Strategy 10

Hide Your Dagger Behind a Smile

Charm and ingratiate yourself to your enemy. When you have gained his trust, you move against him in secret.

Warring States Era China

The king of Wei sent a beautiful courtesan to the king of Chu who took great delight in the new girl. His queen, Zheng Xiu, knowing how fond the king was of his new woman, treated the newcomer as a sister supplying her with gifts and treasures and whatever she needed. The king hearing of this summoned his queen and said: A woman serves a man with her beauty and thus jealousy is a part of her very nature. Yet you, knowing how much the new woman pleases me, have treated her more kindly than I have myself. These actions are those of a child to her parents or a minister to his ruler, how unexpected it is to find this in a queen to her husband." The queen thus knew that her husband did not suspect her of jealousy. When she next met with the new girl the queen told her: "His majesty is much taken with your beauty but he dislikes the shape of your nose. When next you serve him be sure to cover it with your hand." Grateful for the advice, when she next served the king this is what she did.
The next day the king asked his queen: "The new woman covers her nose when she is with me. Do you know why?"
"I know." replied the queen.
"Well then no matter how unpleasant you must tell me the reason."
"It seems she does not like the way your majesty smells."
"The shrew!" cried the king.
In a rage the king ordered that the unfortunate girl's nose be cut off.

See Modern Example