[2nd Century b.c. Popularly known as "The Wag." The following memorial was forwarded by him in response to the Proclamation of Wu Ti (q. v.), calling for heroes to assist in the government. Tung-fang So became at once an intimate friend and adviser of the young Emperor, continuing in favour until his death. On one occasion he drank off some elixir of immortality, which belonged to the Emperor, and the latter in a rage ordered him to be put to death. But Tung-fang So smiled and said, "If the elixir was genuine, your Majesty can do me no harm; if it was not, what harm have I done?]
I LOST my parents while still a child, and grew up in my elder brother's home. At twelve I learnt to write, and within the year I was well advanced in history and composition. At fifteen, I learnt sword exercise; at sixteen, to repeat the Odes and the Book of History 220,000 words in all. At nineteen, I studied the tactics of Sun Wu, the accoutrements of battle array, and the use of the gong and drum, also 220,000 words in all, making a grand total of 440,000 words. I also carefully laid to heart the sayings of the bold Tzu Lu.
I am now twenty-two years of age. I am nine feet three inches in height. My eyes are like swinging pearls, my teeth like a row of shells. I am as brave as Meng Fen, as prompt as Ch'ing Chi, as pure as Pao Shu, and as devoted as Wei Sheng. I consider myself fit to be a high officer of State; and with my life in my hand, I await your Majesty's reply.