The Landowner And His Wife

Chapter 78: Buckwheat Noodles


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.

Liu Xu’er used some red thread to make a necklace and hung the longevity locket on it. Then, on the 14th day of the eighth month, the entire family went to visit He shi’s maiden village. 


When they entered, everyone was there to greet them. He shi took out the gifts she had prepared for her family while Liu Xu’er’s laolao kept grumbling that she shouldn’t have wasted the money. He shi’s dadimei was also stunned when she received the locket and repeatedly offered her thanks. 

Liu Xu’er took the opportunity to drag her xiaoyi out of the house while everyone was occupied. “Xiaoyi, are the clothes my mother asked you to make ready yet?

The entire house of people laughed. Laolao quickly got He Ruyu to bring Liu Xu’er to try on her new outfits. He Ruyu took Liu Xu’er by the hand and brought her to her own room. 

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Mbl qlo swvqkvp olal nsxrzlvlzu esdl. Nkw Dw’la vakle sd lynb sq vblx, clqsal qlktdkdt ktdsaydnl yde ypjkdt, “Dkysuk, eke xu swvqkvp vyjl usw y zsv sq vkxl? Pke vblu nywpl uswa osaj sd vbl bydejlanbklqp vs cl elzyule?”

Tl Swuw pxkzle yde alrzkle, “Ls, obu yal usw ps osaakle? Rpd’v kv ldswtb vs byhl dlo nzsvblp vs olya!”

Nkw Dw’la rsjle bla zkr swv, “Rv xwpv’hl elzyule usw. R byhld’v plld usw yaswde vsod! Dkysuk, yal usw pwal lhlauvbkdt’p qkdl?”

Tl Swuw zssjle yv bla pvaydtlzu. Fbl pxkzle yde pyke, “Xq nswapl lhlauvbkdt kp qkdl. Dkysuk kpd’v y qaliwldv hkpkvsa vs vsod, ps obu es usw ypj? Ps usw sqvld ts vs vsod?”

Nkw Dw’la iwknjzu alprsdele, “R’hl clld iwkvl y qlo vkxlp! Pwakdt vbl Qkaz’p Wlpvkhyz, R lhld pvyule kd vsod! Dkysuk, twlpp obs R xlv vblal?” Fbl pyke xupvlakswpzu.&dcpr;

Tl Swuw oyp fwpv nblnjkdt vs pll kq bla pzllhlp olal zsdt ldswtb. Fxkzkdt, pbl aykple bla blye yde zssjle yv bla. “Ebs?”

“Yys Mbkae!”&dcpr;

Rxxlekyvlzu, Tl Swuw’p qynl nbydtle. Fbl iwknjzu pvyavle vs ypj, “Tso eke usw pll bkx, eke usw bkel qasx bkx…. Tl eked’v es yduvbkdt vs usw, eke bl? Pke bl alnstdkgl usw? Ebld usw pll y rlapsd zkjl vbyv, usw pbswze yhske bkx.”&dcpr;

Liu Xu’er ignored her and continued, “Mao Third got beaten up! He nearly got beaten to death by my sishu!”


He Ruyu was stunned speechless at that. She looked at her and said, “So you were with your sishu? Why did your sishu beat him up?”

Liu Xu’er huffed and said, “I wasn’t with my sishu! I went with dad to town, and stayed with Shi Cheng and my two brothers. At night, Shi Cheng and I went out to play and saw Mao Third! Shi Cheng had just pulled me to hide away when my sishu appeared from nowhere and gave him a good beating!”

Liu Xu’er started to become more and more animated. Full of life and verve, she re-enacted parts of the scene and made her sishu out to be a dashing hero. Especially the part when Mao Third was hurled into the water, she vividly imitated how Mao Third begged pitifully for his life. 

If He Ruyu were not so stunned, she would have burst out laughing. As it was, she just stared, stunned at the retelling. Riveted on the story, she alternated between blushing, and paling with fright. 

Liu Xu’er pretended that she knew nothing. After she had shared everything, she even turned to He Ruyu and said, “Xiaoyi, now you don’t need to be afraid anymore. My sishu has beaten up the rotten egg! That rotten egg won’t dare to bully you anymore!”

He Ruyu suddenly flushed. She pretended unconcern and said, “Nonsense! Your sishu…. How could it be because of me….”

Liu Xu’er looked up innocently and said, “Why can’t it be because of you? My sishu doesn’t know Mao Third, so why else would he beat him up?”  She saw that He Ruyu was discomfited enough to hide her very red face and guessed that her xiaoyi had understood everything. She didn’t dare to say much more, so she turned her attention back to her new clothes. “In any case…. My sishu is so awesome!”

He Ruyu’s head was still lowered – she was probably just too stunned. Liu Xu’er could only tug on her sleeve and change the topic. “Xiaoyi, why are my clothes so large?”

At that, He Ruyu looked up. Her entire face was still flushed. She quickly answered, “That’s…. It’s because it’s for winter wear. You would need to wear layers under it. Also, xiaoyi deliberately made it larger so that you can grow into it. This way you can wear it for a few years.”

Liu Xu’er smiled and said, “They’re so pretty! The colour is so bright and fresh… I’m going to show it to mum!” Saying that, she ran out of the room. As she left, she stuck out her tongue, and hurried over to the main room. 

When she got to the main room, both He shi and her laolao were there. They stopped their conversation to look admiringly over her outfit. Both of them smiled and said that it was beautiful. Laolao said that when Xu’er dressed up, she looked like a little lady. 

He Ruyu was also dragged into the conversation, but she still carried a strange expression. Her face red, she would occasionally glance, scared, at Liu Xu’er. Liu Xu’er guessed that she was worried that she would accidentally share the earlier incident with the people here. To assure her, Liu Xu’er popped off to play with He Xiuxiu. 


After playing for a while, the family decided to quickly head back. After all, they anticipated Liu Shu and Liu Lin to return home this afternoon. They hadn’t been back long when Liu Shu and Liu Lin arrived back. 

After this half year away from home, and all that time spent studying as well as learning how to do business, Liu Shu and Liu Lin were subtly transformed. From their actions and expressions, minute changes were seen everywhere. 

Besides bringing back a box of six mooncakes, they had also brought back four tools – a saw, a chisel, a plane and an ink-line 1 Analogous to the chalk-line

When Liu Changgeng saw them, he was delighted. On closer inspection he saw that most of them even looked new. Unable to contain his surprise, he said, “Did you buy these?” These carpentry tools were rather expensive. Only people who wanted to go into the carpentry line would buy them. 

Liu Lin answered first, “There was a carpentry shop on our neighboring street that is shutting down. The owner wants to move to Hanzhong City to open a new shop and so he was looking to offload his current tools. The person was familiar with Uncle Xiaochen, so he asked us if we wanted them. Ge and I thought that dad only has a file and an axe, and it’s not easy to use them to make the little ornaments. Dad often has lots of cuts on his hands because of that. So since these items were going cheap, and we could use them for the long run, we asked Uncle Xiaochen to buy them for us…. When dad and mum visited last time, we still hadn’t received the tools, and Uncle Xiaochen was there, so we didn’t think it was convenient to explain then….”

Liu Changgeng quickly asked, “How much did you spend?” Before lovingly running a hand over the plane. 

“2 taels and 300wen. That’s why you only received about 2000 wen when you came to the shop. Actually, during the Ghost Festival, we managed to make over 4000 wen.”

Liu Changgeng was shocked again, this time because the items had been so cheap. Under ordinary circumstances, a single plane would be 1.5 to 2 taels of silver. He quickly nodded and said, “It’s still…. Really good!” Although it cost a fair amount of money, it was still a bargain!

“But the ink-line is old. They said that they would give it to us.” Liu Lin smiled and said, “The owner is eager to sell, so lots of things were half off. Dad, when our business gets better, shall we also go to Hanzhong City?!”

Liu Changgeng smiled. Nodding, he casually agreed, “Alright!” Then he took a closer look at the ink-line. The ink was placed in a small container, with some string, similar to the type of string used for kites, passed through it. The rest of the string was coiled and fixed on top of the ink-line. When in use, the carpenter would pull on the tab, and the string would go past the inkwell, staining it with ink. Then two people could stretch it out and mark the wood with the string. By sawing along the line made, a person would be able to ensure they made a straight cut, and would save on wood. 

Image of an ink-line. It is analogous to the chalk-line used by western carpenters, except of course, ink is used in this case. Source

Before, whenever He shi was cooking, Liu Lin would definitely make a trip or two to the kitchen to check on what was being made. But this evening, he didn’t even go once. He stayed with Liu Shu in Liu Xu’er’s room, discussing their plans. It had been a long while since Liu Sen had seen his two elder brothers. When he saw them, he was overjoyed, and kept moving between the two of them. 


On the day of the Mid Autumn Festival, everyone in the family got up really early to wash up and change clothes. He shi took out new outfits for all her children to wear, before packing some dried mushrooms and 10 eggs. Then she brought Liu Xu’er over to the old residence to help Liu Hong prepare the evening meal. Liu Changgeng stayed back to kill and clean a rooster before bringing the rest of the family over. 

The chicken had just started stewing when Yuan Hao came over, bearing gifts. In his arms was a large rooster, as well as two carp. He also brought two pieces of cloth. In addition, Yuan Hao brought something familiar to northwestern households. It was something that people knew about, but had seldom seen. 

It was a buckwheat noodle press. He didn’t own it but had borrowed it from his big brother. 

Above: Image of a buckwheat noodle press. Source

Below: Image of the press in use. Source

Northwesterners all knew about buckwheat noodles, but villagers seldom got to eat it. This press was not something most people could afford. Also, to make the noodles required males because it was too heavy, and most women couldn’t use it. 

Old Man Liu was thrilled to see it. His mustache kept puffing up in his delight. He kept repeating that they could only enjoy this delight because of Yuan Hao. Then he personally brought it to the kitchen he seldom visited and instructed the busy He shi and Liu Hong to make sure they kneaded the dough properly! Otherwise, the noodles wouldn’t taste good. 

The two of them smiled and agreed. When Old Man Liu left, He shi started to tease her xiaogu softly, “What good fortune awaits you after you get married. You can have buckwheat noodles everyday!”

Liu Hong flushed and responded, “Saozi stop teasing. This was borrowed from his elder brother…. Xu’er is here!” She gestured toward Liu Xu’er who was sitting on a stool preparing the vegetables. 

With all the women together, it was a lively chatty atmosphere. He shi really wanted to speak with Liu Hong privately, so she thought about sending Liu Xu’er out. But when she saw how much vegetables were left to prepare – who knew how long it would take to do all that! – she dispelled the notion. She only smiled and said, “There’s no need to worry about food anymore.”

Liu Hong naturally wanted to change the topic. She was still unmarried after all! So she simply smiled and retorted, “Ersao, isn’t it the same for you now? Who would have thought that after we separated the family, all of us would start to do better than before. If we had known…..”She realised it wasn’t appropriate to say anything further, so she just smiled and cut herself off. 

He shi  said, “It’s also because we got lucky. Who would’ve thought…. At that time, if we hadn’t injured our legs, we wouldn’t have gone along with the children’s suggestion. Who knew that they actually managed to make something out of it.”


Liu Hong smiled and said, “Little Xu’er wasn’t blindly making suggestions – Xu’er had learnt from her xiaoyi….. Isn’t that right, Xu’er?”

Liu Xu’er quickly nodded, “That’s right!”

Liu Hong smiled and said, “Now that Xu’er has managed to make something of the business, she still remembers her ye and nai! Sige and I are able to bask in their reflected glory…. Last month, she even got us some cloth! Sige was just lamenting that he had intended to use his pay from Landowner Xia to buy her some cloth! Who knew she would strike first?!”

He shi smiled and said, “What’s there to quibble over! Aren’t we all a family? Whoever is able to help, should just help!”

Just as they were speaking, they heard Liu Changshi say from outside, “Dage, you’ve come!”

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