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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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Thankfully, as the work peaked, Yuan Hao brought some of his workers with him to help them out. He had hired help to help him with his fields. Although he himself wasn’t idle, it still took them 20 days of hard work to sow his 20 mu of land. After squaring his fields away, he immediately came over to help.
The instant they came, the work was significantly lightened. Liu Shu and Liu Lin didn’t need to go to the fields any longer. Both of them had fallen sick from fatigue; they just didn’t have the strength to get up. After resting for a few days, both of them had recovered.
After a month, they had managed to finish sowing their land. After that, it took Liu Changqi and Liu Changshi another seven to eight days to return from Landowner Xia’s. After all, Landowner Xia had given good money to hire them. He naturally would squeeze them for his money’s worth.
The two of them were exhausted. The instant they got back, they headed in to rest.
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Tsolhla, obyv oswze aliwkal pwnb y zyatl yxswdv sq aycckv qwa? Sktbv dso, pbl nswzed’v vbkdj sq yduvbkdt. Fbl nswze sdzu nsdvkdwl vs wpl kv vs xyjl qsalblye cydep yde pnldv pynblvp. Rq pbl alyzzu nswzed’v wpl kv qsa yduvbkdt lzpl, pbl oswze ts yde plzz vbl qwa vs vbl xkeezlxld. Xq nswapl, aktbv dso, pbl pvkzz eked’v byhl pwqqknkldv iwydvkvu qsa vbyv.&dcpr;
Gqvla qkdyzzu qkdkpbkdt wr okvb prakdt psokdt, Tl pbk bye bla vkxl qalle wr. Fbl pvyavle vs xyjl qkhl-nszswale cydep, yp olzz yp psxl nasnblvle ydkxyzp. Fllkdt vbyv, Nkw Dw’la bktbzktbvle vbyv ewydow oyp yrrasynbkdt. Fkdnl qkhl-nszswale cydep olal nsxxsdzu osad ewakdt vbkp rlakse, pbl yehkple bla vs xyjl xsal sq vblx. Gp qsa vbl nasnblvle ydkxyzp, Nkw Dw’la pyke vbyv pbl nswze xyjl y qlo, cwv dsv vss xydu. Rv oswze cl clpv kq pbl nswze vbkdj sq y oyu vs nasnblv psxl qzsolap kdpvlye. Mblu nswze rsvldvkyzzu pvakdt y qlo sq vblx vstlvbla yde plzz kv yp y vurl sq caykele nsae qsa nbkzeald vs olya.
Liu Xu’er asked her dad to help her make a large chest, the type adults used to store clothes. Liu Changgeng immediately agreed. Last year, when they separated the family, he had already planned to make the family some furniture. It was just that he had only managed to make a few of the more urgent items before he broke his leg and had to stop for a while.
Now that the land had been planted, all that he needed to do was to loosen the earth, add fertilizer and weed the fields. He definitely had spare time.
The last few days in the fourth month passed in this way.
Liu Hong’s wedding had been set for the 10th month of this year. Originally, Liu Hong wanted to wait till next year – after all, the family had been rocked with so much change recently. However, Liu Gao shi didn’t agree, because after being betrothed to each other, the future son-in-law was expected to bring gifts to them at every single festival.
Liu Gao shi was unwilling to let others believe that she was delaying her daughter’s marriage for these few gifts. She was proud and she was unwilling to let others gossip about Liu Hong over this matter.
Old Man Liu generally listened to Liu Gao shi, especially since she usually had good reason for her decisions. So the wedding date was set to be the eighth day of the 10th month.
He shi went over to Liu Hong and took over some of her work. She helped her to make a blanket as well as bed curtains.
Liu Changgeng also started to make wooden chests. The first was for his daughter, the second was for his sister, as part of her wedding trousseau. As for the rest of the furniture…. Well, his carpentry skill was limited. He would think about it after making the wooden chests.
After resting for half a month, Liu Shu and Liu Lin had recovered. Since all the work at home had been settled, the two of them returned to town to continue to attend school. But this time was different from last. Now, the family didn’t lack eggs, so He shi boiled over 10 eggs for them to bring. There was enough for one egg each, everyday.
They brought the eggs along with the five-coloured bands and other goods back with them to town.
At the end of the fourth month, the two female rabbits had each delivered a litter. Liu Xu’er and her parents were very busy for a few days, settling the little babies. At this time, Shi Cheng had asked a fellow villager to invite Liu Xu’er to town to celebrate Duanwu. Also, he wanted her there to discuss some matters with Liu Shu and Liu Lin, so although school would let out for Duanwu, Liu Shu and Liu Lin would stay in town over the festival as well.
Liu Changgeng discussed the matter with He shi. They had planned to get He shi to bring Liu Xu’er to town, while Liu Changgeng stayed home with Senzi, but there was a sudden change of plans. Liu Changgeng had shared their intentions with Liu Changshi and Liu Changshi mentioned that Yuan Hao planned to head to town on Duanwu as well. As Liu Changshi intended to hop a ride with him, he offered to bring Liu Xu’er with him instead.
Liu Changgeng was pleased. This way, He shi wouldn’t need to head out. She could continue to watch Senzi at home. So he nodded his agreement.
Early on Duanwujie, Liu Xu’er accompanied Liu Changshi out in Yuan Hao’s cart. When Liu Xu’er left, she dug up the 200 wen that Liu Shu had left at home. She needed to start paying rent. It had been three months after all. She just wasn’t sure how well everything had sold, and whether they had enough to make rent for a month.
She was silent for most of the trip, worrying over the matter the entire trip there. Yuan Hao found it strange. He had met her several times before, and each time the little girl was always very lively. How was it that she was so quiet today? So he smiled and asked, “Xu’er what are you thinking about?”
Liu Changshi smiled, “Are you still unfamiliar with your Third Uncle1 Yuan Hao is the third son in his family, hence the address “Third Uncle”. Uncle in this case is the generic honorific that a member of the younger generation would have to use to address him. ? Shy?”
Liu Xu’er quickly turned her attention to them and smiled, “What do I need to be shy about? Xiaogufu still hasn’t given me his greeting gift! I want a big and heavy red packet!”
Liu Changshi and Yuan Hao both laughed at that. Yuan Hao naturally started to tease her. Smiling, he nodded and said, “Sure! Xiaogufu promises you that there will definitely be a large red packet for you!”
Liu Changshi laughed again. In any case, Liu Hong wasn’t around and he was a young, fun-loving man. So when Yuan Hao joined Liu Xu’er in addressing himself as “gufu”, he didn’t pay it too much mind.
Although Yuan Hao’s vehicle was just an ordinary flat bottomed cart, it was being pulled by a sturdy mule, and was much much quicker than the usual ox cart. Also, an awning could be fixed over his cart, so that on rainy or snowy days, it would offer some protection.
“Sishu, what are you going to town for today?” Liu Xu’er asked.
Liu Changshi paused before answering. “Your Third Uncle Yuan wants to purchase some items from town, and asked for my opinion…. Since I am with him, I will also just buy a few things.”
If this answer was given to an actual child, they would definitely believe it. But Liu Xu’er wasn’t that easy to fool. Sishu looked like he was up to something!
Yuan Hao was a naturally quiet person, however, ever since he had become engaged to Liu Hong, he had become good friends with Liu Changshi. Also, Liu Xu’er was a smart little girl, so he became a bit chattier than usual. He asked Liu Xu’er if she liked new clothes, and also asked her what Liu Shu and Liu Lin still needed for school?
Liu Xu’er immediately knew what he was up to. She resolutely shook her head. She didn’t like new clothes and her brothers didn’t need anything. Of course, Yuan Hao didn’t believe her, but his impression of this sensible little girl rose tremendously.
They very quickly got to town. Liu Changshi asked Liu Xu’er, “Do you want to accompany us, have lunch and then go and look for Shi Cheng, or do you want to look for Shi Cheng now?”
Shi Cheng was looking for her, so Liu Xu’er immediately said, “Sishu, can you bring me to Shi Cheng’s place. There’s no need to worry about me or my brothers. You and Third Uncle Yuan go ahead and shop! You can pick me up from Shi Cheng’s shop in the afternoon!”
Liu Changshi nodded his head and sent her over.
Shi Cheng was already waiting at the door. Seeing her, he delightedly waved at her. “Xu’er! Why did you come so late! Your brothers have been here since yesterday night!”
“What!” Liu Xu’er was shocked. She turned and waved goodbye at Liu Changshi and Yuan Hao, but Liu Changshi had heard what was said. He wanted to go into the shop to look in on Liu Shu and Liu Lin. However, as he did so, he saw two teenage girls in the shop. Liu Lin had just taken and shown them a necklace. Liu Changshi hurriedly backed out.
“We will be off then. Stay in the shop, and don’t wander about. There are so many people out today – don’t get yourself kidnapped! We will have the noon meal together!” Liu Changshi said.
Liu Xu’er quickly agreed. She was watching anxiously to see if the necklace would be sold! Following Shi Cheng into the store, she saw Liu Shu bent over at the counter. He was flicking at the beads of an abacus. She went over, while still keeping an ear on Liu Lin’s conversation. She softly asked Liu Shu, “Dage, have you learnt how to use an abacus?!”
Liu Shu raised his head. Seeing it was her, he smiled and shook his head sheepishly, “How could that be… I’m still learning….” He embarrassedly scratched his head. “I’ve just learnt how to manipulate the beads. I don’t know how to do anything else.”
Shi Cheng said, “You need to memorize the mnemonic first. Once that’s memorized, you will know how to do everything!”
“How has business been so far?” Liu Xu’er asked Shi Cheng
Shi Cheng smiled mysteriously. Looking over at where Liu Lin was, he said, “Wait for them to leave first.”
Although she was impatient, Liu Xu’er also felt that it was inappropriate to discuss these matters when customers were around. She could only wait. Looking around, she asked, “Where is Uncle Xiaochen? How come he isn’t here?”
Shi Cheng smiled and replied, “This store mainly sells things for women. When we opened the shop, we noticed that most of the customers were women, from the matrons, to the little wives. At his age, it wasn’t convenient for him to attend to them…. He scared them all off! So now, only I am out here while he stays in the back. If I need help, I will go and call for him. However, since your brothers started coming over in the afternoons, I haven’t needed his help.”