As the legend goes, the reign of Sui Yang-ti was a great heroic age. The heroes were destined to fight either on the side of or against the great emperor to come, T'ang T'ai-tsung. Before the fall of Sui, however, Sui Yang-ti summoned all the rebels to Yangchow for a tournament. The champion was to win'the title of the Supreme Rebel, to whom would be accorded the honors due a king. The plot was to let the rebels kill each other with their own hands, and the survivors would then be killed by mines set off soon after the contest was over. If there were still some survivors left, a gate which weighed one thousand chin would be lowered into the city wall to block their retreat so that a massacre might be carried out by the Imperial troops. But since Sui Yang-ti was to lose the mandate of heaven, his plot did not work. An insufficient number of rebels were killed in the arena, and the mines did not explode as planned, thanks to the happy intervention of an ancient fox who had to save the life of the true dragon, T'ang T'ai-tsung, among all the rebels. When the gate was lowered, it was caught by a giant-like bandit who supported it long enough to let the eighteen princes and the lesser rebels from all over China escape to safety. But the gate proved too much of a burden even for such a hero, and he was crushed to death.

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