Friday, May 21, 2010

3 Kingdoms - Chapter One - 6

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong

9 When Xuande was little, he used to play with children at the foot of a tree, saying, "I am the son of heaven, and I should mount my chariot." His uncle Liu Yuanqi said in amazement, "This child is no ordinary soul!" Seeing as Xuande was from a poor family, his uncle would often supplement their income. When he was fifteen, his mother sent him away for school. His teachers included Zheng Xuan and Lu Zhi, and he made friends with people like Gongsun Zan. By the time that Liu Yan had posted his conscription notice, Xuande was already 28 years of age. When he saw the announcement that day, his heart became heavy and he let out a long sigh. Right afterward, a man said sternly, "An able bodied man not lifting a finger for his country! What's with the long sigh?"

10 Xuande turned around to look at the man, who stood at a height of eight chi, had a leopard-like head, eyes like jade bracelets, a neck like that of a swallow's, and a mustache that reminded one of tiger whiskers. He had a booming voice, and was as forceful as a pack of galloping horses. Xuande thought he looked strange, and asked his name. The man replied, "My surname is Zhang, my given name is Fei, and my style name is Yide. My family has lived in the Zhuo Commandery for generations. I am the landlord of a large estate; I also sell wine and butcher pigs. I am particularly adept at forging relationships with men of outstanding ability. I just now saw you sigh after looking at the announcement, so I asked the reason." Xuande said, "Actually, I am a descendant of the house of Han. My surname is Liu, and my given name is Bei. Today, when I heard that the Yellow Turbans were calling for rebellion, I had a great desire to go smash those bandits, and appease the citizenry. I felt frustrated that I was powerless to do anything, so I let out a long sigh, that's all." Fei responded, "I am a man of considerable means. I should recruit a local militia, and we should undertake this great task together. What do you think?" Xuande was ecstatic, and they both went in to the village tavern so that they could have a drink together.

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.