Steal like a dog and crow like a cock

The prince of Ch’in held Meng Ch’ang-chun a prisoner, and intended to slay him. Meanwhile, Meng Ch’ang-chun sent word to the prince’s favourite lady, asking her to inter- cede for him; to which the latter replied that if he would give her a certain robe of white fox-skin, she would speak on his behalf. Now, it chanced that this very robe had already been presented to the prince; but among Meng Ch’ang-chun’s followers was one who could steal like a dog, and this man introduced himself by night into the palace and transferred the robe from the prince to the lady. The consequence was that Meng Ch’ang-chun was released and fled at once to the frontier; while the prince soon repented of his clemency, and sent off to recapture his prisoner. When Meng Ch’ang-chun reached the pass, the great gate was closed, not to be opened until cock-crow; at which he was much alarmed, fearing pursuit, until another of his followers, who possessed the art, began to crow like a cock, and set off all the cocks of the place crowing too. Thereupon, the gate was opened, and they escaped.

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