树上开花

 
shù shàng kāi huā (shu shang kai hua)
tie flowers to the dead tree (make something worthless appear valuable or something of no threat appear dangerous)

Tying silk blossoms on a dead tree gives the illusion that the tree is healthy. Through the use of artifice and disguise make something of no value appear valuable; of no threat appear dangerous; of no use, useful.

Three Kingdoms Period China

During the final years of the Three Kingdoms, Suma Yan usurped the throne of Wei, made himself king, and changed the name of the kingdom from Wei to Jin. News of this reached the neighboring king of Wu who knew that his kingdom would be the next likely target of the ambitious Suma. He worried so much that he died several days later. Sun Hao then inherited the throne of Wu and immediately took to pleasure and vice neglecting state affairs. Over the next few years the new king of Wu grew increasingly paranoid and had dozens of his advisors and commanders and their entire families executed on the slightest suspicion and as a result he was widely reviled. Hearing that the people of Wu despised their king, Suma ordered a naval attack led by commander Wang Chun. The king of Wu had no idea of what to do against the impending naval attack. He convened what remained of his council and one advisor recommended stringing a bamboo barrier across the river to prevent the fleet from reaching the Wu capital of Jian Yeh. The king agreed and heavy bamboo cords were made and strung just below the surface. When Commander Wang heard about the barrier he laughed. He ordered his men to build huge rafts from timbers on which were erected straw dummies dressed in armor and holding weapons. The dummies were soaked in oil and a trip mechanism was attached that would ignite the dummies when the rafts struck the barrier. The rafts burned through the bamboo and continued on down stream to the Wu capital. The spectacle of a fleet of rafts full of burning men so frightened the Wu troops that they fled in terror. Suma captured Wu and went on to found the short-lived Jin dynasty.

Warring States Period China

Use deceptive appearances to make your troop formation much more powerful than it really is. When wild geese soar high above, the grandness of their formation is greatly enhanced by the display of their outstretched wings.

During the Warring States period, Yan joined forces with Qin, Han, Zhao and Wei to attack Qi. More than seventy cities in Qi fell. Only two cities still held out for three years: Lu, where the king of Yan was staying, and Jimo under the command of the resourceful Tian Dan.

Tian Dan collected a quantity of gold and sent it to the Yan general Qi Jie with a message, "Jimo is about to yield. Please don't seize our wives and concubines." The Yan soldiers were overjoyed and became sluggish.

Tian Dan began gathering more than a thousand bulls in the city. He covered them with purple silk and painted fantastic stripes of various colours. Daggers were fixed on the horns of the bulls. Oil-soaked straws were fastened onto the animals' tails.

That night, several breaches in the city walls were made. The straws on the bulls' tails were lit and the raging animals charged out of the city. 5,000 soldiers followed behind.

The Yan troops panicked when they saw the 'strange beasts'. Meanwhile, there rose from the city a deafening racket that shook heaven and earth. Qi Jie was killed.

Before long, Qi recovered the other cities and became a military power in the region.

Meaning: “三十六计”之一。亦比喻将本求利,别有收获。

借局布势,力小势大①。鸿渐于陆,其羽可用为仪也②。

【注释】

①借局布势,力小势大:句意为借助某种局面(或手段)布成有利的阵势,兵力弱小但可使阵势显出强大的样子。

②鸿渐于陆,其羽可用为仪:语出《易经.渐》卦。渐,卦名,本卦为异卦相叠(艮下巽上).上卦为巽为木,下卦为艮为山。卦象为木植长于山上,不断生长,也喻人培养自己的德性,进而影响他人,渐,即渐进。本卦上九说“鸿渐于陆,其羽可为仪,吉利,”是说鸿雁走到山头,它的羽毛可用来编织舞具这是吉利之兆。

此计运用此理,是说弱小的部队通过凭借某种因素,改变外部形态之后,自已阵容显得充实强大了,就象鸿雁长了羽毛丰满的翅膀一样。

【按语】

此树本无花,而树则可以有花,剪彩贴之,不细察者不易发,使花与树交相辉映,而成玲珑全局也。此盖布精兵于友军之阵,完其势以威敌也。

【解析】

用假花冒充真花,取得乱真的效果,前边已作过分析。因为战场上情况复杂,瞬息万变,指挥官很容易被假象所惑。所以,善于布置假情况,巧布迷魂阵,虚张声势,可以慑服甚至击败敌人。

此按语的最后—句,是将此计解释为:把自己的军队布置在盟军阵地上,以造成强大声势慑服敌人。不过,古今战争史上,还没有发现这方面的出色例子。

【探源】

树上开花,是指树上本来没有开花,但可以用彩色的绸子剪成花朵粘在树上,做得和真花一祥,不仔细去看,真假难辩。

此计用在军事上,指的是:自已的力量比较小,却可以借友军势力或借某种因素制造假象,使自己的阵营显得强大,也就是说,在战争中要善于借助各种因素来为自己壮大声势。

无人不知张飞是一员猛将,而他却是一个有勇有谋的大将。刘备起兵之初,与曹操交战,多次失利。刘表死后,刘备在荆州,势孤力弱。这时,曹操领兵南下,直达宛城,刘备荒忙率荆州军民退守江陵。由于老百姓跟着撤退的人太多,所以撤退的速度非常慢。曹兵追到当阳,与刘备的部队打了一仗,刘备败退,他的妻子和儿子都在乱军中被冲散了。刘备只得狼狈败退,令张飞断后,阻截追兵。

张飞只有二三十个骑兵,怎敌得过曹操的大队人马?那张飞临危不惧,临阵不慌,顿时心生一计。他命令所率的二二十名骑兵都到树林子里去,砍下树枝,绑在马后,然后骑马在林中飞跑打转。张飞一人骑着黑马,横着丈二长矛,威风凛凛站在长板坡的桥上。

追兵赶到,见张飞独自骑马横矛站在桥中,好生奇怪,又看见桥东树林里尘土飞扬。追击的曹兵马上停止前进,以为树林之中定有伏兵。张飞只带二三十名骑兵,阻止住了追击的曹兵,让刘备和荆州军民顺利撤退,靠的就是这“树上开花”计。

【故事】

战国中期,著名军事家乐毅率领燕国大军攻打齐国,连下七十余城,齐国只剩下褛莒和即墨这两座城了。乐毅乘胜追击,围困莒和即墨。齐国拼死抵抗,燕军久攻不下。

这时,有人在燕王而前说:“乐毅不是我燕国人,当然不会真心为了燕国,不然,两座城怎么会久攻不下呢?恐怕他是想自己当齐王吧,”燕昭王倒不怀疑。可是燕昭王去世,继位的惠王马上用自己的亲信名叫骑劫的大臣去取代乐毅。乐毅知道与己不利,只得逃回赵国老家。

齐国守将是非常有名的军事家田单,他深知骑劫根本不是将才,虽然燕军强大,只要计谋得当,一定可以击败。

田单首先利用两国的士兵都具有迷信心理,他要求齐国军民每天饭前要拿食物到门前空地上祭祀祖先。这样,成群的乌鸦、麻雀结伙地赶来争食。域外燕军一看,觉得奇怪:原来听说齐国有神师相助,现在真的连飞鸟每天都定时朝拜。弄得人心惶惶,非食害怕。

田单的第二手,是让骑劫本人上当。田单派人放风,说乐毅过于仁慈,谁也不怕他。如果燕军割下齐军俘虏的鼻于,齐人肯定会吓破胆。骑劫觉得有道理,果然下令歌下俘虏的鼻子,挖了城外齐人的坟墓,这样残暴的行为激起了齐国军民的义愤。

田单的第三手,是派人送信,大夸骑劫治军的才能,表示原意投降。一边还派人装成富户,带着财宝偷偷出城投降燕军。骑劫确信齐国已无作战能力了,只等田单开城投降吧!

田单最绝的一招是:齐军人数太少,即使进攻,也难取胜。于是他把城中的一千多头牛集中起来,在牛角上绑上尖刀,牛身上披上画有五颜六色、稀奇古怪图案的红色衣服,牛尾巴上绑一大把浸了油的麻苇。另外,选了五千名精壮士兵,穿上五色花衣,脸上绘上五颜六色,手持兵器,命他们跟在牛的后面。

这天夜晚,田单命令把牛从新挖的城塘洞中放出,点燃麻苇,牛又惊又燥,直冲燕国军营。燕军根本没有防备,再说,这火牛阵势,谁也没有见过,—个个吓得魂飞天外,哪里能够还手。齐军五干勇士接着冲杀进来,燕军死伤无数。骑劫也在乱军中被杀,燕军一败涂地。齐军乘胜追击,收复七十余城,使齐国转危为安。田单可以算是善于运用各种因素壮大自已声势的典范。

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