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CHAPTER 89. The Lord of Wuxiang Uses The Fourth Ruse; The King of Mang Is Captured The Fifth Time.

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

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Zhuge Liang’s small carriage was escorted by
only a few horsemen. Hearing that a sluggish river,
the Western River, lay in the way, and having no
boat, Zhuge Liang bade the escort cut down some
trees and make a raft. They did so, but the raft sank.
So Zhuge Liang turned to Lu Kai, who said, “There is
close by a mountain covered with bamboos. I have
heard of these bamboos, and some are several
spans in girth. We can make a bridge of them for the
army to cross.”
So thirty thousand soldiers were sent to the
mountains, where they cut down many thousands of
bamboos, and floated them down river. Then at the
narrowest point they made a bridge a hundred spans
or so in length. Next the main army was brought
down to the river and camped in line along the bank.
The camp was protected by a moat, crossed by a
floating bridge, and a mud rampart. On the south
bank they constructed three large stockades so as to
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prepare for the coming of the Mang soldiers.
They had not long to wait. Meng Huo was hot with
rage and came quickly. As soon as he got near the
river, he led out ten thousand fierce warriors, armed
with big swords and shield, and challenged the first
Zhuge Liang went forth in simple state. He wore a
silk cap and a crane−white robe and held in his hand
a feather fan. He sat in a four−horse carriage, and
his generals rode right and left.
The King of the Mang was clad in mail of
rhinoceros hide and wore a bright red casque. In his
left hand he bore a shield, and his right gripped a
sword. He rode a red ox. As soon as he saw his
enemies, he opened his mouth and poured forth
abuse and insults, while his warriors darted to and
fro brandishing their weapons.
Zhuge Liang at once ordered the army to retire
within the stockades and bar the gates. The Mangs
came close up to the stockade and pranced about
naked, shouting in derision.
Within the stockade the Shu generals grew very
angry, and they went in a body to their leader to beg
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that he would withdraw the order to remain on the
defensive. But Zhuge Liang would not listen.
Presently he said, “These men are not
submissive to the Empire Government and are
naturally fierce and turbulent. In that mood we are no
match for them. But all we have to do is to remain on
guard for a few days till their ferocity has spent itself.
Then I have a plan that will overcome them.”
Days passed, and the army of Shu made no
move; they only maintained the defensive. Zhuge
Liang watched the besiegers from an eminence, and
saw the first vigor of their advance give way to
careless idleness.
Then Zhuge Liang called together his generals
and asked, “Dare you give battle now?”
They all rejoiced at the suggestion; so he called
them two by two or one by one and gave them secret
orders. Zhao Yun and Wei Yan went in first. Wang
Ping and Ma Zhong followed. To Ma Dai he said, “I
am going to abandon these stockades and retire
north of the river. As soon as we have crossed, you
are to cut loose the floating bridge and move it down
the stream so that Zhao Yun and Wei Yan may
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To Zhang Yi he said, “You are to remain by the
camp and light it up at night—as if it is still occupied.
When Meng Huo pursues, then you are to cut off his
Last of all, Guan Suo was to escort Zhuge Liang’s
The soldiers marched out of the camp at evening,
and the lamps were hung up as usual. The Mangs
saw this from a distance and dared not attack. But
the next morning at dawn Meng Huo led his troops to
the stockades and found all was quiet. He went close
up and saw they were all empty and bare; not a
soldier was there. Grain and fodder lay about among
empty carts; all was in confusion, suggesting hasty
“They have abandoned the camp,” said Meng
You. “But this is only a ruse.”
Said Meng Huo, “I think that Zhuge Liang has
important news from the capital that has made him
leave without his baggage train like this. Either Wu
has invaded or Wei has attacked. They left these
lamps burning to make us think the camps were
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occupied, but they ran away leaving everything
behind. If we pursue we cannot go wrong.”
So the King urged his army onward, himself
heading the leading division. When they reached the
Western River bank, they saw on the farther side
that the camps were all in order and the banners
flying as usual like a brightly tinted cloud of silk.
Along the bank stood a wall of cloth. They dared not
Meng Huo said to his brother, “This means that
Zhuge Liang fears lest we may pursue. That is only a
temporary halt, and they will retire in a couple of
The Mangs camped on the river bank while they
sent into the mountains to cut bamboos to make
rafts. The boldest of the soldiers were placed in front
of the camp till the rafts should be ready to cross.
Little did Meng Huo suspect that the army of Shu
was already within his borders.
One day was very stormy. Then the Mangs saw
great flames spring up around them, and at the same
time the rolling of drums heralded an attack. The
Mangs, instead of going out to meet the enemy,
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began to force their way out of the Shu attack. Meng
Huo became alarmed and fled with all his clans and
dependents. They fought their way through and
made a dash for their former camp.
Just as they reached it, there appeared a cohort
of the enemy led by Zhao Yun. Meng Huo turned off
west and sought refuge in the mountains. But he was
fiercely attacked by a cohort under Ma Dai. With a
small remnant of followers, he got away into a valley.
Soon he saw in the west, north and south clouds of
smoke rising and the glow of torches, so that he was
forced to halt. However, the east remained clear, and
presently he fled in that direction. As he was
crossing the mouth of a gully, he noticed a few
horsemen outlined against a thick wood and saw
they were escorting a small carriage. And in that
carriage sat Zhuge Liang.
Zhuge Liang laughed, and said, “So King of the
Mangs has got here! How does Heaven make you
defeated so? I have waited for you a long time.”
Meng Huo angrily turned to his followers and
said, “Thrice have I been the victim of this man’s
base wiles and have been put to shame. Now
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chance has sent him across my path, and you must
attack him with all your energy. Let us cut him to
pieces and those with him.” The Mang horsemen,
with Meng Huo shouting to encourage them, pushed
forward in hot haste toward the wood. But in a few
moments they all stumbled and disappeared into
some pits that had been dug in the way. And just
then Wei Yan emerged from the wood. One by one
the Mangs were pulled out of the pits and bound tight
with cords.
Zhuge Liang returned to his camp, where the
captors of the King could bring in their prisoner.
Zhuge Liang busied himself in soothing the other
Mang prisoners. Many of the notables and chiefs of
the tributaries had betaken themselves to their own
ravines and villages with their followers. Many of
those who remained came over and yielded to Shu.
They were well fed and assured of safety, and
allowed to go to their own. They went off gladly
By and by Zhang Yi brought up the King’s brother,
Meng You. Zhuge Liang reproached him for his
brother’s behavior.
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“Your brother is a misguided simpleton; you ought
to remonstrate with him and persuade him to change
his course. Here you are, a captive for the fourth
time; are you not ashamed? How can you have the
effrontery to look anyone in the face?”
A deep flush of shame passed over Meng You’s
face, and he threw himself to the earth begging
Zhuge Liang said, “If I put you to death, it shall
not be today. This time I pardon you, but you are to
talk to your brother.”
So Meng You was loosed from his bonds and
allowed to get up. He went away weeping.
Very soon Wei Yan brought up Meng Huo, and to
him Zhuge Liang simulated great rage, saying, “What
can you say now? You see you are in my hands
“I am again an unfortunate victim,” said Meng
Huo. “Once more I have blundered into your net, and
now I shall die with no one to close my eyes.”
Zhuge Liang shouted to the lictors to take him
away and behead him. Meng Huo never blenched at
the sentence, but he turned to his captor and said, “If
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you freed me only once more, I would wipe out the
shame of all four captures.”
Zhuge Liang smiled at the bold reply and bade
the lictors loose his bonds, and the attendants
served him with wine. Meng Huo was invited to sit in
the commander’s tent.
Said Zhuge Liang, “Four times you have been
treated generously and yet you are still defiant.
“Though I am what you call a barbarian, I would
scorn to employ your vile ruses. And that is why I
remain defiant.”
“I have liberated you four times; do you think you
can give battle again?”
“If you catch me again I will incline my heart to
yield and I will give everything in my ravine to reward
your army. I will also take an oath not to cause any
further trouble.”
Zhuge Liang smiled, but let him go. The King
thanked him and left. As soon as he was set at
liberty, Meng Huo got together several thousand of
his adherents and went away southward. Before long
he fell in with his brother, Meng You, who had got
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together an army and was on his way to avenge his
brother. As soon as they saw each other, the
brothers fell upon each other’s necks and wept. They
related their experiences.
Meng You said, “We cannot stand against the
enemy. We have been defeated several times. Now I
think we would better go into the mountains and hide
in some dark gully where they cannot find us. Those
soldiers of Shu will never stand the summer heat;
they must retire.”
“Where can we hide?” asked his brother.
“I know a valley away southwest from us called
‘Bald Dragon Ravine,’ and the King, Duo Si, is a
friend of mine. Let us take refuge with him.”
“Very well; go and arrange it,” said Meng Huo.
So Meng You went. When he got there and talked
to the chief, King Duo Si lost no time, but came out
with his soldiers to welcome Meng Huo, who then
entered the valley. After the exchange of salutations,
Meng Huo explained his case.
Duo Si said, “O King, rest content. If those men
from the Lands of Rivers come here, I will see to it
that not one goes home. And Zhuge Liang will meet
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his death here too.”
Naturally, Meng Huo was pleased; but he wanted
to know how his host could feel so secure.
Duo Si said, “In this ravine there are only two
roads, the one you came by and another by the
northwest. The road you traveled along is level and
soft, and the waters are sweet. Humans and horses
may both use it. But if we close the mouth of the
ravine with a barricade, then no one, however
strong, can get in. The other road is precipitous,
dangerous, and narrow. The only path is beset with
venomous serpents and scorpions, and as evening
comes on there are malarial exhalations which are
dangerous till past noon the next day. The road is
only practicable between two watches before sunset.
Then the water is undrinkable. The road is very
“Then again there are four streams actually
poisonous. One is called ‘The Dumb Spring.’ Its
water is pleasant to the palate, but it makes people
dumb and they die in a few days. A second fountain
is called ‘The Spring of Destruction’ and is hot. But if
a person bathes therein, his flesh rots till his bones
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protrude and he dies. The third is ‘The Black Spring.’
Its waters are greenish. If it be sprinkled on a
person’s body, his limbs turn black and presently he
dies. The fourth is ‘The Spring of Weak Water,’ ice
cold. If a person drink of this water his breath is
chilled, he becomes weak as a thread and soon dies.
Neither birds nor insects are found in this region, and
no one but the Han General Ma Yuan, who was
styled General Who Quells the Waves for this
exploit, has ever passed. Now the northeast road
shall be blocked, and you may hide here perfectly
safe from those troops of Shu, for, finding that way
blocked, they will try the other road, which is
waterless save for the four deadly springs. No matter
how many they be, they will perish, and we need no
“Now indeed I have found a place to live in,” cried
Meng Huo, striking his forehead. Then looking to the
north he said, “Even Zhuge Liang’s wonderful
cunning will be of no avail. The four springs alone
will defeat him and avenge my army.”
The two brothers settled down comfortably as
guests of King Duo Si, with whom they spent the
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days in feasting.
In the meantime, as the Mangs did not appear,
Zhuge Liang gave orders to leave the Western River
and push south. It was then the sixth month, and
blazing hot. A poet sang about the bitter heat of the
The hills are sere, the valleys dry,
A raging heat fills all the sky,
Throughout the whole wide universe
No spot exists where heat is worse.
Another poem runs:
The glowing sun darts out fierce rays.
No cloud gives shelter from the blaze,
In parching heat there pants a crane,
The whale swims through the hissing main.
The brook’s cool margin now I love,
Or idle stroll through bamboo grove.
I would not march to deserts far
In leathern jerkin donned for war.
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Just at the moment of setting out southward, the
spies brought news of Meng Huo’s retreat into the
Bald Dragon Ravine and the barricading of one
entrance. They also said, “The valley is garrisoned,
the hills are precipitous and even impassable.”
So Zhuge Liang called in Lu Kai and questioned
him, but he did not know exactly the conditions.
Then out spoke Jiang Wan, saying, “Meng Huo’s
repeated captures have broken his spirit so that he
dare not take the field again. Our soldiers are
exhausted with this intense heat, and little is to be
gained by prolonging the campaign. The best move
would be to return to our own country.”
“If we do this, we shall fall victims to Meng Huo’s
scheme,” said Zhuge Liang. “If we retreated, he
would certainly follow. Beside, having advanced so
far, it would be fruitless to turn back now.”
Wang Ping was sent on with the advanced guard
and some of the Mangs as guides to seek an
entrance on the northwest. They found the road and
came to the first spring—the Dumb Spring—, of
which the thirsty men and horses drank freely.
Wang Ping returned to report his success, but by
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the time he reached camp, he and all his soldiers
were speechless. They could only point to their
mouths. Zhuge Liang knew they had been poisoned,
and was alarmed. He went forward in his light chariot
to find out the cause. He came to the spring. The
water was very deep and dark green. A mass of
vapor hung about the surface rising and falling. They
would not touch the water. Zhuge Liang went up the
hills to look around, but could see nothing except a
rampart of mountains. A deep silence hung over all,
unbroken by the cry even of a bird. He was
Presently he noticed an old temple away up
among the crags. By the aid of the lianas and
creepers he managed to clamber up, and in a
chamber hewn out of the rock he saw the figure of
an officer. Beside it was a tablet saying the temple
was dedicated to Ma Yuan, the famous general who
had preceded him in that country. The natives had
erected it to sacrifice to the leader who had headed
the campaign against the Mangs. 1
Zhuge Liang, much impressed, bowed before the
image of the great leader, and said, “Your humble
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servant received a sacred trust, the protection of the
son of the First Ruler. That son, the present
Emperor, sent him here to subdue the Mangs that
the land might be free from peril when he decided to
attack Wei and take possession of Wu and thereby
restore the glory of the Hans. But the soldiers are
ignorant of the country, and some of them have
drunk of a poisonous spring so that they have
become dumb. Your servant earnestly prays your
honored spirit, out of regard for the kindness and
justice of the present Emperor, to reveal your
spiritual character and manifest your holiness by
safeguarding and assisting the army.” Having prayed
thus, Zhuge Liang left the temple. While seeking
some native whom he might question, he saw in the
distance, on a hill opposite, an aged man leaning on
a staff. He approached, and as he drew nearer,
Zhuge Liang noted his extraordinary appearance.
When he had reached the temple, Zhuge Liang
asked the venerable visitor to walk in. After the
salutations, the old man sat on the stones, and
Zhuge Liang opened the conversation with the usual
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The old gentleman replied, “Sir Minister, I know
you well by repute, and am happy to meet you. Many
of the Mangs owe their lives to you, and all have
been deeply impressed by your kindness.”
Then Zhuge Liang returned to the matter nearest
his heart, the mystery of the spring.
The old man told him, “That is the Dumb Spring
that your soldiers have drunk, and they will die in a
few days. Besides that, there are other three
poisonous streams called Spring of Destruction,
Black Spring, and Spring of Weak Water. All miasma
gathers there in the four streams, and it only
vaporizes during the two watch before sunset.”
“In short, the Mangs cannot be conquered,” said
Zhuge Liang when the old man had finished. “And
Wu cannot be repressed, nor Wei overcome. And
the Hans cannot be restored. So, I fail in the task set
me by my Prince. Wish that I might die?”
“Be not so cast down, O Minister,” said the aged
one. “I can lead you to a place where you may
counteract all this.”
“I would ask for your instruction, Venerable One,”
said Zhuge Liang. “What exalted advice have you to
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confer upon me? I hope you will instruct me.”
“West of this, not far off, is a valley, and seven
miles from its entrance is a stream called the ‘Spring
of Eternal Peace,’ near which there lives a recluse
known as the Hermit of the Stream. He has not left
the valley these twenty years. Behind his hut there
gushes out a spring of water, called the ‘Spring of
Peace and Joy.’ This is the antidote to your poison.
Bathing in its waters is a cure for skin diseases and
for malaria. Moreover, near the hut grows an herb
called the ‘garlic−leaved fragrance.’ Chewing a leaf
of this safeguards one from malaria. You can do no
better than go to the hut of the recluse forthwith and
get these remedies.”
Zhuge Liang humbly thanked his aged counselor,
and said, “Venerable Sir, I am profoundly affected by
your merciful kindness and compassion. May I ask
again by what name may call you?”
The old man rose and entered the temple, saying,
“I am the Spirit of this mountain, sent by Ma Yuan to
guide you.”
As he said this, he shouted at the solid rock
behind the temple, and it opened of itself and let him
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Zhuge Liang’s astonishment was beyond words.
He made another obeisance to the Spirit of the
temple and went down by the way he had come.
Then he returned to his camp.
Next day, bearing incense and gifts, Wang Ping
and his stricken men went west to the spot which the
old man had indicated. They luckily found the valley
and followed its narrow road till they came to a small,
farm−like enclosure, where tall pines and lofty
cypresses, luxuriant bamboos, and gorgeous flowers
sheltered a few simple huts. An exquisite perfume
pervaded the whole place.
Zhuge Liang rejoiced to recognize the spot and at
once knocked at the door. A lad answered his knock,
and Zhuge Liang was telling his name when the host
came out quickly, saying, “Surely my visitor is the
Prime Minister of the Han Dynasty?”
Zhuge Liang saw at the door a man with a
bamboo comb holding back his hair, grass shoes on
his feet, and a robe of white girded in by a black
girdle. He had green eyes and yellowed hair.
“Great Scholar, how did you know who I was?”
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said Zhuge Liang.
“How could I not have heard of your expedition to
the south?”
He invited Zhuge Liang to enter, and when they
had seated themselves in their relative positions as
host and guest, Zhuge Liang said, “My former
Prince, the First Ruler, confided to me the care of his
son and successor. That son, now Emperor, gave
me a command to lead an army to this country, get
the Mangs on our side and spread our culture among
them. But now to my disappointment Meng Huo, the
King, has hidden himself in the Bald Dragon Ravine,
and some of my soldiers on the way to seek him
drank of a certain fountain and are dumb. But last
evening the former leader of an expedition, Ma
Yuan, manifested his sacred presence and told me
that you, Exalted Sir, had a remedy for this evil, and I
pray you of your pity to give me of the potent fluid
whereby my soldiers’ lives may be saved.”
The recluse replied, “I am only a worthless old
man of the wild woods and unworthy of the visit of
such as you, O Minister. The water you desire flows
out at the back of my cottage and you may take what
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you will of it.”
The serving lad then showed Wang Ping and his
dumb companions to the Spring of Peace and Joy,
and he dipped up the waters for them to drink. As
soon as they had drunk, they coughed up some
poisoned mucus and could speak. The lad also led
the soldiers to the Spring of Eternal Peace where
they could bathe.
In the cottage the recluse regaled Zhuge Liang
with tea made of cypress seeds and a conserve of
pine flowers. He also told his guest, saying, “In this
region, the lands are full of serpents and scorpions,
and the lily flowers blown into the springs by the wind
make them unfit to drink. However, if you dig wells,
you will find good water.”
Then Zhuge Liang begged some of the
garlic−leaved herb as an antidote against malaria.
The recluse said the soldiers could pluck as much as
they wanted. And so every one put a leaf in his
mouth and thus became malaria−proof.
Zhuge Liang, with a low bow then begged to be
told the name of his benefactor.
“I am Meng Huo’s eldest brother,” said the
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recluse, smiling. “My name is Meng Jie.”
Zhuge Liang started.
“Do not be afraid,” said the recluse. “Let me
explain. We were three brothers of the same
parents, the eldest being myself. Our parents are
both dead. My brother Meng Huo, being headstrong
and vicious, has never been amenable to culture. I
have talked to him many times, but he kept his own
course. Finally, under an assumed name, I retired to
this spot. I am ashamed for my brother’s rebellion,
which has put you, O Minister, to the trouble of
making this expedition into a barren country, but it
has given me the privilege of seeing you. For my
responsibility in this I deserve to die a thousand
times, as I own to your face, and I beg your pardon.”
Zhuge Liang sighed, saying, “Now I believe that
story of the robber Liu Zhi and the noble Liu Xiahui;
this is the same thing over again. People renowned
for villainy and virtue may come from the same
stock.” Then he said to his host, “Would you wish me
to represent your merits to the Emperor and get you
created a king?”
“How can you think I desire honors or wealth
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when I am here because of my contempt for all such
Zhuge Liang then wished to make him certain
presents, but the recluse would have none of them.
So taking leave of his host, Zhuge Liang went
back to his camp.
In the southern expedition when the Mangs were
Zhuge Liang found a high−born recluse in a
shady solitude.
Up till then the gloomy forests were thought
destitute of men,
That no curling smoke wreath ever floated
upwards from the glen.
As soon as Zhuge Liang reached camp, he set
the soldiers digging for water. They dug to a great
depth but found none; nor were they more
successful when they tried other places. They were
very discouraged.
Then Zhuge Liang in the depths of the night
burned incense and prayed to God: “Unworthy as is
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thy servant Zhuge Liang, he has received favor from
the Great Hans and now has been ordered to
subdue the Mangs. Alas! Now our water is spent and
my soldiers and animals are parched with thirst. If
Thy will be to preserve the line of Han, then give, I
beseech Thee, sweet water; but if their course is run,
then may Thy servant and those with him die in this
The morning after this prayer the wells were full of
sweet water.
The Mangs must be conquered; Zhuge Liang led
a great array,
Though his skill was superhuman, yet he held the
righteous way;
As the wells gave forth sweet water when Geng
Gong’s head bowed full low,
So the reverent prayers of Zhuge Liang made the
lower springs to flow.
The soldiers’ spirits revived with the supply of
water, and the army soon advanced by hill paths to
the Valley of the Bald Dragon, where they camped.
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When Meng Huo heard the news, he was greatly
taken aback.
“These troops do not appear to have suffered
either thirst or fever,” said he. “Our springs have lost
their power.”
King Duo Si heard it, but doubted. He and Meng
Huo ascended into a high hill whence they could see
their enemies. They saw no signs of illness or
distress; all went on calmly and quietly in the camps,
water carrying and cooking, eating and attending to
the cattle. Duo Si’s hair stood on end as he looked at
“These are not human soldiers,” said he,
shivering. “They must be sent from Heaven.”
“Our two brothers will fight one fierce battle with
these troops of Shu and die therein,” said Meng Huo,
“We cannot wait calmly to be put into bonds.”
“But, O King, if your army should be beaten, my
whole family will also perish. Let us encourage the
people of the ravines. Let us kill bullocks and
slaughter horses to feed them, and urge them to go
through fire and water to rush right up to the camp of
the enemy and seize upon victory.”
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So there was great feasting before the Mangs
took the field. Just as this was going on, there
arrived one Yang Feng, King of twenty−one ravines
in the west, and he led thirty thousand troops. Meng
Huo rejoiced exceedingly at this unexpected addition
to his army and felt sure of victory. So he and Duo Si
went out of their own valley to welcome Yang Feng,
who said, “I have with me thirty thousand troops in
iron mail, brave and intrepid warriors, who can fly
over mountains and bound across the peaks; they of
themselves are a match for the enemy even if the
enemy numbered a hundred legions. And, moreover,
my five sons, all trained in arms, are with me, all to
help you, O Kings.”
The five sons were brought in and presented.
They were handsome young fellows, bold and
martial looking. Father and sons were entertained at
a banquet. Halfway through the feast Yang Feng
proposed a diversion.
“There is but scanty amusement in the field,” said
Yang Feng, “and so I have brought along some
native singing girls who have been taught fencing
and such things. If you care for it, they might give an
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The feasters hailed the suggestion with joy, and
soon thirty maidens came to the front of the tent.
Their hair hung about their shoulders, and they were
barefooted. They danced and skipped and went
through their performance outside. The guests inside
clapped their hands and applauded their skill, and
the soldiers joined in the choruses.
Presently, at a signal from their father, two of
Yang Feng’s sons bore two goblets to Meng Huo and
Meng You. Meng Huo and Meng You took the cups
and were raising them to their lips when Yang Feng
shouted a single word of command, and, instantly,
the cupbearers had the two brothers out of their
seats and helpless in their hands. At this, Duo Si
jumped up to run away, but Yang Feng gripped him,
and he was a prisoner too. The Mang maidens
ranged themselves in a line along the front of the
tent so that none dared approach.
“When the hare dies the fox mourns,” said Meng
Huo. “One sympathizes with one’s own as a rule. We
are both chiefs and have been friends. I know not
why you should injure me.”
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“I had to repay Zhuge Liang the Minister for his
compassion on me and my people, and there was no
way till you rebelled. Why should I not offer up a
rebel in propitiation?”
Leaving Meng Huo, Meng You, and Duo Si in the
hands of Yang Feng, the Mang warriors dispersed,
each man returning to his own valley.
Yang Feng then took the prisoners to the camp of
Shu, where he bowed at the tent door, saying, “I and
my sons and the sons of my brother are grateful to
you for much kindness, wherefore we bring to you as
an offering the persons of these rebels.”
Zhuge Liang rewarded Yang Feng and bade them
bring forward Meng Huo.
“This time are you prepared to yield?” said the
Prime Minister.
“It is not your ability, but the treachery of my own
people that has brought me to this. If you wish to
slay, slay; but I will not yield.”
“You know you were the cause of my army
entering into a waterless land, where there were
those four evil streams, and yet my soldiers were not
poisoned and came to no harm. Does it not seem to
Three Kingdoms Romance
you like evidence of a superior protecting power?
Why will you follow this misguided road and always
be obstinate?”
Meng Huo replied, “My fathers have long held the
Silver Pit Hills, and the three rivers and the two
forests are their ramparts. If you can take that
stronghold, then will I and my heirs for ever
acknowledge your power and yield.” “I am going to
liberate you once more,” said Zhuge Liang, “and you
may put your army in order if you will and fight a
decisive battle. But after that, if you are my prisoner
and are still refractory and unsubmissive, I shall have
to exterminate your whole family.”
Zhuge Liang ordered the lictors to loose the
prisoner’s bonds and let him go. After he had gone,
the other two, Meng You and Duo Si, were led in and
they also received their liberty. They were given wine
and food. but they were confused and could not look
Zhuge Liang in the face. They were given horses to
travel on.
The way has been long and now danger is near,
But faith in their leader banishes fear.
Three Kingdoms Romance
The next chapter will tell how Meng Huo
reorganized his army and whose the victory was.

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