Warlord and Poet Cao


Warlord Cao (155-220 AD) was also a notable poet with such lines as these:

The bird circles a tree three times in moonlight,
It cannot find a branch to rest for the night.

Cao battled with two other warlords to compete for ruling over China. Cao conquered the northern half of China. Once the northern barbarian Huns sent an envoy to pay an official visit on Cao, who feared that his ordinary appearance and bearing would not be awe-inspiring enough to dominate over this remote land where the Huns lived. He asked his clerk to pretend to be him and Cao himself stood beside with a hand on the sword acting as the guard. When it was over, Cao sent a spy to ask the envoy’s impression of the “king”. The envoy said, “The king is valorous and elegant, but the man holding a sword is the real hero.” Cao sent men immediately to chase the envoy and kill him. (From Shishuo Xinyu)
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