11. The Nine Situations

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On the day they are ordered out to battle, your soldiers may weep,

The word in the Chinese is "snivel." This is taken to indicate more genuine grief than tears alone.

those sitting up bedewing their garments, and those lying down letting the tears run down their cheeks.

Not because they are afraid, but because, as Ts`ao Kung says, "all have embraced the firm resolution to do or die." We may remember that the heroes of the Iliad were equally childlike in showing their emotion. Chang Yu alludes to the mournful parting at the I River between Ching K`o and his friends, when the former was sent to attempt the life of the King of Ch`in (afterwards First Emperor) in 227 B.C. The tears of all flowed down like rain as he bade them farewell and uttered the following lines: "The shrill blast is blowing, Chilly the burn; Your champion is going—Not to return."[1=Giles' Biographical Dictionary, no. 399.]

But let them once be brought to bay, and they will display the courage of a Chu or a Kuei.

Chu was the personal name of Chuan Chu, a native of the Wu State and contemporary with Sun Tzu himself, who was employed by Kung-tzu Kuang, better known as Ho Lu Wang, to assassinate his sovereign Wang Liao with a dagger which he secreted in the belly of a fish served up at a banquet. He succeeded in his attempt, but was immediately hacked to pieced by the king's bodyguard. This was in 515 B.C. The other hero referred to, Ts`ao Kuei (or Ts`ao Mo), performed the exploit which has made his name famous 166 years earlier, in 681 B.C. Lu had been thrice defeated by Ch`i, and was just about to conclude a treaty surrendering a large slice of territory, when Ts`ao Kuei suddenly seized Huan Kung, the Duke of Ch`i, as he stood on the altar steps and held a dagger against his chest. None of the duke's retainers dared to move a muscle, and Ts`ao Kuei proceeded to demand full restitution, declaring the Lu was being unjustly treated because she was a smaller and a weaker state. Huan Kung, in peril of his life, was obliged to consent, whereupon Ts`ao Kuei flung away his dagger and quietly resumed his place amid the terrified assemblage without having so much as changed color. As was to be expected, the Duke wanted afterwards to repudiate the bargain, but his wise old counselor Kuan Chung pointed out to him the impolicy of breaking his word, and the upshot was that this bold stroke regained for Lu the whole of what she had lost in three pitched battles.

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