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Carrying Faggots to Put Out a Fire

In the last years of the Warring States
period, the State of Qin attacked the State of Wei on a large scale repeatedly
and occupied large areas of land, for the State of Wei was too weak to defend
itself. In 273 B.B., the qin army launched another attack upon the State of Wei
with a momentum more vigorous than ever. 

The king of the State of Wei summoned
his officials,and asked with a worried look if anyone could propose a way to
defeat the Qin army. After years of chaos caused by the wars,the officials
trembled when fighting was mentioned, and no one dared to speak ofresistance. At
the critical moment when a large enemy force was bearing down upon the border,
most of the offinials persuaded the king to sue for peace, at the cost of giving
away to the State of Qin the large area of land north of the Huanghe River and
south of the Taihang Mountain.

However Su Dai, a counsellor, did not agree. He
hurried up to the king and said:"Your Majesty, they don't think about the
interests of the country at all.It is just because they are cowardly and afraid
of death that they ask you to sue for peace by betraying the country. Of course
you can temperarily satisfy the ambition of the king of the State of Qin is
insatiably greedy. It will never stop assaulting us until our land is totally
given away."

Once there was a man whose house was on fire. People told him to put
out the fire with water, but he would not listen. Instead, he carried a faggot
to put out the fire, only to make the fire fiercer. That was because he didn't
know that,instead of putting out the fire, faggots could only make it burning
more vigorously. Isn't it equivalent to carrying faggots to put out a fire if
you agree to sue for peace at the cost of the land of the State of Wei?"

Su Dai's argument was very convincing, the king accepted the suggestion of those
officials and gave away to the State of Qin a large area of the land of the
State of Wei. For the king of the State of Wei was cowardly and only cared for
peace at the moment.As might be expected,the Qin army assaulted the State of Wei
on a large scale in 225 B.C.,surrounding the capital city Daliang and flooding
it by digging open the dykes of the Huanghe River.The State of Wei was finally
destroyed by the State of Qin.This story appears in the Historical Records
Written by Sima Qian.

The set phrase"carrying faggots to put out a fire"is used
to mean adopting a wrong method to save a situation and ending up by making it








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