Liu Deng and Song Wenda to enter.
When the two reached the head of the main hall,
They bent their bodies like bows and bowed two or three times.
They said, "The Crown Prince extends his most cordial greetings.
He wants to marry Sanniang.
He wants her to go back with him and preside over his camp.
Great king, you must not refuse the one who has come."
The old general Bandit King Bao had no words to reply.
"How can I manage to get this young gentleman to retreat?"
Up at his side came Hua Guan Suo,
Who told the two generals,
"Send word to Lian Kang, the Crown Prince,
To turn around his men and horses and go back before he comes any farther.
Sanniang has been married to a general of the Han Dynasty.
Guan Suo today has become her husband."
ProseBandit King Bao said, "May I trouble you two to transmit a message to Crown Prince Lian Kang. My daughter was married today to Guan Suo, a general of the Han Dynasty. Indeed you must not blame me." Liu Deng and Song Wenda returned to their own camp and saw Crown Prince Lian Kang. "Allow us to inform you, Crown Prince. At present there is a certain Guan Suo at his house. Bandit King Bao said, 'Transmit to the Crown Prince that my daughter Sanniang today was married to a general of the Han Dynasty named Guan Suo. Tell the Crown Prince not to blame me.'"
VerseWhen Lian Kang heard this, he was annoyed.
"How can I bear these insulting ignoramuses?
This Bandit King Bao is utterly unreasonable!"
He ground his jaws with an ominous sound,
ProseWhile Bandit King Bao was in the throes of distress, Guan Suo said, "Father-in-law, you must not trouble yourself over how to make that freak Lian Kang retreat."
VerseGeneral Guan Suo quickly got dressed,
Putting on his complete suit of general's gear.
"I will go out and do battle with him."
Hurriedly he mounted his dragon-scaled horse.
At daybreak horses and men bestirred themselves.
Together they came to the head of the main hall.
ProseBao Feng and Bao Er said, "What you say is quite right. If when you cut off grass you eliminate the root, it will not sprout and grow. If when you cut grass you do not eliminate the root, with the coming of spring it will sprout and grow again."
VerseGuan Suo raised his head and said, "Let's go!"
He called up the officers of the three armies,
Mustered the men and they all advanced
To go smash the Great Camp at Yaoling.
ProseGuan Suo said, "How old are the women generals?" The minor officer said, "One is sixteen and one is eighteen. They are the daughters of Grand Secretary Wang. Alone, they hold sway over Lutang Camp." Guan Suo said, "Are they married or not?" The minor officer said, "If anyone can get the better of either of them, she will be given him as a wife. Until now no one has been a match for them." Guan Suo was secretly pleased [and thought] "In the first place, I want them for secondary wives. In the second place, I can borrow their men and horses to go to Xichuan to seek my father." [He spoke aloud:] "Armies, deploy your ranks and block off Lutang Camp. I will pit myself against them."
VerseA stroke of the gong and they set up camp
And rested the one hundred thousand soldiers.
It was announced to Wang Tao and Wang Yue:
"Bandits have surrounded the gates of the camp."
Guan Suo then flourished his spear;
Wang Tao brandished the sword in her hand.
ProseDuke Guan said, "Ask Military Advisor Zhuge to interpret a dream for me." The groom Guan Xi then went. The Military Advisor just then was talking with Prince Liu. [Guan Xi] did not dare to go in. He returned. Duke Guan said, "Just request Pang Tong to come and interpret my dream." The groom Guan Xi immediately went and got Pang Tong. When they had finished their tea, Duke Guan said, "I had a dream last night. It was just at the third watch. In my dream I saw the gold pillar in front of the Emperor's hall break in two. The Empress's dressing mirror broke into two halves. The water in the pond that the horses drink from in front of the palace steps all dried up. A tree blossomed, and I was about to pluck a flower when they all shriveled up and completely disappeared. What good or evil does this dream portend?" Pang Tong said, "When the roof breaks the pillar follows. When a dressing mirror breaks, two people will separate. When the water in a pond dries up, it is difficult to drink water. When all the flowers on a tree bloom, the fruit will be late." Pang Tong said, "This dream portends that right at noon one of you three brothers will have a misfortune." Duke Guan said, "Who will have a misfortune?" Pang Tong said, "The one whose luck has run out will have a misfortune."
VerseWhen Duke Guan heard this, he felt perplexed.
Who knew who it was who would have misfortune?
When the military advisor named Pang Tong had gone,
Again he asked the Military Advisor Zhuge Liang to come.
ProseMilitary Advisor Zhuge said, "As for these four dreams: When the roof breaks, the pillar follows. When a dressing mirror breaks, the two sections are bright. When the water in the pond dries up, horses can cross it easily. When you see...
VerseDuke Guan in the hall felt perplexed.
"Which man should I trust today?
The Military Advisor says one of us will gain a brother,
While Pang Tong says one of us will suffer misfortune.
Prose"I am of the former royal house of Lü. My surname is Yao and my given name Bin. Just now, though, I have been in the service of the Prince of Wu. Because of some trifling mistake, [I have been dismissed from his service?] I know that you, General, are magnanimous and broad-minded, and that you like to swear brotherhood with people. Today I have come to lead the dragon and prepare the horse for you, General." Duke Guan said, "I am not really in the habit of swearing brother-hood with people. But it is really extraordinary the way you have turned up today in response to my dream. The Military Advisor's interpretation of the dream was exactly right." Duke Guan said, "Are your intentions in swearing brotherhood trustworthy or not?" Yao Bin said, "General, burn some incense and I will swear to Heaven."
VerseWhen Duke Guan heard this, he felt pleased.
They mingled their blood and swore an oath of brotherhood.
He killed an ox and slaughtered a horse in the main hall.
Tea and food were prepared, and they drank some rounds.
ProseYao Bin said, "Prepare my horse for me. Without bothering to tell my brothers, I'm going to go outside the walls to make a patrol and then come back. Open the gate for me and get out my sword." Yao Bin took it in his hand but realized that his strength wasn't adequate. "I'll just ride bareback with nothing but a whip and be back in a jiffy."
VerseYao Bin rode the roan horse
And went out of the gate of Great Camp Prosper Liu.
Headed for the southwest off he went.
Yao Bin the horse thief got away.
ProseThe groom Guan Xi said, "It was around the second watch. I thought it was the commander who had gotten up to go out on patrol. All the time it was Yao Bin stealing a horse." Duke Guan still didn't believe it. He went toward the front hall and when he didn't see his clothes, and he said, "After all, he really has stolen my horse and gone. Instruct a man to report to Prince Liu how things are."
VerseThe First Sovereign Prince Liu transmitted an order:
"Troops spread out on each road and pursue the man.
Zhang Fei rode his horse and went out the south gate in pursuit.
Huang Zhong then went out the north gate to follow.
The horse thief Yao Bin crossed by the mountain
Just as some soldiers from the camp were on their way out.
ProseGuan Suo said, "Mother, today Father has arrived." His mother said, "Son, do not make a mistake. I will look and see for myself beside the flag in front of the tent. Watch me and respond accordingly." [Then she called,] "My son, it really is not your father." Suo said, "I have only heard it said that he who rides on a roan horse and is ten feet tall and has a full beard is my father. Wait just now for me to interrogate him." Just when he had said this, what should happen but a low-ranking soldier came in to report.
VerseWhen Guan Suo heard this, he was suspicious.
"It is not my father Commander in chief Guan."
In front of the mountain a group of troops passed by.
The banners of the commander said it was Zhang Fei who backed up the river.
ProseGuan Suo said, "Uncle, you have come. Please come and sit at the head of the tent." Guan Suo then bowed and said, "Uncle, I am the second son of the Prince of Jingzhou. My name is Guan Suo. Recently I have sought and found my mother Dame Hu. We have come together to seek my father Commander Guan. Today I am able to see you, Uncle." Zhang Fei said, "That is only Yao Bin. He stole your father's roan horse. Today I have come expressly in pursuit of him. What is he doing here? You should grab him right away." Yao Bin at this point tried in a panic to escape. Guan Suo said, "Where do you think you're going?" There and then he was grabbed by Guan Suo. He said, "All along you were nothing but a horse-thieving crook who disguised himself to look like my father."
VerseGuan Suo at that time quickly took hold of him,
Grabbing Yao Bin the horse thief.
"You stole my father's roan horse.
You pretended to be Commander Guan, Prince of Jingzhou."
ProseGuan Suo then asked his mother to come out and see him. Dame Hu saw him and said "Brother-in-law, eighteen years ago you killed my whole family. You took my oldest son Guan Ping with you and let me escape. I was pregnant and before long gave birth to this child. Now he has grown to be eighteen years old, and he has studied completely all the arts of war. Just now he has come here expressly to seek his father and claim his patrimony. Would you please go ahead and act as a witness and take him to see his father the Prince of Jingzhou." Zhang Fei said, "Elder brother has gone west in pursuit of Yao Bin. Right now I will return first and meet elder brother to explain to him. You can come along later."
VerseHe entertained Zhang Fei who then went on ahead,
Taking the roan horse with him.
We will sing no longer of Zhang Fei and Guan Suo;
We will take up the Prince of Jingzhou at the head of his troops.
His hand grasping a yellow dragon spear."
The troops under General Zhao Yun also arrived from Changsha.
ProseThe First Sovereign said, "Sir, who is this man?" Zhang Fei said, "When we swore our oath of brotherhood at Peach Spring, I killed elder brother's entire family. You took Guan Ping along with you. My sister-in-law gave birth to this child who is now eighteen years old. He is completely versed in both civil and military skills. He sought and found his mother in his maternal grandfather's home and today together with his mother he has come to seek his father and claim his patrimony." When the First Sovereign met him, he liked him very much, and he said, "This son of yours is exceptional." He provided a feast for him there in front of the throne and offered congratulations to Duke Guan. They ate a five-course feast and drank wine until they were half-drunk. Just as they were in the midst of drinking and feasting, suddenly a courier came before the court to report. "Outside there is a bandit approaching the city, proclaiming, "I am Lian Xun the Hideous, specially come to avenge my brother."
VerseJust as the group of officials were all drinking wine,
A man came to report to the Han ruler,
Announcing, "My king, I tell you of a calamity.
Lian Xun has raised men and horses."
ProseLian Xun said, "General Zhang Fei, you go back and transmit a message to the Pacification Commissioner, the Prince of Jingzhou. Tell him to give me back a life for my elder brother Crown Prince Lian Kang's life. It's nothing to do with you. I am not seeking a quarrel with you. Just have the Prince of Jingzhou come out to parley with me." Zhang Fei heard what he said and forthwith returned to camp and saw the Prince of Jingzhou. Zhang Fei said, "I report to elder brother: Lian Xun said that leading men and horses you killed Crown Prince Lian Kang and destroyed the Great Camp at Yaoling. He didn't pick a fight with me. He only demanded [satisfaction?] from you for the death of Crown Prince Lian Kang." The Prince of Jingzhou then went out in front of his lines. He saw Lian Xun and said, "You ought not to bear unjustified grudges against others. When have I ever come to the gates of your camp? It's got nothing to do with me." Lian Xun the Hideous said, "You killed Crown Prince Lian Kang and destroyed the Great Camp at Yaoling. You also burned all my army provisions. And you wrote on the wall, 'If you want revenge, come to the Iron Fortress Camp on Prosper Liu Mountain and look for Duke Guan to avenge the injury.' If it isn't you, who is it?"
VerseWhen the Prince of Jingzhou heard this, he felt angry.
"When did I ever go to his place leading horses and men?
Even though Lian Xun blames me today,
It hasn't the slightest thing to do with me."
ProseGuan Suo said, "I am none other than the second son of the Prince of Jingzhou. My name is Guan Suo. The one who destroyed your Great Yaoling Camp and killed Crown Prince Lian Kang and won Bao Sanniang by battle is I." When Lian Xun heard this, anger and hatred arose from within him.
VerseLian Xun the Hideous heard for himself,
And hearing, his anger turned to fury.
"You are the youth Hua Guan Suo,
So overbearing and insulting.
The pair of men then sparred in the center.
Lian Xun also brandished his staff.
ProseGuan Suo rose and met his uncle. Jiang Wei arrived at the camp, entered the tent, and sat down. Jiang Wei said, "Did you win or lose?" Guan Suo said, "I'll tell you, Uncle: I couldn't handle him. It wasn't that I didn't have it in me. My horse was afraid of his metallic beast and wouldn't go forward. There were several times when I could have seized lian Xun, but my horse always turned around and refused to go forward no matter how hard I whipped him." Jiang Wei said, "Your father's roan horse is also a king among animals. If you get this horse, you can surely capture him." Guan Suo said, "That's certainly true, but how can I get him?" Jiang Wei said, "Don't worry. Just don't go fight with him. In a little while I'll come and let you know."
VerseWhen Jiang Wei finished speaking he went his way
And headed over to Prince Liu's Han camp.
Just as he was about to arrive at Prince Liu's camp,
He spied his elder brother, Commander in chief Guan.
ProseJiang Wei said, "Elder brother, this horse hasn't had any exercise for a long time. He has eaten something poisonous in his fodder that has made his flesh and bones swell. I have medicine to counteract the poison. After he takes it, it will go to work. If he is taken out to an open area and put through his paces three or five times, the poison will be gone."
VerseWhen the Prince of Jingzhou heard this, he felt glad.
Jiang Wei acted as a veterinarian.
Not long after he had given him the medicine,
The horse slowly began to lift up his body,
ProseJiang Wei said, "Elder brother, there isn't much room in here to ride around in. I will go out the camp gates toward the wide open spaces. After I've put him through his paces three or five times, he will be all right."
VerseThe Prince of Jingzhou nodded and said, "Fine."
Jiang Wei mounted the horse and took to the road.
He went out of Prosper Liu, the Han camp.
Astride the roan horse he took off,
Lian Xun the Hideous was very annoyed.
In front of their lines they fought on for supremacy.
ProseJiang Wei said, "Nephew, I will ride the horse and go return it to your father. You take your time and return after me with your soldiers and horses."
VerseWhen Guan Suo heard this, he quickly said, "Fine.
You, Uncle, start first and ride on ahead."
Jiang Wei mounted the roan.
He started on his journey and went like a wind-blown cloud.
ProseJust as they were drinking in the court what should they see but a man from Duke Cao of the State of Wei who came to deliver a letter. The First Sovereign said, "Bring the letter for the Military Advisor to read." He broke open the letter cover. The contents read as follows: "Today Cao Cao of the State of Wei respectfully informs the Imperial Uncle, the Prince of the State of Han, that he has borrowed the walled city of Fallen Phoenix Slope and set up a small feast. I dare ask that the First Sovereign, the Imperial Uncle, condescend on the fifteenth day of the eighth month to meet with the noble lords of the eight regions for a banquet and a discussion. Pray do not disappoint us by failing to attend."
VerseThe messenger was treated with three cups of wine
And a snack consisting of two steamed buns.
We will sing no more about the departure of the messenger.
The Prince of Han, the Son of Heaven, in deep perplexity pondered to himself.
ProseMilitary Advisor Zhuge Liang said, "My king, you must put in an appearance. Even though some calamity is portended, it will cause no problem, and you will not lose one soldier or horse. Including you, my king, just three men should go on this mission. Jiang Wei will precede you, Guan Suo will act as a groom at the rear, and you, my king, will be in the middle. I have a plan." He instructed Zhang Fei: "You must muster five thousand stalwart soldiers and take along Guan Suo's subordinate commanders, the twelve stalwart generals of the Talhang Mountains. Ten li from Fallen Phoenix Slope conceal your five thousand soldiers in ambush. When you see a signal flare go off in the city, then lead the troops to come to the emperor's rescue."
VerseWhen the First Sovereign heard these words, he quickly said, "Fine,"
Agreeing with the Military Advisor Zhuge Liang.
The two subordinate generals would follow at his heels.
At a good time on an auspicious day then they set out on their journey.
ProsePrime Minister Cao met Liu the First Sovereign. After they had greeted...
VerseDuke Cao that day prepared a feast,
Spread a great banquet and invited the nobles.
They drank wine until they were half drunk and ate five courses.
Duke Cao thereupon spoke up.
ProseDuke Cao said: "Great Prince and Lü Gao, now that we possess the entire realm, east, west, south, and north, stretching in all directions, where is there for the rulers of petty states to go? Today the noble lords and you, Great Prince, are here. Why not combine all the small states into one country? If the three of us can agree, provisions can be made for our retainers." The First Sovereign said, "I will transmit an imperial command."
VerseThey did not wait for Prince Liu to transmit the imperial command.
From the side an official came out.
The Prince of Shangliao said, "Speak no more.
In our present discussion we must be reasonable.
ProseEmperor Lü Gao said, "Which officer is mettlesome enough to dare to come and do a sword dance with me?" The Prince of Han said, "Prime Minister Cao, choose someone so that the two of them can dance together." Duke Cao said, "Have the First Sovereign's aide-de-camp dance with Lü Gao." Jiang Wei said, "Tell the young groom to do a dance with Lü Gao."
VerseThe boy today would do a sword dance.
He wanted to kill all the military and civil officials.
Head to foot he was no taller than four and a half feet,
And he was dressed no differently than a cowherd.
ProseAs soon as Prime Minister Cao saw him, he got very angry. The group of officials spoke, saying, "He's really quite a kid!" The boy said, "I beg to inform the great prince that he is the emperor of his country, while I am but a soldier. Our positions are not equal. I fear that in the course of some maneuver, if I should do harm to his life, it would create a problem. I propose that the two of us should enter into a written agreement with regard to the terms of this contest. Each of us will append his own signature and hand it to the Prime Minister to hold. This document will be evidence of our agreement and the various officials will be witnesses." The group of officials in unison expressed their approval. In no time at all they had written the agreement, and the two men sword danced.
VerseIn front of the banquet they struck decorated frame drums.
The two men fenced quite brilliantly.
As they got into the thick of the fight,
Each man strove to do his best.
ProseZhang Lin said, "Prime Minister Cao, you did not come to see me. Why didn't you invite me?" Cao Cao said, "I didn't know your whereabouts, General, so I did not come to invite you. Stop asking." When Zhang Lin heard this, he laughed loudly. "Considering that this group of officials is all here, why didn't you invite Emperor Lü Gao?"
VerseIron Pate Zhang Lin was distressed,
And his whole face became bright red.
"When you didn't invite me that didn't matter.
But why didn't you invite Lü Gao?"
ProsePrime Minister Cao said to him: "Allow me to explain things to you, Military Advisor, but it's a long story." Zhang Lin said, "Why is it such a long story?" Duke Cao said, "There is a boy in the entourage of the Prince of Han who did a sword dance with Lü Gao. They made a written agreement on the terms of the contest, to which each of them appended his signature, and they exchanged copies, agreeing not to forfeit a life for a life. In this fashion the two men then competed in a sword dance. In the thick of the fight Emperor Lü Gao was cut in two with one stroke by the boy. What can we do about this calamity?"
VerseCao Cao of the Great State was most troubled.
"What can we possibly do about this?"
Iron Pate Zhang Lin's heart was anxious.
He ground his jaws ominously.