Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book XXVI : The Little Pheonix Pang Tong

When Kung Ming heard that Chou Yu hath died, he quickly went to the funeral escorted only by his loyal general Chao Yun. Some of Wu’s older generals like Huang Gai and Zhou Tai still held a grudge against Kung Ming, considering him the cause of Chou Yu’s death and would have attacked him if Grand General Lu Ssu hath not forbidden them from doing so.

Kung Ming put up quite a show of grief to convince the generals of Wu that he was sincere. He wept and sang praises to Chou Yu, “Brave Chou Yu, Brilliant general of Wu. It was you who won the heart of beautiful maiden Xiao Qiao, rode with the winds between gallant Sun Ts’e, and advised me in the Battle of the Red Wall. I, Kung Ming, who am foolish ape beside your brilliance do grief for you. Why have you left us so soon?”

Kung Ming even made the point of banging his head against the casket until Lu Ssu came to comfort him, and the other generals of Wu let down their guard. But when he was about to return, a mad man shouted, “Kung Ming, you liar! Do not think you can deceive me. It was you who led to Chou Yu’s death.” He ran to Kung Ming with a stick but was stopped by Lu Ssu.

Thereupon, the mad man revealed himself, and he was no mad man at all. He was Pang Tong, the Little Pheonix. Upon seeing this, the two of them laughed. Kung Ming wrote a recommendation letter for Pang Tong and asked him to go serve Liu Pei.

Meanwhile, Lu Ssu presented Pang Tong before Sun Quan, the Marquis of Wu, himself. During the interview, Sun Quan was not impressed. Pang Tong was certainly not a good-looking guy. In fact, he was downright ugly and poorly dressed. Sun Quan asked him, “How does your wisdom compare with that of Chou Yu?”

To which Pang Tong arrogantly replied, “Like ceramic and diamond.”

Sun Quan appeared angry, for he thought Pang Tong was now belittling his memory of the great Chou Yu. “Who is the ceramic? Who is the diamond.”

Pang Tong: “I’m sure you can make that judgment youself.”

Upon hearing this, Sun Quan flew into a rage and dismissed Pang Tong, reprimanding Lu Ssu for bringing the ugly and arrogant fool before him.

And so, this was the way one of China’s most brilliant men failed his job interview with Sun Quan.

Not thinking Sun Quan to be worth his dime, Pang Tong went to Chingchou and applied for a job with Liu Pei, but he did not show Kung Ming’s recommendation letter. Liu Pei was sort of busy and unimpressed at the moment, so he made Pang Tong a mere district governor.

Pang Tong neglected his duties as a district governor, and soon the lawsuits and cases were piling up at his court. Chang Fei was appointed as Commissioner to check on this lazy man. When he arrived, he quickly woke Pang Tong, who was sleeping at noon, but Pang Tong merely retorted, “Haha, they are all such easy cases I could deal with them in a single day. Why would I rush to do it?”

Chang Fei got angry and said if he didn’t get it settled by tomorrow, he would not only fire him but also beat him up for his laziness. The next day, Pang Tong woke up before dawn, went to Court, and cleared every single lawsuit in a single day with complete justice. Chang Fei was amazed by his brilliance and promised to commend him to Liu Pei.

Just then, Kung Ming arrived, and he laughed when Liu Pei appointed the genius Pang Tong as a mere district governor. He told Pang Tong he should have given Liu Pei the recommendation letter, but I guess Pang Tong did not want to be beholden to Kung Ming. After that, Pang Tong was made Deputy Advisor. Now, both the Sleeping Dragon Kung Ming and the Fledgling Pheonix Pang Tong worked for Liu Pei. They were two of the ablest strategists in China.

Perhaps, it was time for Liu Pei to expand his domain yet again. Don’t miss our next episode…the Conquest of Shu (Book XXVI).

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