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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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Jia shi, who was still reeling from the news, nodded. “Wasn’t that so? He left more than 10 years ago, and there’d been no word from him. A few years ago, neighboring villagers told my parents that they saw my xiaoshushu when they went out to sea, but there’d never been any news from him since….”
Having said this, she quickly asked Jia Xiaoli. “How did xiaoshushu come back? And what type of person is xiaoshenzi1小婶子 – Refers specifically to one’s father’s youngest brother’s wife.? When you saw them…. How did they look?”
Jia Xiaoli was very excited by the question. He said, “Erjie, you’ve no idea! Xiaoshushu is now obviously wealthy! He came back in a big horse drawn carriage, accompanied by a gorgeous wife. Both of them were dressed in fine silks. You should’ve seen it, their clothes were so beautiful! They even had over 10 attendants following behind them! One look and you can tell they aren’t like us village folk. And also….”
Trailing off, Jia Xiaoli noticed that Ma shi, who had not left, was staring at him intently. Somewhat embarrassed, he lowered his volume, but his excitement continued. “Anyway, he’s definitely got lots of money. Xiaoshenzi’s hair ornaments were all gold or jade. I had a glance at a chest they brought – inside was filled with silver….”
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“Fbwv wr dso!” Kky pbk kxxlekyvlzu pyke ydmkswpzu, elzkclayvlzu zssjkdt yv Yy pbk obs oyp pvydekdt sqq vs sdl pkel, pvwddle.&dcpr;
Bdnyakdt sq vbl qynv vbyv Kky pbk oyp zssjkdt yv bla zkjl pbl oyp y vbklq, Yy pbk oyp csvb pwarakple yde ldhkswp. Typvkzu, pbl ralpple kd, ypjkdt Kky Dkyszk. “Pke usw alyzzu pll y obszl nblpv sq pkzhla? Xb xu tssedlpp! Tso xwnb kp vbyv? Pslpd’v vbkp xlyd vbyv uswa qyxkzu kp dso aknb! Ohld aknbla vbyd vbspl zkhkdt kd vbl nkvu!”
Kky pbk kdkvkyzzu oydvle vs iwknjzu rwzz Kky Dkyszk kdvs vbl assx vs prlyj iwklvzu. Fbl oyp fwpv ycswv vs alynb swv clqsal pbl pvsrrle. Slyzkgkdt vbyv vbkp oyp y oyu sq lzlhyvkdt bla pvydekdt kd vbl qyxkzu, pbl kxxlekyvlzu nbydtle bla xkde yde kd y pzktbvzu zswela hsknl ypjle,&dcpr; “Rp vbyv alyzzu vawl? Dkyspbwpbw kp alyzzu aknb, yde caswtbv cynj zsvp sq hyzwyczl kvlxp?!”
Kky Dkyszk bye fwpv clld nsole cu bla lyazkla nsxxyde vs alxykd iwklv. Ebld bl oyp ytykd ypjle kd vbkp xyddla, bl clnyxl wdnlavykd sq oblvbla bkp lafkl oydvle bkx vs pvyu iwklv sa ydpola bla. Tlpkvyvkdtzu, bl dseele yde psqvzu pyke, “Zlp, obyvlhla vbl nypl kp, bl caswtbv zsvp sq ralnkswp kvlxp cynj…. Oafkl, obu esd’v usw iwknjzu rynj wr yde blye bsxl?”
Kky pbk elqkdkvlzu eke dsv oydv vs oypvl ydsvbla plnsde! Cwknjzu ytallkdt, pbl vwadle vs alvwad vs bla assx clqsal vbkdjkdt vs ypj, “Dkyszk, obld eke mkyspbwpbw alvwad?”
Kky pbk’p rkvnb aspl yd snvyhl. Plzkclayvlzu, pbl ypjle, “Rq bl nyxl bsxl ulpvlaeyu, obu eke usw sdzu kdqsax xl vseyu?!”
Nkw Ubydt Qwk yzps pvyavle vs tlv vbl eakqv. Cwknjzu, aykpkdt bkp byde vs rwzz bla cynj, bl pxkzle yde pyke, “Rv xwpv cl clnywpl vbl qyxkzu oyp ps cwpu olznsxkdt vblx cynj, vblu eked’v byhl vkxl…. Ysal kxrsavydvzu, zlv’p dsv oypvl vkxl vyzjkdt. Nlv’p bwaau yde tlv alyeu qsa swa vakr cynj!”
At this, Jia shi hummed an agreement. She again directed her voice at Liu Gao shi’s window and said, “Mum, you’ve also heard it right? My xiaoshushu has returned to visit, and my family has asked me to go back to visit. Chang Gui and I are going to go now to visit!”
Without even bothering to enter Liu Gao shi’s room, she only shouted her intentions from the courtyard, before hurrying back to her own room. There was no response from Liu Gao shi’s room. Liu Chang Gui also hastened back to the room and soon after, both of them came out, each with a bag. Liu Chang Gui again addressed Liu Gao shi’s window and called. “Mum, we’re off!”
Jia shi locked the door to their room behind her.
“Aunty, we’re off.” Unlike the others, Jia Xiaoli still had a modicum of courtesy. After offering a word of goodbye, he went off with his sister and brother-in-law.
The onlookers at the door started to discuss what happened.
“Do you think there really was an entire chest of silver? My goodness, I’ve never seen anything like that before….”
“Forget a chest of silver, have you ever even seen a silver ingot?”
“No… Not even half an ingot, let alone a complete silver ingot…. Oh my, how much would that be? This Liu Family’s third daughter-in-law’s family seems to have struck it rich!”
“Are you sure it’s true? Just a little brat talking nonsense, how could there be so much silver?”
Both the subject of the crowd’s envy and discussion, Jia shi proudly walked through the group of people. Smiling, Liu Chang Gui followed, pulling Jia Xiaoli along by the arm.
They had gone for half a day when the stunned Ma shi finally recovered. Hurrying to the courtyard entrance, she wanted to find her usual group of like-minded, gossipy women to chat. She had just made it to the doorway when she heard Liu Gao shi call from behind, “Don’t go out! It’s already so late, if no one prepares the meal, do you want to get scolded when dad returns?!”
Shocked, Ma shi turned. “Mum! Today isn’t my turn to cook. It should be …. Sandimei’s turn!”
“She’s gone! How’s she supposed to make it now?”
“Then, it should be xiaoguzi’s2 小姑子/ xiaoguzi – Refers specifically to the youngest sister of one’s husband turn, why should I be asked to make it?” Ma shi straightened her back.
“Your xiaoguzi has gone with the cart to town to sell shoe insoles and eggs. She will only be back at night. You already know this! If you don’t make the meal, are you saying that I should be the one to prepare it? Or are you waiting to be scolded by your husband and father-in-law when they come back and there’s no food?! Hurry and make it! Otherwise, you can go to the riverside to do the laundry and your erdimei3 二弟妹/ Erdimei – Refers specifically to one’s husband’s/one’s second brother (who must be younger than one’s husband)’s wife. One’s second sister-in-law. can come back to make the meal!”
Liu Gao shi stood at the doorway, her face stony. Today, her third daughter-in-law clearly intended to humble her! A daughter-in-law dared to humble her mother-in-law! How could Liu Gao shi tolerate that? And now, First’s wife has started to argue over this little matter of making a meal, how could she possibly be pleased with that!
Ma shi stood, hesitating at the doorway for a good while, trying to decide if making a meal or doing the laundry was less trouble. In the end, she decided that making the meal was easier. After all, if she worked a little slower, she might be able to wait for He shi to finish the laundry and return to help her. On the other hand, if she went to wash the clothes, she would definitely have to do it by herself before being able to come back.
Muttering under her breath, she scolded. “This lazy woman! Let’s see how long you can be lazy for!” Huffing, she continued scolding her as she made her way to the kitchen, forgetting completely that when she first heard about the Jia family’s newly arrived wealthy relatives, she had planned to cozy up to them. She only knew that she had been taken advantage of! And it was all the fault of that lazy Jia shi!
It was only at this point that Liu Shu had managed to dress Liu Sen and come pressing up at the window to have a look. With that look, he saw that the courtyard had emptied of people, and the curious onlookers at the doorway had gone. He may not have managed to see what had happened, but he had heard everything clearly, and so he told Liu Xu’er and Liu Lin. “Alright, stop looking. You two stay at home and watch Liu Sen, I’m going to find mum.”
Liu Lin scratched his head. “Ge, nainai has said it before, you’re a boy. You’re not to go and help mum cook or wash clothes.
Liu Xu’er immediately gave Liu Lin a look.
Liu Shu laughed and said to Liu Lin. “If you don’t say anything, who would know? Mum has so much work to do everyday. If I can help, I should help. “ Saying this, he left.
After hearing that, Liu Lin became solemn and seemed to suddenly mature. He told Liu Xu’er, “Meimei, we should close the windows. It will get colder later in the evening. Let’s not get sick from the cold blowing in.”
Saying this, he got off the kang, and went to close the door.
After waking up, Liu Sen immediately took out a few rocks that were placed at the head of the kang to play. He didn’t have any actual toys – it was Liu Shu who had gone out to find a few interesting rocks, washed them and brought them home for him to play with. Liu Sen was quite happy with these toys.
At this moment, he was arranging the rocks two by two according to his fancy. Occasionally, little Liu Sen would raise his head and look at his jiejie. When Liu Xu’er looked back at him, he would give her a laugh.
Liu Xu’er went over laughing and snatched one of the rocks that was in Liu Sen’s hand, deliberately hiding it behind her back. Liu Sen lifted his head, dark eyes looking at her, as if wondering if she was playing with him, or if she had really wanted to steal his rock. After a moment, he decided that no matter what, he should still try and snatch it back. Haltingly, he crawled over, and in an instant had pitched himself against Liu Xu’er’s frame, saying “Jie, return it to Senzi4A diminutive of his name, return it to Senzi….”
Liu Xu’er was frightened by his action. Terrified that he may hit the kang and hurt himself, she stretched out her arms to grab him, forgetting that she was currently only a five year old child herself. Liu Sen’s solid fling caused her to roll backwards.
Liu Sen found that funny and started giggling.
Liu Xu’er also laughed, tapping his nose, she said, “That bump hurt! And yet you laugh.”
Liu Sen laughed even harder, rolling around the entire kang. He wanted to stand to repeat the action, but Liu Xu’er spotted him preparing to collect his strength to try again. Scared, she protested. “Oh,oh, don’t! I can’t catch you!”
She hadn’t even finished speaking when Liu Sen rushed over like a little calf. Liu Xu’er reached out to catch him, but got jostled into rolling twice before being stopped by the wall. Everything hurt!
Liu Sen still found it fun. He rolled on the kang, laughing. When he was done, he got up again to continue playing.
Both siblings laughed and played for a while more before they heard some activity coming from outside. The footsteps sounded different, like a “clomp, clomp, clomp”. Liu Lin let out a shout. “Dad’s back!” and ran out.
Liu Xu’er quickly climbed down from the kang. As she was climbing, little Liu Sen, who thought his older siblings would help him down, anxiously called out. “Dad, dad! I want to go too! Jie, carry Senzi, carry Senzi!” and waited at the side of the kang, arms outstretched.
Scared that in a moment of haste, he would fall off, Liu Xu’er put on her shoes and quickly stretched her hands to carry him down the kang. Exerting all her strength, she tottered over to the door, carrying him,
Liu Lin, who had just flown out the door, came running back. Carrying Liu Sen out, he told Liu Xu’er with great certainty, “Dad’s come home!”
Liu Xu’er had also seen it. From the courtyard entryway, her dad, Liu Changgeng, and dabo5大伯/ Dabo – 伯 / Bo refers to one’s father’s older brother. In this case, specifically it’s father’s eldest ( 大/ Da) brother., Liu Changqi, were walking in. At a distant doorway, talking to somebody unseen, was her sishu6 四叔/ Sishu – Refers specifically to one’s father’s fourth brother. The brother must be younger than one’s father., Liu Changshi.
Liu Changqi headed straight for the main house, but Liu Changgeng had spotted his children rushing out to greet him, so he stretched out his hands to scoop Liu Xu’er, who was running at the forefront, into his arms. “Xu’er! Were you a good girl today?”
Liu Xu’er refused to answer his childish question. Instead, she tilted her head and asked. “Dad, did you, dabo and sishu find any work? You look happy, so you must have found something, haven’t you?”
Liu Changgeng’s smile split his face. He tapped her nose, “Aren’t you just too clever for your boots! All day, worrying about weighty matters!”
The person behind laughed. “I think Xu’er is a sharp little imp! A little money grubbing imp!” Sishu, Liu Changshi appeared from behind, pulling Liu Xu’er away and prepared to toss her in the air.
Scared, Liu Xu’er screamed. “No, no! Sishu, don’t toss me up!”
“Still a timid little imp!” Liu Changshi was thrilled into laughing heartily.
However, Liu Changgeng, who had already started to carry his youngest son, also disapproved. “Don’t toss her up! What would happen if she fell!”