Friday, May 21, 2010
Behind The Favored
Sun Tzu (544 B.C -496 B.C) was a native of the Chinese Ch`i State with a reputation as a knowledgeable military leader. This brought him to the notice of Ho Lu, King of Wu. Ho Lu said to Sun Tzu: "I have studied your writings. I would test what you say about managing soldiers"
Sun Tzu accepted.
Ho Lu said: "I want the test applied to women" Arrangements were made to assemble a large group of Ho Lu's concubines in front of Sun Tzu.
Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, and at the head of each group he placed one of the King's favorite concubines. He then told them to place the spears in their hands, and said: "I presume you know the difference between front and back, right hand and left hand?"
The girls, smiling, nodded.
Sun Tzu continued: "When I say "Eyes front," you must look straight ahead. When I say "Left turn," you must face towards your left hand. When I say "Right turn," you must face towards your right hand. When I say "About turn," you must face right round towards your back."
Again the girls smiled and nodded.
With the command having been explained, he set up weapons in order to begin the drill. Then, to the sound of drums, he gave the order "Right turn."
But the girls began giggling. Sun Tzu said: "If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame."
Sun Tzu: "If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders ARE clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers."
Sun Tzu replied: "Having once received His Majesty's commission to be the general of his forces, there are certain commands of His Majesty which, acting in that capacity, I am unable to accept."
He had the two women beheaded, and straightway installed the pair next in order as leaders in their place.
He ordered the favorite concubines in lead of the two companies beheaded.
Ho Lu, king of Wu was greatly alarmed and sent this message: "We are now quite satisfied as to our general's ability to handle troops. If We are bereft of these two concubines, our meat and drink will lose their savor. It is our wish that they shall not be beheaded."
With the execution complete, the drum sounded for the drill once more; and the girls went through all the drills, turning to the right or to the left, marching ahead or wheeling back, kneeling or standing, with perfect accuracy and precision, not venturing to utter a sound.
Sun Tzu then sent to the king: "Your soldiers, Sire, are now properly drilled and disciplined, and ready for your majesty's inspection. They can be put to any use that their sovereign may desire; bid them go through fire and water, and they will not disobey."
But the King replied: "Let our general cease drilling and return to camp. As for us, We have no wish to come down and inspect the troops."
Sun Tzu said: "The King is only fond of words, and cannot translate them into deeds."
Ho Lu saw that Sun Tzu knew how to handle an army, and appointed him general.
BEHIND THE FAVORED
by LBC..The Seeker
I, last chosen
to pleasure the king,
heard and obeyed the call to assemble.
From my place in the back,
I watched the soldier of high rank
clearly explain to the giggling women what he expected.
I watched his face.
He was not here to choose a woman as reward.
Twice he told us what to do.
As the heads of the king's favorites
spun across the floor,
we picked up our weapons.
We turned right...and left...and forward.
A concubine cannot afford to forget
that her life with the king,
and the art of war,
are one and the same......