Ju Tang Succeeded in His Mission

Strategies During the Warring States Period (403-221 BCE)

   The King of the State of Qin sent a letter to the King of the State of An-ling. It said, "I would like to exchange 1,000 square miles of land for An-ling’s territory. You must accept this proposal." The King of An-ling wrote back, "I appreciate your great offer. That is, you are attempting to use a large piece of land to acquire our small country. Nevertheless, An-ling was given to me by my father. I would like to keep it the rest of my life. I dare not exchange it." Because the King of Qin was not happy, the King of An-ling sent an envoy named Ju Tang to Qin to plead his case.

   The King of Qin told Tang, "I proposed to exchange 1,000 square miles of land for An-ling. The King of An-ling rejected my proposal. Why? I have destroyed large countries like Han and Wei. Because the King of An-ling is older than I am, I do not mind if An-ling, only 100 square miles in size, exists. Now I offer ten times the amount of land in exchange for your country, but your king rejects my proposal. Does he despise me?" Tang replied, "No. You misunderstood the situation. The King of An-ling inherited the land from his father, so he would like to keep it. Even if you offer 2,000 square miles of land for it, he would not be able to exchange it. Not to mention that you only promised 1,000 square miles."

   The King of Qin was furious. He asked Tang, "Have you ever heard of the anger of a king?" Tang replied, "I have not." The King of Qin said, "When a king is angry, a million corpses will be laid on the ground, the blood will flow like a river running a thousand miles." Tang asked, "Has Your Majesty ever heard the anger of common people?" The King replied, "When common people are angry, all they can do is throw off their hats and shoes and hit the ground with their heads." Tang said, "That is the anger of fools rather than the anger of brave men. Zhu Zhuan stabbed King Liao of the State of Wu just as a comet struck the moon. Zheng Nie stabbed Prime Minister Kui Han just as a rainbow penetrated the sun. Yao-li stabbed Prince Qing-ji just as eagles swooped down and fought on the palace. These three brave men were common people. When they harbored their anger, their spirits induced heaven to send omens as preludes to their great deeds. If I join them, there will soon be four brave men. If I must stab you to release my anger, both you and I will bleed to death. All the people in China will dress in mourning clothes today." Then he drew his sword and stood up. The King of Qin looked scared, kneeled and asked for forgiveness, "Please sit down! Is it necessary for you to behave like this? Now I understand the reason why a small country like An-ling can still survive although large countries like Han and Wei no longer exist. It is because An-ling has you."


   The best way to deal with evil is to be brave. If we give an inch, evil will take a mile. If we stay on the side of righteousness and fight for it, evil will retreat eventually.