Wan Bi Gui Zhao (To Return the Jade Intact to the State of Zhao)
In the Warring States Period (481 - 386BC), Zhao Wang (赵王), the King of the State of Zhao got an extraordinarily fabulous jade from someone. Qin Wang (秦王) the ruthless ruler of the state of Qin, who reigned a far more powerful country, also wanted the rare treasure badly, promising to exchange it with 15 cities.
It posed a thorny issue for Zhao Wang since he knew the personality of Qin Wang very well. The great chance were that he would obtain the jade without giving out 15 cities. However, given the strong militatry power of the state of Qin, Zhao Wang just couldn't turn him down. Zhao Wang and his officials weren't able to figur out a proper solution to deal with the stiky issue even after several discussions. At that critical point,one offical strongly recommended one of his bold and talented retainers named Lin Xiangru (蔺相如), as an envoy to the State of Qin. Zhao Wang interviewed Lin in person some days later. In the face of the king,Lin pledged that he would bring the jade back to the state of Zhao intact. Zhao Wang nodded with broad smiling on his face.
Later, Lin arrived in the state of Qin,presenting the shining jade to Qin Wang. Putting the treasure in his palm, Qin Wang was totally involved in appreciating it, almost forgot the surroundings. After through that, he passed the jade to his officials and imperial concubines for seeing, without showing any attempt to give 15 cities as he previously pledged to do.
Wating for a long time, Lin was pretty angry and feeling humiliated,thinking about how to handle this tough situation. Suddenly, one idea jumped into his mind. He stepped forward, saying: "my respectful king, there are some tiny flaws within the jade, let'me show you." Qin Wang handed the jade to Lin without hesitation.
As soon as he got the jade,Lin run to one of the pillars in the palace, shouting to Qin Wang: "Oh, my king, you are just enjoying yourself in apprecating the jade, not even bothered to mention the contract you pledged before,Which obviously demonstrating your insincerity. Thus, I made my mind to take back the jade. I 'll pumped myself rashily to the pillar along with the jade in the case you urged me to give you the jade." Being scared of the ruin of the jade,Qin Wang apologized to Lin instantly and asked his subsidiary to bring a piece of map, showing the 15 cities that he planned to present to the state of Zhao,plus,he added that he would set up a very formal and grand ceremony to pay his tribute to Lin's coming.
Lin saw throuh Qin Wang's plot at once. In that night,he instructed one of his soldiers, in shabby clothes, to send the jade back to the state of Zhao as quickly as possible. Several days later, Lin told Qin Wang during the banquet: "I've already sent the jade to the state of Zhao after sensing your insincerity. Nevertheless, don't be nervous my king, I'm not trying to break the contract as you might perceived so. As we all admit that,the state of Qin is incomparaet to the state of Zhao. Once you hand over the cities, we are not dare to refuse to give you the jade. Well, I knew clearly that what I did are due to offend you. So, please boil me to death for the wrong doing I commited."
Small wonder, Qin Wang flied into rage the instant he heard the statement, but he had no alternative but to let Lin go. If he killed Lin, not only did he won't obtain the jade, but aslso would devastate the realationship between the state of Zhao and the state of Qin. Therefore, Lin retruned to his hometown also intact.
Atfer ward, "to return the jade intact to the State of Zhao" is used to refer giving back sonmting incontact to its owner.