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CHAPTER 106. Suffering Defeat, Gongsun Yuan Meets His Death In Xiangping; Pretending Illness, Sima Yi Deceives Cao Shuang.

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

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This Gongsun Yuan was a grandson of Gongsun
Du the Warlike, and a son of Gongsun Kang in
Liaodong. In the twelfth year of Rebuilt Tranquillity,
when Cao Cao was pursuing Yuan Shang, who had
fled eastward, Gongsun Kang had captured Yuan
Shang, beheaded him, and sent his head to Cao
Cao. For this service Gongsun Kang received the
title of Lord of Xiangping. After Gongsun Kang’s
death, as his two sons—Gongsun Huang and
Gongsun Yuan—were young, his brother Gongsun
Gong took the chiefship; and Cao Pi, beside
confirming the lordship, gave him the rank of General
of the Flying Cavalry. A few years later, the second
son, Gongsun Yuan, being now grown up,
well−educated and trained in military exercises,
obstinate and fond of fighting, took away his uncle’s
power and ruled the heritage of his father. Cao Rui
conferred upon him the title of General Who Wields
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Ferocity, and made him Governor of Liaodong.
Then the Ruler of Wu, Sun Quan, anxious to
secure Gongsun Yuan’s support, sent two envoys,
Zhang Mi and Xu Yan, with gifts of gold and gems
and pearls and offered Gongsun Yuan the title of
Prince of Yan. Fearing that the Middle Land would
resent any dallying with Wu, Gongsun Yuan slew the
Wu envoys and sent the heads to the Ruler of Wei.
For this proof of fealty, Cao Rui gave him the title of
Grand General and the Dukedom of Yuelang.
However, Gongsun Yuan was dissatisfied, and
his thoughts turned toward independence. He took
council with his officers and proposed to style himself
Prince of Yan and to adopt a reign−title of Extending
Han, the first year.
One general, Jia Fan, opposed this and said, “My
lord, the central authorities have treated you well and
honored you. I fear that Sima Yi is too skillful a
leader for rebellion to succeed. You see even Zhuge
Liang cannot defeat him; how much less can you?”
Gongsun Yuan’s reply was to condemn Jia Fan to
death. However, Adviser Lun Zhi ventured upon
further remonstrance.
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“Jia Fan spoke well. The Sacred One says that
extraordinary phenomena presage the destruction of
a state. Now this time portents are not wanting, and
wonders have been seen. A dog, dressed in red and
wearing a turban, went up to the roof and walking
like a man. Moreover, while a certain person living in
a village south of the city was cooking his food, he
saw a child in the pan, boiled to death. A great cave
opened near the market place and threw out a large,
fleshy body completely human save that it lacked
limbs. Swords could not cut it; arrows could not
penetrate it. No one knew what to call it; and when
they consulted the soothsayers, they obtained the
reply, ‘Incomplete shape, silent mouth: a state is
near destruction.’ These prodigies are all
inauspicious. Flee from evil and strive to walk in fair
fortune’s way. Make no move without most careful
This second remonstrance enraged Gongsun
Yuan still more, and he sent Lun Zhi to death with Jia
Fan. Both were executed in the public place.
Gongsun Yuan then prepared to make a bid for
empire. He raised an army of one hundred fifty
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appointed Bei Yan as Commander, and Yang Zuo
as Leader of the Van. This army set out for the
Middle Land.
Ruler of Wei was alarmed at the report of this
rising, and sent for Sima Yi.
Sima Yi was not greatly perturbed, and said, “My
forty thousand troops will be equal to the task.”
The Ruler of Wei replied, “The task is heavy, for
your troops are few and the road is long.”
“The strength of an army is not in numbers, but in
strategy. Aided by Your Majesty’s good fortune, I
shall certainly be able to bring this fellow Gongsun
Yuan a captive to your feet.”
“What do you think will be the rebel’s plan?”
asked the Ruler of Wei.
“His high plan would be flight before our army can
arrive; his middle plan would be defending his
position in Liaodong; his low plan would be to try to
hold Xiangping. In the last case I shall certainly
capture him.”
“How long will the expedition take?”
“We have to cover one thousand five hundred
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miles which will take a hundred days. Attack will
consume another hundred. The return will need a
hundred, and with sixty days to rest we shall take a
“Suppose during that year we are attacked by Wu
or Shu.”
“My plans provide for that; Your Majesty need
have no anxiety.”
The Ruler of Wei being thus reassured, formally
ordered Sima Yi to undertake the expedition.
Hu Zun was appointed to lead the van. He went
and camped in Liaodong. The scouts hastened to tell
Gongsun Yuan, who sent Bei Yan and Yang Zuo to
camp at Liaosui with eighty thousand troops. They
surrounded their camp with a wall seven miles in
circumference and placed thorny barriers outside the
rampart. It seemed very secure.
Hu Zun saw these preparations and sent to tell
his chief. Sima Yi smiled.
“So the rebel does not want to fight, but thinks to
weary my soldiers,” said Sima Yi. “Now I am
disposed to think that most of his army is within that
w a l l , s o t h a t h i s s t r o n g h o l d i s e m p t y a n d
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undefended. I will make a dash at Xiangping. He will
have to go to its rescue, and I will smite him on the
way. I should score a great success.”
So Sima Yi hastened to Xiangping along
unfrequented ways.
Meanwhile Bei Yan and Yang Zuo, the two
generals within the walled camp, discussed their
Yang Zuo said, “When the Wei army comes near,
we will not fight. They will have come a long march
and their supplies will be short, so that they cannot
hold out long. When they retreat, we shall find our
opportunity. These were the tactics Sima Yi used
against Zhuge Liang on River Wei, and Zhuge Liang
died before the end of the expedition. We will try
similar means.”
Presently the scouts reported that the Wei army
had marched south. Bei Yan at once saw the danger
and said, “They are going to attack Xiangping, which
they know has few troops. If that base be lost, this
position is useless.”
So they broke up their camp and followed the
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When Sima Yi heard it, he rejoiced, saying, “Now
they will fall into the snare I have laid for them.”
Sima Yi sent Xiahou Ba and Xiahou Wei to take
up position on the River Ji. They were to attack if the
army of Liaodong came near them. They had not
long to wait. As soon as Bei Yan and his army
approached, Xiahou Ba and Xiahou Wei exploded a
bomb, beat the drums, waved their flags, and came
out, one force on each side. Bei Yan and Yang Zuo
made a fight but soon fled to Shoushan Mountain,
where they fell in with Gongsun Yuan and joined the
main army. Then they turned to give battle to the Wei
Bei Yan rode to the front and reviled the enemy,
taunted them with trickery and challenged to a fight
in the open.
Xiahou Ba rode out to accept the challenge, and
after a few bouts Bei Yan fell. In the confusion
caused by the death of their leader, Xiahou Ba urged
on his troops and drove Gongsun Yuan back to
Xiangping, and Gongsun Yuan took refuge in the
The city was surrounded. It was autumn, and the
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rain fell day after day without ceasing. At the end of
the month, the plain was under three feet of water,
so that the grain boats sailed straight from River Ji to
the city walls. The besiegers suffered much from the
Pei Jing, Commander of the Left, went to Sima Yi
and asked that the army might be moved to camp on
the higher ground, out of the mud and water. But
Sima Yi flouted the suggestion.
“How can the army move away just when success
is in sight? The rebels will be conquered now any
day; and if any other speaks about drawing off, he
will be put to death.”
Pei Jing agreed and went away.
Soon after, Chou Lian, Commander of the Right,
came to see his chief and repeated the suggestion,
saying, “The soldiers are suffering from the rains. O
Commander, let them camp on the hills.”
Sima Yi got angry and said, “I have sent the
command, and you are against it.”
And he ordered Chou Lian to be executed. His
head was suspended at the camp gate as a warning
to others. The soldiers dared to complain any more.
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Then Sima Yi ordered the south camp to be
abandoned, and the army marched seven miles
south, thus allowing the soldiers and people in the
city to come out to gather fuel and pasture their
The attacking army could not understand this
move, and Chen Qun spoke about it.
“When you besieged Shangyong, O Regent
Marshal, you attacked all round at eight points, and
the city fell in eight days. Meng Da was taken, and
you won a great success. Now your forty thousand
troops have borne their armors many days over long
marches and you do not press the attack, but keep
the them in the mud and mire and let the enemy
gather supplies and feed their cattle. I do not know
what your intention may be.”
“Sir,” replied the Commander−in−Chief, “I see you
are ignorant of war after all. You do not understand
the different conditions. Meng Da then had ample
supplies and few troops; we were under exactly
opposite conditions, and so we had to attack
vigorously and at once. The suddenness of the
attack defeated the enemy. But look at present
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conditions. The Liaodong troops are many and we
few; they are on the verge of starvation, and we are
full fed. Why should we force the attack? Our line is
to let the soldiers desert and capture the city.
Therefore I leave a gate open and the road free that
they may run away.”
Chen Qun then understood and acknowledged
the correctness of the strategy. Sima Yi sent to
Luoyang to hasten supplies, that there should be no
However, the war was not supported in the
capital, for when the messenger arrived and the
Ruler of Wei summoned his courtiers, they said, “In
Liaodong the rain has been continuous for a month,
and the soldiers are in misery. Sima Yi ought to be
recalled, and the war renewed at a more convenient
The Ruler of Wei replied, “The leader of our army
is most capable and best able to decide upon what
should be done. He understands the conditions and
is teeming with magnificent plans. He will certainly
succeed. Wherefore, Noble Sirs, wait a few days and
let us not be anxious about the result.”
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So Cao Rui heeded not the voice of the
dissentients, but took care that provisions were sent.
After a few days the rain ceased, and fine, clear
weather followed. That night Sima Yi went out of his
tent that he might study the sky. Suddenly he saw a
very large and bright star start from a point over
Shoushan Mountain and travel over toward
Xiangping, where it fell. The soldiers were rather
frightened at this apparition, but the leader rejoiced.
“Five days from now Gongsun Yuan will be slain
where that star fell,” said he. “Therefore attack with
They opened the attack the next morning at
dawn, throwing up banks and sapping the walls,
setting up stone−throwing machines and rearing
ladders. When night came the attack did not cease.
Arrows fell in the city like pelting rain.
Within the city, grain began to run short, and soon
there was none. They slaughtered bullocks and
horses for food. The soldiers began to be mutinous
and no longer fought with any spirit. There was talk
of slaying Gongsun Yuan and yielding the city.
Gongsun Yuan was disheartened and frightened,
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and decided to sue for peace. He sent his Prime
Minister Wang Jian and Imperial Censor Liu Fu out
of the city to beg Sima Yi to allow him to submit.
These two had to be let down from the walls by
ropes, as no other means of exit were possible.
Wang Jian and Liu Fu found their way to Sima Yi
and said, “We pray you, O Regent Marshal, retire
seven miles and allow the officers to come forth and
“Why did not Gongsun Yuan himself come?” said
Sima Yi. “He is rude.”
He put the two envoys to death and sent their
heads back into the city.
Gongsun Yuan was still more alarmed, but he
resolved to make one more attempt. This time he
sent High Counselor Wey Yan as his envoy. Sima Yi
received this messenger sitting in state in his tent
with his officers standing right and left. Wey Yan
approached on his knees, and when he reached the
door of the tent recited his petition.
“I pray you, O Regent Marshal, turn your
thunderous wrath from us; we will send the son of
our leader, Gongsun Xiu, the Heir Apparent, as
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hostage and all the officers shall appear before you
bound with cords.”
Sima Yi replied, “There are five possible
operations for any army. If you can fight, fight; if you
cannot fight, defend; if you cannot defend, flee; if you
cannot flee, surrender; if you cannot surrender, die.
These five courses are open to you, and a hostage
would be useless. Now return and tell your master.”
Wey Yan put his hands over his head and fled
like a rat. He went into the city and related what had
happened to him.
The Gongsuns, father and son, resolved to flee.
They chose a thousand of mounted troops, and in
the dead of night opened the south gate and got out.
They took the road to the east and were rejoiced to
find it clear.
All went well for a distance of three miles, when a
bomb exploded. This was followed by a roll of drums
and the blare of trumpets; and a cohort stood in the
way. The leader was Sima Yi, supported by his two
sons—Sima Shi and Sima Zhao.
“Stop, O rebel!” cried the sons.
But Gongsun Yuan lashed his steed to a gallop.
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Then Hu Zun, Xiahou Ba, Xiahou Wei, Zhang Hu,
and Yue Chen, with their troops, came up and
quickly surrounded them so that they were helpless.
Gongsun Yuan saw that escape was impossible, so
he came with his son, dismounted, and offered
Sima Yi hardly looked at the two men, but he
turned to his officers and said, “That night the star
fell to this land, and today, five days later, the omen
becomes true.”
They all felicitated him, saying, “The Regent
Marshal is superhuman!”
Gongsun Yuan and Gongsun Xiu were slain
where they stood. Then Sima Yi turned to resume
the siege of Xiangping; but before he had reached
the walls, Hu Zun’s army had entered. Sima Yi went
in and was received with great respect, the people
burning incense as he passed. He went to the
residence, and then the whole of the Gongsun
Yuan’s clan, and all who had assisted in his rising,
were beheaded. They counted heads to the number
of seventy.
The city taken and the rebels destroyed, Sima Yi
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issued a proclamation in order to restore confidence
among the people.
Certain persons told him, “Jia Fan and Lun Zhi
had been against the revolt and had therefore
suffered death.”
So Sima Yi honored their tombs and conferred
ranks upon their children. The contents of the
treasury were distributed among the soldiers as
rewards, and then the army marched back to
One night the Ruler of Wei was suddenly
awakened by a chill blast that extinguished all the
lights, but he saw the form of the late Empress Mao,
with a score or two of other palace attendants,
coming toward the bed whereon he lay, and as they
approached they demanded his life. He was very
frightened and fell ill so that he was like to die.
So the two officers, Liu Fang and Sun Zi, were set
over the privy council, and he summoned his brother
Cao Yu, the Prince of Yan, to the capital to make him
Grand Commander and Regent Marshal to assist the
Heir Apparent, Cao Fang. However, Cao Yu being
modest and retiring by nature, declined these high
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offices and their responsibilities.
The Ruler of Wei then turned to his two
confidants, Liu Fang and Sun Zi, inquired of them,
saying, “Who of the family is a suitable person to
support the Heir Apparent?”
As Liu Fang and Sun Zi had both received many
favors from Cao Zhen, they replied, “None is so fit as
Cao Shuang, the son of Cao Zhen.”
The Ruler of Wei approved their choice, and thus
Cao Shuang became a great person.
Then Liu Fang and Sun Zi memorialized, saying,
“As Cao Shuang has been chosen, Cao Yu, the
Prince of Yan, should be ordered to leave the capital
and return to Yan, his own place.”
The Ruler of Wei consented and issued an edict,
which these two bore to Cao Yu, saying, “The edict
in the Emperor’s own hand bids you return to your
own domain at once, and you are not to return to
court without a special command.”
Cao Yu wept, but he left forthwith. Thereupon
Cao Shuang was created Grand Commander and
Regent Marshal, and administered the government.
But the Ruler of Wei’s illness advanced rapidly,
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and he sent messenger with authority flag to call
Sima Yi into the palace. As soon as he arrived, he
was led to the Emperor’s chamber.
“I feared lest I should not see you again;” said the
Ruler of Wei, “but now I can die content.”
The general bowed and said, “On the road they
told me the sacred person was not perfectly well; I
grieved that I had not wings to hasten hither. But I
am happy in that I now behold the dragon
The heir, Cao Fang, was summoned to the
Emperor’s bedside and also Cao Shuang, Liu Fang,
Sun Zi, and certain others.
Taking Sima Yi by the hand, the dying Emperor
said, “When Liu Bei lay dying at Baidicheng, he
confided his son, so soon to be an orphan, to the
care of Zhuge Liang, who labored in this task to the
very end and whose devotion only ceased with
death. If such conduct is possible in the mere
remnant of a dying dynasty continued in a small
state, how much more may I hope for it in a great
country! My son is only eight years of age, and
incapable of sustaining the burden of rulership.
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Happily for him he has ample merit and experience
around him in the persons of yourself and his
relatives. He will never lack friends for my sake.”
Turning to the young prince, he continued, “My
friend Sima Yi is as myself, and you are to treat him
with the same respect and deference.”
Cao Rui bade Sima Yi lead the young prince
forward. The boy threw his arms around Sima Yi’s
neck and clung to him.
“Never forget the affection he has just shown,”
said Cao Rui, weeping. And Sima Yi wept also.
The dying man swooned; although he could not
speak, his hand still pointed to his son, and soon
after he died. Cao Rui had reigned thirteen years
and was thirty−six years of age. His death took place
in the first month of the third year of Spectacular
Beginning (AD 239).
No time was lost in enthroning the new Emperor,
the supporters being Sima Yi and Cao Shuang. The
new ruler’s name was Cao Fang. However, he was
Cao Rui’s son only by adoption. He had been
brought up in the palace secretly, and no one knew
his real origin.
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The posthumous title of Emperor Rui the
Knowledgeable was conferred upon the late ruler,
and he was buried in the Gaoping Tombs. Empress
Guo was given the title of Empress Dowager.
The new reign was styled Right Beginning, the
first year. Sima Yi and Cao Shuang conducted the
government, and in all matters Cao Shuang treated
Sima Yi with deference and took no steps without his
Cao Shuang was no stranger at court. Cao Rui
had respected him for his diligence and care and had
been very fond of him, He had had the freedom of
the palace all his life. He had a host of five hundred
clients and retainers. Among them were five wholly
light and foppish. Their names were He Yan, Deng
Yang, Li Sheng, Ding Mi, and Bi Gui. Beside these
five there was another named Huan Fan, Minister of
Agriculture, a man of good parts, who had the
sobriquet of “Bag of Wisdom”. These six were Cao
Shuang’s most trusted companions and confidants.
One day He Yan said, “My lord, you should not let
your great powers slip into the hands of any other, or
you will repent it.”
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Cao Shuang replied, “Sima Yi as well as I
received the late Emperor’s sacred trust, and I mean
to be true.”
He Yan said, “When your father and this Sima Yi
were winning their victories in the west, your father
suffered much from this man’s temper, which
ultimately brought about his death. Why do you not
look into that?”
Cao Shuang seemed suddenly to wake up.
Having entered into an intrigue with the majority
of the officers about the court, then one day he
presented to the Ruler of Wei a memorial, saying,
“Sima Yi should be promoted to the rank of Guardian
of the Throne for his great merits and services.”
The promotion was made, and consequently
Sima Yi, now a civil officer, let the whole military
authority fall into the hands of Cao Shuang.
Having thus far succeeded, Cao Shuang next
appointed his brothers to high military posts: Cao Xi
as Commander of the Center Army; Cao Xun,
Commander of the Imperial Guard; Cao Yan,
Commander of the Cavalry. Each commanded three
thousand of the palace guards, with right to go in and
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out of the palace at will. Moreover, three of his
friends—He Yan, Deng Yang, and Ding Mi—were
created Chairs of three Boards; Bi Gui, Commander
of Capital District; and Li Sheng, Governor of Henan.
These five and their patron were close associates in
all concerns of state.
Cao Shuang gathered about him larger and still
larger numbers of supporters, till Sima Yi gave out
that he was ill and remained in seclusion. His two
sons also resigned their offices.
Cao Shuang and his friends now gave
themselves up to dissipation, spending days and
nights in drinking and music. In their dress and the
furniture of their table they copied the palace
patterns. Tribute in the shape of jewels and curios
went to the residence of Cao Shuang before it
entered the Emperor Palace, and his courts
swarmed with beautiful damsels.
Minister Zhang Dang of the Palace Bureau
toadied to Cao Shuang so far as to select eighteen
of the late Emperor’s handmaids and send them to
the now powerful minister. Cao Shuang also chose
for him a chorus of two score well−born ladies who
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were skilled in music and dancing. Cao Shuang also
built for himself beautiful towers and pavilions and
made to himself vessels of gold and silver, the work
of the most expert craftspeople, whom he kept
constantly employed.
Now He Yan heard of Guan Lu’s great skill in
divination and sent to Pingyuan to invite him to
discuss about the Book of Changes. When the
soothsayer arrived, Deng Yang was of the company
to meet him, and he said to Guan Lu, “You call
yourself a skillful diviner, but your speech does not
resemble the language of the Book of Changes. How
is that?”
Guan Lu replied, “An interpreter does not use the
language of the original.”
He Yan laughed, saying, “Certainly good words
are not wearisome. But cast a lot for me, and tell me
whether I shall ever arrive at the highest office or not,
for I have dreamed repeatedly that many blue flies
settled on my nose.”
Guan Lu replied, “Gao Kai and Gao Yuan aided
King Shun; Duke Zhou assisted the young Emperor
Cheng of Zhou Dynasty; all these were kindly and
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modest and enjoyed great happiness. You, Sir, have
come to high honors and wield great powers, but
those who esteem you are few and those who fear
you, many. You are not careful to walk in the way of
good fortune. Now the nose is an eminence. If an
eminence retains its characteristic, thereby it
remains in honor; But is it not that blue flies gather to
foul objects and the lofty fears a fall? I would wish
you to give of your abundance for the good of the
poor and avoid walking in the wrong road. Then
indeed may you reach the highest dignity, and the
blue flies will disperse.”
“This is mere senile gossip,” said Deng Yang.
“The gift of age is to see that which is yet to
come; the gift of gossip is to perceive what is not
said,” replied Guan Lu. Thereupon he shook out his
sleeves and went away.
“He is very mad, really,” said his two hosts.
Guan Lu went home. When he saw his uncle,
Guan Lu gave him an account of the interview. His
uncle was alarmed at the probable consequences,
and said, “Why did you anger them? They are too
powerful for you to offend.”
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“What is there to fear? I have keen talking to two
dead men.”
“What do you mean?”
“Deng Yang’s gait is that of one whose sinews are
loosed from his bones, and his pulse is unsteady.
When he would stand, he totters as a man without
limbs. This is the aspect of a disembodied soul. He
Yan looks as if his soul was about to quit its
habitation. He is bloodless, and what should be solid
in him is mere vapor. He looks like rotten wood. This
is the aspect of a soul even now in the dark valley.
Both these men will certainly soon die a violent
death, and none need fear them.”
His uncle left, cursing him for a madman.
Cao Shuang and his five friends were devoted to
hunting and were often out of the city. Cao Xi, a
brother of Cao Shuang, remonstrated with him about
this and pointed out the dangers of such frequent
absence on these excursions.
“You are in an exalted position and yet you are
constantly being out hunting. If anyone took
advantage of this to work you evil, you might have to
be exceedingly regretful.”
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Cao Shuang only showed anger and replied, “The
whole military authority is in my hands and what is
there to fear?”
Huan Fan, Minister of Agriculture, also reasoned
with him, but Cao Shuang would not listen.
About this time the style of the reign was changed
from Right Beginning, the tenth year, to Domestic
Calm, the first year (AD 249).
Now ever since Cao Shuang had enjoyed the
monopoly of military authority, he had never heard
the truth about the state of health of the man he had
maneuvered out of power. But when the Ruler of Wei
appointed Li Sheng to the governorship of Qingzhou,
Cao Shuang bade Li Sheng go to take leave of Sima
Yi, at the same time to find out the true state of his
So Li Sheng proceeded to the residence of the
High Minister and was announced.
Sima Yi saw through the device at once and told
his sons, saying, “This is Cao Shuang’s wish to find
out my real condition.”
And he bade them play their parts in the scene he
arranged, before the visitor was admitted.
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Sima Yi threw aside his head−dress, so letting his
hair fall in disorder, stretched himself upon his
couch, tumbled the bed ding into confusion, got a
couple of servant girls to support him, and then told
his servants to lead in the visitor.
Li Sheng came in and went up to the sick man,
saying, “It is a long time since I have seen you, and I
did not know you were so seriously ill. His Majesty is
sending me to Qingzhou, and I have come to pay my
respects to you and bid you farewell.”
“Ah; Bingzhou is in the north; you will have to be
very careful there,” said Sima Yi feigning that he had
not heard.
“I am going as Governor of Qingzhou, not
Bingzhou,” said Li Sheng.
“Oh, you have just come from Bingzhou.”
“Qingzhou, in Huashang Mountains.”
“Just back from Qingzhou, eh?” said Sima Yi,
“How very ill the Imperial Guardian is!” said Li
Sheng to the servants.
“The Minister is deaf,” said they.
“Give me paper and a pen,” said Li Sheng.
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Writing materials were brought, when Li Sheng
wrote what he wished to say and put it before his
“My illness has made me very deaf; take care of
yourself on the way,” said Sima Yi.
Looking up, he pointed to his mouth. One of the
girls brought some broth and held the cup for him to
drink. He put his lips to the cup, but spilled the broth
all over his dress.
“I am very weak and ill,” said he, “and may die at
any moment. My sons are but poor things, but you
will instruct them; and when you see the Regent
Marshal, you will ask him to take care of them for
me, will you not?”
At this point Sima Yi fell back on the couch,
panting, and Li Sheng took his leave. He told Cao
Shuang what he had seen, and Cao Shuang
rejoiced, thinking his rival could not last long.
“If the old man died, I should not be the one to
grieve,” said Cao Shuang.
But no sooner had Cao Shuang gone than Sima
Yi rose from his couch and said to his sons, “Li
Sheng will take a full account of this to Cao Shuang,
Three Kingdoms Romance
who will not fear me any more. But wait till Cao
Shuang goes on his next hunting trip, and we will
see what can be done.”
Soon after this, Cao Shuang proposed to the
Ruler of Wei, Cao Fang, to visit the Gaoping Tombs
where his father lay and perform the filial sacrifices in
person. So they went, a goodly company of officers
in the train of the imperial chariot, and Cao Shuang
with all his brothers and his friends went with the
Huan Fan, Minister of Agriculture, entreated him
to remain in the city for fear of plots and risings.
“Your Lordship are in charge of the capital
security, and you and your brothers should not leave
the city together. Suppose there were a revolt, what
But Cao Shuang asked angrily and rudely, “Who
would dare make trouble? Hold your wild tongue.”
And he went with the Emperor.
His departure rejoiced the heart of Sima Yi, who
at once began quietly to muster his trusty friends and
henchmen and put the finishing touches to the plot
for the overthrow of his rival.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Now terminates his forced inaction,
He must destroy the hostile faction.
Cao Shuang’s fate will appear in the next chapter.
Three Kingdoms Romance

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