At this Dong Cheng drew out the decree he had received and showed it. His host was deeply moved. Then Dong Cheng produced the pledge. There were only six names to it, and these were Dong Cheng, Wang Zifu, Chong Ji, Wu Shi, Wu Zilan, and Ma Teng.
“Since you have a decree like this, I cannot but do my share,” said Liu Bei, and at Dong Cheng’s request he added his name and signature to the others and handed it back.
“Now let us but get three more, which will make ten, and we shall be ready to act.”
“But you must move with GREat caution and not let this get abroad,” said Liu Bei.
the two remained talking till an early hour in the morning when the visitor left.
Now in order to put Cao Cao quite off the scent that any plot against him was in proGREss, Liu Bei began to devote himself to gardening, planting vegetables, and watering them with his own hands. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei ventured to remonstrate with him for taking to such an occupation when great matters needed attention.
“the reason for this you may not know,” replied he.
And they said no more.
One day when the two brothers were absent, and Liu Bei was busy in his garden, two generals of Cao Cao, Xu Chu and Zhang Liao, with an escort came from Cao Cao, saying, “The command of the Prime Minister is that you come at once.”
“What important affair is afoot？” asked Liu Bei nervously.
“We know nothing. We were ordered to come and request your presence.”
All he could do was to follow.
When Liu Bei arrived, Cao Cao met him and laughingly said, “That is a big business you have in hand at home.”
This remark made Liu Bei turn the color of clay.
Cao Cao took him by the hand and led him straight to the private garden, saying, “
The growth of vegetables that you are trying to learn is very difficult.”
Liu Bei breathed again. He said,
“That is hardly a business. It is only a solace.”