Du Bo(杜伯), also known as Heng, was a senior official of the Zhou dynasty. The king’s concubine, Nv Jiu(女鸠), wanted to have an affair with Du Bo, but Du Bo refused. Nv Jiu was angry and one day told the king, “Du Bo is secretly trying to seduce me.” The king believed her and imprisoned Du Bo in Jiaodi. He sent Xuefu(薛甫) and Sikong Qi(司空锜) to kill Du Bo.
Du Bo’s friend, Zuo Ru, tried to persuade the king not to kill Du Bo nine times but failed. Zuo Ru asked, “What crime did Du Bo commit? Wasn’t he an innocent man?” The king then consulted Zhu(祝) for this case.
“Who gave you the idea to kill Du Bo in the first place?” Zhu asked.
“It was Sikong Qi.”The king answered. So Zhu said, “Why don’t you kill Sikong Qi to apologize?” The king then killed Sikong Qi.
But Du Bo still appeared as a ghost and said he was innocent. Sikong Qi also appeared as a ghost and said, “I have done nothing wrong.” The king told Huangfu(皇甫) about this, saying, “Zhu gave me the idea to kill people. Now the people I killed have all appeared as ghosts to accuse me. What should I do?” Huangfu said, “You can only kill Zhu to apologize.”
The king killed Zhu to apologize to the first two men, but it didn’t work. They still appeared as ghosts to find the king. Zhu even said, “How could I have known about the past? Why did you kill me for these crimes?”
Three years later, the king went hunting in the wild. His followers were scattered throughout the mountains. At noon, he saw Du Bo riding a white horse pulling a white carriage. Sikong Qi was guarding him on the left and Zhu was guarding him on the right. They were wearing red hats and riding fast. Du Bo was holding a red bow and a red arrow. He shot the king in the heart and broke his spine. The king fell on his arrow bag and died.
Original story in 《還冤記》:
🎨 Anonymous《獵騎圖》, in the Ming Dynasty