhi knew that he needed to fight a decisive battle quickly, or suffer defeat, saw this as an opportunity. He sent some soldiers to gratefully accept the jar of wine and in turn deliver another large jar sealed with the wine maker's stamp. When a cup of this wine was poured for the emperor it was discovered to be urine. This caused the emperor a humiliating loss of face before his own troops and in a rage ordered an immediate assault on the city. The defenders were well prepared and the bodies of the slain imperial troops piled up nearly to the top of the ramparts.In his haste and anger the emperor lost half his forces.
The Strategy of Injuring Yourself
Pretending to be injured has two possible applications. In the first, the enemy is lulled into relaxing his guard since he no longer considers you to be an immediate threat. The second is a way of ingratiating yourself to your enemy by pretending the injury was caused by a mutual enemy.
Edo Period Japan
During the Tokugawa period, Kaei Juzo a former spy had come under suspicion and was in danger of being assassinated. It turned out that the man sent to kill him was a former acquaintance called Tonbe. Not wishing to kill his old friend, Tonbe and Juzo worked out the classic ploy as follows. Tonbe brought Juzo back as a prisoner to the Shogun. Juzo begged the Shogun to allow him one last dignity, permission to commit Harakiri. The Shogun, curious to see the notorious spy's bravery in death, allowed him that privilege. Juzo was given a tanto (dagger) that he plunged into his belly, and, cutting sideways, spilled his intestines onto the ground before falling over. The guards removed the body and threw it in the castle's moat. A short time later Juzo quietly swum to shore and escaped the district. Knowing that his warrior's reputation would merit him the right of committing Harakiri, Juzo had strapped a dead fox across his abdomen, when the fox's intestines spilled out it was indistinguishable from human intestines.
The Tactic of Combining Tactics
In important matters one should use several strategies applied simultaneously. Keep different plans operating in an overall scheme; in this manner if any one strategy fails you would still have several others to fall back on.
Warring States Era China
In 284 BC the state of Yan attacked and defeated Qi. The remaining Qi forces under the command of Tien Tan fled to the city of Ji Mo for a last stand. First, Tien Tan had the womenfolk line the city walls and beg for a peaceful surrender while he sent gold and treasure collected from the city's wealthiest citizens to general Qi Che with a note asking that the women and children be spared in return for the peaceful surrender of the city. These events convinced Qi Che that the city was truly about to capitulate and he allowed his troops to relax their guard. After this careful preparation Tien Tan felt the time was right to launch his counter attack. First he had the citizens of the city gather with drums and cooking pots and instructed them that on a signal they were to make as much noise as possible. He then had breaches made along the city walls from the inside. Next a herd of cattle was painted in bizarre patterns and knives and sickles tied to their horns and torches tied to their tails. Just before daylight three events occurred in rapid succession. The citizens within the city struck up a cacophony of noise that startled the sleeping Yan troops. Then the torches on the tails of the cattle were lit and they were released through the breaches in the wall. The enraged animals ran madly about the Yen camp killing stunned troops with their horns and setting fire to tents with their tails. Then Qi's crack troops rushed out from the gates to attack the now terrified and utterly confused troops. Tien Tan defeated the Yan army and went on to take more than seventy cities.
If All Else Fails Retreat
If it becomes obvious that your current course of action will lead to defeat then retreat and regroup.
Ming Dynasty China
The Ming emperor Hwei Ti, had disposed of all his uncles except one who feigned madness. (See chapter 27) This very uncle, the prince of Yan, in 1403 led a huge army to the capital of Nanking to seize the throne. The city was surrounded and the emperor considered committing suicide when he was stopped by a eunuch who told him that his grandfather, the emperor Hong Wu, had left a chest in his care with orders that should any great crisis occur to threaten the dynasty then the reigning emperor should open the chest.
"Let us open it at once then," said the emperor, "and see what my father would do were he here now." When the lid was lifted the box was found to contain the robes of a Buddhist monk, a diploma, a razor, and ten ingots of silver. The emperor understood the meaning at once and with a handful of attendants fled the palace through a secret tunnel to a Buddhist temple. There he shaved his head and put on the robes. He made his way out of the city and all the way to Sichuan province where he lived in obscurity in a remote monastery.
Meanwhile the palace had burned down during the fighting and it was assumed that the emperor had died in the fire. Forty years later during the rein of emperor Ying Tsung (the fourth since Hwei Ti's time) an old Buddhist priest arrived at court and claimed to be the old emperor Hwei Ti. It turned out the man was an imposter but a rumor began that Hwei Ti was still alive. To quell the rumors and settle the issue, an official investigation was made which discovered that Hwei Ti was indeed still alive living as a Buddhist priest. The old emperor was invited back to the capital with great ceremony and he lived out his last days as a guest in the palace. However, he was kept under a watchful eye.