¡@¡@One day, the prime minister
Yan Ying walked past the three generals. Court protocol demands
that they rise and bow to Yan Ying as a matter of courtesy.
However, the three of them just sat there without acknowledging
Yan Ying's presence. Yan Ying said nothing on the spot. But
afterwards, he told the king of Ci about this incident and
advised him, ''These three generals have become arrogant because
they have accomplished much on the battlefield. Today they
only showed disrespect towards me. But who knows whether or
not they will show disrespect towards your Majesty in the
future. I suggest that they be removed as soon as possible
so as to avoid any future troubles.'' The king of Ci,Jing
Gong,had a high respect for Yan Ying and always followed his
advice. So he agreed with him, but he added, ''But how? No
one is strong enough to beat them. Nor is anybody capable
of assassinating them.''Yan Ying replied, ''I have already
figured out how to deal with them.'' He then told Jing Gong
his plan to kill three warriors with two peaches. Two peaches
were to be awarded to the two who deserved it the most.
¡@¡@The three of them argued fiercely in the beginning. Gong
Sun Jie said first, ''I caught a wild pig and a tiger alive
with my bare hands. So I deserve the most.''Then he took one
peach. Then Tian Kai Jiang said, ''I defeated a whole squad
of soldiers with my spear.''Then took the other peach, too.
Gu Jhih Zih turned red with anger, ''Am I less worthy than
you two? ''He pulled his sword and challenged the other two
to a duel. To everybody's surprise, the other two put the
peaches back onto the table and said, ''Honor is more important
than fighting over the rewards. We should be ashamed of ourselves.''
That said, Gong Sun Jie and Tian Kai Jiang slit their own
throats with their swords and died. Having watched this, Gu
Jhih Zih, too, killed himself the same way. Thus Yan Ying
was able to remove three potential threats to the country
of Ci without lifting a finger.
Strategy 3: Kill with a Borrowed Sword
¡@¡@ Openly use another to achieve one's purpose. ''Sword'' is
used here as a metaphor for the means to an end.