Stories and Folktales in Romance of the Three Kingdoms
The Three Visits
Zhuge Liang, whose cognomen was Kongming, was an extremely famous person of the Three Kingdoms Period. During the chaos of the last years of the Eastern Han dynasty, he lived as a recluse on a ridge of hills called the Sleeping-Dragon in Longzhong, going down to the fields to work while also studying carefully the books of every school. He often compared himself to Guan Zhong and Yue Yi; most famous leaders mentioned in the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States Periods, and hoped, when the time came, he would be able to save his country and its people from their plight.
the Rebellion of the Yellow Turbans, Liu Bei had led his troops for almost
twenty years, fighting here and there without being able to find a fixed base
of operations. While garrisoned at Xinye, he realized that he would not be
able to reunify China until he found a truly learned advisor. By coincidence,
just at this time Zhuge Liang's good friend Xu Shu came to join up with Liu
Bei and recommended Zhuge Liang to him.
Xu Shu said, "In the turmoil of my feelings I forgot to say one word. There is a person of wonderful skill living about seven miles from the city of Xiangyang; why not seek him?"
"Can I trouble you to ask him to visit me?" Liu Bei replied.
""He will not condescend to visit you; you must go to him. But if he consents, you will be as fortunate as the Zhou when they got the aid of Lu Wang, or the Han when Zhang Liang came to help."
Then Xu Shu told him that Sleeping-Dragon is Zhuge Liang.
Thereupon Liu Bei took Guan Yu and Zhang Fei and went to Longzhong to pay a formal visit to Zhuge Liang. They had to go three times before they could see him. It is said that the first time Zhuge Liang had gone traveling, so they didn't meet him. The second time he was also out, and they were only able to meet his younger brother, Zhuge Jun. It was only the third time that they received Zhuge Liang's ardent hospitality.
After Liu Bei had met Zhuge Liang they discussed great matters concerning the world. Zhuge Liang, who knew many strategies, analyzed the contemporary situation for Liu, and suggested plans for the future. After Liu Bei listened to him, he came to completely respect Zhuge Liang, and from this time on relied on him for advice in all matters. In order to repay the favor Liu Bei had shown him by recognizing his talents, Zhuge Liang gave his utmost to help Liu Bei establish political power for the state of Shu-Han. Even after Liu Bei had died, he continued to loyally support the slow-witted successor, Liu Shan.