Tang Lang Bu Chan (The Mantis Stalks the Cicada, Unaware of the Oriole Behind)
The King of State of Wu was determined to start a punitive expedition against the State of Jing, and so he declared before his ministers that anyone who dared to plead with him not to would be put to death.
Among his attendants was a young man who wished to stop the Prince from taking action but had not the nerve to speak out straightforwardly. However, he thought of a way. He went to roam around in the King's back garden with a bow in his hand and some balls in his bosom early in the morning until his clothes were all soaked. This he did for three days.
Told of this, the King beckoned to the young man, "Come over. What have you been doing there? You are asking for trouble, getting yourself so wet."
The young man replied: "There is a cicada resting high on a tree. It is chirping for all it’s worth and drinking in the dew, oblivious of a mantis behind. The mantis, bending over and arching up its front leg, is going to catch the cicada but does not know that there is an oriole beside it. The bird has stretched out its neck, ready to peck at the mantis. Again the oriole is unaware that it is under the threat of my balls, down below. The three creatures all covet gains ahead without being aware of an imminent danger behind."
"How well you've put it!" cried the King, and gave up his military venture.