Three visits to the cottage

By Virginia Perez,2014-07-26 13:39
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Three visits to the cottage

    Guan Yu"Brother, you have sought him twice. Surely this is showing even too much deference. I do not believe in this fame of his for learning.

    He is avoiding you and dare not submit to the test. Why so obstinately

    hold this idea?"

    Liu Bei"You are wrong, my brother. In the Spring and Autumn Period Prince Huan of Qi paid five visits to the Eastern Suburb before he got to see

    Guan Zhong. And my desire to see Zhuge Liang is even greater than his."

    Zhang Fei"I think you are mistaken, How can this villager be such a marvel of wisdom? You should not go again and, if he will not come, I will bring

    him with a hempen rope."

    Liu Bei"Have you forgotten the great King Wen's visit to Lu Wang, the old man of the River Wei? If King Wen could show such deference to a wise

    man, where am I too deferential? If you will not go, your brother and I

    will go without you,"

    Zhang Fei"If you two go, how can I hang back?" Liu Bei"If you go, then you must be polite."

    Zhuge Jun"He returned last evening. You can see him today, General." Liu Bei"Fortune favors me this time, I am going to see the Master." Zhang Fei"That was a rude fellow, It would not have hurt him to have conducted us to the house. Why did he go off like that?"

    Liu Bei "Each one has his own affairs, What power have we over him?"

Liu Bei said very deferentially"I would trouble the servant of the genius,

    gentle page, to inform the Master that Liu Bei wishes to pay his respects

    to him."

    Serving lad"My master is at home, but he is asleep." Liu Bei"In that case do not announce me."

    Zhang Fei"What an arrogant fellow is this Master? There is our brother waiting, while he sleeps on perfectly carelessly. I will go to the back

    of the place and let off a bomb and see if that will rouse him."

    Guan Yu whispered"No, no; you must do nothing of the kind"


    Zhuge Liang"Can any know what fate is his?Yet have I felt throughout my life,The day would come at last to quitThe calm retreat for toil and

    strife."As he finished, he turned to the lad, saying, "Have any of the

    usual people come?"

    Serving lad"Liu Bei, the Uncle of the Emperor is here,He has been waiting a long time."

    Zhuge Liang"Why did you not tell me?" rising from the couch. "I must dress."

    Liu Bei"I am one of the offshoots of the Han family, a simple person from Zhuo. I have long known the Master's fame, which has indeed thundered

    in my ear. Twice I have come to visit you, without success. Once I left

    my name on your writing table. You may have my note."

    Zhuge Liang"This hermit is but a dilatory person by temperament. I know I have to thank you for more than one vain visit, and I am ashamed to think

    of them."

Zhuge Liang "From your letter I know that you grieve for both people

    and government. If I were not so young and if I possessed any talent, I

    would venture to question you."

    Liu Bei"Sima Hui and Xu Shu have both spoken of you. Can it be that their words were vain? I trust, O Master, that you will not despise my

    worthlessness but will condescend to instruct me."

    Zhuge Liang"The two men you speak of are very profound scholars. I am

    but a peasant, a mere farmer, and who am I that I should talk of empire

    politics? Those two misled you when they spoke of me. Why do you reject

    the beautiful jewel for a worthless pebble?"

    Liu Bei"But your abilities are world embracing and marvelous. How can you be content to allow time to pass while you idle away life in these

    secluded haunts? I conjure you, O Master, to remember the inhabitants of

    the empire and remove my crass ignorance by bestowing instruction upon


    Zhuge Liang"But what is your ambition, General?" Liu Bei moved his seat nearer to his host and said"The Hans are sinking:

    Designing ministers steal away their authority. I am weak, yet I desire

    to restore the state to its right mind. But my ignorance is too vast, my

    means are too slender, and I know not where to turn. Only you, Master,

    can lighten my darkness and preserve me from falling. How happy should

    I be if you would do so!"

    Zhuge Liang "One bold person after another has arisen in various parts

    of the empire ever since the days of the rebel Dong Zhuo. Cao Cao was not

    so powerful as Yuan Shao, but he overcame Yuan Shao by seizing the

    favorable moment and using his soldiers properly. Now he is all-powerful:

    He rules an immense army and, through his control of the court, the various

    feudal lords as well. You cannot think of opposing him. Then the Suns have

    held their territory in the South Land for three generations. Their

    position in that old state of Wu may not appear too secure, but they have

    popularity to appeal to. You can gain support but win no success there.

    "The Region of Jingzhou rests on the two Rivers Han and Mian to the north,

    and their interests lie in all to the south of these rivers. On the east

    they touch Wu, and on the west they extend to the ancient states of Ba

    and Shu. This is the area in which decisive battles have to be won, and

    one must hold it in order to be secure, and Heaven has virtually made it


    "The Region of Yizhou in the west is an important place, fertile and extensive, a country favored of Heaven and that through which the Founder of Han obtained the empire. Its ruler Liu Zhang is ignorant and weak. The people are noble and the country prosperous, but he does not know how to hold it all, and all the able people of the region are yearning for an enlightened prince.

    "As you are a scion of the Family, well known throughout the land as trusty and righteous, a whole-hearted hero, who greatly desires to win the support of the wise, if you get possession of Yizhou and Jingzhou, if on the west you are in harmony with the Rong Tribes, on the south win over the ancient states of Yi and Viet, make an alliance with Sun Quan of Wu, and maintain good government, you can await confidently the day when Heaven shall offer you the desired opportunity. Then you may depute a worthy leader to go to the northeast while you take command of an expedition to the northwest, and will you not find the warmest welcome prepared for you by the people? This done, the completion of the task will be easy. The Hans will be restored. And these are my counsels in all these operations, if you will only undertake them."

    Zhuge Liang paused while he bade the lad bring out a map. As this was unrolled Zhuge Liang went on, "There you see the fifty-four counties of the west. Should you wish to take the overlordship, you will yield the Heaven's favor to Cao Cao in the north, and you will relinquish the Earth's advantage to Sun Quan in the south. You, General, will hold the Human's heart and complete the trinity. Jingzhou is to be taken first as a home, the River Lands* next for the foundation of domination. When you are firmly established, you can lay your plans for the attainment of the whole empire."

    Liu Bei"Your words, O Master, render everything so clear that the clouds

    are swept aside and I see the clear sky. But Jingzhou belongs to Liu Biao, my kinsman, and Yizhou to another kinsman Liu Zhang. I could hardly take the lands from them."

    Zhuge Liang "I have studied the stars and I know Liu Biao is not long

    for this world. Further, Liu Zhang is not the sort of man to endure. Both places will certainly fall to you."

    Liu Bei"Yesexactly,Though I be of small repute and scanty virtue,I

    hope, O Master, you will not despise me for my worthlessness, but will leave this retreat to help me. I will assuredly listen most reverently to your words."

    Zhuge Liang:"I have long been happy on my farm and am fond of my leisure. I fear I cannot obey your command."

    Liu Bei: "If you will not, O Master, what will become of the people?" Zhuge Liang:"General, if you will accept me, I will render what trifling service I can."

    Liu Bei :"These are not gifts to engage your services, but mere proof of my regard,"

    Zhuge Liang: "Uncle Liu Bei has come thrice to see me, and now I must go with him. Keep up the farm in my absence and do not let the place go to ruin. As soon as my work is accomplished, I will certainly return."

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