272 Beijing Opera Masks - Cao Hong - Number 28
Beijing Opera - "Changban Slope"
Cao Hong with a red broken-flower face has a role in the opera "Changban Slope." Cao Hong, styled Zilian, was a younger cousin of Cao Cao, the Great Progenitor. When Cao Cao answered the call to arms to fight against Dong Zhuo, one of Dong's Generals, Xu Rong, defeated him at Xingyang. His horse lost, and the enemy was hot in pursuit. Cao Hong dismounted, and gave his horse to Cao Cao, who declined the offer. Cao Hong said, "The world can do without Cao Hong, but not without you!" Thus he followed Cao Cao on foot to the Bian River. The river being a deep one, they could not ford it; Cao Hong went along the banks until he found a boat, with which he and Cao Cao crossed the river and fled back to Qiao commandery.
Now, Cao Hong had been a good friend with Chen Wen, the Inspector of Yangzhou. And so he led 1,000 of his personal troops to recruit more followers in Chen Wen's land. By the Lu River he got 2,000 armored troops, and going east to Danyang, he recruited several thousand more men, before rejoining Cao Cao at Longkang.
When Cao Cao attacked Xuzhou, Zhang Miao led all of Yanzhou to join Lϋ Bu in rebellion. There being a great famine at that time, Cao Hong marched in the van, and took over Dongping and Fan, to gather the grains and food there to supply the army. And so Cao Cao fought Zhang Miao and Lϋ Bu at Puyang, causing Lϋ Bu to flee. Turning around, Cao Hong attacked and took over more than ten prefectures, including Jiying, Shanyang, Zhongmou, Yangwu, Jing, and Mi.
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