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The Cao Man zhuan 曹瞞傳 (Biography of Cao Man or Biography of Cao the Concealer) is a biography written by an unnamed subject of Wu.[1] "Man" 瞞 in Cao Man zhuan could refer to Cao Cao's infant name "A-Man" 阿瞞. The literal meaning of 瞞 is 'conceal'.

The popular phrase “Among men Lü Bu, among horses Red Hare” comes from this text.

DescriptionEdit

The Cao Man zhuan is lost, but fragments of it remain. Pei Songzhi cited the Cao Man zhuan on several occasions in his extention of Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms. Described as a "hostile piece of propaganda".

Fragments in Records of the Three KingdomsEdit

Book of Wei 1 - Annals of Emperor Wu (Cao Cao)Edit

  1. 吳人作《曹瞞傳》及郭頒《世語》並云:嵩,夏侯氏之子,夏侯惇之叔父。太祖於惇為從父兄弟嵩,夏侯氏之子,夏侯惇之叔父。太祖於惇為從父兄弟。
  2. “The Cao Man zhuan, composed by a man of Wu, and Guo Ban’s Shiyu both present the following: [Cao] Song was a son of the Xiahou clan and was the younger brother of Xiahou Dun’s father. Therefore the Great Ancestor (Cao Cao) was of the same clan as Dun, as their fathers were brothers.
  3. 《曹瞞傳》云:太祖少好飛鷹走狗,游蕩無度,其叔父數言之於嵩。太祖患之,後逢叔父於路,乃陽敗面喎口;叔父怪而問其故,太祖曰:「卒中惡風。」叔父以告嵩。嵩驚愕,呼太祖,太祖口貌如故。嵩問曰:「叔父言汝中風,已差乎?」太祖曰:「初不中風,但失愛於叔父,故見罔耳。」嵩乃疑焉。自後叔父有所告,嵩終不復信,太祖於是益得肆意矣。
  4. 《曹瞞傳》曰:太祖初入尉廨,繕治四門。造五色棒,縣門左右各十餘枚,有犯禁,不避豪彊,皆棒殺之。後數月,靈帝愛幸小黃門蹇碩叔父夜行,即殺之。京師斂跡,莫敢犯者。近習寵臣咸疾之,然不能傷,於是共稱薦之,故遷為頓丘令。
  5. 《曹瞞傳》曰:公聞攸來,跣出迎之,撫掌笑曰:「子卿遠來,吾事濟矣!」既入坐,謂公曰:「袁氏軍盛,何以待之?今有幾糧乎?」公曰:「尚可支一歲。」攸曰:「無是,更言之!」又曰:「可支半歲。」攸曰:「足下不欲破袁氏邪,何言之不實也!」公曰:「向言戲之耳。其實可一月,為之柰何?」攸曰:「公孤軍獨守,外無救援而糧穀已盡,此危急之日也。今袁氏輜重有萬餘乘,在故市、烏巢,屯軍無嚴備;今以輕兵襲之,不意而至,燔其積聚,不過三日,袁氏自敗也。」公大喜,乃選精銳步騎,皆用袁軍旗幟,銜枚縛馬口,夜從間道出,人抱束薪,所歷道有問者,語之曰:「袁公恐曹操鈔略後軍,遣兵以益備。」聞者信以為然,皆自若。既至,圍屯,大放火,營中驚亂。大破之,盡燔其糧穀寶貨,斬督將眭元進、騎督韓莒子、呂威璜、趙叡等首,割得將軍淳于仲簡鼻,未死,殺士卒千餘人,皆取鼻,牛馬割唇舌,以示紹軍。將士皆怛懼。時有夜得仲簡,將以詣麾下,公謂曰:「何為如是?」仲簡曰:「勝負自天,何用為問乎!」公意欲不殺。許攸曰:「明旦鑒于鏡,此益不忘人。」乃殺之。
  6. 《曹瞞傳》曰:遣候者數部前後參之,皆曰「定從西道,已在邯鄲」。公大喜,會諸將曰:「孤已得冀州,諸君知之乎?」皆曰:「不知。」公曰:「諸君方見不久也。」
  7. 《曹瞞傳》曰:時寒且旱,二百里無復水,軍又乏食,殺馬數千匹以為糧,鑿地入三十餘丈乃得水。既還,科問前諫者,眾莫知其故,人人皆懼。公皆厚賞之,曰:「孤前行,乘危以徼倖,雖得之,天所佐也,故不可以為常。諸君之諫,萬安之計,是以相賞,後勿難言之。」
  8. 《曹瞞傳》曰:公將過河,前隊適渡,超等奄至,公猶坐胡床不起。張郃等見事急,共引公入船。河水急,比渡,流四五里,超等騎追射之,矢下如雨。諸將見軍敗,不知公所在,皆惶懼,至見,乃悲喜,或流涕。公大笑曰:「今日幾為小賊所困乎!」
  9. 《曹瞞傳》曰:時公軍每渡渭,輒為超騎所衝突,營不得立,地又多沙,不可築壘。婁子伯說公曰:「今天寒,可起沙為城,以水灌之,可一夜而成。」公從之,乃多作縑囊以運水,夜渡兵作城,比明,城立,由是公軍盡得渡渭。或疑于時九月,水未應凍。
  10. 《曹瞞傳》曰:公遣華歆勒兵入宮收后,后閉戶匿壁中。歆壞戶發壁,牽后出。帝時與御史大夫郗慮坐,后被髮徒跣過,執帝手曰:「不能復相活邪?」帝曰:「我亦不自知命在何時也。」帝謂慮曰:「郗公,天下寧有是邪!」遂將后殺之,完及宗族死者數百人。
  11. 《曹瞞傳》曰:為尚書右丞司馬建公所舉。及公為王,召建公到鄴,與歡飲,謂建公曰:「孤今日可復作尉否?」建公曰:「昔舉大王時,適可作尉耳。」王大笑。建公名防,司馬宣王之父。
  12. 《曹瞞傳》曰:是時南陽閒苦繇役,音於是執太守東里襃,與吏民共反,與關羽連和。南陽功曹宗子卿往說音曰:「足下順民心,舉大事,遠近莫不望風;然執郡將,逆而無益,何不遣之。吾與子共戮力,比曹公軍來,關羽兵亦至矣。」音從之,即釋遣太守。子卿因夜踰城亡出,遂與太守收餘民圍音,會曹仁軍至,共滅之。
  13. 《曹瞞傳》曰:王更脩治北部尉廨,令過于舊。
  14. 《曹瞞傳》及《世語》並云桓階勸王正位,夏侯惇以為宜先滅蜀,蜀亡則吳服,二方既定,然後遵舜、禹之軌,王從之。及至王薨,惇追恨前言,發病卒。
  15. 《曹瞞傳》曰:王使工蘇越徙美梨,掘之,根傷盡出血。越白狀,王躬自視而惡之,以為不祥,還遂寢疾。
  16. 《曹瞞傳》曰:太祖為人佻易無威重,好音樂,倡優在側,常以日達夕。被服輕綃,身自佩小鞶囊,以盛手巾細物,時或冠帢帽以見賓客。每與人談論,戲弄言誦,盡無所隱,及歡悅大笑,至以頭沒杯案中,肴膳皆沾汙巾幘,其輕易如此。然持法峻刻,諸將有計畫勝出己者,隨以法誅之,及故人舊怨,亦皆無餘。其所刑殺,輒對之垂涕嗟痛之,終無所活。初,袁忠為沛相,嘗欲以法治太祖,沛國桓邵亦輕之,及在兗州,陳留邊讓言議頗侵太祖,太祖殺讓,族其家,忠、邵俱避難交州,太祖遣使就太守士燮盡族之。桓邵得出首,拜謝於庭中,太祖謂曰:「跪可解死邪!」遂殺之。常出軍,行經麥中,令「士卒無敗麥,犯者死」。騎士皆下馬,付麥以相持,於是太祖馬騰入麥中,敕主簿議罪;主簿對以春秋之義,罰不加於尊。太祖曰:「制法而自犯之,何以帥下?然孤為軍帥,不可自殺,請自刑。」因援劍割髮以置地。又有幸姬常從晝寢,枕之臥,告之曰:「須臾覺我。」姬見太祖臥安,未即寤,及自覺,棒殺之。常討賊,廩穀不足,私謂主者曰:「如何?」主者曰:「可以小斛以足之。」太祖曰:「善。」後軍中言太祖欺眾,太祖謂主者曰:「特當借君死以厭眾,不然事不解。」乃斬之,取首題徇曰:「行小斛,盜官穀,斬之軍門。」其酷虐變詐,皆此類也。
  17. The Cao Man zhuan states, “The Great Ancestor was a carefree and amiable person lacking in severity and he enjoyed music, keeping musicians and performers close by, and frequently would employ them from sunup to sundown. He wore clothing of light silk and on his own person he wore a small belt pouch that he used for holding his handkerchief and small items, and on occasion he put on a cap when appearing before guests. Often he would join people in discussion and tease them by means of poems read aloud. He gave it his all without concealing anything until he was so joyous and mirthful that he was in convulsions, even up to the point of his hat falling off and his cup falling onto the table, and when eating meat dishes in every case he soiled his hat. His frivolity and lightness were thus. However, his wielding of the law was stern and severe, as if any of his generals were persons who reckoned themselves as surpassing him then he accorded with the law and executed them, to the point that of old friends and old enemies in either case there were none left. For such persons being punished by death he would always face them with head lowered and tearful lamentation for them, but in the end none were spared. Earlier, when Yuan Zhong was Chancellor of Pei state it was his desire to use the law to rein in the Great Ancestor. Additionally Huan Shao of Pei state belittled him and when they were in Yan province Bian Rang of Chenliu spoke his opinion that they should oppress the Great Ancestor, so the Great Ancestor killed Rang and executed his family. Zhong and Shao both took refuge in Jiao province and the Great Ancestor immediately tasked the Grand Administrator Shi Xie with totally eradicating them. Huan Shao was captured and brought forth as the leader, kowtowing and apologizing before the imperial court, but the Great Ancestor said, ‘To kneel is fitting for the death of a wicked man!’ and straightway executed him. Once he had led out the army and was passing by a field of grain. He gave an order, saying, ‘The soldiers are not to damage the grain, violators will be executed.’ The cavalrymen all got down from their horses so as to restrain them from going over to the grain, whereupon the Great Ancestor’s horse went galloping into it so he had the Master of Records come talk over his infraction. The Master of Records answered him according to the meaning found in the Spring and Autumn Annals, that a punishment is not to be imposed upon a superior. The Great Ancestor said, ‘I have laid out the law and myself have transgressed it, but how is a commander to submit? It is true that I act as commander of the army and cannot commit suicide, so I ask for myself to be punished.’ For this reason his assistants used a sword to shear off his hair so that it fell to the earth. Once there was a concubine who routinely served him as he rested during the day, and he laid his head on his pillow to sleep and spoke to her, saying, ‘In a short while come wake me up.’ The concubine, seeing the Great Ancestor was sleeping peacefully did not wake him, and when he himself awoke he struck and killed her with a staff. He frequently went on campaign against bandits and the government grain stores were deficient, so he secretly went to the supply master and said, ‘What is to be done?’ The supply master answered, ‘We can use the fewest hu of grain needed.’ The Great Ancestor replied, ‘Perfect.’ Afterward those within the army were saying that the Great Ancestor was deceiving the men, so he spoke to the supply master, saying, ‘I single you out to act as a pretext for me and be killed to satiate the men, lest the enterprise fall apart.’ He thereupon beheaded him and, taking the head and exposing it in public, said, ‘He dispensed few hu of grain and stole from the government granary, so I beheaded him at the army gates.’ Such did he cruelly and viciously deceive and in all things he behaved the same as this.”[2]

Book of Wei 6 - Biography of Yuan ShaoEdit

  1. 《曹瞞傳》云:買,尚兄子。未詳。

Book of Wei 7 - Biography of Lü BuEdit

  1. 《曹瞞傳》曰:時人語曰:「人中有呂布,馬中有赤兔。」
The Cao Man zhuan states: “The people used the phrase: 'Among men Lü Bu, among horses Red Hare'.

Book of Wei 10 - Biography of Xun YuEdit

  1. 《曹瞞傳》云:自京師遭董卓之亂,人民流移東出,多依彭城閒。遇太祖至,坑殺男女數萬口於泗水,水為不流。陶謙帥其眾軍武原,太祖不得進。引軍從泗南攻取慮、睢陵、夏丘諸縣,皆屠之;雞犬亦盡,墟邑無復行人。

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 吳人作《曹瞞傳》 (“A man from Wu 吳人 composedCao Man zhuan 曹瞞傳”)
    Chen Shou. "Book of Wei 1" in Records of the Three Kingdoms, cited by Pei Songzhi.
  2. Kongming's Archives, biography of Cao Cao. Copyright © 2006 Adrian Loder.

SourcesEdit

  • Chen Shou 陳壽 (233–297). Sanguo zhi 三國志 "Records of the Three Kingdoms", with official commentary compiled by Pei Songzhi 裴松之 (372-451).

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