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CHAPTER 102. Sima Yi Occupies The Banks Of River Taurus; Zhuge Liang Constructs Mechanical Bullocks And Horses.

| Articles of Ancient China, English Version - Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel | March 7, 2011

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Qiao Zhou, who protested against the war, was
Grand Historian. He was also an astrologer. He
opposed the war, saying, “My present office involves
the direction of the observations on the Astrological
Terrace, and I am bound to report whether the
aspect forebodes misfortune or promises happiness.
Not long since, several flights of thousands of birds
came from the south, plunged into River Han and
were drowned. This is an evil augury. Moreover, I
have studied the aspect of the sky, and the ‘Wolf’
constellation is influencing the aspect of the planet
Venus. An aura of prosperity pervades the north. To
attack Wei will not be to our profit. Again, the people
in Chengdu say that the cypress trees moan in the
night. With so many evil omens, I wish that the Prime
Minister should not go forth to war, but remain at
home to guard what we have.”
“How can I?” said Zhuge Liang. “His late Majesty
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laid upon me a heavy responsibility, and I must exert
myself to the utmost in the endeavor to destroy these
rebels. The policy of a state cannot be changed
because of vain and irresponsible talk of
inauspicious signs.”
Zhuge Liang was not to be deterred. He
instructed the officials to prepare the Great Bovine
Sacrifice in the Dynastic Temple. Then, weeping, he
prostrated himself and made this declaration:
“Thy servant Zhuge Liang has made five
expeditions to Qishan without gaining any extension
of territory. His fault
weighs heavily upon him. Now once again he is
about to march, pledged to use every effort of body
and mind to exterminate the rebels against the Han
House, and to restore to the dynasty its ancient glory
in its old capital. To achieve this end, he would use
the last remnant of his strength and could die
The sacrifice ended, he took leave of the Latter
Ruler and set out for Hanzhong to make the final
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arrangements for his march. While so engaged, he
received the unexpected news of the death of Guan
Xing. He was greatly shocked, and fainted. When he
had recovered consciousness, his officers did their
utmost to console him.
“How pitiful! Why does Heaven deny long life to
the loyal and good? I have lost a most able general
just as I am setting out and need him most.”
As all are born, so all must die;
People are as gnats against the sky;
But loyalty or piety
May give them immortality.
The armies of Shu numbered three hundred forty
thousand strong, and they marched in five divisions,
with Jiang Wei and Wei Yan in the van, and when
they had reached Qishan, Li Hui, the Commissary
General, was instructed to convey stores into the Xie
Valley in readiness.
In Wei they had recently changed the style of the
year period to Green Dragon, because a green
dragon had been seen to emerge from Mopo Well.
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The year of the fighting was the second year (AD
The courtiers said to the Ruler of Wei, “The
commanders of the passes report thirty or so legions
advancing in five divisions from Shu upon Qishan.”
The news distressed the Ruler of Wei, who at
once called in Sima Yi and told him of the invasion.
Sima Yi replied, “The aspect of the sky is very
auspicious for the Middle Land. The Wolf star has
encroached upon the planet Venus, which bodes ill
for the Lands of Rivers. Thus Zhuge Liang is pitting
his powers against the heavens, and will meet defeat
and suffer death. And I, by virtue of Your Majesty’s
good fortune, am to be the instrument of destruction.
I request to name four leaders to go with me.”
“Who are they? Name them,” said the king.
“They are the four sons of Xiahou Yuan: Xiahou
Ba, Xiahou Wei, Xiahou Hui, and Xiahou He. Xiahou
Ba and Xiahou Wei are trained archers and
cavaliers; Xiahou Hui and Xiahou He are deep
strategists. All four desire to avenge the death of
their father. Xiahou Ba and Xiahou Wei should be
leaders of the van; Xiahou Hui and Xiahou He should
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be Marching Generals, to discuss and arrange plans
for the repulse of our enemy.”
“You remember the evil results of employing the
‘Dynastic Son−in−Law,’ Xiahou Mao; he lost his army
and is still too ashamed to return to court. Are you
sure these are not of the same kidney?”
“They are not like Xiahou Mao in the least.”
The Ruler of Wei granted the request and named
Sima Yi as Commander−in−Chief with the fullest
authority. When Sima Yi took leave of the Ruler of
Wei, he received a command in Cao Rui’s own
“When you, Noble Sir, reach the banks of River
Wei and have well fortified that position, you are not
to give battle.
The army of Shu, disappointed of their desire, will
pretend to retire and so entice you on, but you will
not pursue. You will wait till their supplies are
consumed and they are compelled to retreat, when
you may smite them. Then you will obtain the victory
without distressing the army unduly. This is the best
plan of campaign.”
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Sima Yi took it with bowed head. He proceeded
forthwith to Changan. When he had mustered the
forces assembled from all western counties, they
numbered four hundred thousand, and they were all
camped on River Wei. In addition, fifty thousand
troops were farther up the stream preparing nine
floating bridges. The two leaders of the van, Xiahou
Ba and Xiahou Wei, were ordered to cross the river
and camp, and in rear of the main camp on the east
a solid earth rampart was raised to guard against
any surprises from the rear.
While these preparations were in progress, Guo
Huai and Sun Li came to the new camp, and the
former said, “With the troops of Shu at Qishan, there
is a possibility of their dominating River Wei, going
up on the plain and pushing out a line to the northern
hills whereby to cut off all highways in Xizhou.”
“You say well,” said Sima Yi. “See to it. Take
command of all the Xizhou forces, occupy Beiyuan
and make a fortified camp there. But adopt a
defensive policy; wait till the enemy’s food supplies
get exhausted before you think of attack.”
So Guo Huai and Sun Li left to carry out these
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Meanwhile Zhuge Liang made five main camps at
Qishan, and between Xie Valley and Saber Pass he
established a line of fourteen large camps. He
distributed the troops among these camps as for a
long campaign. He appointed inspecting officers to
make daily visits to see that all was in readiness.
When he heard that the army of Wei had camped
in Beiyuan, he said to his officers, “They camp there
fearing that our holding this area will sever
connection with Xizhou. I am pretending to look
toward Beiyuan, but really my objective is River Wei.
I am going to build several large rafts and pile them
with straw, and I have five thousand of marines to
manage them. In the darkness of the night I shall
attack Beiyuan; Sima Yi will come to the rescue. If he
is only a little worsted, I shall cross the river with the
rear divisions. Then the leading divisions will embark
on the rafts, drop down the river, set fire to the
floating bridges, and attack the rear of the enemy. I
shall lead an army to take the gates of the first camp.
If we can get the south bank of the river, the
campaign will become simple.”
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Then the generals took orders and went to
The spies carried information of the doings of the
troops of Shu to Sima Yi, who said to his generals,
“Zhuge Liang has some crafty scheme, but I think I
know it. He proposes to make a show of taking
Beiyuan, and then, dropping down the river, he will
try to burn our bridges, throw our rear into confusion,
and then attack our camps.”
So he gave Xiahou Ba and Xiahou Wei orders:
“You are to listen for the sounds of battle about
Beiyuan; if you hear the shouting, you are to march
down to the river, to the hills on the south, and lay an
ambush against the troops of Shu as they arrive.”
Zhang Hu and Yue Chen were to lead two other
forces, of two thousand of bowmen each, and lie in
hiding on the north bank near the bridges to keep off
the rafts that might come down on the current and
keep them from touching the bridges.
Then he sent for Guo Huai and Sun Li, and said,
“Zhuge Liang is coming to Beiyuan to cross the river
secretly. Your force is small, and you can hide half
way along the road. If the enemy cross the river in
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the afternoon, that will mean an attack on us in the
evening. Then you are to simulate defeat and run.
They will pursue. You can shoot with all your energy,
and our marines and land troops will attack at once.
If the attack is in great force, look out for orders.”
All these orders given, Sima Yi sent his two sons
Sima Shi and Sima Zhao to reinforce the front camp,
while he led his own army to relieve Beiyuan.
Zhuge Liang sent Wei Yan and Ma Dai to cross
River Wei and attack Beiyuan, while the attempt to
set fire to the bridges was confided to Wu Ban and
Wu Yi. The general attack on the Wei camp by River
Wei was to be made by three divisions: the front
division under Wang Ping and Zhang Ni, the middle
division under Jiang Wei and Ma Zhong, the rear
division under Liao Hua and Zhang Yi. The various
divisions started at noon and crossed the river,
where they slowly formed up in battle order.
Wei Yan and Ma Dai arrived Beiyuan about dusk.
The scouts having informed the defenders of their
approach, Sun Li abandoned his camp and fled. This
told Wei Yan that his attack was expected, and he
turned to retire. At this moment a great shouting was
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heard, and there appeared two bodies of the enemy
under Sima Yi and Guo Huai bearing down upon the
attackers. Desperate efforts were made to extricate
themselves, but many of the soldiers of Shu fell into
the river and drowned. The others scattered.
However, Wu Yi came up and rescued the force from
entire destruction.
Wu Ban set half his troops to navigate the rafts
down the river to the bridges. But Zhang Hu and Yue
Chen stationed near the bridges shot clouds of
arrows at them, and the Shu leader, Wu Ban, was
wounded. He fell into the river and was drowned.
The crews of the rafts jumped into the water and got
away. The rafts fell into the hands of the soldiers of
At this time the front division under Wang Ping
and Zhang Ni were ignorant of the defeat of their
Beiyuan army, and they went straight for the camps
of Wei. They arrived in the second watch.
They heard loud shouting, and Wang Ping said to
Zhang Ni, “We do not know whether the cavalry sent
to Beiyuan has been successful or not. It is strange
that we do not see a single soldier of the enemy.
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Surely Sima Yi has found out the plan and prepared
to frustrate the attack. Let us wait here till the bridges
have been set on fire and we see the flames.”
So they halted. Soon after, a mounted messenger
came up with orders: “The Prime Minister bade you
retire immediately, as the attack on the bridges has
Wang Ping and Zhang Ni attempted to withdraw,
but a bomb exploded and the troops of Wei, who had
taken a by−road to their rear, at once attacked. A
great fire started also. A disorderly battle ensued,
from which Wang Ping and Zhang Ni eventually
forced their ways out, but only with great loss.
And when Zhuge Liang collected his army at
Qishan once more he found, to his sorrow, that he
had lost more than ten thousand troops.
Just at this time Fei Yi arrived front Chengdu.
Zhuge Liang received him and, after the
ceremonies were over, said, “I would trouble you,
Sir, to carry a letter for me into East Wu; will you
undertake the mission?”
“Could I possibly decline any task you laid upon
me?” said Fei Yi.
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So Zhuge Liang wrote a letter and sent it to Sun
Quan. Fei Yi took it and hastened to Jianye, where
he saw Sun Quan, the Ruler of Wu, and presented
this letter:
“The Hans have been unfortunate, and the line of
rulers has been broken. The Cao party have usurped
the seat of
government and still hold the command. My late
master, Emperor Bei, confided a great task to me,
and I must exhaust every effort to achieve it. Now my
army is at Qishan, and the rebels are on the verge of
destruction on River Wei. I hope Your Majesty, in
accordance with your oath of alliance, will send a
leader against the north to assist by taking the
Middle Land, and the empire can be shared. The full
circumstances cannot be told, but I hope you will
understand and act.”
Sun Quan was pleased at the news and said to
the envoy, “I have long desired to set my arm in
motion, but have not been able to arrange with
Zhuge Liang. After this letter I will lead an expedition
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myself and go to Juchao and capture Xincheng of
Wei. Moreover, I will send Lu Xun and Zhuge Jin to
camp at Miankou and Jiangxia, and take Xiangyang.
I will also send an army under Sun Shao into
Guangling to capture Huaiyang. The total number
will be three hundred thousand troops, and they shall
start at once.”
Fei Yi thanked him and said, “In such a case the
Middle Land will fall forthwith.”
A banquet was prepared. At this, Sun Quan said,
“Whom did the Prime Minister send to lead the
Fei Yi replied, “Wei Yan was the chief leader.”
“A man brave enough, but crooked. One day he
will work a mischief unless Zhuge Liang is very wary.
But surely he knows.”
“Your Majesty’s words are to the point;” said the
envoy, “I will return at once and lay them before
Zhuge Liang.”
Fei Yi quickly took leave and hastened to Qishan
with his news of the intended expedition of Wu.
“Did the Ruler of Wu say nothing else?” asked
Zhuge Liang.
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Then Fei Yi told him what had been said about
Wei Yan.
“Truly a comprehending ruler,” said Zhuge Liang,
appreciatively. “But I could not be ignorant of this.
However, I use Wei Yan because he is very bold.”
“Then Sir, you ought to decide soon what to do
with him.”
“I have a scheme of my own.”
Fei Yi returned to Chengdu, and Zhuge Liang
resumed the ordinary camp duties of a leader.
When Zhuge Liang was in a council with his
commanders, suddenly a certain Wei leader came
and begged to be allowed to surrender. Zhuge Liang
had the man brought in and questioned him.
“I am a leader, Zheng Wen by name. General Qin
Lang and I are old colleagues. Recently Sima Yi
transferred us and, showing great partiality for my
colleague, appointed him Leader of the Van and
threw me out like a weed. I was disgusted and left,
and I wish to join your ranks if you will accept my
Just at that moment a soldier came in to say that
Qin Lang with a company had appeared in front of
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the tents and was challenging Zheng Wen.
Said Zhuge Liang, “How does this man stand with
you in fighting skill?”
“I should just kill him,” said Zheng Wen.
“If you were to slay him, that would remove my
Zheng Wen accepted the proposer with alacrity,
mounted his horse, and away he went. Zhuge Liang
went out to see the fight. There was the challenger
shaking his spear and reviling his late friend as rebel
and brigand and horse−thief.
“Give me back my horse you stole!” cried Qin
Lang, galloping toward Zheng Wen as soon as he
Zheng Wen whipped up his horse, waved his
sword, and went to meet the attack. In the first bout
he cut down Qin Lang. The Wei soldiers then ran
away; the victor hacked off the head of his victim and
returned to lay it at Zhuge Liang’s feet.
Seated in his tent, Zhuge Liang summoned
Zheng Wen and burst out: “Take him away and
behead him!”
“I have done nothing wrong!” cried Zheng Wen.
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“As if I do not know Qin Lang! The man you have
just killed was not Qin Lang. How dare? you try to
deceive me?”
Zheng Wen said, “I will own up; but this was his
brother Qin Ming.”
Zhuge Liang smiled.
“Sima Yi sent you to try this on for some reason
of his own, but he could not throw dust in my eyes. If
you do not tell the truth, I will put you to death.”
Thus caught, the false deserter confessed and
begged his life.
Zhuge Liang said, “You can save your life by
writing a letter to Sima Yi telling him to come to raid
our camp. I will spare you on this condition. And if I
capture Sima Yi, I will give you all the credit and
reward you handsomely.”
There was nothing for it but to agree, and the
letter was written. Then Zheng Wen was placed in
“How did you know this was only a pretended
desertion?” said Fan Jian.
“Sima Yi looks to his people,” replied Zhuge
Liang. “If he made Qin Lang a leading general, Qin
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Lang was certainly a man of great military skill and
not the sort of man to be overcome by this fellow
Zheng Wen in the first encounter. So Zheng Wen’s
opponent certainly was not Qin Lang. That is how I
They congratulated him on his perspicacity. Then
Zhuge Liang selected a certain persuasive speaker
from among his officers and whispered certain
instructions in his ear. The officer at once left and
carried the letter just written to the Wei camp, where
he asked to see the Commander−in−Chief. He was
admitted, and the letter was read.
“Who are you?” said Sima Yi.
“I am a man from the Middle Land, a poor fellow
stranded in Shu. Zheng Wen and I are fellow
villagers. Zhuge Liang has given Zheng Wen a
van−leadership as a reward for what he has done,
and Zheng Wen got me to bring this letter to you and
to say that he will show a light tomorrow evening as
a signal, and he hopes you will lead the attack
yourself. Zheng Wen will work from the inside in your
Sima Yi took great pains to test the reliability of
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these statements, and he examined the letter
minutely to see if it bore any signs of fabrication, but
he found it was Zheng Wen’s writing.
Presently he ordered in refreshments for the
bearer of the letter, and then he said, “We will fix
today at the second watch for the raid, and I will lead
in person. If it succeeds, I will give you a good
appointment as a reward.”
Taking leave, the soldier retraced his steps to his
own camp and reported the whole interview to Zhuge
Zhuge Liang held his sword aloft toward the North
Star, took the proper paces for an incantation, and
prayed. This done, he summoned Wang Ping, Zhang
Ni, Wei Yan, Ma Dai, Ma Zhong, and Jiang Wei, to
whom he gave certain instructions. When they had
gone to carry them out, he ascended a hill, taking
with him a few score guards only.
Sima Yi had been taken in by Zheng Wen’s letter
and intended to lead the night raid. But the elder of
his sons, Sima Shi, expostulated with his father.
“Father, you are going on a dangerous expedition
on the faith of a mere scrap of paper,” said his son. “I
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think it imprudent. What if something goes
unexpectedly wrong? Let some general go in your
place, and you come up in rear as a reserve.”
Sima Yi saw there was reason in this proposal,
and he finally decided to send Qin Lang, with ten
thousand troops, and Sima Yi himself would
command the reserve.
The night was fine with a bright moon. But about
the middle of the second watch the sky clouded over,
and it became very black, so that a man could not
see his next neighbor.
“This is providential,” chuckled Sima Yi.
The expedition duly started, soldiers with gags,
and horses with cords round their muzzles. They
moved swiftly and silently, and Qin Lang made
straight for the camp of Shu.
But when he reached it, and entered, and saw not
a soldier, he knew he had been tricked. He yelled to
his troops to retire, but lights sprang up all round,
and attacks began from four sides. Fight as he
would, Qin Lang could not free himself.
From behind the battle area Sima Yi saw flames
rising from the camp of Shu and heard continuous
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shouting, but he knew not whether it meant victory
for his own army or to his enemy. He pressed
forward toward the fire. Suddenly, a shout, a roll of
drums, and a blare of trumpets close at hand, a
bomb that seemed to rend the earth, and Wei Yan
and Jiang Wei bore down upon Sima Yi, one on
each flank. This was the final blow to him. Of every
ten soldiers of Wei, eight or nine were killed or
wounded, and the few others scattered to the four
Meanwhile Qin Lang’s ten thousand troops were
falling under arrows that came in locust−flights, and
their leader was killed. Sima Yi and the remnant of
his army ran away to their own camp.
After the third watch the sky cleared. Zhuge Liang
from the hill−top sounded the gong of retreat. This
obscurity in the third watch was due to an incantation
called “Concealing Method.” The sky became clear,
because Zhuge Liang performed another incantation
to have the Deities of Six Layers sweep away the
few floating clouds that still persisted.
The victory was complete. The first order on
Zhuge Liang’s return to camp was to put Zheng Wen
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to death.
Next he considered new plans for capturing the
south bank. Every day be sent a party to offer a
challenge before the camps of the enemy, but no
one accepted.
One day Zhuge Liang rode in his small chariot to
the front of the Qishan Mountains, keenly scanned
the course of River Wei and carefully surveyed the
lie of the land. Presently he came to a valley shaped
like a bottle−gourd, large enough to form a hiding
place for a whole thousand soldiers in the inner
recess, while half as many more could hide in the
outer. In rear the mountains were so close that they
left passage only for a single horseman. The
discovery pleased the general mightily, and he asked
the guides what the place was called.
They replied, “It is called Shangfang Valley, and
nicknamed Gourd Valley.”
Returning to his camp, he called up two leaders
named Du Rui and Hu Zhong and whispered into
their ears certain secret orders. Next he called up a
thousand craftspeople and sent them into the Gourd
Valley to construct “wooden oxen and running
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horses” for the use of the troops. Finally he set Ma
Dai with five hundred troops to guard the mouth of
the Gourd Valley and prevent all entrance and exit.
Zhuge Liang said, “People from outside cannot
enter, from inside cannot exit. I will visit the valley at
irregular intervals to inspect the work. A plan for the
defeat of Sima Yi is being prepared here and must
be kept a profound secret.”
Ma Dai left to take up the position. The two
g e n e r a l s , D u R u i a n d H u Z h o n g , w e r e
superintendents of the work in the Gourd Valley.
Zhuge Liang came every day to give instructions.
One day Yang Yi went to Zhuge Liang and said,
“The stores of grain are all at Saber Pass, and the
labor of transport is very heavy. What can be done?”
Zhuge Liang replied, smiling, “I have had a
scheme ready for a long time. The timber that I
collected and bought in the Lands of Rivers was for
the construction of wooden transport animals to
convey grain. It will be very advantageous, as they
will require neither food nor water and they can keep
on the move day and night without resting.”
All those within hearing said, “From old days till
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now no one has ever heard of such a device. What
excellent plan have you, O Minister, to make such
marvelous creatures?”
“They are being made now after my plans, but
they are not yet ready. Here I have the sketches for
these mechanical oxen and horses, with all their
dimensions written out in full. You may see the
Zhuge Liang then produced a paper, and all the
generals crowded round to look at it. They were all
greatly astonished and lauded, “The Prime Minister
is superhuman!”
A few days later the new mechanical animals
were complete and began work. They were quite
life−like and went over the hills in any desired
direction. The whole army saw them with delight.
They were but in charge of General Gao Xiang and a
thousand soldiers to guide them. They kept going
constantly between Saber Pass and the front
carrying grain for the use of the soldiers.
Along the Saber Pass mountain roads
The running horses bore their loads,
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And through Xie Valley’s narrow way
The wooden oxen paced each day.
O generals, use these means today,
And transport troubles take away.
Sima Yi was already sad enough at his defeat,
when the spies told him of these wooden bullocks
and horses of new design which the soldiers of Shu
were using to convey their grain.
This troubled him still more, and he said to his
generals, “I knew the transportation from the Lands
of Rivers was difficult; therefore, I shut the gates and
remained on the defensive waiting for the enemy to
be starved. With this device, they may never be
compelled to retreat for want of food.”
Then he called up Zhang Hu and Yue Chen and
gave orders: “Each of you with five hundred troops
will goes to the Xie Valley by by−roads. When you
see the Shu soldiers transport their grain by, you are
to let them through, but only to attack at the end and
capture four or five of the wooden horses and
So a thousand soldiers went on this service
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disguised as soldiers of Shu. They made their way
along the by−ways by night and hid. Presently the
wooden convoy came along under the escort of Gao
Xiang. Just as the end of it was passing, they made
a sudden rush, and captured a few of the “animals”
which the soldiers of Shu abandoned. In high glee
they took them to their own camp.
When Sima Yi saw them, he had to confess they
were very life−like. But what pleased him most was
that he could imitate them now that he had models.
“If Zhuge Liang can use this sort of thing, it would
be strange if I could not,” said he.
He called to him many clever craftspeople and
made them then and there take the machines to
pieces and make some exactly like them. In less
than half a month, they had completed a couple of
thousand after Zhuge Liang’s models, and the new
mechanical animals could move. Then Sima Yi
placed Cen Wei, General Who Guards the Frontiers,
in charge of this new means of transport, and the
“animals” began to ply between the camp and
Xizhou. The Wei soldiers were filled with joys.
Gao Xiang returned to camp and reported the
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loss of a few of his wooden oxen and horses.
“I wished him to capture some of them,” said
Zhuge Liang, much pleased. “I am just laying out
these few, and before long I shall get some very
solid help in exchange.”
“How do you know, O Minister,” said his officers.
“Because Sima Yi will certainly copy them; and
when he has done that, I have another plan ready to
play on him.”
Some days later Zhuge Liang received a report
that the enemy were using the same sort of wooden
bullocks and horses to bring up supplies from
“Exactly as I thought,” said be.
Calling Wang Ping, he said, “Dress up a thousand
soldiers as those of Wei, and find your way quickly
and secretly to Beiyuan. Tell them that you are
escort for the convoy, and mingle with the real
escort. Then suddenly turn on them so that they
scatter. Next you will turn the herd this way. By and
by you will be pursued. When that occurs, you will
give a turn to the tongues of the wooden animals,
and they will be locked from movement. Leave them
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where they are and run away. When the soldiers of
Wei come up, they will be unable to drag the
creatures and equally unable to carry them. I shall
have soldiers ready, and you will go back with them,
give the tongues a backward turn and bring the
convoy here, The enemy will be greatly astonished.”
Next he called Zhang Ni and said, “Dress up five
hundred soldiers in the costume of the Deities of the
Six Layers so that they appear supernatural. Fit them
with demon heads and wild beast shapes, and let
them stain their faces various colors so as to look as
strange as possible. Give them flags and swords and
bottle−gourds with smoke issuing from combustibles
inside. Let these soldiers hide among the hills till the
convoy approaches, when they will start the smoke,
rush out suddenly and drive off the wooden animals.
No one will dare pursue such uncanny company.”
When Zhang Ni had left, Wei Yan and Jiang Wei
were called.
“You will take ten thousand troops, go to the
border of Beiyuan to receive the wooden transport
creatures and defend them against attack.”
Then another five thousand under Zhang Yi and
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Liao Hua was sent to check Sima Yi if he should
come, while a small force under Ma Dai and Ma
Zhong was sent to bid defiance to the enemy near
their camp on the south bank.
So one day when a convoy was on its way from
Xizhou, the scouts in front suddenly reported some
soldiers ahead who said they were escort for the
grain. Commander Cen Wei halted and sent to
inquire. It appeared the newcomers were really the
soldiers of Wei, however, and so he started once
The newcomers joined up with his own troops.
But before they had gone much farther, there was a
yell, and the men of Shu began to kill, while a voice
shouted, “Wang Ping is here!”
The convoy guard were taken aback. Many were
killed, but the others rallied round Cen Wei and
made some defense. However, Wang Ping slew Cen
Wei, and the others ran this way and that, while the
convoy was turned toward the Shu camp.
The fugitives ran off to Beiyuan and reported the
mishap to Guo Huai, who set out hot foot to rescue
the convoy. When he appeared, Wang Ping gave the
Three Kingdoms Romance
order to turn tongues, left the wooden animals in the
road, and ran away. Guo Huai made no attempt to
pursue, but tried to put the wooden animals in motion
toward their proper destination. But he could not
move them.
He was greatly perplexed. Then suddenly there
arose the roll of drums all round, and out burst two
parties of soldiers. These were Wei Yan and Jiang
Wei’s troops, and when they appeared Wang Ping’s
soldiers faced about and came to the attack as well.
These three being too much for Guo Huai; he
retreated before them. Thereupon the tongues were
turned back again and the wooden herd set in
Seeing this, Guo Huai came on again. But just
then he saw smoke curling up among the hills and a
lot of extraordinary creatures burst out upon him.
Some held swords and some flags, and all were
terrible to look at. They rushed at the wooden
animals and urged them away.
“Truly these are supernatural helpers,” cried Guo
Huai, quite frightened.
The soldiers also were terror−stricken and stood
Three Kingdoms Romance
Hearing that his Beiyuan troops had been driven
off, Sima Yi came out to the rescue. Midway along
the road, just where it was most precipitous, a cohort
burst out upon him with fierce yells and bursting
bombs. Upon the leading banner he read “Zhang Yi
and Liao Hua, Generals of Han”.
Panic seized upon his army, and they ran like
In the field the craftier leader on the convoy
makes a raid,
And his rival’s life endangers by an ambush subtly
If you would know the upshot, read the next
Three Kingdoms Romance

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