Author ’s note: Upon reading this little story, you might find that the title of it really sums up the basic idea of the man talked about in this story. So for those who haven’t read the main body yet, please take note of the title and make sure that if you have a weak heart to any of the ideas suggested by that title, it is recommended to rush to the restroom and stick your face in a cantaloupe doused with a full cup of caffeine. TAKE WARNING.
Good day there, this is Cao Pi, Cao Mengde’s son. As you know, I am up in Heaven and living as a god right now. I have decided to write a little story that I have gathered from my father’s attendants and advisors, scraps picked up from here and there. Now, I have the truth about the Battle of Chibi, the disastrous defeat my father suffered in his campaign against the Southland. Most people have read Romance of the Three Kingdoms (written by that utter fool Luo Guanzhong) and have gotten the wrong idea about both my father and that woeful battle. Well, maybe I will admit that Zhuge Liang was a bit ingenious, but all of his victories in this story were crazy, and won with luck. Shall I begin?
My father had decided on a massive invasion of the Southland. He mustered over a million men to conquer Sun Quan and his kingdom. The mere name of the army struck fear in villagers in the south and caused officials temporary bowel problems. However, his army was not of the naval stock, and so he had Cai Mao of Jingzhou train his forces into a “rough-tough, tiger tipping, snake smacking, bad-breath beating army”, quoting the words of my father.
Sun Quan and Liu Bei allied, forming a strong alliance against my father. This proved to be an okay resistance, but could not match the army of Mengde. They plotted and debated on what they could use against the army of Wei, and finally decided on a secret plan.
One day my father received news of the arrival of famous Pang Tong, also known as Master Young Phoenix. Pang Tong received a tour of Cao’s forces after he gained favor with the leader of this mighty army and advised my father, “I see your men are unused to the breaking waves and motion of the Great River. May I advise you to chain your ships together with iron and wooden planks to stop the uneasiness? That should heal your sick men.” My father smiled, and replied, “that is a good plan, but I have an even better one. You see, if I instead chain the ships together with temples, then we can worship my beard everywhere the soldiers move.” Pang Tong, in disbelief, babbled out, “Well, that is, uh, an excellent idea my lord.” Taking leave, he murmured to himself “At least the ships will be chained.”
Sometime later on, my father received a message from Huang Gai of the Southland wanting to betray Zhou Yu and defect to Cao’s forces. Cao’s spies confirmed the beating of Huang Gai, and Mengde was delighted with the letter. Cao’s advisors quickly came to him and said, “this is a plot of one being beaten to earn another’s trust! Do not believe Huang Gai!” Cao replied happily, “Don’t fret my advisors, we are not in any danger. I have a very hairy way to deal with that.” Shocked, his advisors retreated to the sound of the gong.
A couple days later, a strong southeast wind started blowing from out of nowhere, to the great delight of the allied forces. However, the advisors of Cao Cao were alarmed, and said to him, “If they use fire against us, we will be doomed!” Calmly, Cao Cao smiled and replied “Do not fear advisors, they will not use fire. You will see. Now continue worshipping my beard. Wow, my beard sure does deserve worship from my men.” With this, he stroked his beard fondly and dismissed his advisors with, “If you”ll excuse me I must have some time with my beard.” The advisors again beat a very shocked retreat.
Now, we all know from the SGYY version the allied forces burn out Cao Cao and they flee into Liu Bei’s ambushes. However, we should all give Luo Guanzhong a big kick and a good slap on the head, for it is not true. Instead, this is what happened:
It was the night of the Allied attack. Huang Gai had his ships loaded with certain materials and sailed off into the river. Later, he reached the chained boats of Wei, and whispered certain instructions to his men. They scrambled into their positions and waited anxiously for the boats to touch the northern ships. The boats hit with small thuds, and half of the men, led by Huang Gai, climbed aboard and prepared their attack. The other half on the boats got out their materials and silently set up their barrage. It was all set.
A Wei patrol was walking along peacefully when he spotted the loading of the Wu soldiers. Thinking that it was the force of Huang Gai the defector (in fact it was the force of Huang Gai, just that he wasn’t defecting) he went out to greet them. Before he knew it, a bowl of hot soup landed in his face, knocking him out. The southern warriors let out a wild whoop and fired flaming dim sum and baozi into the sleeping quarters of the northern soldiers. In the first volley a poor group of Wei soldiers were down and out. Another hundred of the northerners were drenched in hot sauce, and jumped into the river screaming like wild cannibals finding their prey.
After another thousand or so became casualties of war, Cao Mengde arrived on the scene and organized a counterattack. On the first charge, his whole front line was downed with a special spicy dish made only in the Southland. Expecting this, Mengde led his men in a retreat back to the royal dragon boat. Huang Gai was hard on his heals, and were about to let fly their atrocious food again when they suddenly found themselves in a dark place. They couldn’t find their way out, for it was too dark. Huang Gai blindly lit a candle, and at once screamed and dropped the candle. His soldiers saw what he saw too and they fell dead like their leader. What had killed them? Why it was the portrait of Mengde’s beard in one of the temples!
By now, the Wu forces had arrived and begun attacking the Wei forces in the front. Expecting Cao Cao killed in the raid by Huang Gai, they attacked recklessly, pushing back the northerners. Suddenly a Wei force fiercely struck out their flank, and drove the Wu force back. At their head was Cao Cao. The Wei army pursued the Wu forces all the way back to the shore, until finally volleys of arrows drove off the northern army. The southerners had lost tens of thousands of men, and it instead was a disaster to them.
Meanwhile, Zhuge Liang awaited news of the battle. Finding out that the southerners were driven back, he issued the following orders: “Zhao Zilong, take your forces and plant them in ambush on the narrow road behind Cao’s camp. Have them dressed up as though they were on fire. Zhang Fei, have your men dress up in long shirts and over-sized pants with necklaces and rings. Then, lead them to the west of Cao’s camp, get their attention, and read these words.” Kongming paused a minute to give Zhang Fei multiple manuscripts. Then he continued, “Guan Yu, take a thousand cavalry and gather cabbage from the nearby villages. Then, ride over to the east of Cao’s camp and when you see Wei soldiers coming your way light them on fire and throw it at them.” The three commanders, puzzled by their orders, pondered over the strategy as they prepared their attack.
Back at the Wei camp, the northerners rejoiced and celebrated their victory over the southerners, and none of the northern soldiers were seen without straw hats and party robes as they danced and drank around the great bonfire built (at the cost of a soldier’s leg when he lit the fire with a stick rather than a flaming arrow from a close range). Suddenly, they heard ruckus to the west of their camp. Taking a look, they saw horrendously dressed soldiers singing a horrible song (resembling a cross between opera and modern day rap). The Wei soldiers were overwhelmed by the horrible noises and screamed as they fled to the east. There, they met flaming cabbages thrown at their heads. Screaming once again like little girls, they fled to the north where they met beings on fire rushing at them with wild-looking clubs. This was too much for the soldiers of Cao, and half of them fainted while the others experienced serious bowel problems. Mengde himself ran around in circles shrieking until a Shu soldier finally shut him up with a good bop on the head.
Lucky for him, he wasn’t captured since he was mistaken to be a common soldier. However he awoke to find himself in a tent full of cannibals, from where he ran shrieking for ten days straight until he reached HeFei. This became known as “the Wild Retreat of Cao”. A poem of later times commented on the battle:
Oh woe to thee brave northern soldiers
In your loss at disastrous ChiBi battle
Where at the end your ingenious father
Ran shrieking like a baby with a rattle
The Allied forces plotted and schemed
Until they had a plan
They thought it was ingenious, perfect
’till they saw it wasn’t that grand
Northerners struck from every direction
The Wu forces had to retreat
The Shu forces attacked with a crazy plan
Now the Wei force takes to their feet
Thus the two crazy geniuses (Zhuge and Cao)
Prove themselves in the fray
With crazy plans worthy of Heaven
They shall rise above all I say
So the battle of ChiBi ended, with the southerners retreating and my father even crazier than before. Later, he contracted an illness of the brain. The doctor, Hua Tuo, said it was because of a certain senile disease caused from old age, and that we should be careful not to approach him. The next day, we found Hua Tuo fainted on the ground when he tried to give my father his medicine. Because my father received no medicine, he died in his deathbed, giving orders for me to be his heir.
A final word on this story: My father was a great man, and all should respect him. Oh sure, he may have people worship his beard, but he was a genius, and deserves the praise of men to come. A tip of advice to all that may have close relatives that are crazy like my father would be to leave them alone, for they may become great (Author’s note: This advice was heeded by many, and the great men Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Bill Gates are today respected as well-known figures in the history of Earth). Well, I had better get going now. The flowers of China must be watered if I am to keep my job of a god. Who knows, I could be promoted next week. Good day to you sirs.
Copyright © 2004 BeefyShu