He will certainly abandon Ding Yuan’s service for yours.”

Dong Zhuo could not reply for Lu Bu,

eager for the fight, rode straight at him.

Dong Zhuo fled and Ding Yuan’s army came on.

The battle went in Ding Yuan’s favor,

and the beaten troops retired ten miles and made another camp.

Here Dong Zhuo called his officers to a council.

“This Lu Bu is a marvel,” said Dong Zhuo.

“If he were only on my side, I would defy the whole world!”

At this a man advanced saying, “Be content, O my lord!

I am a fellow villager of his and know him well:

He is valorous, but not crafty; he will let go principles,

when he sees advantages. With this little,

blarneying tongue of mine, I can persuade him to put up his hands and come over to your side.”

Dong Zhuo was delighted and gazed admiringly at the speaker.

It was Li Su, a general in the Imperial Tiger Army.

“What arguments will you use with him?” asked Dong Zhuo.

“You have a fine horse, Red Hare, one of the best ever bred.

I must have this steed, and gold and pearls to win his heart.

Then will I go and persuade him.

He will certainly abandon Ding Yuan’s service for yours.”

“What think you?” said Dong Zhuo to his adviser Li Ru.

“One cannot grudge a horse to win an empire,” was the reply.

So they gave Li Su what he demanded——a thousand ounces of gold,

ten strings of beautiful pearls, a jeweled belt,

and Red Hare——and these accompanied Li Su on his visit to his fellow villager.

Li Su reached the camp and said to the guard,

“Please tell General Lu Bu that a very old friend has come to visit him.”

He was admitted forthwith.

“Worthy brother, have you been well since we last met?”

GREeted Li Su while bowing.

“How long it is since we last saw each other!”

replied Lu Bu, bowing in return. “And where are you now?”

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“Minister Lu Zhi is the cynosure of the whole country,

Dong Zhuo angrily drew his sword to slay

the bold Lu Zhi, but two other officials remonstrated.

“Minister Lu Zhi is the cynosure of the whole country,

the bold Lu Zhi, but two other officials remonstrated.

“Minister Lu Zhi is the cynosure of the whole country,

and his violent death would stir the hearts of all people!”

said Court Counselors Cai Yong and Peng Bo.

Dong Zhuo then stayed his hand.

then said Wang Yun, “A GREat question like the

deposition and substitution of emperors is not

one to be decided after a wine party.

Let it be put off till another time.”

So the guests dispersed. Dong Zhuo stood at the gate

with drawn sword watching them depart. Standing thus,

Dong Zhuo noticed a spearman galloping to and fro on

a fiery steed and asked Li Ru who that was.

“That is Lu Bu, the adopted son of Ding Yuan.

You must keep out of his way, my lord.”

Dong Zhuo went inside the gate so that he

could not be seen. But next day they reported

to him that Ding Yuan had come out of the city

with a small army and was challenging to a battle.

Dong Zhuo, with his army, went forth to accept

the challenge. And the two armies were drawn up in proper array.

Lu Bu was a conspicuous figure in the forefront.

His hair was arranged under a handsome headdress

of gold, and he had donned a embroidered

thousand-flower fighting robe, a pheasant-tailed helmet,

and breast plate, and round his waist was a gleaming jade

belt with a lion’s head clasp.

With spear set he rode close behind his master Ding Yuan.

Ding Yuan, riding forth, pointing his finger at Dong Zhuo,

began to revile him.

“Unhappy indeed was this state when the eunuchs

became so powerful that the people were as if trodden

into the mire under their feet. Now you, devoid of the

least merit, dare to talk of deposing the rightful

emperor and setting up another.

This is to desire rebellion and no less!”

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At the farm they had but one sorry nag and

At the farm they had but one sorry nag and

this they saddled for the Emperor. The young

Prince was taken on Min Gong’s charger. And thus

they left the farm. Not beyond one mile from the farm,

they fell in with other officials and several hundred

guards and soldiers made up an imposing cavalcade.

In the cavalcade were Wang Yun, Minister of the Interior;

Yang Biao, Grand Commander; Chunyu Qiong,

Commander of the Left Army; Zhao Meng, Commander

of the Right Army; Bao Xin, Commander of the Rear Army;

and Yuan Shao, Commander of the Center Army.

Tears were shed freely as the ministers met their Emperor.

A man was sent on in front to the capital there

to expose the head of Eunuch Duan Gui.

As soon as they could, they placed the Emperor on

a better steed and the young Prince had a horse to

himself. Thus the Emperor returned to Luoyang,

and so it happened after all as the street children’s ditty ran:

[hip, hip, hip] Though the emperor doesn’t rule,

though the prince no office fills,

Yet a brilliant cavalcade comes along from

Beimang Hills. [yip, yip, yip]

the cavalcade had not proceeded far when

they saw coming towards them a large body of

soldiers with fluttering banners hiding the sun and

raising a huge cloud of dust. The officials turned pale,

and the Emperor was GREatly alarmed. Yuan Shao rode out in advance.

 “Who are you?” said Yuan Shao.

From under the shade of an embroidered

banner rode out a leader, saying, “Do you have the Emperor?”

the Emperor was too panic stricken to respond,

but the Prince of Chenliu rode to the front and cried, “Who are you?”

“Dong Zhuo, Imperial Protector of Xizhou Region.”

“Have you come to protect the Chariot or to steal it?” said Prince Xian.

 “I have come to protect,” said Dong Zhuo.

“If that is so, the Emperor is here: Why do you not dismount?”

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Alarmed by the portent, he hastily dressed and went forth

“God is helping us,” said Prince Xian.

they followed whither the fireflies led and gradually

got into a road. They walked till their feet were too sore

to go further, when, seeing a heap of straw near the road,

they crept to it and lay down.

This heap of straw was close to a farm house.

In the night, as the farmer was sleeping, he saw in a

vision two bright red suns drop behind his dwelling.

Alarmed by the portent, he hastily dressed and went forth

to look about him. Then he saw a bright light

shooting up from a heap of straw.

He hastened thither and then saw two youths lying behind it.

“To what household do you belong,

young gentlemen?” asked the farmer.

the Emperor was too frightened to reply,

but his companion said, “He is the Emperor.

There was a revolution in the Forbidden City,

and we ran away. I am his brother, Prince of Chenliu.”

the farmer bowed again and again and said,

“My name is Sui Lie. My brother Sui Yi is the former

Minister of the Interior. My brother was

disgusted with the behavior of the eunuchs

and so resigned and hid away here.”

the two lads were taken into the farm,

and their host on his knees served them with refreshment.

It has been said that Min Gong had gone in

pursuit of Eunuch Duan Gui. By and by Min

Gong overtook Duan Gui and cried,

“Where is the Emperor?”

“He disappeared! I do not know where he is!”

Min Gong slew Duan Gui and hung the

bleeding head on his horse’s neck. Then

he sent his troops searching in all directions,

and he rode off by himself on the same quest.

Presently he came to the farm. Sui Lie,

seeing what hung on his horse’s neck,

questioned him and, satisfied with his story,

led him to the Emperor. The meeting

Continue reading “Alarmed by the portent, he hastily dressed and went forth”

grass on the river bank and hid. The soldiers scattered

He Miao looked around:

 

 

His enemies hemmed him in on every side.

He was hacked to pieces.

Yuan Shu bade his soldiers scatter and seek out all

the families of the eunuchs, sparing none.

In that slaughter many beardless men were killed in error.

Cao Cao set himself to extinguish the fires.

He then begged Empress He to undertake the

direction of affairs, and soldiers were sent to

pursue Zhang Rang and rescue the young

Emperor and the young Prince of Chenliu.

Meanwhile, Zhang Rang and Duan Gui had

hustled away the Emperor and the Prince.

They burst through the smoke and fire and

traveled without stopping till they reached the

Beimang Hills. It was then the third watch.

They heard a GREat shouting behind them

and saw soldiers in pursuit. Their leader,

Min Gong, a commander in Henan,

was shouting, “Traitors, stop, stop!”

Zhang Rang, seeing that he was lost,

jumped into the river, where he was drowned.

the two boys ignorant of the meaning of all this

confusion and terrified out of their senses,

dared not utter a cry. They crept in among the rank

grass on the river bank and hid. The soldiers scattered

in all directions but failed to find them.

So they remained till the fourth watch,

shivering with cold from the drenching dew and

very hungry. They lay down in the thick grass and

wept in each other’s arms, silently,

lest anyone should discover them.

“This is no a place to stay in,”

said Prince Xian. “We must find some way out.”

So the two children knotted their clothes

together and managed to crawl up the bank.

They were in a thicket of thorn bushes,

and it was quite dark. They could not see any

path. They were in despair when, all at once,

millions of fireflies sprang up all about them

and circled in the air in front of the Emperor.

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He Jin was panic stricken and looked about for a way to escape

He Jin was panic stricken

and looked about for a way to escape,

but all gates had been shut. the eunuchs closed him in,

and then the assassins appeared and cut He Jin into halves.

[hip, hip, hip] Closing the days of the Hans, and the years

of their rule were near spent, Stupid and tactless was He Jin,

yet stood he highest in office, Many were they who advised him,

but he was deaf as he heard not, Wherefore fell he

a victim under the swords of the eunuchs. [yip, yip, yip]

So He Jin died. Yuan Shao and Cao Cao waited long.

By and by, impatient at the delay,

they called through the gate, “Thy carriage awaits, O General!”

For reply the head of He Jin was flung over the wall.

A decree was proclaimed:

“He Jin has contemplated treachery and therefore

has been slain! It pardons his adherents.”

Yuan Shao shouted, “the eunuchs have slain the

High Minister. Let those who will slay

this wicked party come and help me!”

then one of He Jin’s generals, Wu Kuang,

set fire to the gate. Yuan Shu at the head of his

guards burst in and fell to slaying the eunuchs

without regard to age or rank. Yuan Shao and

Cao Cao broke into the inner part of the Palace.

Four of the eunuchs——Zhao Zhong, Cheng Kuang,

Xia Yun, and Guo Sheng——fled to the Blue Flower

Lodge where they were hacked to pieces.

Fire raged, destroying the buildings.

Four of the Ten Regular Attendants——Zhang Rang,

Duan Gui, Cao Jie, and Hou Lan——led by Zhang Rang

carried off the Empress, Emperor Bian,

and Prince Xian of Chenliu toward the North Palace.

Lu Zhi, since he had resigned office,

was at home, but hearing of the revolution

in the Palace he donned his armor,

took his spear, and prepared to fight.

He saw Eunuch Duan Gui hurrying

the Empress along and called out,

“You rebel, how dare you abduct the Empress?”

the eunuch fled. The Empress leaped

out of a window and

was taken to a place of safety.

General Wu Kuang burst into one of the

inner halls where he found He Miao, sword in hand.

“You also were in the plot to slay your own

brother,” cried Wu Kuang.

“You shall die with the others!”

“Let us kill the plotter against

his elder brother!” cried many.

He Miao looked around: His enemies

hemmed him in on every side. He was hacked to pieces.

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Corrupted by these, He Miao went in to speak with

Corrupted by these, He Miao

He Miao.

Corrupted by these, He Miao went in to speak with his sister Empress He and said,

“The General is the chief support of the new Emperor, yet he is no

t gracious and merciful but thinks wholly of slaughter.

If he slays the eunuchs without cause, it may bring about revolution.”

Soon after He Jin entered and told her of his design to put the eunuchs to death.

She argued with him, “Those officials look after palace

affairs and are old servants. To kill the old servants just after the

death of their master would appear disrespectful to the dynasty’s ancestral temple.”

And as He Jin was of a vacillating mind, he murmured assent and left her.

“What about it?” said Yuan Shao on meeting him.

“She will not consent. What can be done?”

“Call up an army and slay them. It is imperative. Never mind her consent!”

“That is an excellent plan,” said He Jin. And he sent orders all round to march soldiers to the capital.

But Secretary Chen Lin objected, “Nay! Do not act without due consideration.

The proverb says ‘To cover the eyes and snatch at swallows is to fool oneself.’

If in so small a matter you cannot attain your wish, what of great affairs?

Now by virtue of the emperor and with the army under your hand, you are

like prancing tiger and soaring dragon: You may do as you please. To use such

enormous powers against the eunuchs would bring victory as easily as lighting up

a furnace to burn a hair. Only act promptly: Use your powers and smite at once,

and all the empire will be with you. But to summon forces to the capital,

to gather many bold warriors into one spot, each with different schemes,

is to turn our weapons against our own person,

to place ourselves in the power of another.

Nothing but failure can come of it, and havoc will ensue.”

“The view of a mere book-worm,” said He Jin with a smile.

Then one of those about He Jin suddenly clapped his hands,

Continue reading “Corrupted by these, He Miao went in to speak with”

The eunuchs persuaded the ladies to retire.

The eunuchs persuaded the ladies to retire.

But in the night Empress He summoned her

brother into the Palace and told him what had occurred.

He went out and took counsel with the principal officers of state.

Next morning a court was held and a memorial was presented, saying:

“Empress Dong, being the foster mother of Liu Xian,

Prince of Chenliu, a regional prince—only a collateral—cannot properly

occupy any part of the Palace. She is to be removed into her

riginal fief of Hejian and is to depart immediately.”

And while they sent an escort to remove Empress Dong,

a strong guard was placed about the Imperial Uncle Dong Chong’s

dwelling. They took away his seal of office and he, knowing this

was the end, killed himself in his private apartments. His dependents,

who wailed his death, were driven off by the guards.

The eunuchs Zhang Rang and Duan Gui, having lost their patroness,

sent large gifts to He Jin’s younger brother, He Miao, and his mother,

Lady Wuyang, and thus got them to put in a good word to

Empress He so as to gain her protection.

And so they gained favor once more at court.

In the sixth month of that year, the secret emissaries of He Jin

poisoned Empress Dong in her residence in the country.

Her remains were brought to the capital and buried in Wen Tombs*.

He Jin feigned illness and did not attend the funeral.

Commander Yuan Shao went one day to see He Jin, saying, “

The two eunuchs, Zhang Rang and Duan Gui, are spreading the

report outside that you has caused the death of the late empress and

is aiming at the throne. This is an excuse for you to destroy them.

Do not spare them this time, or you will pay like Dou Wu and Chen Fan,

who in the previous reign missed their chance because the secret had not

been kept, and they paid by their own deaths. Now you and

your brother have many commanders and officers behind,

so that the destruction of the eunuchs can be but an ease.

It is a heaven-sent opportunity. Delay no further!”

But He Jin replied, “Let me think it over.”

He Jin’s servants overheard the discussion and secretly

informed the intended victims,

who sent further gifts to the younger brother 

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Zhu Jun returned to Capital

Zhu Jun returned to Capital Luoyang,

was promoted to the General of the Flying Cavalry*,

and received the governorship of Henan. He did not forget those who had helped him to

win victory. Thus he reported the merits of Liu Bei and Sun Jian to the Throne.

Sun Jian, having influential friends and connections to support him, quickly got an appointment

to a post of Commander of Changsha and went to assume the new office. But Liu Bei,

in spite of Zhu Jun’s memorial, waited in vain for preferment, and the three brothers became very sad.

Walking along one day in the capital, Liu Bei met a court official, Zhang Jun, to whom

he related his services and told his sorrows. Zhang Jun was much surprised at

this neglect and one day at court spoke to the Emperor about it.

Said he, “The Yellow Scarves rebelled because the eunuchs sold offices and bartered ranks.

There was employment only for their friends, punishment only for their enemies.

This led to rebellion. Wherefore it would be well to slay the Ten Eunuchs and expose

their heads and proclaim what had been done throughout the whole empire.

Then reward the worthy. Thereby the land would be wholly tranquil.”

But the eunuchs fiercely opposed this and said Zhang Jun was insulting the Emperor,

and the Emperor bade the guards thrust Zhang Jun out.

However, the eunuchs took counsel together and one said, “Surely someone who

rendered some service against rebels resents being passed over.”

So they caused a list of unimportant people to be prepared for preferment by and by.

Among them was Liu Bei, who received the post of magistrate of the county of Anxi, to

which he proceeded without delay after disbanding his army and sending them home

to their villages. He retained two dozens or so as escort.

The three brothers reached Anxi, and soon the administration of the county was so

reformed and the rule so wise that in a month there was no law-breaking. The three

brothers lived in harmony, eating at the same table and sleeping on the same couch.

But when Liu Bei was in public sessions or in company of others,

Guan Yu and Zhang Fei would stand in attendance, were it even a whole day.

Four months after their arrival, there came out a general order for the reduction

of the number of military officers holding civil posts, and Liu Bei began to fear that

he would be among those thrown out. In due course the inspecting official, Du Biao

by name, arrived and was met at the boundary. But to the polite obeisance of Liu Bei,

he made no return, save a wave of his whip as he sat on his horse.

This made Guan Yu and Zhang Fei furious. But worse was to follow.

When the inspector had arrived at his lodging, he took his seat on the dais,

leaving Liu Bei standing below. After a long time he addressed Liu Bei.

So Liu Bei set off and marched

So Liu Bei set off and marched

as quickly as possible to Yingchuan. At that time the imperial

troops were attacking with success, and the rebels had retired upon Changshe. They had encamped among the thick grass.

Seeing this, Huangfu Song said to Zhu Jun, “the rebels are camping in the field. We can attack them by fire.”

So the Imperial Commanders bade every man cut a bundle of dry grass and laid an ambush. That night the

wind blew a gale, and at the second watch they started a blaze. At the same time Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun’s

troops attacked the rebels and set their camp on fire. The flames rose to the very heaven. The rebels were thrown

into GREat confusion. There was no time to saddle horses or don armor: They fled in all directions.

the battle continued until dawn. Zhang Lian and Zhang Ba, with a group of flying rebels, found a way of escape.

But suddenly a troop of soldiers with crimson banners appeared to oppose them. Their leader was a man of medium

stature with small eyes and a long beard. He was Cao Cao, a Beijuo man,

holding the rank of Cavalry Commander. His father was Cao Song, but he was not really a Cao. Cao Song had

been born to the Xiahou family, but he had been brought up by Eunuch Cao Teng and had taken this family name.

As a young man Cao Cao had been fond of hunting and delighted in songs and dancing. He was resourceful and full of

guile. An uncle, seeing the young fellow so unsteady, used to

get angry with him and told his father of his misdeeds. His father remonstrated with him.

But Cao Cao made equal to the occasion. One day, seeing

his uncle coming, he fell to the ground in a pretended fit. The

uncle alarmed ran to tell his father, who came, and there was the youth in most perfect health.

“But your uncle said you were in a fit. Are you better?” said his father.

“I have never suffered from fits or any such illness,” said Cao Cao. “But I have lost my

uncle’s affection, and he has deceived you.”

thereafter, whatever the uncle might say of his faults, his father paid no heed.

So the young man GREw up licentious and uncontrolled.

A man of the time named Qiao Xuan said to Cao Cao, “Rebellion is at hand, and

only a man of the GREatest ability can succeed in restoring tranquillity. That man is yourself.”

And He Yong of Nanyang said of him, “the dynasty of Han is about to

fall. He who can restore peace is this man and only he.”

Cao Cao went to inquire his future of a wise man of Runan named Xu Shao.

“What manner of man am I?” asked Cao Cao.