“When you throw stones at a rat, beware of the vase

Guan Yu was still angry of the Prime Minister’s breach of decorum.

One day Guan Yu said to Liu Bei, “Brother, why did you prevent me from killing that rebel and so ridding the world of a scoundrel? He insults the Emperor and ignores everybody else.”

  “When you throw stones at a rat, beware of the vase,” quoted Liu Bei. “Cao Cao was only a horse’s head away from Our Lord, and in the midst of a crowd of his partisans. In that momentary burst of anger, if you had struck and failed, and harm had come to the Emperor, what an awful crime would have been laid to us!”

  “If we do not rid the world of him today, a worse evil will come of it,” said Guan Yu.

  “But be discreet, my brother. Such matters cannot be lightly discussed.”

  the Emperor sadly returned to his palace. With tears in his eyes, he related what had occurred in the hunt to his consort, Empress Fu.

  “Alas for me!” said he. “From the first days of my accession, one vicious minister has succeeded another. I was the victim of Dong Zhuo’s evil machinations. Then followed the rebellion of Li Jue and Guo Si. You and I had to bear sorrows such as no others have borne. Then came this Cao Cao as one who would maintain the imperial dignity, but he has seized upon all real authority and does as he wishes. He works continually for his own glorification, and I never see him but my back pricks. These last few days in the hunting field, he went in front of me and acknowledged the cheers of the crowd. He is so extremely rude that I feel sure he has sinister designs against me. Alas, my wife, we know not when our end may come!”

  “In a whole court full of nobles, who have eaten the bread of Han, is there not one who will save his country?” said she.

  Thus spoke the Empress, and at the same moment there stepped in a man who said, “Grieve not, O Imperial Pair! I can find a savior for the country.”

It was none other than the father of the Empress, Fu Wan.

“Have you heard of Cao Cao’s

wanton and perverse behavior?”

said the Emperor, drying his eyes.

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By his wife, née Chia, he had a daughter, to whom the

By his wife, née Chia, he had a daughter, to whom the infant name of Tai Yü was given. She was, at this time, in her fifth year. Upon her the parents doated as

much as if she were a brilliant pearl in the palm of their hand. Seeing that she was endowed with natural gifts of intelligence and good looks, they also felt solicitous

to bestow upon her a certain knowledge of books, with no other purpose than that of satisfying, by this illusory way, their wishes of having a son to nurture and of

dispelling the anguish felt by them, on account of the desolation and void in their family circle (round their knees).

But to proceed. Yü-ts’un, while sojourning at an inn, was unexpectedly laid up with a violent chill. Finding on his recovery, that his funds were not sufficient to

pay his expenses, he was thinking of looking out for some house where he could find a resting place when he suddenly came across two friends acquainted with

the new Salt Commissioner. Knowing that this official was desirous to find a tutor to instruct his daughter, they lost no time in recommending Yü-ts’un, who moved into the Yamên.

His female pupil was youthful in years and delicate in physique, so that her lessons were irregular. Besides herself, there were only two waiting girls, who

remained in attendance during the hours of study, so that Yü-ts’un was spared considerable trouble and had a suitable opportunity to attend to the improvement of his health.

In a twinkle, another year and more slipped by, and when least expected, the mother of his ward, née Chia, was carried away after a short illness. His pupil

(during her mother’s sickness) was dutiful in her attendance, and prepared the medicines for her use. (And after her death,) she went into the deepest mourning

prescribed by the rites, and gave way to such excess of grief that, naturally delicate as she was, her old complaint, on this account, broke out anew.

Being unable for a considerable time to prosecute her studies,

Yü-ts’un lived at leisure and had no duties to attend to.

Whenever therefore the wind was genial and the sun mild,

he was wont to stroll at random,

after he had done with his meals.

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