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CHAPTER 77. Guan Yu Manifests His Sacredness At Mount of The Jade Spring; Cao Cao Is Possessed At Luoyang.

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

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Sun Quan having asked Lu Meng for a plan, Lu
Meng replied, “This Guan Yu has very few soldiers
left, and he will not venture along the high road.
North of Maicheng is a risky path, and he will try to
escape along that. Therefore you must lay an
ambush for him seven miles away from the city, but
do not stop him. Let him go by, and then harass his
rear. Thus he will be forced into Linju. Set another
small ambush near there, and you will capture your
enemy. For the present, attack the city vigorously on
all sides but one, leaving the north gate for escape.”
Before carrying out this plan, Sun Quan bade Lu
Fan consult the auspices. He did so, announcing,
“The enemy will flee toward the northwest, but will be
caught that night before midnight.”
So Zhu Ran was sent in command of the first
ambush, and Pan Zhang was the second. The troops
sent were all veterans.
Three Kingdoms Romance
When Guan Yu mustered his fighting men in the
city of Maicheng, he had but three hundred. The food
was done. That night many soldiers of Wu came to
the city walls and called to their friends by name, and
many of these slipped over the wall and deserted,
reducing the small force still further. No rescue force
appeared, and Guan Yu was at the end of his
Again he bewailed to Wang Fu, saying, “I regret
that I have neglected your wise warning; in this
danger what is to be done?”
“I think even if Lu Wang could come to life again,
he would be helpless in this case,” replied Wang Fu,
Said Zhao Lei, “Liu Feng and Meng Da have
surely decided not to send help from Shangyong. Let
us abandon this miserable place, try to get to
Yiazhou, and recover the army. We may then tempt
our fortune once more.”
“I agree with you that that is the best plan,” said
Guan Yu.
Then he ascended the walls and surveyed the
country. Noting that the weakest side was the north,
Three Kingdoms Romance
he called in some of the inhabitants and inquired the
nature of the country on that side.
They replied, “There are only paths there, but by
them one may get into the Western Land of Rivers.”
“We will go that way tonight,” said Guan Yu.
Wang Fu opposed it, saying, “General, you will
surely fall into an ambush. The main road will be
“There may be an ambush, but do I fear that?”
said the old warrior.
Orders were given to be ready to march.
“At least be very cautious,” said Wang Fu. “I will
defend this city to the very last; I only need a
hundred troops. Never will we surrender. Only I
hope, most noble General, that you will send me
speedy help.”
The two parted in tears; Wang Fu and Zhou Cang
remaining to guard Maicheng. Guan Yu, Guan Ping,
and Zhao Lei marched with their weak force out of
the north gate. Guan Yu, his green−dragon saber
ready to hand, went first. About the third watch,
seven miles lay between them and the city. There
they saw a deep cleft in the hills wherefrom rolled the
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sound of beaten drums. And men were shouting.
Soon appeared a large force with Zhu Ran at
their head. He came dashing forward, and
summoned the small party, saying, “Guan Yu, do not
run! Surrender and live!”
But Guan Yu whipped his steed to a gallop and
bore down on the leader with anger in his eyes. Then
Zhu Ran ran away. Guan Yu followed him till there
came the loud boom of a large drum, and out sprang
troops from all sides. Guan Yu dared not engage
such a number, and fled in the direction of Linju. Zhu
Ran came up behind and attacked the flying soldiers,
so that Guan Yu’s following gradually became
smaller and smaller.
Still he struggled on. A few miles farther the
drums rolled again, and torches lit up all round. This
was Pan Zhang’s ambush, and he appeared
flourishing his sword. Guan Yu whirled his blade and
went to meet him, but Pan Zhang ran away after a
couple of bouts. However, Guan Yu saw they were
too many for him, and sought refuge among the
mountains. His son followed, and when he got within
speaking distance, Guan Ping gave him the mournful
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tidings: “Zhao Lei has fallen in the melee!”
Guan Yu was very sad, and bade his son try to
protect the rear while he should force his way
With about ten men he reached Zhuxi, a place
with mountains on both sides. At their foot was a
thick mass of reeds and dried grass. The trees grew
very close. It was then the fifth watch. Presently the
small party stumbled into another ambush, and the
ambushing soldiers thrust forth hooks and threw
ropes. Entangled in these, Guan Yu’s horse fell, and
Guan Yu reeled out of the saddle. In a moment Ma
Zhong, the Marching General of Pan Zhang, made
him a prisoner. Guan Ping dashed to his rescue, but
before he could do anything, he also was surrounded
and held. Father and son were both captives.
With great joy Sun Quan heard of the success of
his plans. In the morning, he assembled all his
officers in his tent to await the arrival of the
prisoners. Before long, Ma Zhong came hustling his
prisoner before his lord.
“I have long had a friendly feeling for you,” said
Sun Quan to Guan Yu, “on account of your great
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virtues. Now I would have made a covenant and
alliance with you, if you would. You and your son
have long held yourselves to be invincible, but you
see you are my prisoners today. Yet I hope to win
you over to my side.”
But Guan Yu only answered roughly, “You
green−eyed boy! You red−bearded rat! I made a
covenant in the Peach Garden with my brothers to
uphold the Hans. Think you that I will stand side by
side with a rebel such as you are? I am a victim of
your vile schemes, but I can only die once. And there
is no need of many words.”
“He is a real hero, and I love him,” said Sun Quan
to those standing near. “I will treat him well and
endeavor to win him over. Do you think it well?”
Said the First Secretary Zuo Xian, “When Cao
Cao had hold of this man, Cao Cao treated him
lavishly well. Cao Cao created him a marquis; in
three−day interval Cao Cao held a small banquet, in
five days a great one; Cao Cao gave him gold and
presented him with silver; all this, hoping to retain
him at his side. But Cao Cao failed. The man broke
through his gates, slew his six generals in five
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passes and went away. Today Cao Cao fears him,
and almost moved the capital for dread of him. Now
he is in your power, destroy him, or you will rue the
day. Evil will come if you spare him.”
Sun Quan reflected for some time.
“You are right,” said he presently, and gave the
order for execution.
So father and son met their fate together in the
winter of the twenty−fourth year (AD 219) in the tenth
month. Guan Yu was fifty−eight.
A poem says:
Peerless indeed was our Lord Guan Yu, of the
latter days,
Head and shoulders stood he out among the
Godlike and terrible in war, elegant and refined in
Resplendent as the noonday sun in the heavens,
Haloed as are the noblest of those early days,
He stands, the brightest model for all ages,
And not only for the strenuous days he lived in.
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And another:
Seek ye a noble one? Then take ye the way of
Watch ye how all men revere Guan Yu,
Each excelling others to honor him,
Him, one of the three brothers of the Peach
Garden Oath,
Of whom two have won sacrifices, as Emperor
and prince.
Incomparable their aura spreads through the
They are resplendent as the great lights of the
Temples to our Lord Guan Yu abound, no village
lacks one,
Their venerable trees at sundown are the resting
places for birds.
So Guan Yu ended his life. His famous steed,
Red−Hare, also captured with its master, was sent to
Sun Quan, who gave it as a reward to his captor, Ma
Zhong. But Red−Hare survived its master only a
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short time; it refused to feed, and soon died.
Foreboding of misfortune came to Wang Fu within
the city of Maicheng. His bones felt cold; his flesh
crept; and he said to his colleague Zhou Cang, “I
have had a terrible dream in which I saw our lord all
dripping with gore. I would question him, but I was
overcome with dread. May it augur no evil tidings!”
Just then the troops of Wu came up to the city
wall and displayed the gory heads of the two, father
and son. Wang Fu and Zhou Cang went up on the
wall to see if the dread tokens were real. There was
no doubt. Wang Fu with a despairing cry threw
himself over the wall and perished, Zhou Cang died
by his own hand. Thus Maicheng fell to Wu.
Now the spirit of Guan Yu did not dissipate into
space, but wandered through the void till it came to a
certain spot in Dangyang on a famous hill known as
the Mount of the Jade Spring. There lived a
venerable Buddhist priest whose name in the faith
was Transverse−Peace. He was originally of the
Guardian Temple in the River Si Pass and abbot of
that temple. In the course of roaming about the
world, he had reached this place. Entranced with its
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natural beauty, he had built himself a shelter of
boughs and grass, where he sat in meditation on the
“Way.” He had a novice with him to beg food and to
attend to his simple wants.
This night, about the third watch, the moon was
bright and the air serene. Transverse−Peace sat in
his usual attitude in the silence of the mountains.
Suddenly he heard a great voice calling in the upper
air, “Give back my head; give back my head.”
Gazing upward Transverse−Peace saw the shape
of a man mounted on a horse. In the hand was a
shining blade like unto the green−dragon saber. Two
military figures were with him, one on either side. He
on the left had a white face; he on the right was
swarthy of countenance with a curly beard. And they
followed the figure with the shining blade. They
floated along on a cloud which came to rest on the
summit of the mountain.
The recluse recognized the figure as that of Guan
Yu, so with his yak’s tail flagellum he smote the lintel
of his hut and cried, “Where is Guan Yu?”
The spirit understood, and the figure dismounted,
glided down, and came to rest at the door of the hut.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Interlacing its fingers, it stood in a reverential attitude
and said, “Who is my teacher, and what is his name
in the faith?”
“In the state Guardian Temple in River Si Pass, I
once saw you, O noble Sir, and I was not likely to
forget your face,” replied the priest.
“I am deeply grateful for the help you gave me.
Misfortune has befallen me, and I have ceased to
live. I would seek the pure instruction and beg you to
indicate the obscure way.”
“Let us not discuss former wrongdoings nor
present correct actions. Later events are the
inevitable result of former causes. I know that Lu
Meng has injured you. You call aloud for the return of
your head; who will also return the heads of your
several victims—Yan Liang, Wen Chou, and the
commanders of the five passes?”
Thereupon Guan Yu seemed suddenly to
comprehend, bowed in token of assent, and
disappeared. After this appearance to the recluse,
his spirit wandered hither and thither about the
mountain, manifesting its sacred character and
guarding the people.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Impressed by his virtue, the inhabitants built a
temple on the Mount of the Jade Spring, wherein
they sacrificed at the four seasons. In later days, one
wrote a couplet for the temple, the first member
“Ruddy faced, reflecting the honest heart within,
out−riding the wind on the Red−Hare steed, mindful
of the Red
“In the light of clear lamp, reading the histories,
resting on the Green−Dragon saber curved as the
young moon, heart pure as the azure heaven.”
The execution of Guan Yu gave Sun Quan
undisputed possession of the whole of the Jingzhou
Region. He rewarded his soldiers and spread a great
feast at which Lu Meng was in the seat of honor.
Sun Quan made a speech, saying, “After long
waiting, the desire of my heart has come to me very
easily through the magnificent efforts of my friend Lu
Lu Meng bowed and bowed deprecatingly, but
Three Kingdoms Romance
Sun Quan continued, “My good Zhou Yu was
superior to most humans, and he defeated Cao Cao
at the Red Cliffs. Alas! He died too soon. My good Lu
Su succeeded him. In his first interview, he
inaugurated the general policy of creating a state.
That was the first instance of his keen insight. When
Cao Cao descended upon my country, and everyone
counseled me to yield, he advised me to summon
my good Zhou Yu to oppose and smite Cao Cao.
That was the second instance of his keen insight. He
made only one fault; he advised me to let Liu Bei
occupy Jingzhou. Now today my good Lu Meng has
succeeded, and in that he far surpasses both his
Then Sun Quan filled a goblet and in person
presented it to the guest of the evening. Lu Meng
took the cup, but as he raised it, a sudden change
came over him. Dashing the cup to the ground, he
seized Sun Quan, crying, “O green−eyed boy! O
red−bearded rat! Do you know me?”
Consternation seized the whole assembly, but
many rushed to the rescue of their lord, who had
been thrown to the floor by the guest he had so lately
Three Kingdoms Romance
complimented. Rushing forward over Sun Quan’s
body, Lu Meng sat himself in the host’s seat, his
eyebrows staring stiff and his eyes glaring.
“After I quelled the Yellow Scarves, I went hither
and thither for thirty years. Now I have fallen victim to
your base plots, and you have overcome me. If
living, I have been unable to gorge upon the flesh of
my enemy; dead, I will pursue the spirit of this bandit
Lu Meng. I am the Lord of Hanshou, Guan Yu.”
Terror−stricken, Sun Quan was the first to fall
prostrate, and all his officers followed him.
Thereupon Lu Meng fell over dead, with blood
gushing from the seven orifices of his body.
In due time the body was coffined and interred.
Lu Meng was created posthumously Governor of
Nanjun and Lord of Chanling. His son, Lu Ba, was
given hereditary nobility.
After this visitation Sun Quan lived in constant
terror. Soon Zhang Zhao came in from Jianye to see
him and blame him for the murder.
“My lord, by the slaughter of Guan Yu you have
brought misfortune very near to this state. You know
the oath sworn in the Peach Garden. Now Liu Bei
Three Kingdoms Romance
has the force of the two Lands of Rivers at his back,
Zhuge Liang as adviser, and those heroes Zhang
Fei, Zhao Yun, Huang Zhong, and Ma Chao to carry
out his behests. When Liu Bei hears of the death of
both father and son, he will set in motion the whole
force he has to avenge them, and I fear you cannot
stand such an onslaught.”
Sun Quan started up in a fright. “Yes; I have
made a little mistake,” said he. “But seeing it is so,
what shall I do?”
“You need have no fear,” replied Zhang Zhao. “I
have a plan to fend off the armies of the west from
our borders and keep Jingzhou quite safe.”
“What is your plan?” asked Sun Quan.
“Cao Cao with his many legions is greedily aiming
at the whole empire. If Liu Bei wants revenge, he will
ally himself with Cao Cao, and, should they combine
against this country, we should be in great danger.
Therefore I advise you to send Guan Yu’s head to
Cao Cao to make it appear that Cao Cao was the
prime cause of his destruction. This should divert Liu
Bei’s extreme hatred toward Cao Cao and send the
armies of Shu against Wei instead of toward Wu.
Three Kingdoms Romance
After carefully considering the whole matter, I
counsel this as the best course of action.”
Sun Quan thought the move worth making, and
so the head of the great warrior was placed in a box
and sent off as quickly as possible to Cao Cao.
At this time Cao Cao’s army had marched back
from Mopo to Luoyang. When he heard of the
coming of the gruesome gift, he was glad at heart
and said, “So Guan Yu is dead; now I can stick to my
mat and sleep soundly at night.” But Sima Yi saw
through the ruse and said from his place by the
steps, “This is a trick to divert evil from Wu.”
“What do you mean? How?” said Cao Cao.
“The Peach Garden Oath bound the three
brothers to live and die together. Now Wu is fearful
of revenge for the execution of one of the three and
sends the head to you to cause Liu Bei’s wrath to
fasten on you, O Prince. Sun Quan wishes Liu Bei to
attack you instead of himself, the real perpetrator of
the crime. Then he will find a way of accomplishing
his ends while you two are quarreling.”
“You are right, friend;” said Cao Cao, “and now
how can we escape?”
Three Kingdoms Romance
“I think escape is easy. You have the head of
Guan Yu; make a wooden image of the remainder of
the body, and bury the whole with the rites suitable
to a minister of state. When Liu Bei hears of this, he
will turn his hate toward Sun Quan and raise all his
forces to attack him. If you will think it out, you will
see that whichever is victor the other will be smitten;
and if we get one of the two, the other will follow
before very long.”
Cao Cao was pleased with the solution. Then he
ordered the messenger to come in with the box,
which was opened, and he looked upon the face of
the dead. The features had not changed; the face
bore the same appearance as of old. Cao Cao
“I hope you have been well since our last
meeting, Guan Yu,” said Cao Cao.
To his horror, the mouth opened, the eyes rolled,
and the long beard and hair stiffened. Cao Cao fell to
the ground in a swoon.
They rushed to him, but it was a long time before
he recovered consciousness.
“General Guan Yu is indeed a spirit,” he said.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Suddenly the messenger who had brought the
dead warrior’s head became also possessed by the
spirit of Guan Yu, and fell to cursing and reviling his
master, Sun Quan, and he told the story of what had
befallen Lu Meng.
Cao Cao, filled with dread, prepared sacrifices
and performed the rites for the honored dead. An
effigy was carved out of heavy fragrant wood and
buried outside the south gate with all the rites of a
princely noble, a huge concourse of officials of all
grades following in the procession. At the funeral
Cao Cao himself bowed before the coffin and poured
a libation. He also conferred on the dead the
posthumous title of Prince of Jingzhou, and
appointed guardians of the tomb. The messenger
was sent back to Wu.
The Prince of Hanzhong returned to his capital
Chengdu. Fa Zheng memorialized, saying, “O
Prince, thy consort has passed away and the Lady
Sun has returned to her maiden home, perhaps
never to come again. Human relations should not be
set at nought, wherefore a secondary consort should
be sought, so that all things may be correctly ordered
Three Kingdoms Romance
within the palace.”
The Prince having signified his acceptance of the
principle, Fa Zheng continued, “There is the sister of
Wu Yi, comely and good, and declared by the
physiognomist as destined to high honor. She was
betrothed to Liu Mao, son of Liu Yan, but he died in
youth, and she has remained unwedded. Take her
as a wife.”
“It is incompatible with propriety; Liu Mao and I
are of the same ancestry.” “As to the degree of
relationship, would it differ from the marriage of Duke
Wen of Jin and Huai Ying?”
Upon this precedent the Prince gave his consent
and wedded the lady, and she bore to him two sons,
the elder of whom was named Liu Yung and the
younger Liu Li.
Meanwhile, the whole land of Shu was
prospering, the people were tranquil, and the state
was becoming wealthy. The fields yielded bountiful
harvests. Suddenly there came one who told of the
attempt of Sun Quan to ally himself with Guan Yu by
marriage, and the indignant rejection of the proposal.
“Jingzhou is in danger,” said Zhuge Liang. “Recall
Three Kingdoms Romance
and replace Guan Yu.”
Then began to arrive a series of messengers from
Jingzhou, bearers of news of the moves in the game.
At first they brought good tidings, then evil. Guan
Xing came first to tell of the drowning of the seven
armies of Yu Jin. Then one reported the installation
of beacon towers along the river bank, and other
preparations which seemed as near perfect as any
could be. And Liu Bei’s anxiety ceased.
But evil tidings were on the way. Liu Bei was ill at
ease and felt a creepiness of the skin that boded
evil. He was restless by day and sleepless by night.
One night he rose from his couch and was reading
by the light of a candle when drowsiness overcame
him, and he fell asleep over the low table by his side.
He dreamed. A cold gust of wind swept through the
chamber, almost putting out the candle flame. When
it brightened again he glanced up and saw a figure
standing near the light.
“Who are you, who thus come by night to my
chamber?” asked he.
The figure made no reply, and Liu Bei got up to
go over and see who it was. Then the figure took the
Three Kingdoms Romance
shape of his brother. But it avoided him, retreating as
he advanced.
Liu Bei said, “Brother, there is nothing wrong, I
hope. But surely something of great importance
brings you here thus in the dead of the night. And
why do you avoid me, your brother, who loves you
as himself?”
Then the figure wept and said, “Brother, send
your armies to avenge me.”
As Guan Yu said that, a chilly blast went through
the room, and the figure disappeared. Just then Liu
Bei awoke and knew that he had dreamed.
The drums were beating the third watch as he
awoke. He felt greatly worried and disturbed. So he
went into the front portion of the palace and sent for
Zhuge Liang. Soon he came, and Liu Bei told him of
the vision.
“You have been thinking too deeply of Guan Yu
lately, my lord,” said Zhuge Liang. “There is no need
to be distressed.”
But Liu Bei could not find comfort, and Zhuge
Liang was long in calming his feelings and arguing
away his fancies.
Three Kingdoms Romance
As Zhuge Liang left the palace, he met Xu Jing,
who said, “Instructor, I went to your residence to
deliver a very secret piece of news, and they told me
to find you here.”
“What is your secret?”
“There is a report about that Wu has got
possession of Jingzhou; Lu Meng has taken it. And
more than that, Guan Yu is dead. I had to come to
tell you.”
“I saw it in the sky some nights ago. A large star
of a general fell over against Jingzhou, and I knew
some evil had befallen Guan Yu. But I feared the
effect upon our master, and I forbore to say
They did not know that Liu Bei was standing just
within the door. Suddenly he rushed out, seized
Zhuge Liang by the sleeve and said, “Why did you
hide from me? Why, when you had such terrible
“Because it is only a rumor,” replied they. “It is too
improbable for belief. We pray you not to be
“By our oath we live or die together; how can I go
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on living if he is lost?”
The two men soothed their lord as best they
could; but even as they spoke to him, one of the
private attendants said that Ma Liang and Yi Ji had
arrived. Liu Bei called them in and questioned them
They said, “Jingzhou has indeed been lost, and
Guan Yu begs for instant help.”
The letters they brought had not been read before
Liao Hua was ushered in. He prostrated himself and,
weeping, told the story of the refusal of help on the
part of Liu Feng and Meng Da.
“Then is my brother lost!” cried Liu Bei.
“If those two have really behaved so badly, the
offense is even too great for death,” said Zhuge
Liang. “But calm yourself, O Prince. I will see about
an army and lead it to the rescue.”
“If Guan Yu is gone, I cannot live,” moaned Liu
Bei. “Tomorrow I myself will set out with an army to
rescue him.”
Liu Bei sent off a messenger to Zhang Fei in
Langzhong and gave orders to muster horse and
foot for instant departure.
Three Kingdoms Romance
Before day dawned other messengers arrived,
giving step by step the sequence of the tragedy:
“Guan Yu had cut his way to Linju at night and been
captured by a general of Wu. He had refused to
bend, and both father and son had gone to the Nine
When he heard of the final catastrophe, Liu Bei
uttered a great cry and fell swooning.
His mind went back to the pledge of days gone
Could he live still and let his brother die?
What happened will be told in the next chapter.
Three Kingdoms Romance

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