During the Spring and Autumn period (770 - 476 B.C.), a person from Zheng country came to talk to Qin Miaogong: "I am in charge of the entrance gate of Zheng. A Qin troop could come and attack Zheng secretly."
Miaogong sent three generals with their troops to attack Zheng. When the army arrived at the border of the Zheng, they met a Zheng businessman, Xian Gao, who was about to go to Zhou to sell his twelve cows. When Xian Gao saw the Qin army, he sent a person back to his country to deliver the urgent message. In the meantime, he walked towards the troop and said: "The Zheng emperor sent me here to offer a dozen cows to cheer up your soldiers from the honorable Qin country."
The three generals consulted each other and decided: "We originally planned to launch a surprise attack. Now the Zheng is prepared. Even if we go there, we can not achieve a surprise attack as planned." So they retreated.
Xian Gao's quick thinking used his twelve cows to avoid his country being ruined, showing his quick thinking and wiseness.
(From Historical Records)
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