Chih Refuted Chin’s Blame

(A historical event around 604 B.C.)

Tzuoo's Interpretation of Spring-Fall

    Country Chin wanted to attack Country Chu to gain leadership over China. The troops of Chin joined with the armies of their allies at City H. Because there were not many countries that had joined the alliance, Fan, the Prime Minister of Chin, was unhappy. He intended to arrest the prince of western Country Chiang, Chih, to vent his anger, so he reproached Chih in the king's court, "Chih, come! A generation ago, Country Ch'in banished your ancestors from your homeland. They wore grass vests and suffered scratches by thorns when they traveled to Chin to seek shelter. Our previous king, Hui, did not have much land, but he allowed your people to share it. Now our allies are not as many as before. This is all your fault. You must have revealed our secrets to our allies. That is, you must have told them that the war against Chu is fought for control rather than justice. You should not attend our meeting tomorrow. Otherwise, I will arrest you."

    Chih refuted, "A generation ago, the king of Ch’in used the threat of his enormous army to banish us from our homeland simply because he was greedy for land. The previous king of Chin, Hui, was wise and virtuous. He said that Country Chiang was Duke Fang's offspring and should not be destroyed. Therefore, he offered us some land in the southern part of Chin where foxes lived and wolves howled. Our race cleared weeds and briers, and banished foxes and wolves. Thereafter, we never invaded or betrayed Country Chin.

    Five years ago, Chin's troops united with Ch'in's troops to attack Country Cheng. However, the king of Ch'in secretly negotiated peace with Cheng and stationed his troops there. This led to the war between Chin and Ch'in at City Y. Chin's troops attacked Ch’in on the north and we westerners fought against Ch’in on the south. As a result, Ch'in's army was completely destroyed. The assistance of our soldiers was vital to the victory. It was like capturing a deer. Chin’s troops grabbed its antlers and we westerners grabbed its legs. In other words, we helped Chin to trip the deer. In view of our great contributions, it is truly difficult to understand how we deserve blame for the present situation. Since the war against Ch'in, our soldiers have offered their assistance by following the order of your administration whenever Chin was at war. We have showed our loyalty to Chin the same way we did during the war against Ch'in. We have never dared to alienate or betray Chin. In fact, it is your administration's mistake that has weakened the alliance between Chin and other countries. Now it seems as if you are blaming us for your mistakes? Is it fair? The food and clothes of our race are different from those of Chinese. We do not speak Chinese, so we do not socialize with Chinese. How can we do any harm to your government? Not attending your meeting will not bother me at all." After reciting the poem about a happy, friendly man who does not trust back-stabbers, Chih walked away.

    Fan quickly apologized to Chih and invited him to the meeting in order to gain the reputation of a happy, friendly man.