1. This is an unofficial translation and no permission has been obtained from the author/ official publisher. It may be taken down if the author/official publisher requests.
2. This is a fan work and the interpretation represents only the translator’s personal views without any input from the author.
3. No permission has been granted to use, publish, upload and/or copy this translation to any other site except for Second Life Translations.
On the 10th day of the second month, Liu Changgeng brought Liu Shu and Liu Lin to town. Sending them to the teacher’s residence, he settled their school fees for the year. There were still at least 20 days before spring sowing would begin in earnest. Around them, quite a few students present, probably trying to take the time to learn as much as they could before the busy period started.
The teacher offered boarding at his place for a fee. It would cost 100 wen per month, per person. Liu Changgeng gritted his teeth and gave 200 wen so that Liu Shu and Liu Lin could both stay there.
Then he gave them 300 wen for any food purchases. Although the teacher could provide meals, it would be another 100 wen per person, per month. There wasn’t a choice about accommodation, but meals weren’t the same. He shi had prepared a large basket of buns for the two brothers.
The 300 wen was mostly a just-in-case measure. In the event something went wrong, they could use the money. And on occasion, the money could also be used for them to buy some food for when they wanted a change from their usual fare.
The following parts of the text will be scrambled to prevent theft from aggregators and unauthorized epub making. Please support our translators by reading on secondlifetranslations (dot) com. If you are currently on the site and and you are seeing this, please clear your cache.
Nkw Ubydttldt nyalqwzzu alxkdele vbl vos csup. Mblu dllele vs pvyu y qwzz xsdvb, vkzz vbl 10vb eyu sq vbl vbkae xsdvb, clqsal blyekdt cynj. Mbld bl ytykd vsze vblx vs ts shla yde vyjl y zssj yv vbl pvsal obldlhla vblu’e vbl vkxl.&dcpr;
Mbl vos casvblap alrlyvlezu dseele vblka blyep. Fllkdt bso xwnb xsdlu bye fwpv clld rswale kdvs vblka lewnyvksd, Nkw Fbw nswzed’v blzr qllzkdt wrplv.&dcpr;
Gqvla zlyhkdt vbl vlynbla’p alpkeldnl, Nkw Ubydttldt blyele shla vs Fbk Ubldt’p pvsal. Tl eke ps qsa vos alypsdp. Xdl, kd vbl xsdvb vblu olal yoyu, Nkw Dw’la bye rasewnle xsal bydeknayqvp obknb bl dllele vs plde shla. Mos, bl oydvle vs nblnj bso olzz vblka kvlxp bye psze.&dcpr;
Fsxlobyv pwarakpkdtzu, vbkdtp byed’v psze vss olzz. Mblu bye sdzu xydytle vs plzz y qlo sq vbl zkvvzl nasnblvle ydkxyzp yde sdl sa vos sq vbl zkvvzl osseld qkpb. Mblu byed’v lhld xyel 20 old.
Jwv yqvla blyakdt vbyv, Nkw Ubydttldt oyp alzklhle. Rv oyp yp vbswtb bl nswze qkdyzzu rwv vbkp xyvvla esod vs alpv. Fxkzkdt, bl vsze Fbk Ubldt dsv vs osaau. Tl pbswze fwpv nsdvkdwl sd yp yzoyup.&dcpr;
Fbk Ubldt eked’v qllz vbyv yduvbkdt oyp oasdt lkvbla – kv oyp fwpv vbl oyu cwpkdlpp oyp. Tsolhla, bl oyp yoyal vbyv vbl Nkw qyxkzu bye bye hlau bktb bsrlp qsa vbkp ldelyhsa, ps bl nsxqsavle bkx cu pyukdt vbyv kv oyp fwpv rypv vbl Llo Zlya. Vlsrzl esd’v wpwyzzu dlle yduvbkdt ewakdt vbkp rlakse.&dcpr; Jwpkdlpp oswze rascyczu rknj wr nzspla vs vbl qswavb yde qkqvb xsdvbp, obld kv pvyavle vs clnsxl oyaxla.&dcpr;
Nkw Ubydttldt prldv bkp alvwad fswadlu kd vbswtbv. Valhkswpzu, bl bye clld pvwnj kd cle, ps bl nswze ldvlavykd bkp eywtbvla’p qzktbvp sq qydnu. Jwv vbkdjkdt ycswv kv dso, qyaxkdt oyp pvkzz vbl xsal alzkyczl aswvl! Mblka qyxkzu elqkdkvlzu oswzed’v cl ps zwnju yp vs pweeldzu pvakjl kv aknb. Gp y hkzzytl rlapsd, kv oyp xsal kxrsavydv vs pvknj okvb obyv vblu jdlo osajle.&dcpr;
Xq nswapl, Nkw Ubydttldt eked’v kdvlde vs vlzz bkp eywtbvla dsv vs nsdvkdwl vs osaj sd bla bydeknayqvp. Gqvla yzz, vbl pvsal bye yzalyeu srldle, yde vbl xsdlu bye yzalyeu clld prldv. Fkdnl bkp eywtbvla zkjle eskdt vbkp, vbld pbl pbswze. Nkw Ubydttldt pbssj bkp blye yde pvyavle vs rzyd obyv bl dllele vs es dlmv. Fkdnl bkp zlt bye alnshlale, bl dllele vs ts yde ralryal vbl qklzep.&dcpr;
After returning, he updated Liu Xu’er. Xu’er was undeniably disappointed by the result, but she wasn’t someone who was emotionally fragile. She had carefully thought the matter through before deciding to do this – she wouldn’t give up just because of this little setback. She continued to busy herself with her handicrafts everyday.
The first batch of good quality threads had all already been used to make braided cords and decorative knots. Dad had already sent in all those items when he went to town. So from today on, she wouldn’t focus on making those anymore, putting her attention solely on embroidering handkerchiefs. Handkerchiefs would definitely not be difficult to sell – after all, they were used on a daily basis.
Whenever He shi managed to carve out free time between household chores, she would use coarse thread to either crochet some little animals or make five-coloured bands. By now, she had already branched out into making many different types of animals, such as little rabbits, prawns, crabs and what not. By stringing them together, the ornaments could be worn by children on Jingzhe1 惊蛰/ Jingzhe – Also known as Awakening of Insects. It falls between the 6 – 20th of March.
It was the beginning of the third month, just before Jingzhe. The days had gotten much warmer and had been so for the past seven to eight days, warming and softening the earth beneath them. It was time to begin plowing.
Last year, the Liu family had agreed to provide two men to Landowner Xia for spring sowing and autumn harvest. Now that Third had moved to town, the family had to discuss their plans.
The day before, Liu Changshi had come over and told Liu Changgeng that dad had asked someone to go to town to look for Liu Changgui. Liu Changgui had agreed to come back the next day. He asked Liu Changgeng to be present during his return. Liu Changgeng of course agreed.
Very early in the morning, Liu Changgeng started to head off after breakfast. He shi quickly called out to him, “Wait! These days, we’ve quite a few eggs. Take some over to mum and dad. After all, over the New Year period, we had quite a few of their eggs.”
Saying this, she headed to the kitchen and took out her prepared little basket. Liu Changgeng took it and said, “If you’ve time today, could you clean out the chicken coop? With the changing of seasons, the temperature may swing a lot. If a chicken falls sick, it could wipe them all out.”
“Alright, I’ve got it.” He shi was quite busy these days. With such fine weather, she had taken the entire family’s laundry to wash. Seeing that there was still sun today, she wondered if she could quickly take the clothes her children were wearing for a wash. Also, the blankets – they too needed to be opened and washed….
After sending Liu Changgeng to the door, she watched him head toward the old residence. Her husband was rather tall, and after all those years of doing the farmwork, he was rather fit. It was just that he still had a bit of a limp. Watching that tall strong back limp along, He shi couldn’t resist a small giggle.
At the side, someone started to laugh at her, “What? Can’t you bear to let your husband leave?”
He shi turned. Aunt Wu was standing there, carrying a large basin laughing. She flushed mildly and quickly said, “Aunt Wu, are you headed out to do the laundry?”
Aunt Wu smiled and nodded. “That’s right. The weather these past few days has been really good. Everything that can be washed, should be washed… I saw that your entire courtyard has also been filled with drying laundry. You must have also been taking advantage of the good weather!”
He shi nodded and said, “That’s right! I was just thinking about taking what the children are wearing to wash as well. I am just worried the good weather won’t last. What if, after opening up their cotton jackets, the weather turns cold again? I kept hesitating to do it these past few days, and now I really regret that!”
Aunt Wu quickly replied, “There’s no need to be in such a hurry! Although the weather has been good recently, who knows if there will be a sudden spring chill? There’s no urgency to wash what the kids are wearing. It’s all the same if you wait till the fourth or fifth month to wash it! It’s even alright to wait till summer before washing them!”
“That’s true.” He shi smiled. “Then I will listen to Aunt and wait a while longer.”
Aunt Wu nodded. Smiling, she said, “I need to go now – I will leave you be.” Saying this, she hefted the basin and walked toward the little stream.
Below the stream’s bridge, there were many large stones. This was the best place in the village to do laundry. All the women tended to go there when they needed to wash clothes.
He shi decided to follow Aunt Wu’s advice, and gave up on the idea of opening and washing the children’s jackets. A sudden cold snap was not to be taken lightly.
She had just grabbed a broom to clean out the chicken coop when she heard a loud greeting from outside, “Hey! Aren’t you Liu Hong? It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen you. Aren’t you preparing for marriage? How is it that you’ve come out today?”
He shi immediately dropped her broom and walked toward the courtyard entry. She saw a 40 year-old woman holding onto Liu Hong, chatting away at her. Liu Hong’s face was flushed completely red and her eyes conveyed her desperation.
He shi quickly went over to pull Liu Hong away. Smiling, she pulled her toward her own house before saying to the older woman, “Aunt, you should quickly do what you need to do. The weather is so good these days, it’s best to quickly get it done and not linger over chatting!”
The woman hmphed and left.
He shi pulled Liu Hong in before asking, “Why are you….”
But Liu Hong anxiously interrupted, “Saozi! You need to come over. Dasao and sansao have all come and have just…. Anyway, everyone is just glaring daggers at each other. Sansao is incessantly irritating mum and dasao is just helping her! I am afraid that mum can’t handle it by herself…. I can’t….”
“Where’re your ge?!” He shi asked.
“Sange is already about to fight with erge and sige!”
“Ok, ok, ok! I’ve got it!” He shi had finally understood what she intended. Turning, she headed toward the house, “I will go over with you.”
When He shi entered the room, Liu Xu’er was embroidering handkerchiefs on the kang. She quickly instructed her, “Xu’er, please watch Senzi. I am going with your xiaogu to the old residence. If we aren’t back by noon, make Senzi something to eat. There are still buns from the morning. There are also some vegetables. You can use that to make some vegetable soup.”
Liu Xu’er quickly said, “Ok, I will! Mum, did something happen?” She saw that He shi was looking rather flustered.
“It’s nothing.” He shi responded.
Originally Liu Sen was playing on the kang. But when he heard the conversation, he wasn’t having it. Loudly he protested, “I want to go! I also want to go to ye and nai’s house! I want to go too!” Saying this, he rolled around the kang. He didn’t even stop when he reached the edge, and was about to fall over.
That caused both He shi and Liu Xu’er to panic. They rushed over to push him back. Thankfully, He shi managed to catch him. In her upset and worry, she gave Senzi a good smack on his bum. “Why should you go?!”
Senzi was wearing rather thick clothes, so the smack didn’t even sting. He stiffened his back and cried loudly, “I want to go! I want to see ye, I want to see nai!”
By now, Liu Hong had come in, her face anxious.
Liu Xu’er put her handkerchief down and asked, “Xiaogu, what’s going on? Did something happen over at ye and nai’s place?”
“No…. Nothing happened.” Liu Hong managed to force a smile. Seeing that Senzi wouldn’t be calmed down quickly, and since she was quite anxious – she was very worried that her mother would be so angry that something might happen to her – she quickly said to He shi, “Ersao, why don’t we just bring Senzi and Xu’er along.”
He shi had no choice. She could only carry Liu Sen out, instructing Liu Xu’er, “Lock the main door on the way out!” Saying this, she rushed ahead with Liu Hong.
Liu Hong didn’t know what had happened, but she could tell that it was something serious. She quickly checked the house – the kitchen stove and what not, before leaving and locking up. Then she joined them at the old residence.
She had just entered when she saw that the place was in chaos. Old Man Liu was chasing and hitting Liu Changgui, while Liu Changgeng, Liu Changshi, Liu Changqi were just standing at the side, watching quietly, not even trying to stop him.
Instead, it was sansaozi, Jia shi who dashed ahead and pushed at Old Man Liu. She shouted, “Go ahead and beat us! Don’t you want to beat us to death? Then go ahead!”
As a daughter-in-law, she still dared to push back at Old Man Liu. Liu Gao shi was so angry, she nearly fell over. Thankfully Liu Hong was there to support her.
Ma shi stood at the side, coldly laughing. He shi went over to grab hold of Jia shi’s arms, but was nearly tripped by Ma shi.
Having just witnessed what Ma shi had done, Liu Xu’er’s anger immediately boiled to the surface.
Senzi was standing at the corner of the wall. Sucking on his fingers, he was watching the chaos, and hadn’t noticed that Liu Yun’er was heading toward him with a dark expression on her face.
Liu Xu’er trembled, as her anger soared.