Saturday, 27 November 2010

Eight Decalitres of Talent--才高八斗

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Tsau Pi and Tsau Jr were sons of Tsau Tsau. Both were very gifted writers, and Tsau Jr was especially quick-witted.

After Tsau Tsau's death, Tsau Pi took over the throne of the kingdom of wei. Jealous of Tsau Jr's literary ability, and afraid the he might cause problems, Tsau Pi was always looking for a way to kill his brother. One day, Tsau Pi called Tsau Jr into see him. He ordered his brother to make up a poem with in the time it took to walk seven steps, adding that if he could not, his life would be in danger.

Greatly saddened, Tsau Jr began to walk and to think. Before he had taken the seven steps, he had already finished his poem, the meaning of which was: "Brothers are of the same family, so why should the oppress each other?"

Tsau Jr was very intelligent and loved to study. He wrote many outstanding articles which showed his artistic talent and earned him the admiration of many people. One scholar said of him: "Heaven gave the world ten decalitres of talent, and Tsau Jr alone has eight of them."

Today, to say that a person "has eight decalitres of talent" is to say that he has a great aptitude for writing.

有一次,他的父亲曹操看了他的文章后,非常惊讶地问∶「这是你写的吗?」曹植忙跪下说∶「我下笔就可以成章。如果父亲不相信,我愿意接受测试。」这时正好 铜雀台落成了,於是曹操命自己的几个儿子各写一篇记文。曹植提笔便写下了名篇《铜雀台赋》,曹操这才相信曹植的文采的确高人一筹。
后来曹植的哥哥曹丕作了皇帝。曹丕心眼小,容不下这个弟弟,找了个罪名要处死他,说∶「如果你能在七步之内做成一首诗,我就饶了你。如果做不成,可不要怪 我了!」曹植请他出个题目。曹丕说:「就以兄弟为题目,但不许出现兄弟二字。」曹植走出六步吟了一首诗∶「煮豆持作羹,漉豉以为汁。箕在釜下燃;豆在釜中 泣。本自同根生,相煎何太急? (大意∶要把豆子煮成豆豉,把豆梗抱来当柴烧。豆梗在锅下呼呼地烧著,豆子在锅里哭泣著∶『我们都是一条根上长出来的,你为甚么要这样狠心地煮我而不肯轻 饶我呢?』)」曹丕听了,羞愧地放了他。

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