This story, by Guillermo , participated in the I Prize for Medieval Stories
His hand trembled. General Kang-Ping carefully placed a small box inside the emperor's travel luggage. Despite his rueful gesture due to the intense physical pain he felt, the face of the mature and wise general deep down expressed the relief of knowing that this could save his life.Yung-Lo (1360-1424), third emperor of the Ming dynasty of China, had brought it to its maximum splendor, thanks in part to his military prowess as well as important civil reforms.
Irritable, distrustful, superstitious, warrior and somewhat paranoid, Yung-Lo had rebelled against his nephew in 1399 (whom he burned alive) and proclaimed himself emperor in 1402, after two years of civil war.
He personally took command of several successful war campaigns against the Mongols , spreading China's power throughout Manchuria and the Amur Valley. He regained control of important caravan routes from Central Asia, sent several maritime expeditions to the South Seas (some historians argue that it is very likely that the last expedition reached Madagascar, thousands of kilometers from where it started), built the Forbidden City , moved the capital from Nanking to Beijing…
Controlling his vast empire required him to be continuously absent from the capital.
This time the trip would be long, and Yung-Lo had decided to leave his adviser, General Kang-Ping , in the care of the esteemed harem of him.
After several months, and as soon as he returned, the distrustful emperor (perhaps harangued by some other advisor eager to climb the ranks of the Court) accused General Kang-Ping of not having kept away from his concubines, seducing their women and, with it, to rebel against him.
The punishment for treason, as you might imagine, would be the death penalty.
Kang-Ping, confident and calm, then headed towards the emperor's luggage.
He took out the small box and as he opened it, he showed Yung-Lo its contents.
There was proof that the accusation was totally unfounded.
And it is that, the good general, aware of Yung-Lo's character, had had the idea of preventing the suspicion and possible accusation that he had seduced his concubines . To do this he castrated himself and put his penis in the emperor's luggage before he left.
Gregorio Doval tells us , in his «Book of unusual events “That Emperor Yung-Lo, moved by his general's gesture, appointed him chief of his eunuchs and, on his death, erected a temple in his honor as the eternal protector of all eunuchs.