Friday, April 23, 2010

3 Kingdoms - Chapter One - 2

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong

3 The emperor issued an edict to his ministers, requesting the reasons for these calamities. An official named Cai Yong submitted his written response in which he argued that the rainbow and the chicken incidents were both caused by the excessive meddling in state affairs by the women and the eunuchs of the court. His wording was rather blunt. The emperor sighed in despair upon reading the written reply, so he got up to go change his clothes. Cao Jie managed to sneak a peak from his vantage point behind the emperor, and reported all of the details to the emperor's attendants. As a result, an excuse was found to charge Yong with wrong doing, and he was banished to the countryside. Later Zhang Rang, Zhao Zhong, Feng Xu, Duan Gui, Cao Jie, Hou Lan, Jian Shuo, Cheng Kuang, Xia Yun, and Guo Sheng all conspired to form a faction; they were called the "Ten regular attendants." The emperor venerated Zhang Rang in particular, even calling him "dad." The running of the government became more and more corrupt after that. This caused people from all over the empire to consider rebellion, and bandits began to pop up everywhere.

4 At that time, there lived three brothers in Julu Commandery: Zhang Jue, Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang. Zhang Jue was a failure in the county level examination. He had gone into the mountains to gather some medicinal herbs, when he came across an old man; the old man had a youthful countenance, and was carrying a walking stick fashioned from the hardened stalk of a goosefoot plant. The old man beckoned Jue into a cave, presented him with a book in three volumes which had come from the heavens, then said, "This book is called The Essential Art of Great Peace. Once you have mastered its contents, you will represent the heavens in spreading this knowledge, and thereby save all of mankind. If you start to have second thoughts, there will be terrible consequences for you." Jue enquired as to the old man's name. The old man said, "I am the old immortal spirit from the southern lands."[8] With that, the old man vanished into thin air.

Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Lays of Ancient Rome by Macaulay.

More About This Story

This is one of four great novels from China, published when it was the most highly civilization in the world. Map shows China at the time of this story.

Chapter Summary: Three brave men swear an oath of allegiance at the feast in the peach gardens; our heroes' first achievement is the vanquishing of the Yellow Turbans.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series

This translation from Wikipedia. See license CC-BY-SA.