Wú Càn appellation Kǒngxiū was a Wú-jùn Wūchéng man. (1)
- Wúlù states: Càn was born and a few years old. An old woman in the city saw him, and said to his mother: “This child has the bones of a high-ranking official.”
When Sūn Hé was county Chief, Càn was his Assistant Clerk, and Hé was very impressed with him. When Hé later became a General and could select his own Chief Clerk, he recommended Càn as Deputy of Qū’ā, who later transferred as Chief Clerk, and had famous reputation for his government. Though he began fatherless and from humble origins, his fame was comparable to men of his same prefecture Lù Xùn, Bǔ Jìng, and others. When Sūn Quán became General of Chariots and Cavalry, he was summoned to serve as Registrar, transferred out to Magistrate of Shānyīn, and returned as Colonel Advising the Army.
Huángwǔ first year , he with Lǚ Fàn, Hè Qí, and others together led ships to resist Wèi General Cáo Xiū at Dòngkǒu.
It happened that there was a great gale. The ship’s ropes and harnesses all snapped, and the ships floated and crashed on the shore, and were all captured by the Wèi army or else capsized and sunk. The surviving men in the water all grabbed hold on the remaining intact large ships and shouted. The officials and soldiers aboard were afraid the ships would capsize, and so grabbed spears and lances to strike at them and would not accept them.
Càn and Huáng Yuān alone ordered the men on the ships to help raise up and rescue them. His attendants thought the ship would be weighed down and suffer disaster. Càn said: “If the ship suffers disaster, then we will all die together and that is all! If men are in trouble, how can we abandon them?” Càn and Yuān saved the lives of over a hundred men.
He returned and was appointed Administrator of Kuàijī, and summoned the local scholar Xiè Tán to serve as his merit officer. Tán plead illness and would not accept. Càn told him: “You are remarkable that dragons bend to you and noble that phoenixes call in praise of you. Why hide away in obscurity and be as secretive as a deep abyss?”
Càn raised and gathered many men, was appointed Internal Gentleman-General Manifesting Justice, and with Lǚ Dài attacked and pacified the mountain peoples. He joined the Court as Colonel of Garrisoned Riders, Minister Treasurer, and was transferred to Grand Tutor to the Heir-Apparent.
During the Heir-Apparent Factional Strife, he firmly argued for establishing standards, clearly distinguishing between the principal son and other sons, and requested that the King of Lǔ [Sūn] Bà be sent out to station at Xiàkǒu, and that Yáng Zhú [of Bà’s faction] not govern the capital area. He also often sent news to Lù Xùn. Xùn was at the time stationed at Wǔchāng, and often sent memorials of criticism. Because of this [Wú Càn] was slandered by Bà and Zhú and others, and was arrested and put to death.