Yang Xiu (Three Kingdoms)
Yang Xiu (175 - 219) was an official in the
Yang Xiu was the son of the esteemed Han dynasty officer
Yang Biao, and nephew of the powerful warlord Yuan Shao. Yang Xiu served as an officer in Cao Cao's army. Cao Cao executed him in 219 because he mistook the warlord's night signal for an order to retreat.
Yang Xiu is described as one of the two sole "talented" officers under Cao Cao; the other was
Kong Rong, a descendant of Confucius.Fact|date=January 2007
According to the
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Cao Cao killed Yang Xiu because he was too clever and boastful, as described in the following passages:Fact|date=January 2007
"Once, a garden door was built by some servants of Cao Cao. When he arrived, he did not talk to his servants about their work but instead wrote a character, "活", meaning "alive", on the door. Nobody could understand what Cao Cao meant by this, except Yang Xiu, who explained that, since, in Chinese, "門" means door, writing the character "活" inside a door forms the character "闊", which means "wide". Thus Cao Cao was indicating that he thought the door was too wide. The servants of Cao Cao then altered the garden door, and when Cao Cao heard that it was Yang Xiu alone who had understood his meaning, he became alerted of his talent.
Once, a nomadic tribe sent a box of cake to Cao Cao as a gift, who wrote the words "一合酥" on the box, which in English, means "a box of cake". However, when Yang Xiu saw it, he took out a spoon and shared the cake with the other followers of Cao Cao. Cao Cao, mystified, asked why, to which he replied, "My lord, you wrote the words 'A mouthful of cake for every man' on the box. How can we disobey your orders?" Since, in Chinese, the words "一合酥" can be separated into "一人一口酥", which translates thus. Cao Cao then became dissatisfied with Yang Xiu.
Yang Xiu was a friend of
Cao Zhi, the third son of Cao Cao, and tried to help him become the successor of Cao Cao, competing against Cao Pi, his eldest son. In order to make Cao Zhi seem suitable for succeeding Cao Cao, Yang Xiu wrote ten essays on general topics about political and military affairs for Cao Zhi, which the latter used. When Cao Cao discovered this, he was infuriated and shouted 'How dare he deceive me!' and thus became angry with Yang Xiu and Cao Zhi."
Personages of the Three Kingdoms
Records of Three Kingdoms"
Romance of the Three Kingdoms"
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