成語故事

Eight Decalitres of Talent

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.

才高八斗

曹植是三國人,天資聰穎,10歲就可以寫一手好文章。

有一次,他的父親曹操看了他的文章後,非常驚訝地問︰「這是你寫的嗎?」曹植忙跪下說︰「我下筆就可以成章。如果父親不相信,我願意接受測試。」這時正好銅雀台落成了,於是曹操命自己的幾個兒子各寫一篇記文。曹植提筆便寫下了名篇《銅雀台賦》,曹操這才相信曹植的文采的確高人一籌。

後來曹植的哥哥曹丕作了皇帝。曹丕心眼小,容不下這個弟弟,找了個罪名要處死他,說︰「如果你能在七步之內做成一首詩,我就饒了你。如果做不成,可不要怪我了!」曹植請他出個題目。曹丕說:「就以兄弟為題目,但不許出現兄弟二字。」曹植走出六步吟了一首詩︰「煮豆持作羹,漉豉以為汁。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,把豆梗抱來當柴燒。豆梗在鍋下呼呼地燒著,豆子在鍋裡哭泣著︰『我們都是一條根上長出來的,你為甚麼要這樣狠心地煮我而不肯輕饒我呢?』)」曹丕聽了,羞愧地放了他。

晉朝詩人謝靈運說︰「天下才有一石(十斗),曹子建(曹植)獨佔八斗。(才高八斗)」

「才高八斗」比喻文采極高。


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