The noble leader Cui Kai

In 527 AD, the royal court of Northern Wei (北魏 386-534) appointed Cui Kai (崔楷) as the prefectural governor of Yin Zhou (殷州, in today’s Hebei province). Yin Zhou was newly established at the time. Food and weaponry were scarce. Cui Kai requested these items from the court but was not sent provisions. So some people advised him against bringing his family when he assumed office, in order not to risk their lives in case of an enemy attack.

But Cui Kai replied: “Since I am receiving salary from the public, I should share the burden of our state. If I assume office by myself without bringing my family, how can I stabilize the morale of the army?”

So, he brought his whole family to Yin Zhou and assumed office. Before long, General Ke Rong (葛榮) of State Liang (梁) led a huge army toward Yin Zhou. People advised Cui Kai to get the old and young ones in his family out of the city to avoid the impending turmoil.

Initially, Cui Kai asked his people to bring his youngest son and a daughter out of Yin Zhou during the night. But shortly after they left, he felt it was inappropriate to do so. He sent someone to catch up with his children and bring them back.

Ke Rong’s huge army started to attack upon reaching Yin Zhou. Unfortunately, the troops defending Yin Zhou were few and almost weaponless. Nevertheless, under the supervision of Cui Kai, all the officers and soldiers resisted tenaciously against the enemy.

All of them said: “Revered Cui had no qualms keeping his whole family with us. We should not also only care for our own life.”

Although Yin Zhou suffered great casualty, no one betrayed the city or surrendered. Eventually, the enemy conquered Yin Zhou and Cui Kai was captured. But he would rather die than surrender and was executed by Ke Rong.

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