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Chapter 3

How Hua Guan Suo subdued Xichuan

Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 23

Prose

Zhang Lin said, "You're a minor general of the Guan family. You say you're capable and dare to sword dance with me. I will allow you to use a pair of swords. I will use only a single sword." Prime Minister Cao said, "The two of you both use single swords."

Verse

Iron Pate Zhang Lin felt angry.
"Today I will sword dance to determine loser and winner."
In front of the hall the boy felt pleased.
"I with Zhang Lin will settle how things really are."
The two men each held up a qingfeng sword.
Back and forth they moved in front of the feast to settle the outcome.

Worried sick was the Prince of Han, Liu the First Sovereign.
Troubled was Jiang Wei.
The two men then sword danced.
For better or for worse today would tell the tale.
Zhang Lin danced with his sword,
And the boy also brandished his sword.
The two men in the hall contended for mastery.
The outcome would be settled in the course of three rounds.
Zhang Lin aimed his sword at the chest,
While Guan Suo drove his sword straight for the thigh.
Guan Suo just then whirled his sword,
Slashing straight at Zhang Lin's head.
Indeed he struck Zhang Lin solidly with his sword,
But he didn't move a hair.
Admirable youth Hua Guan Suo,
All you could see was his sword flashing.
Zhang Lin spoke saying, "He's good.
The blackguard won't give any quarter."
Cao Cao of the Great State urged them to stop.
"Do not brandish swords any more now.
You two generals challenge each other in battle.
Let each person display his martial skill to determine loser and winner."
Iron Pate Zhang Lin said, "Fine."
Then he had them lead over his dragon-scaled horse.
"I won't use a great sword to cut you in two.
I'll grab your head and stomp it into dust.
If today I get hold of you,
I'll pulverize, dismember, and slice you up, all three.
I'll make your body a target,
I'll tear out your living heart and liver and eat them with my wine."
Guan Suo took Lü Gao's horse
And plucked up his black varnished staff.
Worried sick was the Prince of Han, Liu the First Sovereign.
Troubled also was the man surnamed Jiang.
The two each mounted their high-headed horses.
Behold Zhang Lin, the man with the iron crown.
He called, "Han Dynasty leader and general,
Insulting fuzzy-haired runt,
Sitting on your horse you're only as big as my fist.
Swallowed, you wouldn't choke a person.
If you were a lump of iron from Bingzhou,
You'd only make a few long nails.
With one kick I can send you three or five li,
Yet you dare to challenge me to a fight to determine loser and winner."
When Guan Suo heard this, he smiled.
Then he called, "Zhang Lin, Iron Pate,
As for me, I may be small, but
I am by nature able to capture a great general.
Haven't you heard what was well said by the ancients?
Good steel is not used to cut short nails.
An inflated bladder may be big, but it has no weight;
A steelyard weight may be small, but it can counterbalance one thousand catties.
I never wronged you.
The moth flies into the fire and burns itself up.
If you come to fight a fire wearing a palm raincape,
When the flames flare and you catch on fire, you'll have nowhere to run."
Zhang Lin said, "You're quite a braggart.
Have a look at my state-pacifying sword."
This affronted the young Hua Guan Suo,
Who brandished his black varnished staff.
Both sides slapped their high-headed horses into motion.
The massed troops had eyes only for the two generals.
Eight horse hooves dashed in confusion;
Four arms lashed back and forth.
When they had fought for awhile,
Hua Guan Suo grew furious.
With his black varnished staff he aimed straight for the head.
It struck Zhang Lin, the man with the iron head.
Zhang Lin brought his sword straight down with a chop,
But Guan Suo interposed his staff so it didn't touch him.
"If I don't get him here today,
When will I have another chance?"
Zhang Lin was about to slip away and escape,
When Guan Suo somersaulted over
And wrenched him to a halt.
He pulled out his qinqfenq sword
And split through the helmet on his crown,
Without doing the least damage to his skin.
Zhang Lin instantly called in a loud voice,
"Cao Cao of the State of Wei, save me!"
Guan Suo cast down the sword in his hand
And grabbed Zhang Lin, a man of a petty state.
Guan Suo gave his head a twist,
Breaking off Zhang Lin's head at the throat.
The group of officers great and small were frightened out of their wits.
How pitiful the Military Advisor!
Cao Cao hurriedly waved the red flag.
"Don't let these two or three people escape.
I told you to sword dance in front of the banquet to amuse us,
But you have killed the nobles of the two states.
None of the officers great and small are to scatter.
Do not let Imperial Uncle Liu escape."
Guan Suo at that time called in a loud voice To Prince Liu, the Sovereign of Han,
"Elder Uncle, follow me today.

Younger Uncle, take care of Lord Liu of Han."


Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 24
The Prince of Han mounted his high-headed horse;
Then he called to Jiang Wei, the man of great courage.

Jiang Wei had seized the roan horse
And availed himself of Zhang Lin's sword.
Look at the youth Hua Guan Suo
With only a cudgel, sparing not a soul.
He charged forward on his horse and no one could withstand him.
The great general Zhang Liao followed at his horse's heels.
He called, "Prince of Han, where do you think you're going?
Do you think we'll call it quits and consider the matter no further?"
Cao Cao's men and horses all arrived.
Ugly Cao Zhang was furious.
The imperial son-in-law Xu Chu angrily struck his thigh.
Sima Zhongda brandished his sword.
Twenty-four brave, fierce generals
And the noble lords of the eight regions came up to try to capture them.
They called, "Prince Liu, where do you think you're going?
How can you two get out of the battle formation?"
Worried sick was the Prince of Han, Liu the First Sovereign;
Troubled was Jiang Wei, the man of great courage.
Guan Suo and Jiang Wei had their hands full.
Their entire bodies were dripping with sweat.
Guan Suo then said,
"You're not worth the tip of my boot or the heel of my foot."
In his great rage no general could withstand him.
The enlisted men were beaten into confused disarray.
Liu the First Sovereign looked on at the fray.
"It's a good thing I have this young lad Guan Suo.
I blame Military Advisor Zhuge Liang
For not leading soldiers to save me."
Jiang Wei lit a fire,
And the hidden troops looked at the city from afar.
Cao Cao quickly waved the red flag.
The kings of Shangliao and Xialiao both exerted themselves.
The noble lords of the eight regions deployed their troops and horses
And surrounded him so tightly that the wind couldn't get through.
Almost before the words were out of his mouth
Suddenly they heard a great sounding of gongs and drums.
Zhang Yi, the flower-bedecked, arrived in a hurry.
Zhang Fei led up his horses and men.
His insignia flag led the way at the front.
He wielded a twelve-foot snakeskin-speckled spear.
He rode a high-headed horse
And led troops to come to rescue Lord Liu of Han.

Zan verse

The superior general
transmitted an order
urging his army to join the fray.
The Office of Military Administration
discriminated among the names [of the officers]

in order to report them to the throne.
Grasshopper swords,
goose-feather swords
chopped in confusion east and west.
Seven-star swords,
sprout-green swords
injured men left and right.
Sprawling dead and wounded,
warhorses galloping in disorder,
every sound sharp with pain.
Corpses with severed heads
dangling from their necks,
splintered flesh and pulverized men.
… … … …[1]
Three-pronged pitchforks
pierced men's throats;
they were hard to dodge.
Four-ridged maces
flailed mercilessly,
causing injury left and right.
Five-directions flags
simultaneously waving
flashed like lightning.
Six-patterned bows
discharged chisel-headed arrows
that accurately found their mark.
Seven-star bludgeons
struck generals and ministers
with shouts of "Hit home!"
Eight-ridged cudgels
smashed horses' legs
amid sounds of screaming and neighing.
Nine-strand lariats
lassoed men's heads
and pulled them down to be slaughtered.
Ten-piece suits of armor
were cut through by swords;
how could the victims survive?

Verse

When he fought an engagement it was like pouring hot water on snow;
He cut down generals like slicing off the root of a plant.
Cao Cao's men and horses could not resist him;
How could they withstand this man?
One minute he was wreaking havoc to the south, the next he turned up in the north,

Cutting a bloody pathway through which they were able to follow in his wake.
He rescued the three of them, Prince Liu [and his two companions].
He delivered his yellow dragon spear to Hua Guan Suo
And delighted Prince Liu, the Sovereign of Han.
The Prince of Wei, Cao Cao, wailed loudly,
"I've ended up being tricked by Prince Liu,
When originally I had planned to capture Liu the Imperial Uncle.
The Military Advisor Zhuge Liang has done it again!" <center>

Prose

The First Sovereign said, "Zhang Fei, why didn't you come earlier to save me? Thanks to the black lacquered staff of my nephew Guan Suo we were able to force the twenty-four fierce generals to retreat. The men and horses of the noble lords of the eight regions caught up with us. They surrounded us so tightly that neither water nor fire could have gotten through. We almost lost our lives." Zhang Fei said, "Elder brother, relax. Behind me there are more men and horses coming."

Verse

Zhang Fei and Prince Liu both attacked the Duke.
Guan Suo said, "We won't get another chance like this again!"
Like three iron flails they dashed back into the fray,
Creating consternation for Cao Cao, the man of Wei.
Their officers great and small all set to,

Surrounding him in the center without an escape route.
Just as Duke Cao was wracking his brains,
The Prince of Jingzhou arrived leading horses and men.
The noble lords of the eight regions could not withstand him,
And many of their horses and men were killed.
The soldiers and horses coming down from the north arrived.
It looked like Guan Ping, the eldest son.
Flourishing a jeweled blade almost as long as he was tall,
He galloped right into Duke Cao's great battle formation.
The men and horses from Changsha all came;
The old general Huang Zhong also arrived at the fray.
The generals who owed their personal loyalty to Guan Suo
All together fought their way into the battle formation.
The Prince of Jingzhou on horseback yelled loudly;
Zhang Yi, the flower-bedecked, flourished his sword.
The Prince of Jingzhou reined in his horse and looked around;
All he could see were his younger brother's horses and men.
The men and horses of the House of Han had all arrived.

They fought their way into Prince Cao's great battle formation.


Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 25
They killed until it was dusk and the earth was dark;
The trampling raised so much dust that you couldn't see the men.

Blood dyed the earth red and stained the horses' hooves;
The outskirts of town were completely covered with the bodies of the dead.
Just as Cao Cao was feeling upset,
Again he saw horses and troops ahead.
Twenty-four flags led the way,
And eighteen pairs of golden claws were displayed in the vanguard.
Sitting astride her peach blossom horse,
Bearing a pair of sun and moon blades in her hands,
With a golden helmet and golden gorget completely concealing her hair,
It was the famous Mistress Bao Sanniang.
She could use a pair of swords with skill and ease,
And had contended with many a general in her day.
Guan Suo at that time called loudly,
"Cao Cao of the state of Wei, come and surrender.
If you try to ascend to heaven there's no way to get there.
Inside you have no provisions and outside you have no troops."
Cao Cao on horseback yelled loudly,
"I am not able to surround you today.
I offer to return Jingzhou to you.
Take your men and horses back on the return road.
Take a message to the Prince of Han, Liu the First Sovereign;
Take a message to the Military Advisor Zhuge:
'If you all turn around and go back to Jingzhou,
I will go to Chang'an and stay there.
I will rest the three armies, men and horses,
And will eschew all military activity.'"
When Guan Suo heard this, he felt pleased.
"Cao Cao, you turn around and go back.
I will take command of the men and horses of all the armies."
A stroke on the bronze gong directed the troops to halt.
He occupied Fallen Phoenix Slope.
The various officers and leaders encamped their soldiers.
First they would take the fortified city of Jingzhou as a base;
Then they would subdue the walled cities of the five regions of Xichuan.
We will speak no longer of Cao Cao's men and horses;
We will only talk of Prince Liu's return journey.
He returned to the camp at the base of Cockscomb Mountain.
The military advisor Zhuge came far out to welcome him.
The group of officers great and small returned inside the camp.
They prepared a feast and went to the hall.

Prose

The Military Advisor said, "My lord has returned from afar, and the journey was arduous." The First Sovereign said, "It was a good thing the lord Guan Suo was there. Lü Gao, who sword danced with him in front of the banquet, was cut in two with one stroke of the sword by Guan Suo. Again he sword danced with the Military Advisor of the Seven States Zhang Lin, who also had his head twisted off at the neck by Guan Suo. Furthermore, we were surrounded by the soldiers and horses of the noble lords of the eight regions. Our armies engaged them in battle, and they were surrounded by our men and horses. Cao Cao had no plans of escape. Of his own free will he offered to give me Jingzhou and allow me to take the territory of Xichuan, on condition that each of us would withdraw his army and guard his own territory." When the Military Advisor heard this, he felt pleased. By this time the banquet had already dispersed. The next day in the morning the group of officers gathered for a meeting to discuss going with utmost speed to Jingzhou. The Military Advisor addressed the subordinate generals, saying, "Duke Guan is the Commander in chief of our regime. At present he is in command of one million troops and daily expends his strength in leading men and horses. If he goes to Jingzhou and subdues the territory of Xichuan, he must take precautions to guard against [the possibly baleful influences of] the zodiacal animals that preside over the days and months. We must not delay."

Verse

When Prince Liu, the First Sovereign, had spoken,
Great and small, the various officers were all glad.
The next day during the si period they raised men and horses.
Each and every soldier was happy.
At a stroke on the bronze gong that echoed in the vicinity,

They led men and horses and marched forward.
The mountains were distant and the road far, and the armies went;
They marched one stage and then another stage.
When Jingzhou heard that Prince Liu had arrived,
Mi Zhu and Mi Fang then offered up the city
And ushered him into Jingzhou city.
They rested Liu the Imperial Uncle.
Mi Zhu and Mi Fang came to give their allegiance.
They pretended to want to be stableboys and grooms.
The First Sovereign, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei consulted together.
They wanted to take the cities of the five regions of Xichuan. <center>

Prose

Military Advisor Zhuge said, "Now we have gained Jingzhou for a base. Later we will take Xichuan for our state. For the time being we will encamp the troops and horses in Jingzhou, where there is ample good fodder." Zhang Fei said, "Our nephew Guan Suo saved the day at Fallen Phoenix Slope. Today let's have Guan Suo guard Jingzhou and rest his horses a little. We will first subdue Xichuan. Then afterwards we can have Guan Suo check out the situation and come out to reinforce us." The Prince of Jingzhou said, "The two of us, father and son, will guard Jingzhou and afterwards meet you." The First Sovereign then asked the Military Advisor, "What about this proposal?" The Military Advisor said, "It will be all right if Duke Guan doesn't go. We will go by ourselves. If we ask Duke Guan, father and son, to guard Jingzhou, the State of Wei will not dare to invade and occupy it."

Verse

Military Advisor Zhuge transmitted the general's orders.
He spoke to Liu the Imperial Uncle.
"Send a letter to the area east of the mountains,
To Huang Zhong and Zhao Yun.
Tell them to hold securely Prosper Liu Camp

And not to move out horses and men."
They decided on a good time and an auspicious day.
Commander Zhang Fei then raised troops;
Jiang Wei then acted as general of the vanguard,
And many fierce generals followed at his rear.
The sound of a heaven-shaking stroke to the gong echoed,
And they all left the city of Jingzhou.
We will sing no longer of Duke Guan and his two sons;
We will talk instead about Zhang Fei leading troops.
In front with a dragon-phoenix flag was Liu the First Sovereign.

On his saddled horse the Marquis of Wu Xiang[2]


Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 26
With his great sword and battle-axe advanced forward.
The flags of the Five Tiger Generals stood at the door of his tent.

In front of the tent they raised high a flying yellow canopy;
Sun and moon fans were held up on the two sides.
"Great and small, the group of officials will follow at your rear.
Twenty thousand soldiers all advanced on the journey.

Zan verse

Double-phoenix flags,
sun and moon flags,
waved in front of the imperial chariot.
A writhing-dragon flag
led the procession;

together the armies started out.
Five-colored flags,
deep yellow flags,
were like flowers and brocade;
Rivaling spring,
with its peach and plum trees
and their blooming red blossoms.
Grasshopper swords,
goose-feather swords[3]
were arrayed in front.
Three-tipped swords,
two-bladed swords,
protected the imperial carriage and followed.
Compound bows
all in a row
before the chariot proceeded together.
Iron-womb bows,
wolf-tooth arrows,
were lined up behind like fish scales.
With their forged steel pitchforks
and polished iron battle-axes
the infantry followed,
Holding pear-flower spears
and yellow bamboo spears
better than those of the sea-green dragon [king].
Three-pronged pitchforks
and buffalo horn pitchforks,
each held in hand.
Black lacquer bows,
grasshopper bows,
and leather quivers full of arrows.
Men like dragons,
horses like tigers,
able and fierce.
With their barbed arrows
and long-handled cudgels,
all were heroes.
In the forward columns
and rear columns
flags and spears glistened in the sun.
They beat the brass gongs,
struck up the drums,
and advanced and went forward.
They grasped curved bows
all fitted with arrows
and held arrows in their hands.
Scouting patrols
and mounted couriers
swelled rank upon rank.
Generals led soldiers,
gongs and drums echoed;
the three armies were on the road.
Holding long spears,
wearing short swords,
they followed on horseback.
Mounted couriers
returning from their missions
caught up with the rest.
When they reached the central command post
and hurriedly dismounted,
their shouts of greeting sounded like thunder.
"We report to the General
and the Commander in chief
so that headquarters will be informed.
When you march forward
you will see a place
which is the walled city of Langzhou in the distance."

Prose

A scout came forward and announced, "I beg to report to the Commander in chief and General: when you march forward, you will see that we are just about to arrive at Langzhou city."

Verse

When the General and Commander in chief heard this news,
He told the Military Advisor Zhuge.
The Military Advisor said, "That's no problem,
Let the men and horses of the armies proceed forward."
We will talk no more about the journey on the road,

Nor will we discuss how they met mountains and crossed ranges.
Prince Liu, with his horses and men, realized it was urgent.
They marched forward and arrived at Langzhou city.
A mounted courier went as swiftly as a comet.
A soldier entered Langzhou city to report.
When the ugly Wang Zhi had been informed,
He addressed his aides and attendants.

Prose

Wang Zhi said, "Liu the Imperial Uncle trusts his Military Advisor Zhuge. If he urges him to do something, he does it. Now their entire contingent of troops has arrived here." Wang Zhi abandoned Mian and Han and Langzhou. Pushing carts and loading horses with provisions and fodder, jewelry, and valuables, one hundred thousand troops and soldiers went out together. "I'll think up another scheme. There's still plenty of time to fight it out with the First Sovereign."

Verse

To resume our story, Prince Liu with his troops and horses arrived
And swooped together toward Langzhou city.
A courier on the road ahead quickly bowed.
"There are no troops and soldiers in Langzhou city."
When Zhang Fei heard this, he felt pleased.

The armies then entered Langzhou city.
On the drill field they camped troops and horses;
The generals were quartered in the Commander in chief's mansion.
The Military Advisor, Sleeping Dragon Zhuge Liang,
Said to Liu tha Imperial Uncle,
"For the time being let us rest the troops and horses
So that we can go on to take the cities of the five regions of Xichuan."
The group of generals in the mansion were all happy.
They prepared a feast and drank several rounds.
Elder and younger brother in front of the hall were greedily drinking wine
When in front of them a messenger showed up.
Scouts from afar came and scouts from nearby;
Messengers from afar came and messengers from nearby.
Their deep bows to the Commander in chief upended their quivers.
Their profound prostrations to their master brought low the tops of their bows.
"At present there is a hideous creature named Wang Zhi
Who has led one hundred thousand soldiers
And surrounded Langzhou city;
His army is massed as densely as fish scales.
They are waving their flags so hard the poles are breaking in order to challenge us to fight.
They are beating their war drums so furiously they are breaking in order to get us to do battle.
Wang Zhi the Hideous has arrived in person.
He wants to capture Liu the Imperial Uncle."
When the First Sovereign heard this, he felt upset.
Then he asked the Military Advisor Zhuge Liang about it.
"At first I thought there weren't any troops and horses there,
And so I entered and occupied Langzhou city."
Zhang Fei spoke saying, "That's no problem.
In front of the ranks I will fight to the death to settle the outcome."
From the stable they led out the black steed.
He dressed and armed completely as a general.

Prose

They led the warhorse out of the stable. They picked up the carved saddle from the rack. They fastened the three-stranded girth tightly so that the beaten iron saddle and pommel would not move. This general had a leopard's head, round eyes, a tiger's beard, and a swallow's chin. The armor he wore just fit and would withstand metal. His tiger eyes and dragon arms were like brocaded silk that also resisted injury. Against the jeweled carved saddle, eagle beak boots turned and rubbed. His spear hand wielded a pure iron eighteen-foot gleaming spear. He straddled a moon embracing piebald horse.


Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 27

Verse

The horse with its war saddle was a dragon that had sprouted wings;
The man, having donned his armor, was a tiger that had developed scales.
A heaven-shaking stroke of the gong echoed.
He led forth fifty thousand soldiers.
Zhang Fei was chief in charge of the soldiers;

Jiang Wei the Brave followed behind him;
The flower-bedecked Zhang Yi brought up the rear.
Leading the troops they made a sortie out of Langzhou city.
Zhang Fei at the head of the column called loudly,
"Which general will come out of the formation?"
When Wang Zhi the Hideous heard this,
He put on his full suit of general's gear.
His head sprouted a pair of cinnabar horns
And below his neck were layer after layer of scales.
He rode astride a bronze beast
And his hand held a square-bladed halberd.
He came to the front of the formation and yelled loudly,
Clearly reviling General Zhang Fei.
"I have never offended you in any way
That you should occupy my cities of the five regions of Xichuan."
Both sides beat their decorated drums
And formed a ring around the pair of combatants.
Zhang Fei then wielded his spear,
Proving his heroism just as he had done at Hulao Pass.
Wang Zhi flourished his square-bladed halberd,
Like the Great Sage Equal to Heaven[4]out to conquer the universe.
Wang Zhi rode a bronze beast.
Zhang Fei slapped his horse and went like the clouds.
His horse was defeated because it feared the bronze beast.
Zhang Fei was defeated in battle and turned back.
The hero, though ready to do battle, lacks a good horse.
How can he make the brigands retreat?
Zhang Fei could but round up his troops.
The three armies returned and entered Langzhou city.
He returned and saw the Prince of Han, Liu the First Sovereign.
The Military Advisor Zhuge Liang was worried sick.

Prose

Zhang Fei said, "Elder brother, what he is riding is a bronze beast. My horse is afraid of his bronze beast so I cannot capture him. What is best to do? Only if I get the curly-haired horse, Red Hare, of my elder brother, the Prince of Jingzhou, will I be able to be a match for him." The Military Advisor said, "My lord is isolated and without provisions. It will be difficult to continue the struggle. You should compose a letter and send it to Duke Guan and tell him to lead troops to come and save us." The First Sovereign said, "What should I write in the letter?" The Military Advisor said, "A plan which requires suffering [in order to fool the enemyl." He composed the letter. The Military Advisor then wrote a poem:
Many years ago we swore oath of brotherhood at Peach Spring;
In front of the mountain we sacrificed a cow and horse to August Heaven.
At present I have been surrounded in Langzhou;
Quickly send men and horses down to Xichuan.

The First Sovereign said, "I will also write a poem:

Today my troops and I are surrounded;
My filial followers are in distress.
A column of good-for-nothing fellows from Xichuan
Has conned us into entering Langzhou.

Every day I ascend the ramparts three times in the hope of seeing the three of you, father and sons, coming to break the siege and save Langzhou. I only await the arrival of your rescuing forces." He sent the letter off to Duke Guan to come to the rescue.

Verse

Now that the letter was written,
The two men dispatched it from Langzhou city.
Jiang Wei was ordered to act as envoy;
Jiang Wei dared to act as the person delivering the letter.
Jiang Wei waited until it was late;

At the sound of the midnight bell he went forth from the city.
Jiang Wei dressed up like a man from Guanxi;
He seemed like a merchant or businessman.
They finished talking, the sun set in the west, and it was late.
Jiang Wei all by himself went out the city gates.
When he came to the camp of Wang Zhi the Hideous,
His underlings were all asleep, snoring with a sound like thunder.

Prose

Lü Kai asked Jiang Wei, "Where are you going?" Jiang Wei said, "The Emperor's uncle is trapped at Langzhou, surrounded by Wang Zhi's troops and horses. Today I am especially going to Jingzhou to get Duke Guan, father and sons, the three of them, to come rescue him." Lü Kai said, "Jiang Wei, I really ought to have killed you, but you can go ahead and fetch Duke Guan, father and sons. I have heard his name but never seen him and want to meet him. I fear you are disloyal and that Duke Guan will persuade you otherwise. Take off your shirt and let me write on your back so that Duke Guan can see for himself."

Verse

He wrote words on his back
And instructed Jiang Wei to set out on his journey.
Jiang Wei was rewarded with three cups of wine
And a snack consisting of five steamed buns.
They let Jiang Wei go,

And he strode out the door of the hall.
Through the wilds and grassy places he slipped in haste,
Until looking off he saw Jingzhou city.
Then he made his way through the triple gates,
Straight to the inner court in Duke Guan's palace.
Jiang Wei then bowed deeply three times.
Tears flowed from his eyes in continuous streams.
"General, while you're enjoying yourself here in Jingzhou,
Prince Liu, the First Sovereign of Han, is in distress.
Wang Zhi came and surrounded Langzhou.
Inside they are without provisions and outside they have no troops.
Quickly he brought out the message
And gave it to the Prince of Jingzhou, General Guan.
Duke Guan received the letter and looked at it,
Laughing coldly two or three times.
"In the beginning he didn't use us generals, father and sons;
Now he has been surrounded.
He listened to that braggart Zhang Fei.
What need does he have for me to lift the siege?
Pass along the word to my elder brother not to blame me.

I will protect Jingzhou and not go out of its gates."


Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 28

Prose

Duke Guan said, "Jiang Wei, when [Liu Bei] set out, he did not use us, father and sons, but now you have come to get us. I won't go." Jiang Wei said, "How can this do? If I take off my shirt for him to see, surely he will go." Jiang Wei said, "General, on my way from Bazhou I went through Black Pine Forest and was getting a drink of water when I was grabbed by a bunch of men. It turned out to be Pitchfork Twirler Lü Kai. He was about to kill me. When I told him that I was on my way to the Prince of Jingzhou to get rescue troops, he spared my life. He wrote several lines of characters on my back. I don't know what they say. He told me to be sure to show them to the Prince of Jingzhou." Duke Guan said, "Let me have a look." Duke Guan at that time looked and said, "This knave is unreasonable. What grudge do you and I have against each other?" At that time he summoned Guan Ping and Guan Suo. "Originally I didn't think I would go, but one reason to go is to capture Pitchfork Twirler Lü Kai; another is to save my elder brother the Imperial Uncle and not renege on the oath of brotherhood we swore at Peach Spring. All of us, father and sons, will go."

Verse

Duke Guan at that time issued his orders
And mustered fifty thousand soldiers.
In charge of the army was Commander Guan;
Great General Guan Ping acted as vanguard.
The Road-opening General was Hua Guan Suo,

And the fierce generals of the Taihang Mountains brought up the rear.
The fifty thousand soldiers all set off at once,
Leaving Jingzhou city.
Prince Guan at the head of the column sent down an order:
"The three armies, men and horses, should proceed as fast as they can."
We will not speak of encountering mountains; the mountains were high and distant.
We will not mention whether the streams along their route were shallow or deep.
They advanced until they came to Bazhou city,
Where they bivouacked and set up camp and stationed the troops.
He pointed to Bazhou and reviled loudly;
He called saying, "You brigand, Lü Kai!
If you offer up Bazhou to me in good faith,
We'll let bygones be bygones and discuss it no more."
A mounted courier went like a comet into the city;
He called saying, "Lü Kai, Superior General!
Now Duke Guan's soldiers and horses have arrived;
Beside the city wall they challenge us to battle to determine loser and winner."
When Lü Kai heard this, he felt pleased.
He put on all his general's gear from head to foot.
He rolled into the saddle and mounted his high-headed horse,
Three-pronged pitchfork in hand,
And mustered one hundred thousand soldiers.
At the sound of a stroke on the gong they came out of the battle formation.
They camped on the bank of the moat outside the city;
He encamped his soldiers, horses and troops.
Lu Kai in front of his lines yelled loudly,
"Which general will come out of the formation?"
An enlisted man went into the headquarters tent to report
And spoke to Commander Guan.
"Lü Kai is in front of his lines challenging us to battle."
When Duke Guan heard this, his anger mounted to fury.
The youth Hua Guan Suo came up.
"I will do battle with him to settle the outcome."
Guan Suo rode astride a high-headed horse;
His hand held a yellow dragon spear.
In front of the formation he arrayed men and horses.
"Today I will determine loser and winner with you."
He yelled and reviled the outlaw Lü Kai.
The two men fought without either one winning or losing.
The pitchfork flew straight at his throat;
The spear landed squarely on his earlobe.
Lives hung by a hair.
They wanted to be men who won fame and fortune.
When the two men had fought thirty rounds,
Hua Guan Suo felt affronted.
He feinted with his spear and turned his horse.
Pitchfork Twirler Lu Kai pursued him from behind.
Thrusting with his pitchfork he yelled, "Hit home!"
[But Guan Suo, like a] flying immortal, slipped down on the horse and hid by the stirrup.
Then he flipped back astride his dragon steed
And snatched the pitchfork in his hand,
Flinging it back toward the outlaw Lü Kai.
One horse carried a pair of men,
As Guan Suo made straight for headquarters
And presented his captive to his father Guan Shouting.

Prose

Guan Suo said, "Father, the three of us will surely have to go on to Chengdu.If he is willing to follow us and take the surname Guan, then we will spare you." Duke Guan said, "You ask him." Guan Suo then asked, saying, "Kai, are you willing to follow us and be surnamed Guan? I will make you third brother." Lü Kai said, "If you spare my life, I would like to follow elder brother and be surnamed Guan." At that time Guan Suo said, "Then you will be called Guan San Kai."

Verse

Lü Kai at that time quickly surrendered his allegiance
And became a brother in the family.
The two camps were moved to make one camp;
The eight armies' insignia were made a part of the three armies.
They came to Bazhou city

And encamped horses and men on the drill field.
They rewarded the three armies, horses and men,
And entertained the Guan family, father and sons.
For seven nights they feasted before it was over.
At the front of the hall they discussed the situation.
"We cannot stay long in Bazhou.
We should go soon to save Prince Liu of Han in Langzhou."
They summoned all the one hundred thousand soldiers,
And departing from Bazhou city
Went straight to Langzhou city.
They caught sight of the Xichuan brigands.
Their red flags flickered like heaven burning;'
Their green flags massed like black clouds,
And their red flags were swallowed up by white flags.
Their bows were stretched to their fullest, lined up in precise formation.

When Duke Guan saw them, he felt uneasy.


Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 29
He called, "All you boys, pay attention.
Deploy your men and horses with care,

The sooner to capture Wang Zhi the outlaw."
Hua Guan Suo came by the headquarters.
He straddled a horse and a single spear was in his hand.
He came in front of the troops and called loudly,
"Wang Zhi the Hideous, let's decide loser and winner."
Wang Zhi held in his hand a square-bladed halberd
And he straddled the bronze beast.
"I surrounded the Han Prince, First Sovereign Liu.
Who told him to occupy Langzhou city?
Stop this chattering and yammering.
Let the two of us determine loser and winner in combat."
Guan Suo wielded a spear in his hand,
While Wang Zhi brandished his halberd.
Guan Suo's horse saw the metallic beast.
He neighed and screamed, turned around, and fled like wind-blown clouds.
Guan Suo dashed straight to the central command tent,
Where he saw the Prince of Jingzhou General Guan.
"My horse is afraid of his bronze beast.
He neighed and screamed, turned around, and fled like wind-blown clouds."

Prose

Duke Guan said, "Your horse cannot fight successfully against him. Take my horse and go." Guan Suo said, "Indeed that would be good. When I get this horse, I will certainly capture Wang Zhi." Guan Suo said, "Father, sit tight in camp. Your son will lead one hundred thousand brave soldiers, and with Jiang Wei and also together with the twelve fierce generals of the Taihang Mountains, we'll make a good job of capturing Wang Zhi."

Verse

Guan Suo in front of the formation quickly put on his gear.
In his hand he held a yellow dragon spear,
And rode the curly-haired horse Red Hare.
He arrayed the one hundred thousand soldiers,
Calling, "Wang Zhi the Hideous,

Come out of the battle formation and determine loser and winner."
Wang Zhi held in his hand a square-bladed halberd,
Ready to fight Hua Guan Suo.
Forward and back they fought thirty rounds.
Hua Guan Suo was infuriated.
He was close to killing him,
But Wang Zhi the Hideous was a good general.
Guan Suo yelled and called, "Hit home!"
His spear directly hit the center of his crown,
Cutting off one of Wang Zhi's horns.
Fresh blood flowed red all over his face.
Wang Zhi at that time fled in retreat,
But General Guan Suo caught up to him.
Again he stabbed with the spear and said, "Halt!"
A red horn fell to the ground.
Wang Zhi flipped over and jumped off his horse.
The mass of troops captured this outlaw
And imprisoned him in a caged prison cart.
They imprisoned Wang Zhi.
Killing on both sides they headed for Langzhou city.
They held him in the command tent.
They slaughtered the enemy, both horses and men.
In front of the formation they held the bronze beast.
The armies of both sides engaged each other in battle.
Outside General Guan Suo wreaked havoc;
From inside Zhang Fei fought his way out of the city.
The men and horses from both inside and outside
Joined forces in killing the outlaw bandits.
They made them retreat west of the river, and troops and horses were defeated.
Guan Suo at the echo of the gong collected his army.
Guan Suo saw Liu the First Sovereign.
Leading the troops they all entered Langzhou city
And rested the one hundred fifty thousand brave soldiers.
There were also men wounded by swords and shot by arrows.
Military Advisor Zhuge Liang quickly then said,
"We owe it all to the Guan family, father and son."
Wang Zhi the Hideous was brought in
To be interrogated in the government office.
"I can't endure the unreasonableness of this hideous fellow.
He insulted our Prince Liu, First Sovereign of Han."
Wang Zhi in the cart called out loudly,
Saying, "Hua Guan Suo,
If you spare what remains of my life,
I am willing to serve you even as a stableboy and groom."
When Guan Suo heard this, he felt pleased.
Seeing that he was a fine general,
He spoke to this father Commander Guan.
In front of the troops he then changed Wang's surname and name.
His surname was changed to Hideous and his name to Guan Zhi.
He was made the fourth brother in the Guan family.
Father and sons, five state-pacifying generals,
Aided in establishing the empire and the Lord of Han.
In Langzhou they rested men and horses.
They congratulated and entertained Hua Guan Suo.
The Lord of Han, Prince Liu, set out a feast
And rewarded the Guan family, father and sons.
Great and small, the group of officers all feasted.
We will say no more about how they were drunk with wine and full of food
And, after the banquet was over, dispersed.
Instead we will take up Military Advisor Zhuge Liang,
Who said to the Prince of Han, Liu the First Sovereign,
"Tell Guan and Zhang the two men,
'We must not stop long in Langzhou;
Get ready to move out very early tomorrow morning.'"
Prince Liu the First Sovereign said, "Fine."
He announced to the various officers that they were about to march;
They waited until the next morning at dawn.
The various officers ate their fill and early set out on the journey.
Military Advisor Zhuge sent down an order.
The three armies, men and horses, then set out.
The sound of a stroke to the gong echoed in the vicinity;
A blow on the decorated drum rang around the mountain.
We will sing no more of how they started the journey on the road,
Nor will we relate the story of the mountains they climbed and the ridges they crossed.
We will turn our attention to the three armies marching hastily.
In front of them appeared a messenger.
A soldier arrived to report news of the road ahead.
"I come to report respectfully to the ruler and commander of the troops:

Ahead Zhou Ba's men and horses have arrived."


Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 30
Road-layer Han General Pang Tong went out.

Prose

Zhou Ba of a petty state came forward and demanded in a loud voice, "What place's men and horses are you? Do you dare to come and lay waste to the mountainside?" When what should occur but Pang Tong spoke up and said, "We are troops and horses of Great Han, going forward to Chengdu to be stationed there." Zhou Ba said, "Transmit this message to Prince Liu the First Sovereign: We must not pick a fight with each other. I do not fight with you to snatch territory and harm the empire. At this mountain I ask only for a few gold and silver coins to provide for my troops and horses. Leave forty or fifty good horses, leave forty or fifty catties of gold and silver, and then I will allow your troops and horses to go on immediately to Chengdu. If you do not hand these over, you will not be able to pass, even in three years."

Verse

"If you do not leave gold and valuables,
For three years how can you cross this mountain pass?"
This affronted Big Sword General Pang Tong,
Whose whole face became bright red.
"The nerve of that small-time Zhou Ba

Who dares to insult us in front of the mountain."
He announced to the troops and horses on both sides,
"Round up the outlaws in front of the mountain."
He waved the big sword held in his hand,
Wanting to battle it out with Zhou Ba.
"If you let us pass today without further ado,
We'll let bygones be bygones and discuss it no more."
When Zhou Ba heard this, he felt upset and annoyed
And ground his jaws ominiously.
The two sides slapped their high-headed horses.
In front of the mountain they went to look at the two generals.
Eight horse hooves went in confusion;
Four arms flailed back and forth.
Back and forth without victory or defeat;
Coming and going without winner or loser.
The more Zhou Ba fought the more strength he had;
The more Pang Tong battled the more spirited he grew.
Zhou Ba had a flaming sword in his hand.
When he struck the tip of his sword, the fire burned his opponent.
Big Sword Pang Tong fled, trailing his sword.
He slapped his horse in front of the mountain and called, "Help!"
The three armies turned their flags around and came to look.
Great General Pang Tong had been defeated.
Trailing his sword, when he turned his head to take a look,
His eyebrows and his eyes were burned.
He came to see the Han prince, Liu the First Sovereign.
"I lost to the man from a petty country in front of the mountain.
It's not that I myself lacked ability;
I was burned by the fire on his sword."
Prince Liu the First Sovereign then asked quickly,
"Which person dares to go capture this outlaw?"
From the side, out came General Zhang Fei.
"Elder brother First Sovereign, permit me to inform you.
I, Zhang Fei, myself will lead men and horses.
Before the mountain I will go and capture the man surnamed Zhou."
He yelled and cursed, saying, "Zhou Ba of a petty state,
Do you dare to bully people in front of the mountain?"

Prose

Zhou Ba asked, "Who are you?" Zhang Fei said, "I am surnamed Zhang and my name is Fei; my style name is Yide." Zhou Ba said, "I have heard your name but never before seen you. Only today have I met you. I'm not looking for a fight with you. Again today I say to you: I want you to leave thirty to fifty good horses and forty or fifty catties of gold and silver, and then I will let you pass by. If you do not give them, I will not allow you to pass, even in three years."

Verse

"If you should say that you refuse,
For three years how will you cross this pass?"
When Zhang Fei heard this, he felt upset and annoyed.
His whole face became bright red.
"I don't believe Zhou Ba is so hot.

He isn't worth the dust on the tip of my boot."
Zhang Fei then flourished his spear;
He picked up a long spear and aimed it straight at his face.
Zhou Ba also took up his sword and chopped;
When the sword came up, the spear protected his body.
The two sides slapped their high-headed horses to action;
With spear and sword they fought to decide loser and winner.
When Zhou Ba saw this, he felt upset and annoyed;
With the flaming sword he displayed his heroism.
Under his breath he started reciting the fire-sword spell;
From the end of the flaming sword the flames flickered.
On level ground the fire flames were thirty feet high,
Brightening all of the sky and earth.
He brandished his flaming sword.
It burned Zhang Fei and he had no way to escape.
If he went fast, it would burn him to death;
If he went slow, it would destroy him.
Zhang Fei's clothing was all aflame.
The red tassels on his spear were burnt by the fire.
Zhang Fei at that time retreated with his men and horses,
All of them completely smoke-blackened and burned.
Han and horse's eyes were all burned.
How could they capture this outlaw?
He lost to Zhou Ba of the firebeard sword
And lost one-third of his men.
Zhang Fei was defeated in battle and put to flight.
He came to see Prince Liu, the First Sovereign of Han.
"It's not that I don't have the ability.
I was burned by the fire on his sword."
The sun descended in the west and it was late.
The gongs sounded on both sides and they collected their troops.
In front of the mountains they encamped men and horses.
The group of officers discussed the affair until the sky was light.

Prose

That night Prince Liu the First Sovereign, the group of officers great and small, and the leaders all met together for a discussion and said, "One after the other we have lost twice to Zhou Ba. How can we manage to capture him?"


Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 31
At this time what should they see but a woman outside who gave a loud "Ha ha" and clapped her hands and then went on her way. Guan Suo quickly took his bow and arrow in his hand and hastened forward. He fitted an arrow to the bow and yelled, "Hit!" An arrow hit the woman squarely in the back. He pursued her to in front of the mountain slope. The woman was not to be seen, but only a stone statue of a person. On its back two lines of characters were written, saying, "Remove three feet of earth [and you will find something] which can stand up to the flaming sword." Guan Suo said, "Can it be there is a miraculous object in this place?" He told a soldier to dig three feet in the earth and what should they see but a stone coffer. They brought it up and when they opened it and looked, sure enough, there was a battle-axe. On its haft there were characters written, saying, "There is a pearl inside this haft. Begin to recite the spell, and a big wind will precede you, chilling anyone in its path and driving the fire and smoke back against them." Guan Suo said, "Great! Let me try it out." Right away he took the battle-axe in his hand and brandished it and began to recite the incantation. Guan Suo was delighted.

Verse

When Guan Suo saw it he felt glad.
Then he went back to camp and saw the Lord of Han.
The group of officers great and small were all happy.
In detail from the beginning he explained about the situation.
"Indeed this thing is really strange and unusual,

A heaven-bestowed Xuanhua battle-axe."
Youthful Guan Suo quickly put on his gear.
Hurriedly he put on general's garb.
Great and small, the group of officers wasted no time.
They reported to the three armies, horses and men.
Guan Suo rode his dragon steed,
And his hand held the Xuanhua battle-axe.
He put on his general's gear and was very impressive,
Fierce as the Five Saints[5] descending from the gate of heaven.
The soldiers in his command were quickly deployed,
And taking along their brass gongs they marched out.
He came in front of the mountain and set up camp;
At that time he bivouacked horses and men.
Guan Suo on his horse called loudly,
"Zhou Ba, you ruffian, listen to what I have to say."

Prose

Guan Suo said, "I am no other than the second son of the Prince of Jingzhou, Commander Guan, the famous Guan Suo. All by myself I have led men and horses to come to Xichuan to seek my father and break the siege. When I encounter the good I do not insult them. When I meet the bad I do not fear them. When you run into me, you'll find out what manner of man I am." Zhou Ba said, "I will not fight with you over who is stronger. I am a bandit and I work hard at it to make a living. All I want is for you to leave forty or fifty good horses and to leave thirty or fifty catties of gold and silver, and then I will let your men and horses pass."

Verse

When Guan Suo heard this kind of talk, he said,
"Zhou Ba, you ruffian, who do you think you're up against?
If you don't allow us to pass today,
The Guan family will kill you and make you a goner."
When Zhou Ba heard this, he smiled.

"I'll make you a goner in front of the ranks."
A sound of gongs on both sides resounded to heaven;
On both sides, the decorated drums rolled like thunder.
Horses head to head, the two battled.
The outlaw Zhou Ba used a scheme:
He struck the flaming sword
And began to recite the Tianhua formula.
Flames spurted out from the end of the sword;
The bright glare of the fire burned anyone near.
The youth Guan Suo felt angry,
And his whole face became bright red.
His hand lifted up the Xuanhua battle-axe and he began to recite the spell.
A fierce wind blew air forward.
Fierce wind and cold air blew on Zhou Ba's face,
Driving back the flames so that they burned his own body.
Zhou Ba's flames burned only himself,
Scorching his eyebrows and his eyes.
Zhou Ba's clothes caught fire.
His underlings were burned to death and their fates returned to the clouds.
Zhou Ba discarded his sword and hurriedly fled.
He slapped his horse and raced forward yelling, "Help!"
The three armies turned their flags around and came to look.
Zhou Ba the outlaw had been defeated.
The youth Guan Suo was furious.
"Zhou Ba, where do you think you're going?
If you go up to Heaven, I'll pursue you up there.
If you enter the earth, I'll follow behind you.
You've used up your tricks to no avail."
Guan Suo had a clever plan in mind.
From his waist he took out the red cotton lariat
With its twenty-four golden hooks.
He flung it into the air and called, "Got you!"
He lassoed Zhou Ba, horse and man.
It was just like a great fish meeting a fishing net,
Or like a fighting quail when it has been hit by the hunter's arrow.
He snatched the outlaw named Zhou Ba.
All together they turned and went back to the camp entrance.
The victorious three armies were all happy.
They went forward and returned to the camp entrance.
They formally greeted the Prince of Han, Liu the First Sovereign.
Great and small officers asked about the circumstances.
The youth Guan Suo spoke up,
"I killed the outlaw Zhou Ba.
I snatched his flaming sword,
And now I have it right here by my side."
The Prince of Han, the First Sovereign, felt glad.
Military Advisor Zhuge was greatly pleased.
The Commander, Prince of Jingzhou, and General Zhang Fei
And all the crowd of officers in the camp
All said, "This man is untiring and fierce.
From his birth his will and nerve have far surpassed others.
He is accomplished in all the military skills and he has no match.
With his help the Prince of Han will have the good fortune to sit on the dragon throne."

Then they passed around fragrant wine


Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 32
To reward Hua Guan Suo,
Who captured Zhou Ba of the flaming sword

And got rid of the outlaw from the mountain.

Prose

Military Advisor Zhuge said, "Rejoice, oh King, for you have taken Jingzhou and Mian, Han, and Langzhou. Now there is only one place remaining, the capital Chengdu in Xichuan. Now if we first take the capital Chengdu, the fifty-four districts of Xichuan will all fall under the control of our House of Han. All our troops and soldiers must go to the capital Chengdu and encamp there, and then we can go to subdue the fifty-four districts of Xichuan. When that occurs the dream of my lifetime will be fulfilled."

Verse

The Military Advisor Zhuge transmitted his general's orders.
He addressed Prince Liu, the First Sovereign, saying, "Hear my advice.
Do not stay buried deep in these mountains;
Immediately subdue Chengdu."
Prince Liu and his generals were all glad.

Then they transmitted the imperial orders and mustered the three armies.
We will sing no more of how they started the journey on the road,
Nor will we relate the story of the mountains they climbed and the ridges they crossed.
It was about sundown
When they set up camp and settled the troops.
The soldiers on guard duty called the five watches of the night;
The troops donned their armor in anticipation of the dawn.
When it got to be the fifth watch, the sky grew bright;
The three armies ate and made an early start on their journey.
We will sing no more about the mountains being distant and the road far,
Nor will we relate how they ate when they were hungry and drank when they were thirsty.
They went straight to the city in Xichuan;
Thirty li distant from the city they encamped their troops.
They encamped three hundred thousand heroic soldiers;
The various officers and leaders each set up camp.
In the center they put up the yellow gauze tent,
Where Prince Liu, First Sovereign of Han, took his seat.
At one side they put up the headquarters tent,
Where the various officers and leaders sat down.
Military Advisor Zhuge transmitted his general's orders.
He spoke to the various officials, military and civil.
"Today we have come to the capital Chengdu.
Which general will go out of the battle formation?"
The Military Advisor had just finished speaking
When General Jiang Wei the Brave appeared.
Then to the Military Advisor Zhuge Liang he said,
"I dare today to lead the armies
To attack the capital Chengdu in Xichuan,
So that the entire area's mountains and rivers will belong to us."
Military Advisor Zhuge was pleased.
Jiang Wei put on all his general's gear.
He sat on a yellow charger;
His hand held a long spear and he went like the clouds.
He lined up his men, soldiers and horses.
He yelled and called, "People in the capital Chengdu!"
A junior officer up on the wall quickly reported what he had seen.
He reported to the Commander Zhou Cang,
"Now there is a column of troops and horses that has arrived,
Shouting that today they will attack the city gate."
When Zhou Cang heard this, his wrath was stirred.
From the stall they led out his dragon-scaled horse.
Behind the pommel, the saddle was carved with a sun and moon design.
They tied the girth tightly and cinched it around the horse's belly.
The good fellow Zhou Cang quickly put on his armor.
He put on all his general's gear from head to foot.

Prose

This general shows himself a hero. Zhou Cang's battle cries are loud. His fury is like clouds covering the sun. His arrows are fletched with phoenix feathers. He is attired in big-plate, head-to-toe armor, and wears a brocade battle robe of princely cut. He rides a river-churning, sea-roiling horse and wields a peak-rending, mountain-splitting sword.

Verse

Commander Zhou Cang quickly mounted his horse.
A gong echoed in the drill field summoning the army.
From the east and west stalls they led out war horses;
In the north and south camps they mustered stalwart troops.
The horses they mustered were Chuanxi stream-leaping horses;

The men they mustered were men from the five circuits of Guanxi.
They called up fifty thousand soldiers.
At a stroke on the brass gong they went out of the city
To the wild suburbs where they arrayed troops and horses.
Zhou Cang pointed to the man in front of the ranks:
"What injury have I done you
That you should come here and threaten me?"
When Jiang Wei the Brave heard this,
He called out, "Zhou Cang, you outlaw,
If you offer up the capital Chengdu in good faith,
We will drop the matter here and now and not discuss it any more.
If you utter so much as half a refusal,
Under this spear you shall find no mercy."
When Zhou Cang heard this, he felt very angry.
The two men engaged each other in combat to determine the outcome.
Zhou Cang then flourished his sword;
Jiang Wei brandished a spear in his hand.
Their lives hung by a hair.
They wanted to be men who won fame and fortune.
Before they had fought ten-odd rounds,
(After all, it is difficult to outlast a man seasoned to war)
What should they see but in front of the formation there was a loud cry—
Jiang Wei the Brave had been defeated.
He slapped his horse and fled back to the central command tent.
He spoke to the Military Advisor Zhuge Liang,
"I entered the lists to do battle,
But I lost to Zhou Cang."
Military Advisor Zhuge felt perplexed.
"What man can capture this general?"
Just when the Military.Advisor had barely finished talking,
From the side appeared a general,
The young adventurer Hua Guan Suo.
He spoke to the Military Advisor Zhuge Liang,
"Guan Suo will enter the lists and quickly do battle.
I will capture Zhou Cang."
When the group of officials heard this, they felt glad.

General Guan Suo quickly went out to fight.


Hua Guan Suo zhuan image page 33
He sat on a dappled horse;
His hand held up a yellow dragon spear.

In front of the ranks he arrayed troops and horses.
He yelled and reviled Zhou Cang the bandit. "For every one of us you defeat, another will come forward.
A new man will replace every one that loses."
When Zhou Cang heard this, he felt very angry.
He pointed at Guan Suo and cursed the little soldier.
"You're not even as big as my fist on your horse.
Brandishing your spear and flourishing your staff, you're like a monkey.
I could spit into my palm and give you a bath.
You'd be submerged to your eyebrows and cry too deep."
His cursing made Guan Suo furious.
He cursed Zhou Cang in return.
"An inflated bladder may be big, but it has no weight.
A steelyard weight may be small, but it can counterbalance a thousand catties.
Have done with this chattering and yammering.
Since when did insulting each other settle anything?"
Both sides began to beat their decorated drums.
The two men fought to decide loser and winner.
Both sides' gongs and drums resounded between heaven and earth.
All eyes were on the pair of men in the middle,
Where dirt leapt three feet from the earth.
From the void two immortal gods had descended.
They fought until clouds and fog rose on all four sides,
So only dust, not men, could be seen.
Tenfold anger drove the dragon out of the water;
Nine-striped, the tiger emerged from the herd;
Eight caverns-full of divine immortals seized the swordsman;
Seven star-conmanders displayed their magic arts;
Six dragons in combat made Waves that surged to the heavens;
Five tigers in front of the cliff fought over their prey;
Four nations could not provide a worthy opponent, [nor could]
Three islands [of immortals] or the Mighty Spirit God of Mount Hua;
Two fierce generals fought for the empire;
One pair of generals decided the issue between them.
From beginning to end they fought a full twenty rounds,
But there was neither victory nor defeat in the arena.
If one general tipped the scales at eight ounces,
The two together weighed a full catty.
An able general was up against a skilled general.
The founder of one family met the founder of another.
The youth Guan Suo felt perplexed,
Then employed a clever plan to gain control.
He feinted with his spear and then turned and fled.
Zhou Cang then followed at his rear.
If he wanted to mount to heaven, there was no way in;
If today he wanted to enter the earth, there was no door.
Nor if he ascended to the Heavens was there a hand to brush away the clouds.
Today he would dig in the earth and flee, but the earth had no door.
On all sides red smoke rose like a torch.
Ceaselessly raising a whirlwind, they whipped their horses forward.
Their horses' tails were even and he caught up,
Caught up with Hua Guan Suo.
With a stroke of his sword he yelled, "Got you!"
But like a flying immortal, Guan Suo slid down on the side of his horse and hid;
Then he flipped back up and remounted his high-headed horse,
He took out his red cotton [lariat] of nine strands
And flung it upward so it was like a halo around the moon.
He twirled it on the ground like a cart wheel,
Just like a big fish meeting a revolving net,
Like a spider spinning a web to catch a dragonfly.
He called, "Horse, draw alongside."
One horse carried a pair of men.
He captured Zhou Cang the outlaw general.
In confusion they killed soldiers, horses and men.
Pulling aside shields, they hacked with their swords;
Upending quivers, they slew generals.
Swords chopped at helmets and smoke rose rapidly;
Spears thrust at armor and sparks shot everywhere.
When swords struck, hands and feet turned cold;
As flails lashed, trunks and bones grew chill.
Starry eyes rolled upward in lifeless foreheads;
Mettlesome souls sought exit through the holes in skulls.
Having completely exterminated Zhou Cang's men and horses,
The Guan family's men and horses entered the city.
They all entered the capital Chengdu in Xichuan,

And encamped the horses and men.

Notes

  1. There are two lines missing here which should start with the numbers one and two in order to complete the series from one to ten.
  2. i.e., Zhuge Liang
  3. A type of sword, first made in 1165.
  4. This is Monkey's nickname in Xiyou ji 西遊記 ("Journey to the West").
  5. Spirits in human form who, in return for sacrifices, were believed to grant protection and happiness

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