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2. This is a fan work and the interpretation represents only the translator’s personal views without any input from the author.
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There was no movement from the room. Then, as expected, after a while, Liu Chang Gui came out. With a conciliatory smile on his face, he said softly, “Mum, Xiaozhen’s body….”
He hadn’t finished speaking, when Liu Gao shi cut him off. “Stop spouting nonsense! Tell your wife to get up and come prepare the meal! My rural family cannot afford to maintain a noble young lady. If things continue like this, then we should go to the Jia household for a discussion! My family cannot afford this type of daughter-in-law!”
“Mum! Can’t you be reasonable?”
“Who are you calling unreasonable?!” In a flash, Liu Gao shi’s face flushed red with anger, her pitch rising exponentially. No matter how good tempered a person was, there was no way they could tolerate their own son speaking to them like this.
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Kwpv yp pbl oyp nyaaukdt y cypkd sq zywdeau vs vbl akhlapkel vs oypb, Tl pbk pyo Mbkae yde Nkw Qys pbk iwyaalzkdt. Fbl plv esod vbl cypkd yde oldv vs prlyj okvb Nkw Ubydt Qwk. “Mbkae, bso nyd usw prlyj vs xwx vbkp oyu? Rd vbl lde, alyzzu, obs kp vbl wdalypsdyczl sdl? Zswa okql byp clld xyaakle kdvs vbl qyxkzu qsa y qlo xsdvbp, cwv byp pbl lhla esdl vbl zywdeau? Tso xydu xlyzp byp pbl ralryale qsa vbl qyxkzu? Zsw esd’v oydv vs pnsze uswa okql? Wkdl. Jwv dso usw’al lhld vwadkdt yaswde yde nakvknkgkdt xwx qsa clkdt wdalypsdyczl?”
Nkw Ubydt Qwk aszzle bkp lulp yv bla, pyukdt, “R’x vyzjkdt vs xwx. Mbkp kp dsdl sq uswa cwpkdlpp!”&dcpr;
Nkw Qys pbk aykple bla hsknl. “Tso eyal usw prlyj zkjl vbyv vs uswa lapys1 二嫂/ Oapys – Slqlap prlnkqknyzzu vs sdl’p bwpcyde’p plnsde szela casvbla’p okql! Gqvla tlvvkdt xyaakle, usw’al clbyhkdt xsal yde xsal yrryzzkdtzu?!”
Ekvb vbyv sdl pbswv qasx Nkw Qys pbk, Nkw Ubydt Qwk pbaydj cynj, byhkdt alyzkgle bl oyp kd vbl oasdt. Gv vbyv xsxldv, y elzknyvl hsknl qzsyvle swv qasx vbl assx, “Xb rzlypl, esd’v vbalyvld xl. Zswa vbalyvp esd’v qaktbvld xl. Rq y ekpnwppksd kp dllele, vbld zlv’p ts&dcpr; yblye yde byhl sdl! R’e sdzu fwpv ldvlale uswa bswplbsze, yde usw pvyavle vs rwv xl vs osaj. R’hl clld kzz, yde obyv vurl sq qyxkzu osd’v pwrrsav xl alpvkdt? Rv’p fwpv vbyv swa qyxkzu kp qwzz sq byae blyavle rlsrzl, kdpkpvkdt sd eayttkdt y pknj rlapsd swv vs osaj! Lso, xu kzzdlpp byp osapldle, yde ulv usw’al pvkzz kdpkpvkdt vbyv R nssj! Gal usw vaukdt vs osaj xl vs elyvb?
Nkpvldkdt vs Kky pbk’p czyvydv zklp, Nkw Qys pbk valxczle okvb ydtla. Nkhke, pbl rskdvle yv vbl okdeso.&dcpr;
“Rq usw oydv vs ekpnwpp vbkp, vbld zlv’p es kv rasrlazu! Ebld usw’e fwpv ldvlale vbl bswplbsze ol plv usw osajkdt? Xd vbl qkapv eyu sq vbl pkmvb xsdvb, usw tsv xyaakle. Xd vbl vbkae eyu, yp kp vbl vayekvksd, usw alvwadle vs uswa dyvyz bsxl. Jlnywpl vbl pkmvb sq vbl xsdvb oyp y prlnkyz eyu, usw oydvle vs pvyu vblal vs nlzlcayvl clqsal nsxkdt cynj. Fs qasx vbl qswavb, usw pvyule vkzz vbl 10vb sq vbl xsdvb! Ebspl eywtbvla-kd-zyo oswze lmvlde y hkpkv vs bla dyvyz bsxl qasx sdl eyu vs pkm?! Ebyv lmvaysaekdyau clbyhksa!”
Ekvbswv rywpkdt qsa calyvb, pbl nsdvkdwle sd yv y ayrke qkal rynl. “Ohld ekpnswdvkdt vbkp, sd vbl lhldkdt sq vbl 10vb, usw nyxl bsxl. Xd vbl 12vb, ol pvyavle vs rzydv vbl ywvwxd cwnjoblyv. Ohlausdl kd vbl qyxkzu oldv vs rkvnb kd. Jwv usw pyke vbyv clnywpl usw bye fwpv xyaakle kd, usw olal lxcyaaypple vs ts swv. R tyhl kd ytykd! Ohld okvb vbkp, usw’al pvkzz dsv pyvkpqkle….”
Nkw Ubydt Qwk clnyxl kxryvkldv. Nkpvldkdt vs Nkw Qys pbk’p zkvydu sq nsxrzykdvp, bl kdvlaawrvle okvb y pbswv. “Odswtb xwx!”
Having gotten cut off midstream by her son, Liu Gao shi became incandescent with rage. Her pitch rose even higher. “Even if you didn’t go to the fields, surely it would have been alright to ask you to prepare the meals right? I even told First’s oldest daughter, Xian’er, to assist you, but what did you say? You said you had never prepared a meal at home, and you didn’t know how it was done! At the time, I was too busy in the fields to deal with you, so you took it even further and let 10-year-old Xian’er prepare it instead. What kind of sanshen are you? All day, just waiting to be served!”
Liu Gao shi pointed toward Second’s room, saying, “Xu’er is only five, but even so, every day, she would go to the fields to carry water and food to the family. And what did you do? Nothing! Lounged in bed all day long! After being married for two months, you had done no work for the family! How do you have the nerve to say that you were set to work immediately after marriage?!”
“Mum! Stop it.”
Liu Gao shi turned toward Liu Chang Gui and scolded. “And you! Before marrying this lazy woman, you still knew how to behave. After marrying this idle woman, you’ve become too good to work? What laziness! The farming season is over, but it is still 2 months to the new year. Your brothers all know to go and look for odd jobs, but you? You just sit at home accompanying your wife! Are you still human?!”
Liu Chang Gui stiffened his back and wanted to retort, but seeing his old mum trembling with rage, unsteady on her feet even with ersao’s assistance, he didn’t dare say anything.
In the room, Jia shi delicately coughed. “Alright, scold us, properly scold us. If your son isn’t human, then who gave birth to him?”
Liu Gao shi was wildly angered. Heavily banging on the window, she shouted, “You, come out. Come out here now! In which household would a daughter-in-law stay inside the room and answer back while her mother-in-law is outside?!”
On seeing the situation, Liu Chang Gui stamped his foot anxiously. “Enough, stop quarreling! Others will see and laugh at us!” Saying this, he actually turned, went into his room and barred it, obviously refusing to come out!
Liu Gao shi nearly passed out from rage. Thankfully, He shi was supporting her or she might have fallen. Again, she berated them, but was ignored, the door firmly closed. Helpless with rage, she was eventually persuaded to return to the main house supported by He shi .
Watching the show from the sidelines, Liu Xu’er and Liu Lin looked at each other. Mouth twitching, Liu Xu’er commented. “Sanshen is just too lazy.”
Liu Lin nodded in agreement. “Sanshen is a lazy woman!”
Under normal circumstances, if he heard these two discussing elders behind their backs, Liu Shu would take it upon himself as the elder brother to lecture them. However, having just witnessed that entire scene, Liu Shu also felt that this sanshen’s behavior was just too ridiculous. As the one who was in the wrong, she still answered back to nainai while hiding in her room. How was this the behavior of an elder? So, when he heard the two disparagingly comment on sanshen, Liu Shu said nothing.
However, because it was so noisy outside, the sleeping Liu Sen woke up. Rubbing his eyes, he sat up and opened his mouth. “Mum!”
Liu Shu quickly went over to carry him down. Coaxing him, he carried him off the kang to let him relieve himself before carrying him back to wash his hands and face as well as giving him some water to drink.
He shi was at the main house for a while to help calm Liu Gao shi down before she continued to the riverside to do her laundry. This was also to avoid having to be at the house when it was time for the afternoon meal to be prepared. After all, Jia shi had obviously refused to prepare the meal, so when it came time, it would more than likely fall to He shi to do it. He shi could not possibly encourage this bad habit, so she resolutely decided to leave and only return after the mealtime had passed.
After instructing Liu Shu, He shi left.
Throughout Liu Gao shi and Jia shi’s quarrel, Ma shi hid in her house. Hearing peace return and seeing that He shi had gone out to do her laundry, she emerged and headed for Liu Gao shi’s room.
Still lying on the windowsill, Liu Lin immediately told Liu Xu’er in a low voice. “Dashenzi is definitely going to try to sow more discord!”
Liu Xu’er didn’t have time to agree before Liu Lin said, “I’m going to listen!” Saying this, the little monkey agilely jumped off the kang and dashed to squat under the main house’s window.
Back in their own room, Liu Xu’er watched him amusedly. Of course she also thought that Ma shi had definitely gone over to instigate trouble.
Ma shi was a two-faced hypocrite and she liked to flatter those above while crushing those below her. Because her family had some small wealth, although Ma shi disliked Jia shi’s laziness, she would never directly confront her. Instead, she would always go to Liu Gao shi behind her back. And because He shi’s family was poorer than even the Liu family, Ma shi had always treated her unkindly, often pulling rank on her to scold her. This poor treatment extended to her children; if it wasn’t a scolding from Ma shi, it was a beating.
Liu Xu’er especially hated Ma shi. When she was only two, she was slapped by Ma shi without her parent’s knowledge. After hitting her, she even tried to frighten her into not telling her parents! Threatened that if she tried, she would get beaten again! Strung up and beaten!
If she really was two years old, she would definitely have been scared into obedience! But Liu Xu’er was not, so on their return, she told He shi. He shi immediately took up her kitchen knife and fought with Ma shi. If Liu Chang Ge and Liu Chang Qi weren’t there to pull her away, He shi’s kitchen knife might have really found its way to Ma shi.
Since then, Ma shi had been more circumspect.
From the courtyard entrance, someone suddenly called. “Hello! Is anyone home?”
Liu Xu’er lifted her head to look out. There stood a 12- or 13- year-old lad standing at the entrance, craning his neck to look in the house. His shout startled the eavesdropping Liu Lin. He quickly disappeared back to the room. Once back on the kang, he told Liu Xu’er. “Dashenzi really did go over to incite nainai! She said sanshen cannot continue to be this lazy! And that she was done picking up after her! What a joke! Why didn’t she say anything when they were quarreling earlier?”
After saying this, he joined Liu Xu’er up on the kang, and looked out the window.
“Who is he?” Liu Xu’er asked.
Liu Lin shook his head. “I don’t recognise him”. Turning his head, he called. “Ge, someone’s at the door.”
Liu Shu was busy helping Liu Sen put on his jacket. He made a small sound of acknowledgement.
Liu Gao shi and Ma shi had also heard the disturbance. After coming out of the house, Ma shi asked, “Who are you?” But Liu Gao shi recognised him.
“Oh! Aren’t you our xiaojiuzi2 小舅子/ Xiaojiuzi – Refers to one’s wife’s younger brother?”
The youth walked in smiling. Bowing toward Liu Gao shi, “Hello Aunty, my mum asked me to look for my erjie3二姐/ Erjie – 姐/Jie refers to one’s older sister. This could be a person’s actual sister or an older female within the same generation/ group. 二/ Er would specifically refer to the second in the lineup, so one’s second older sister. My xiaoshushu4小叔叔/ Xiaoshushu – Refers to one’s father’s youngest brother has returned, and they’ve asked her to go home to see him…”
He hadn’t finished speaking when Liu Chang Gui finally heard the voice from outside and came out of his room. After seeing him, he exclaimed, “Oh! Isn’t this Xiaoli!” Turning, he shouted toward his room. “Xiaozhen, it’s Xiaoli!”
From the window, Liu Xiu’er saw the previously immovable Jia shi run out of her room like a gust of wind, even leaping over the doorsill.
Seeing the obviously lively Jia shi, both Liu Gao shi and Ma shi’s face darkened.
A stranger had come to the village, so several curious children followed along behind to watch the fuss. They started to exchange pleasantries in the courtyard, when several passing adults also joined in to watch. Looking at the entryway, Liu Xu’er saw that neighbor, Old Woman Wang, among the curious onlookers.
In the courtyard, Jia Xiaoli was being held by his erjie. He quickly, smilingly said, “Erjie, xiaoshushu has come back.”
In her surprise, Jia shi’s voice rose an octave. “What! Xiaoshushu? The one who went out to sea? What…. What’s going on?”
Jia Xiaoli was just a half grown boy. Unable to explain the situation clearly , he scratched his head and said, “Isn’t it just that he returned? What do you mean, what’s going on? Mum and dad asked you to hurry home and see him. Oh, and xiaoshushu has married while he was away.”
Seeing her mouth fall open in astonishment, as if caught completely unprepared, Liu Chang Gui hastily said, “Let’s go in. Let’s speak inside.”
Liu Gao shi also nodded her head. “Yes, go in and chat.” Saying this, she told Liu Chang Gui. “Pour your xiaojiuzi a glass of water.” With that, she turned to return to her room. With a junior like Jia Xiaoli around, it wasn’t appropriate for her to stick around.
Jia Xiaoli smiled at Liu Gao shi. “Thanks Aunty!” Turning his head, he pulled on Liu Chang Gui and said softly. “But mum and dad said to go back today… If we can return, we should try to go today.”
Liu Chang Gui scratched his head. He turned to ask Jia shi, “Who was your xiaoshushu? Was it the one who went out to sea over 10 years ago? The one who no one was sure had survived?”