Tai Zong was very fond of calligraphy and had always wanted
to acquire the most famous calligraphy painting - The Lanting
Preface. The painting was in the possession of Bian Cai, a
monk at Yong Sin Temple. However, Bian Cai claimed that he
did not own the authentic copy. So Siao Yi was given the task
of visiting Bian Cai to steal the real Lanting Preface. Siao
Yi went incognito and brought with him two authentic works
by the famous calligrapher Er Wang as bait.
¡@¡@Siao Yi disguised himself as
a poor scholar taking a ferry to Yong Sin Temple to study
the murals in the temple. Seeing how impoverished Siao Yi
is, Bian Cai invited Siao Yi to dinner and to stay at the
temple for a while. In the following days, they chatted about
art and literature. One day, Siao Yi casually mentioned that
he had with him some authentic works by the famous calligrapher
Er Wang. Bian Cai asked Siao Yi if he could see them and found
that they were indeed authentic.
¡@¡@At this moment, Bian Cai mentioned that he, too, had a very
special collection. Siao Yi seized this opportunity and asked
him about it. Bian Cai told him, "I have the Lanting
Preface'' Siao Yi replied deliberately, "That's impossible.
I heard that the Lanting Preface was destroyed during the
war."Bian Cai replied, "The Lanting Preface had
been handed down through seven generations. It was given to
me by my late master. I will show it to you tomorrow if you
don't believe me."The next day, Bian Cai brought out
the Lanting Preface, and while Siao Yi was examining the work,
he deliberately pointed out a flaw and said that it could
not have been the authentic copy. Bian Cai expressed the wish
to see other authentic copies from Siao Yi so that he could
compare them with his own. Thinking that he would need to
compare it with other copies soon, he did not store it away
as he should, but had it lying around on the table.
¡@¡@Later, Bian Cai went out to do something. And Siao Yi told
the disciples who guarded the temple that Bian Cai forgot
something in his room. Thinking that he is an acquaintance
of their master, the disciples let him into their master's
room. Siao Yi took the Lanting Preface along with the works
of Er Wang that he brought with him and left.
Strategy 17: Toss Out a Brick to Attract Jade
¡@¡@ Use something similar as bait to entrap the enemy. Confuse
him with lies and illusions until he is trapped. This is the
strategy of using a small bait to catch something big.