183 Beijing Operas - Meng Tan - Number 31
Beijing Opera - "Crossing the Five Passes"
Meng Tan with a black broken-flower face has a role in the opera "Crossing the Five Passes." Meng Tan, one of his generals, said, "This Guan Yu must be a fugitive, or he would have a safe conduct. Our only course is to stop him, or we shall incur blame." "The man is fierce and brave. Remember the fate of Yan Liang and Wen Chou. It seems vain to oppose him by force, and so we must think out some trap for him," said Han Fu.
"I have a ruse ready," said Meng Tan. "I will close the gate with thorny blockades, and I will go to fight with him. I will engage and then flee, and you can shoot him from an ambush along the road. If we can get him and his party and send them prisoners to the capital, we ought to be well rewarded." This course was determined upon, and soon they heard that Guan Yu was approaching. Han Fu strung his bow and filled his quiver with arrows and with one thousand soldiers took up position along the pass. Then as the party approached, Han Fu said, "Who is the traveler who comes?" Guan Yu bowed low and said, "He is a certain Guan Yu, Lord of Hanshou, and he wishes to go through the pass."
"Who will capture him for me?" cried Han Fu, and Meng Tan offered himself. He rode out, whirling his double swords, and made straight for Guan Yu. Guan Yu sent back the carriage out of danger and then rode toward Meng Tan. They engaged, but very soon Meng Tan turned his steed and fled. Guan Yu pursued. Meng Tan, intent only on leading his enemy toward the ambush, took no account of the speed of Red-Hare. Very soon Meng Tan was caught up, and a stroke of the mighty sword cut him in two pieces. Then Guan Yu stopped and turned back. The archers in the gate shot their hardest; and though it was a long way off, one of them lodged an arrow in his left arm. He pulled it out with his teeth, but the blood streamed down as he rode toward Governor Han Fu. The men scattered. Guan Yu rode straight at his next victim. He raised his sword and made an oblique cut that sliced off the head and shoulder of Han Fu.Another Mask for this Opera - Mask 81
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