At the close of the last chapter, Chen Gong was about to slay

At the close of the last chapter, Chen Gong was about to slay Cao Cao. But Chen Gong reflected, “I joined him to do righteous things. Now if I killed him, I would only do unrighteousness, and the people would condemn me. I rather leave in silence.”

Rising from his bed before the sunrise, Chen Gong mounted his horse and rode away eastward to his home county of Dongjun.

Cao Cao awoke with the day and missed his companion. Thought he, “Chen Gong thinks me brutal because of a couple of egoistic phrases I used, and so he has gone. I ought to push on too and not linger here.”

  So Cao Cao traveled as quickly as possible toward Qiao. When he saw his father, he related what had happened and said he wanted to dispose of all the family property and enlist soldiers with the money.

  “Our possessions are but small,” said his father, “and not enough to do anything with. However, there is a graduate here, one Wei Hong, careless of wealth but careful of virtue, whose family is very rich. With his help we might hope for success.”

  A feast was prepared, and Wei Hong was invited.

Cao Cao made him a speech: “the Hans have lost their lordship, and Dong Zhuo is really a tyrant. He flouts his prince and is cruel to the people, who gnash their teeth with rage. I would restore the Hans, but my means are insufficient. Sir, I appeal to your loyalty and public spirit.”

Wei Hong replied, “I have long desired this but, so far, have not found a person fit to undertake the task. Since you, Cao Cao, have so noble a desire, I willingly devote all my property to the cause.”

This was joyful news, and the call to arms was forthwith prepared and sent far and near. So they established a corps of volunteers and set up a large white recruiting banner with the words Loyalty and Honor inscribed thereon. The response was rapid, and volunteers came in like rain drops in number.

[e] Xiahou Ying (?-173) a major general of Liu Bang. Ennobled as the Marquis of Ruyin and commonly called the Lord of Tang. ……

One day came a certain Yue Jing from Yangping and another Li Dian from Julu. These two were appointed to Cao Cao’s personal staff. Another was one Xiahou Dun from Qiao. He was descended from Xiahou Ying* of old. Xiahou Dun had been trained from his early boyhood to use the spear and the club. When only fourteen he had been attached to a certain master-in-arms. One day one person spoke disrespectfully of his master, and Xiahou Dun killed that person. For this deed, however, he had to flee and had been an exile for some time. Now he came to offer his services, accompanied by his cousin Xiahou Yuan. Each brought a thousand trained soldiers. Really these two were brothers of Cao Cao by birth,

since Cao Cao’s father was

originally of the Xiahou

family, and had only been

adopted into the Cao family.

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“We certainly will,” they cried, “and wish you long life.”

“We certainly will,” they cried, “and wish you long life.”

That night the tables were spread in an inner room, and his friends gathered there. When the wine had made a few rounds, the host suddenly covered his face and began to weep.

the guests were aghast.

“Sir, on your birthday too, why do you weep?” said they.

  “It is not my birthday,” replied Wang Yun. “But I wished to call you together, and I feared lest Dong Zhuo should suspect, so I made that the excuse. This man insults the Emperor and does as he wishes so that the imperial prerogatives are in imminent peril. I think of the days when our illustrious founder destroyed the Qin, annihilated Chu, and obtained the empire. Who could have foreseen this day when that Dong Zhuo has subjugated all to his will? That is why I weep.”

then they all wept with him.

Seated among the guests, however, was Cao Cao, who did not join in the weeping but clapped his hands and laughed aloud.

“If all the officers of the government weep till dawn, and from dawn weep till dark, will that slay Dong Zhuo?” said Cao Cao.

Wang Yun turned on him angrily.

“Your forbears ate the bounty of the Hans. Do you feel no gratitude? You can laugh?”

“I laughed at the absurdity of an assembly like this being unable to compass the death of one man. Foolish and incapable as I am, I will cut off his head and hang it at the gate as an offering to the people.”

Wang Yun left his seat and went over to Cao Cao.

“these later days,” Cao Cao continued,

“I have bowed my head to Dong Zhuo

with the sole desire of finding a

chance to destroy him. Now he begins

to trust me, and so I can approach him

sometimes. You have a sword with seven

precious jewels which I would borrow,

and I will go into his palace and kill him.

I care not if I die for it.”

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One minister put his discontent into words, crying,

One minister put his discontent into words, crying,

“the false Dong Zhuo is the author of this insult,

which I will risk my life to wipe away!”

And with this he rushed at Dong Zhuo

threatening with his ivory baton of office.

It was Chair of the Secretariat Ding Guan.

Dong Zhuo had Ding Guan removed and summarily

put to death. Before his death, Ding Guan ceased

not to rail at the oppressor, nor was he frightened at death.

[hip, hip, hip] the rebel Dong Zhuo conceived

the foul design To thrust the King aside and wrong his line.

With folded arms the courtiers stood,

save one Ding Guan, who dared to cry

that wrong was done. [yip, yip, yip]

  then the emperor designate, Prince of Chenliu,

went to the upper part of the hall to

receive congratulations. After this the former

Emperor——now Prince of Hongnong——,

his mother, and the Imperial Consort, Lady Tang,

were removed to the Palace of Forever Calm. The

entrance gates were locked against all comers.

It was pitiful! there was the young emperor,

after reigning less than half a year,

deposed and another put in his place.

The new Emperor was Liu Xian, the second son

of the late Emperor Ling. He was nine years of age, five years younger than his deposed brother. The new reign-style was changed to Inauguration of Tranquillity, the first year (AD 190)。

Becoming the Prime Minister, Dong Zhuo was most powerful and arrogant. When he bowed before the Throne, he did not declare his name. In going to court he did not hasten. Booted and armed he entered the reception halls. He amassed a wealth exceeding any other’s.

  His adviser, Li Ru, impressed upon Dong Zhuo constantly to employ people of reputation so that he should gain public esteem. So when they told him Cai Yong was a man of talent, Dong Zhuo summoned him. But Cai Yong would not go. Dong Zhuo sent a message to him that if he did not come, he and his whole clan should be exterminated. Then Cai Yong gave in and appeared. Dong Zhuo was very gracious to him and promoted him thrice in a month. Cai Yong became High Minister. Such was the generosity of the tyrant.

  Meanwhile the deposed ruler,

his mother, and his consort were immured in the

Palace of Forever Calm and found their daily

supplies gradually diminishing. The deposed Emperor

wept incessantly. One day a pair of wallows

gliding to and fro moved him to verse:

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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”