the boat was too small to carry everybody,
and those unable to get on board clung to the cable, but Li Yue cut them down, and they fell into the water. They ferried over the Emperor and then sent back the boat for the others. There was a GREat scramble to get on board, and they had to chop off the fingers and hands of those who persisted in clinging to the boat. The lamentation rose to the heavens.
When they mustered on the farther bank, many were missing, only a dozen of the Emperor’s suite were left. Yang Feng found a bullock cart and transported the Emperor and Empress to Dayang. They had no food and at night sought shelter in a poor, tile-roofed house. The cottagers gave them some boiled millet but it was too coarse to be swallowed.
Next day the Emperor conferred titles on those who had protected him. Li Yue was made General Who Conquers the North, and Han Xian was appointed General Who Conquers the East.
the flight continued. Soon two officers of rank came up with the cortege, and they bowed before His Majesty with many tears. They were Imperial Guardian Yang Biao and Minister Han Rong. The Emperor and Empress lifted up their voices and wept with them.
Said Han Rong to his colleague, “the rebels have confidence in my words. You stay as guard of the Emperor, and I will take my life in my hands and try to bring about peace.”
After Han Rong had gone, the Emperor rested for a time in Yang Feng’s camp. But Yang Biao requested the Emperor to head for Anyi and make the capital there. When the train reached the town, they found it containing not a single lofty building, and the court lived in grass huts devoid even of doors. They surrounded these with a fence of thorns as a protection, and within this the Emperor held counsel with his ministers. The soldiers camped round the fence.
Now Li Yue and his fellow ruffians showed their true colors. They wielded the powers of the Emperor as they wished, and officials who offended them were beaten or abused even in the presence of the Emperor. They purposely provided thick wine and coarse food for the Emperor’s consumption. He struggled to swallow what they sent. Li Yue and Han Xian joined in recommending to the Throne the names of convicts, common soldiers, sorcerers, leeches, and such people who thus obtained official ranks.
There were more than two hundred of such people.
As seals could not be engraved,
pieces of metal were hammered into some sort of a shape.
Court affairs had never degraded to such a low point.
When the rebel generals showed signs of pursuit,
Yang Feng and Dong Cheng had to play a double-edged sword. They sent to offer to discuss terms of peace with Li Jue and Guo Si； at the same time they sent a secret edict to enlist the help from the leaders of the White Wave rebels——Han Xian, Li Yue, and Hu Cai. The White Wave was a branch of the Yellow Scarves, and Li Yue was actually a brigand and had inspired rebels throughout the country. But the need for help was so desperate.
these three, being promised pardon for their faults and crimes and a grant of official rank, naturally responded to the call, and thus the loyal side was strengthened so that Hongnong was recaptured. But meanwhile Li Jue and Guo Si laid waste whatever place they reached, slaying the aged and weakly, forcing the strong to join their ranks. When going into a fight they forced these people-soldiers to the front, and they called them the “Dare-to-Die” soldiers.
Li Jue and Guo Si’s force was overwhelming. When Li Yue, the White Wave leader, approached with his army, Guo Si bade his soldiers scatter clothing and valuables along the road. The late robbers could not resist the temptation, so a scramble began. Then Guo Si’s soldiers fell upon the disordered ranks and did much damage. Yang Feng and Dong Cheng had to take the Emperor away to the north.
the enemy came very near, and the Emperor left his carriage and went on foot. Yang Feng and Dong Cheng escorted him to the bank of the Yellow River. Li Yue sought a boat to ferry him to the other side. The weather was very cold and the Emperor and Empress cuddled up close to each other shivering. They reached the river but the banks were too high, and they could not get down into the boat. So Yang Feng proposed to fasten together the horses’ bridles and lower down the Emperor slung by the waist. However, the Empress’ brother, Fu De, found some rolls of white silk from dead soldiers, and they rolled up the two imperial personages in the silk, and thus they lowered them down near the boat. Then Li Yue took up his position in the prow leaning on his sword. Fu De carried the Empress on his back into the boat.
Li Jue and Guo Si pursued.
Li Yue said, “the danger is grave. I pray Your Majesty mount a horse and go in advance.”
the Emperor replied, “I cannot bear to abandon my officers.”
they wept and struggled on as best they could.
The White Wave leader Hu Cai was killed in one attack.
Liu Bei bade Guan Yu check him. Next day Lu Bu came to take leave of his host.
“You, O Lord, kindly received me, but I fear your brothers and I cannot aGREe. So I will seek some other asylum.”
“General, if you go, the blame is mine. My rude brother has offended and must eventually apologize. In the meantime what think you of a temporary sojourn at the town where I was encamped for some time, Xiaopei？ The place is small and mean, but it is near, and I will see to it that you are supplied with all you need.”
Lu Bu thanked him and accepted this offer. He led his troops there and took up residence. After he had gone, Liu Bei buried his annoyance, and Zhang Fei did not again refer to the matter.
That Cao Cao had subdued the east of the Huashang Mountains has been stated before. He memorialized the Throne and was rewarded with the title of General Who Exhibits Firm Virtue and Lord of Feiting. At this time the rebellious Li Jue was commanding the court, and he had made himself Regent Marshal, and his colleague Guo Si styled himself Grand Commander. Their conduct was abominable but no one dared to criticize them.
Imperial Guardian Yang Biao and Minister Zhu Jun privately talked with Emperor Xian and said, “Cao Cao has two hundred thousand troops and many capable advisers and leaders. It would be well for the empire if he would lend his support to the imperial family and help to rid the government of this evil party.”
His Majesty wept, “I am weary of the insults and contempt of these wretches and should be very glad to have them removed.”
“I have thought of a plan to estrange Li Jue and Guo Si and so make them destroy each other. Then Cao Cao could come and cleanse the court,” said Yang Biao.
“How will you manage it？” asked the Emperor.
“Guo Si’s wife, Lady Qiong, is very jealous, and we can take advantage of her weakness to bring about a quarrel.”
So Yang Biao received instruction to act, with a secret edict to support him. Yang Biao’s wife, Lady Kai, made an excuse to visit Lady Qiong at her palace and, in the course of conversation, said “There is talk of secret liaison between the General, your husband, and the wife of Minister Li Jue. It is a GREat secret, but if Minister Li Jue knew it, he might try to harm your husband. I think you ought to have very little to do with that family.”
Lady Qiong was surprised but said, “I have wondered why he has been sleeping away from home lately, but I did not think there was anything shameful connected with it. I should never have known if you had not spoken. I must put a stop to it.”
By and by, when Lady Kai took her leave,
Lady Qiong thanked her warmly for the information she had given.
Some days passed, and Guo Si was going over to
the dwelling of Li Jue to a dinner.
Said Lu Bu, “After Wang Yun and I plotted to slay Dong Zhuo and my misfortune in the Li Jue and Guo Si’s sedition, I drifted about from one place to another, and none of the nobles east of the Huashang Mountains seemed willing to receive me. When Cao Cao with wicked ambition invaded this region and you, Sir, came to its rescue, I aided you by attacking Yanzhou and thus diverting a portion of his force. I did not think then that I should be the victim of a vile plot and lose my leaders and my soldiers. But now if you will, I offer myself to you that we may together accomplish GREat designs.”
Liu Bei replied, “When the late Tao Qian died, there was no one to administer Xuzhou, and so I assumed that task for a time. Now since you are here, General, it is most suitable that I step down in your favor.”
Whereupon Liu Bei handed the insignia and the seal of authority to Lu Bu. Lu Bu was on the point of accepting them, when he saw Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, who stood behind the Imperial Protector, glaring at him with angry eyes.
So Lu Bu put on a smile and said, “I may be something of a fighting man, but I could not rule a GREat region like this.”
Liu Bei repeated his offer. But Chen Gong said, “the strong guest does not oppress his host. You need not fear, Lord Liu Bei.”
then Liu Bei desisted. Banquets were held and dwelling places prepared for the guest and his retinue.
As soon as convenient, Lu Bu returned the feast. Liu Bei went with his two brothers. Half through the banquet Lu Bu requested Liu Bei to retire to one of the inner private rooms, whither Guan Yu and Zhang Fei followed him. There Lu Bu bade his wife and daughter bow as to their benefactor. Here also Liu Bei showed excessive modesty.
Lu Bu said, “Good younger brother, you need not be so very modest.”
Zhang Fei heard what Lu Bu said, and his eyes glared, crying, “What sort of a man are you that dares call our brother ‘younger brother’？ He is one of the ruling family——a jade leaf on a golden branch. Come out, and I will fight you three hundred bouts for the insult.”
Liu Bei hastily checked the impulsive one, and Guan Yu persuaded him to go away. Then Liu Bei apologized, saying, “My poor brother talks wildly after he has been drinking. I hope you will not blame him.”
Lu Bu nodded, but said nothing. Soon after the guests departed.
But as the host escorted Liu Bei to his carriage,
he saw Zhang Fei galloping up armed as for a fray.
“Lu Bu, you and I will fight that duel of three hundred bouts！
” shouted Zhang Fei.
Seeing he could not persuade Liu Bei, Tao Qian then said, “As you are set in determination, perhaps you will consent to encamp at Xiaopei. It is only a little town, but thence you can keep watch and ward over the region.”
they all with one voice prayed Liu Bei to consent, so he gave in. The feast of victory being now ended, the time came to say farewell. When Zhao Yun took his leave, Liu Bei held his hands alternately while dashing away the falling tears. Kong Rong and Tien Kai went home to their own places.
When Liu Bei and his brothers took up their abode in Xiaopei, they first repaired the defenses, and then they put out proclamations in order to calm the inhabitants.
In the meantime Cao Cao had marched toward his own region.
Cao Ren met and told him, “Lu Bu is very powerful, and he has Chen Gong as adviser. Yanzhou is as good as lost, with the exception of three counties which have been vigorously and desperately defended by Xun Yu and Cheng Yu.”
Cao Cao said, “I own that Lu Bu is a bold fighter but nothing more； he has no craft. So we need not fear him seriously.”
then he gave orders to make a strong camp till they could think out some victorious plan.
Lu Bu, knowing of Cao Cao’s return, called two of his subordinate generals, Xue Lan and Li Fang, to him and assigned to them the task of holding the city of Yanzhou, saying, “I have long waited for opportunity to employ your skill. Now I give you ten thousand soldiers, and you are to hold the city while I go forth to attack Cao Cao.”
But Chen Gong, the strategist, came in hastily, saying,
“General, you are going away； whither？”
“I am going to camp my troops at Puyang,
that vantage point.”
Kong Rong pressed rewards upon Taishi Ci, but he would accept nothing and departed. When his mother saw him, she was pleased at his success saying she rejoiced that he had been able to prove his gratitude, and after this he departed for Yangzhou.
Liu Bei went away to his friend Gongsun Zan and laid before Gongsun Zan his design to help Xuzhou.
“Cao Cao and you are not enemies. Why do you spend yourself for the sake of another？” said Gongsun Zan.
“I have promised,” Liu Bei replied, “and dare not break faith.”
“I will lend you two thousand horse and foot,” said Gongsun Zan.
“Also I wish to have the services of Zhao Yun,” said Liu Bei.
Gongsun Zan aGREed to this also. they marched away, Liu Bei’s own troops being in the front, and Zhao Yun, with the borrowed troops, being in rear.
In due course Mi Zhu returned saying that Kong Rong had also obtained the services of Liu Bei. The other messenger, Chen Deng, came back and reported that Tien Kai would also bring help. Then was Tao Qian’s heart set at ease.
But both the leaders, though they had promised aid, GREatly dreaded their antagonist and camped among the hills at a great distance,
fearful of coming too close to Cao Cao’s quarters.
Cao Cao knew of their coming and
divided his army into parts to meet them,
so postponing the attack on the city itself.
Presently said Taishi Ci, “Give me a thousand soldiers, and I will go out and drive off these fellows.”
“You are a bold warrior, but they are very numerous. It is a serious matter to go out among them,” said Kong Rong.
“My mother sent me because of your goodness to her. How shall I be able to look her in the face if I do not raise the siege？ I would prefer to conquer or perish.”
“I have heard Liu Bei is one of the heroes in the world. If we could get his help, there would be no doubt of the result. But there is no one to send.”
“I will go as soon as I have received your letter.”
So Kong Rong wrote letters and gave them to his helper.
Taishi Ci put on his armor, mounted his steed, attached his bow and quiver to his girdle, took his spear in his hand, tied his packed haversack firmly to his saddle bow, and rode out at the city gate. He went quite alone.
Along the moat a large party of the besiegers were gathered, and they came to intercept the solitary rider. But Taishi Ci dashed in among them and cut down several and so finally fought his way through.
Guan Hai, hearing that a rider had left the city, guessed what his errand would be and followed Taishi Ci with a party of horsemen. Guan Hai spread them out so that the messenger rider was entirely surrounded. Then Taishi Ci laid aside his spear, took his bow,
adjusted his arrows one by one and
shot all round him. And as a rider fell
from his steed with every twang of Taishi Ci’s bowstring,
the pursuers dared not close in.
they all aGREed. The storm continued into the night and as Cao Song sat waiting anxiously for signs of clearing, he suddenly heard a hubbub at the west end of the temple. His brother, Cao De, drawing his sword, went out to see what it was about, and Cao De was at once cut down. Cao Song seized one of the concubines by the hand, rushed with her through the passage toward the back of the temple so that they might escape. But the lady was stout and could not get through the narrow doors, so the two hid in one of the small outhouses at the side. However, they were seen and slain.
the unhappy Governor Ying Shao fled for his life to Yuan Shao. The murderers fled into the South of River Huai with their plunder after having set fire to the old temple.
[hip, hip, hip] Cao Cao, whom the ages praise, Slew his hosts on his former flight；Nemesis never turns aside, Murdered too his family died. [yip, yip, yip]
Some of the escort escaped and took the evil tidings to Cao Cao. When he heard it he fell to the earth with a GREat cry. They raised him.
With set teeth he muttered, “Tao Qian’s people have slain my father： No longer can the same sky cover us. I will sweep Xuzhou off the face of the earth. Only thus can I satisfy my vengeance.”
Cao Cao left one small army of thirty thousand under Xun Yu and Cheng Yu to guard the east headquarters and the three counties of Juancheng, Fanxia, and Dongjun. Then he set forth with all the remainder to destroy Xuzhou and avenge his father. Xiahou Dun, Yu Jin, and Dian Wei were Van Leaders with Cao Cao’s orders to slaughter all the inhabitants of each captured city.
Now the Governor of Jiujiang, Bian Rang, was a close friend of Tao Qian. Hearing Xuzhou was threatened, Bian Rang set out with five thousand troops to his friend’s aid. Angered by this move, Cao Cao sent Xiahou Dun to stop and kill Bian Rang while still on the march.
[e] Chen Gong is the magistrate who spared
Cao Cao after Cao Cao failed to assassinate Dong Zhuo.
Chen Gong and Cao Cao then traveled as fugitives to Qiao,
but they parted haft way. （chapter 4）
When Li Jue and Guo Si heard that both the boastful generals had fallen under the hand of one young man, they knew that Jia Xu had given good advice and was gifted with clear prescience. So they valued his plans the more highly and decided to act on the defensive. They refused all challenges to combat.
Surely enough after a couple of months the supplies of the Xiliang force were all exhausted and the leaders began to consider retreat.
Just at this juncture a household servant of Ma Yu’s family betrayed his master and told of the conspiracy of the three court officials to assist the attackers. The two chiefs Li Jue and Guo Si in revenge seized the three conspirators——Ma Yu, Chong Shao, and Liu Fan——, with every member of their households, and beheaded them in the market place. The heads of the three were exposed at the front gate of the capital.
Being short of food and hearing of the destruction of their three adherents in the city, the only course for Ma Teng and Han Sui was to retreat. At once Zhang Ji went in pursuit of Ma Teng, and Fan Chou followed Han Sui. The retreating army under Ma Teng was beaten, and only by Ma Chao’s desperate efforts were the pursuers driven off.
Fan Chou pursued the other army. When he had come close, Han Sui rode boldly up and addressed him, saying, “You and I, Sir, are fellow villagers. Why then behave so unfriendly？”
Fan Chou replied, “I must obey the commands of my chief.”
“I am here for the service of the state. Why do you press me so hard？” said Han Sui.
At this Fan Chou turned his horse, called in his troops, and left Han Sui in peace. Unwittingly a nephew of Li Jue had been a witness of this scene； and when he saw the enemy allowed to go free, he returned and told his uncle. Angry that his enemy had escaped, Li Jue would have sent an army to wreak vengeance on his general.
But his adviser Jia Xu again came in, saying,
“the people are yet unsettled,
it was dangerous to provoke another war. Instead,
invite Fan Chou to a banquet and,
while the feast was in proGREss,
executing him for dereliction of duty.”
Wang Yun spoke to Cai Yong angrily,
“Dong Zhuo has been put to death as a rebel,
and all the land rejoices. You, a Han minister,
instead of rejoicing, weep for him. Why？”
Cai Yong confessed his fault, saying, “I am without talent, yet know what is right. I am not the man who turns my back on the dynasty and toward Dong Zhuo. Yet once I experienced his kindness, and I could not help mourning for him.
I know my fault is grave, but I pray you regard the reasons. If you will leave my head and only cut off my feet, you may use me to continue the History of Han, whereby I may have the good fortune to be allowed to expiate my fault.”
All were sorry for Cai Yong, for he was a man of GREat talents, and they begged that he might be spared.
the Imperial Guardian, Ma Midi, secretly interceded for him, saying, “Cai Yong is famous as a scholar, and he can write glorious history, and it is inadvisable to put to death a man renowned for rectitude without consideration.”
But in vain, for the High Minister was now strong and obdurate.
[e] Emperor Wu, aka Liu Che, （reigned BC 141-87） whose reign was longest among the Han emperors. Emperor Wu was perhaps the most influential
Han emperor who concerned not only about expanding territory but also about developing trade with other countries （the Silk Road, for example）。
Emperor paid special attention to longevity, and his court often had elaborate rituals. ……
[e] Sima Qian （BC 145-85） astronomer, calendar expert, and the first GREat Chinese historian, noted for his authorship of the “Historical Records” or Shi Ji, which is considered to be the most important history of China down to the end of the 2nd century. ……
Wang Yun said, “Centuries ago, Emperor Wu* spared Sima Qian* and employed him on the annals, with the result that many slanderous stories have been handed down to us. This is a trying period of GREat perplexity,
and we dare not let a specious fellow
like this wield his pen in criticism of those
about the court of a youthful
prince and abuse us as he will.”