Friday, April 30, 2010

3 Kingdoms - Chapter One - 3

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong

5 Upon receiving this book, Jue practiced night and day. Eventually, he could summon the wind and rain, and came to be known as the Great Peace Daoist. Within the first lunar month, during the first year of Emperor Ling's Zhongping era, an epidemic had spread throughout the country side. Zhang Jue made charmed water, which he used to cure the peoples' sickness. He gave himself the title of great and virtuous teacher. Jue had developed a following of more than five hundred people, who spread to the four-corners of the empire. All of them had learned how to write magic charms and chant spells. Later on as he gathered more followers, Jue organized his disciples into 36 chapters --- a large chapter numbered well over 10,000 people, whereas a small chapter might contain six or seven thousand, --- and each chapter had its own commander, who was called a general. Rumors abounded that, "The blue skies of spring are now dead, and the yellow skies of summer are upon us." People were also saying, "This is the 'Yang Wood Rat' year, first year of the sixty year cycle, a hugely auspicious turn of events in the world." Zhang Jue ordered his followers to take a piece of chalk and write "Yang Wood Rat" on the outer gate of their houses. People from the households of eight administrative regions --- Qingzhou, Youzhou, Xuzhou, Jizhou, Jingzhou, Yangzhou, Yanzhou and Yuzhou --- all worshiped the great and virtuous teacher Zhang Jue. Jue secretly sent one of his cronies, Ma Yuanyi, to offer gifts of gold and fine cloth to the eunuch Feng Xu, in order to establish friendly relations, so that he could have an inside man. Jue discussed the situation with his two brothers, saying, "The hardest thing is to win over the peoples' hearts. Right now, the people are already on our side. If we do not seize this opportunity to take over the world, it will truly be a pity." Shortly thereafter, yellow banners were made in secret, while he settled upon a date to launch his offensive. He also dispatched his disciple Tang Zhou to deliver a letter to Feng Xu. Instead, Tang Zhou went straight to the authorities and reported the plot. The emperor ordered Commander-in-chief He Jin to dispatch troops to arrest Ma Yuanyi, who was subsequently beheaded. Following that, He Jin rounded up Feng Xu and his ilk, and threw them all in prison.

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.