Chapter 20.1 - Cao Cao Organizes A Hunting Expedition In Xutian

Cao Cao (left) riding Flying Lightning in chapter 20 of Sanguo zhi tongsu yanyi, a Ming Dynasty edition of Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The Yellow-Hoofed Flying-Lightning (Zhǎohuáng fēidiàn 爪黃飛電) was a dun horse who appears in chapter 20 of Romance of the Three Kingdoms in which it is rode by Cao Cao during an imperial hunting expedition with Emperor Xian. In the Brewitt-Taylor translation of Romance of the Three Kingdoms its name got abbreviated to Flying-Lightning (Fēidiàn 飛電), ignoring the Zhǎohuáng 爪黃 part.


In Romance of the Three Kingdoms Flying-Lightning appears in chapter 20. Cao Cao rides it during the hunting expedition with Emperor Xian of Han. The Brewitt-Taylor translation of this scene says:[1]

When the Prime Minister proposed the hunting expedition, the Emperor said he feared it was an improper thing to do.
Cao Cao replied, "In ancient times rulers made four expeditions yearly at each of the four seasons in order to show their strength. They were called Sou, Miao, Xien, and Shou, in the order of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Now that the whole country is in confusion, it would be wise to inaugurate a hunt in order to train the army. I am sure Your Majesty will approve."
So the Emperor with the full paraphernalia for an imperial hunt joined the expedition. He rode a saddled horse, carried an inlaid bow, and his quiver was filled with gold-tipped arrows. His chariot followed behind. Liu Bei and his brothers were in the imperial train, each with his bow and quiver. Each party member wore a breastplate under the outer robe and held his especial weapon, while their escort followed them. Cao Cao rode a dun horse called "Flying-Lightning," and the army was one hundred thousand strong.[1]

Unfortunately the text does no more than mention the name of the horse. Its name is not explained, nor are we told of any traits, strengths or weaknesses.[1]

The horse is not mentioned again after chapter 20.

See alsoEdit


Fact vs. FictionEdit

  • The Flying-Lightning is not mentioned in historical sources.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms transl. Brewitt-Taylor. chapter 20


  • Luo Guanzhong 羅貫中. Sanguo yanyi 三國演義 “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”. Trans. C. H. Brewitt-Taylor. New York: Tuttle Publishing, 2002.

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