Friday, June 25, 2010

3 Kingdoms - Chapter One - 11

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong

21 At the time, Zhang Jue's bandit rebel forces numbered one hundred fifty thousand, while Zhi's forces numbered fifty thousand. They were battling it out in Guangzong, still with no clear victor. Zhi discussed the matter with Xuande, saying, "We have the enemy surrounded here, but the two younger brothers Zhang Liang and Zhang Bao are both in Yingchuan, camped out opposite the forces of Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun. You could take your main force, augmented with an extra thousand of my government troops, and advance towards Yingchuan. Once you find out what is going on down there, you could set a date to surround and capture the enemy." Xuande accepted the mission, and marched his troops night and day toward Yingchuan. When they arrived, they found Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun locked in battle against the bandit rebels. The battle was not going well for the bandit rebels, and they had retreated to Changshe, where they had to rely on straw for setting up camp. Song and Jun began to scheme, saying, "The bandit rebels are relying on straw for setting up camp, we should use fire to attack them." They immediately ordered their soldiers to each grab a bundle of straw, and then sneak up on the enemy and ambush them. That night, strong winds began to blow. After the second watch, they all lit their fires in unison. Song and Jun each led a unit of soldiers in an attack. The flames from the bandit rebel stronghold rose high into the sky, and the bandit rebels began to panic. They didn't even take the time to saddle their horses, or don their armor; they just scattered in all four directions. The killing lasted until daybreak, at which time Zhang Liang and Zhang Bao snuck out their surviving forces on whatever escape routes they could find.

Cao Cao Suddenly, they saw a bunch of soldiers on horseback, all of them with red banners. When they arrived, they completely blocked the road. At the head was their leader; his height was seven chi, and he had narrow eyes, with a long beard. His official title was Captain of the Cavalry; he was from Qiao Commandery in the Kingdom of Pei. His surname was Cao, his given name was Cao, and his style name was Mengde. Cao's father was Cao Song, whose original surname was Xiahou; because he was the adopted son of Cao Teng, the emperor's personal secretary, he assumed the surname of Cao. Cao Song's son was Cao, whose childhood name was Aman; his other childhood name was Jili. When Cao was little, he liked to go out hunting, and enjoyed singing and dancing; he had tenacity, and was extremely cunning. Cao had an uncle who observed that Cao did not apply himself at all. The uncle was angry at the boy, so he mentioned it to Cao Song. As Song was scolding Cao, Cao suddenly hatched a plan: later on, he saw his uncle coming, and pretended to collapse onto the ground, as if he had suffered a stroke. When his uncle frantically told Song what had happened, Song hurried over to see what was wrong with the boy, but found Cao in perfect health. Song said, "Your uncle said that you had suffered a stroke, are you all better now?" Cao replied, "I never had that illness in the first place; it's because uncle doesn't love me anymore that he lied about me." Song believed the boy's story. Afterwards, even though his uncle would report that Cao had misbehaved, Song would not even listen. Because of this, Cao was able to do whatever he wanted without a care in the world.

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.