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TANG JU PERSUADES LORD XINLING (EXCERPT)
by Liu Xiang (77 BCE - 6 BCE, Western Han Dynasty)
English translation: Zhi Yue

Lord Xinling killed General Jin Bi, saved the city of Handan, defeated the army of Qin, and saved the state of Zhao.

Before the King of Zhao arrived in the countryside to welcome him in person, Tang Ju said to Lord Xinling, “I, your subject, have heard the following saying:
There are things that cannot be known,
and those that must be known.
There are things that cannot be forgotten,
and those that must be forgotten.”
Lord Xinling asked, “How so?”

He replied, “If others detest me, it must be known.

If I detest others, it cannot be known. If others do me a favor, it cannot be forgotten. If I do others a favor, it must be forgotten.

“Today, my Lord has slain Jin Bi, saved Handan, defeated the army of Qin, and saved the state of Zhao, a great favor indeed. Now, the King of Zhao has come to the countryside to welcome you in person. As soon as you meet the King of Zhao, I your subject, sincerely hope my Lord will forget it.”

To which Lord Xiling said, “Inevitably, I respectfully receive your teachings.”

── from Zhan Guo Ce (Records of the Warring States)