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In Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel, Cao Cao was impressed by Xu Shu's intelligence and brilliance after helping Liu Bei defeat Cao Ren and so he wanted Xu Shu to serve him. The story goes that Cao Cao invited Xu Shu's mother to write a letter to her son to come to Xuchang, but she refused and told Cao Cao was a traitor and that him serving Liu Bei is an honor. This made Cao Cao furious. He ordered her to be executed, but Cheng Yu insisted him not to do it, otherwise this would make Xu Shu angry and seek revenge against him. Cao Cao then ordered Cheng Yu to pretend to be Xu Shu's sworn brother to get close to Xu Shu's mother. After a while, Cheng Yu managed to copy her handwriting and wrote a fake letter to Xu Shu in his mother's name to come back to Xuchang. Xu Shu got the letter and left Liu Bei for Xuchang, only to realise he got tricked. His mother committed suicide because of shame and Xu Shu continued to serve Cao Cao, but he swore to Liu Bei he would never present strategies or help Cao Cao.

What happened historically?Edit

  • Xu Shu’s mother was captured by Cao Cao. Because of this, Xu Shu, who did wish to serve Liu Bei, parted ways with Liu Bei and took up service with Cao Cao.
  • Xu Shu’s mother did not commit suicide.

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