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Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Shadow 绝影 (jué yǐng)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:45 PM 1 comment
Cao Cao 曹操

This horse supposedly runs so fast even its own shadow cannot keep up with it. I was extremely tempted to translate its name as "Shadowfax", the name of Gandalf's horse in "Lord of the Rings", but decided not to so as not to cause any confusion between this two stories. The Shadow accompanied Cao Cao during his early days and was said to be with him since the Yellow Turban Rebellion.

The Shadow became a focal point in the story during the battle of Wan Cheng 宛城之战, where Cao Cao suffered the terrible loss of his bodyguard Dian Wei 典韦. During Cao Cao's escape from Zhang Xiu 张绣's ambush, The Shadow carried its master through a rain of arrows. Cao Cao was said to survive only because of the speed of this horse. Thought to be one of the Da Yuan horses 大宛马, The Shadow suffered 3 arrow wounds to its body but kept going. It was only after an arrow pierced its eye did it ultimately fall in that battle.

In the battle of Wan Cheng, Cao Cao lost his horse (The Shadow), his bodyguard (Dian Wei), one of his sons Cao Ang 曹昂, and his nephew Cao An Min 曹安民.

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