For many centuries, the Chinese people have lived the legend of the harsh emperor Cao Pi and his younger brother Cao Zhi from the house of Cao Cao. Cao Zhi is the only writer of the Six Dynasty era, whose name is mentioned among the greatest poets of China.
Once the emperor ordered the poet to walk seven steps to the throne and during this time to have time to add verses. The disobedience threatened heavy punishment. Cao Zhi managed to fulfill the order. He recited “Poems in Seven Steps.”
There are different versions of the translation of the famous lines of Cao Zhi by prominent Russian sinologists and translators of Chinese poetry.
The Seven Steps
Cooking a chowder, put beans in the cauldron,
Bay water, brought to a boil.
Below, like brushwood, beanstalks burn,
And the seeds, crying, say to their stems:
“From the root of one with you, we are born,
Relatives are so cruel why are you tormenting ?! ”
Beans are boiled
The stems burn under the cauldron.
“We are all related by kinship!
The root is one!
Is it possible to torment relatives?
Take your time
Put us on fire! ”
(lane Cherkassky L.E.)
And another option:
A bonfire from bean stalks is burning
And the beans boil in the fire
About her bitter fate
Both cry and cry beans in the cauldron.
– We have one root, –
Moans of beans.
We are brothers to you, stems, not slaves.
Since then, the expression “cook beans, burn stems” has come into use and has become synonymous with hostility between brothers.
There is another interpretation of these verses: when a person wants to compliment and emphasize his mind and quick wits, they say that he can add “verses in seven steps”