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  • The Landowner And His Wife

    Chapter 85: Breaking Into The Market 


    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 Gao shi was overjoyed. For more than a month, her spirits were low and she was listless. With his return, she could finally let go of the heavy burden she’d been carrying. With a light heart, she entered the kitchen. She picked up the pork belly that He shi had set aside, thinking that there was enough food for dinner, chopped it up and made a braised pork dish! 


    The children had never before had something like this. When it was dished out, Liu Tao howled with delight! Liu Shu and Liu Lin stared unblinking at it, while Liu Yun’er’s saliva was just about overflowing her mouth. Liu Xian’er kept stealing glance after glance at it. 

    As usual, the dish was divided into two portions, one for the male adult table, but there was a good portion left for the children as well. As if she had suddenly been enlightened, Liu Gao shi sat down and dished out some of the meat for each of the children. “Eat! Everyone, eat! For all of us to be safe and sound is life’s greatest blessing!”

    Tonight’s meal was lavish – it was probably the most sumptuous meal Liu Xu’er had had in her young life. There was mushroom stewed chicken, ginger chinese cabbage, pig innards soup, cold pig ear salad, braised pork, lightly stewed fish, and lots of vegetable dishes including bamboo shoots and fern, stir fried cabbage, cold wild vegetable salad, chilled tofu stewed in chicken broth. 

    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.

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    After they had their noon meal, everyone was too exhausted to do anything, so they all went to their respective rooms to nap. 


    This year, Liu Xu’er had again meticulously made a few items to send to Shi Cheng’s father and mother. Since Shi Cheng’s mother was expecting, she made two little hand-warmers and as well as two bright coloured forehead bands to send to Shi Cheng’s mother. Shi Cheng’s mum was delighted by the gifts, and felt that she was a most sensible little girl. She had only taught her some handicrafts for a season, but this little girl had persistently kept her in her thoughts! 

    When Shi Cheng heard that she had outsourced the making of five-colored bands and the crocheted animals to her jiuma, he only nodded, “Those things are too time intensive, and don’t earn a lot of money – only a couple of wen each. In the beginning, it was fine to do them, but from this year, it’s really not worth your effort. Since you already know that pouches, braided cords and such sell very well in the sixth, seventh and eighth months, then just concentrate on making those.”

    Liu Xu’er said, “I just don’t know if the hand-warmers are saleable. I can’t think of how else I can use rabbit fur…. If the hand-warmers don’t sell, then what would happen to all my rabbit fur?”

    Shi Cheng shook his head, “They are definitely sellable. You’ve only tried to make your new design before, and have never tried the traditional style. You should try to make more of the traditional design. It’s alright to raise the price, after all that style does require more rabbit fur. So long as you use good cloth and make sure that the embroidery is exquisite, even if you can’t sell it here, you can definitely sell it in Hanzhong or Xianyang cities. You’ve never been to Xianyang, but I’ve seen hand-warmers being sold for 10, 20 taels of silver there.”

    Liu Xu’er looked at him, “Really?”

    Shi Cheng smiled and said, “Why would I lie to you about this? Remember, no matter the era, things for women and children sell. The same item made using different materials, and sold in different places can fetch very different prices. For example the headscarves in our store – the lowest quality cloth scarf is 5 wen per piece. But if you walk the streets, the better quality scarves can fetch several 10s to over 100 wen. And if you were to visit Xianyang, they can sell for a few taels, a few 10s of taels, or over 100 taels of silver. They have the entire range! And there are buyers… Since they are offered for sale, that means there is a demand. If not, then no one would be putting them up for sale!” After he said all that, he smiled at her and asked, “Do you understand?”

    Liu Xu’er understood what he meant – there must be a market for the goods. What the market needs is what people would provide. And what he said did make sense; if they tried to charge 10s of taels for a hand-warmer in their little shop, people would think they were crazy. But if they brought it to a major city like Xianyang, people there might just think it normal. The most important thing was that the hand-warmers must be exquisitely made, so that it was worth the price.

    She nodded and said, “I understand. I’ve actually already thought about it. This year I will make some of the muff-style hand-warmers. They should be able to sell, not like the previous hand-warmers I made…. As to making them exquisite, I will make the necessary preparations.”

    Shi Cheng nodded. 

    After the two of them spoke for a while, they separated and went home. 

    After the discussion with Shi Cheng, Liu Xu’er gave serious thought to their business plans. He had good suggestions – after all, right now their enterprise had started to have some semblance to a home workshop. For this kind of tiny workshop, it was anathema to make too many different items, because there was not enough manpower to keep up production for all of them. It was best to make a few of the more expensive items instead. Of course, this needed to wait till they had sufficient fundamentals. Right now, they couldn’t afford to give up any of their current items yet. 

    With this in mind, Liu Xu’er had a discussion with He shi. They decided to make more of the muff-style hand-warmers, because those used more rabbit fur. Each of them would be priced at five taels of silver. Even if they didn’t sell, it was fine. They would keep. And when they had the chance, they could bring them to Hanzhong or Xianyang cities to sell them. Of course, they needed to ensure that they were of good quality – they would need to match the quality of the embroidered scent sachets at least.


    He shi naturally agreed. By now, their handicrafts formed the majority of the household’s earnings, and the amount they were bringing in was formerly unimaginable. 

    On the 16th day of the first month, Shi Cheng, Liu Shu and Liu Lin went back to town for two reasons. First, they wanted to check on the store’s situation – they wanted to know what sales were like before the New Year – and second, it was the day that Liu Changshi was bringing his goji berries to sell. When Liu Lin and Liu Shu heard, they insisted on coming along and Liu Changgeng had agreed. 

    Last year, goji berries had an abundant harvest in Ningxia. Because Liu Changshi had gone close to year end, everyone was urgently trying to offload their goods. As such, the goji berries cost much less than Liu Changshi had expected. Red dates however, hadn’t seen such a drop in price. Since the goji berries were cheaper, and they were much smaller, allowing him to carry back more, Liu Changshi decided to buy only goji berries. 

    As he had planned, the cart and donkey were both purchased during Liu Changshi’s journey. After all, when he returned he would surely be bringing back lots of goods, so he definitely wouldn’t be able to carry all of it back himself. He had kept an eye out for it on the journey there, and managed to buy them at a little town he stopped by. 

    The original plan was for him to be back before the New Year, but because he had come back too late, all the shops were closed. As such, he could only wait for the 16th of the first month. 

    Shi Cheng was also rather curious about this first sale and so they decided to go first with Liu Changshi to the dried goods shop before heading over to the store. 

    Although the dried goods shop was open, they were still in the process of tidying the store up. Two of the shop assistants were busy weighing bag after bag of goods in preparation for their re-opening. There were few customers; after all, the new year had just passed and the time for buying melon seeds, peanuts, walnuts and red dates was past. Now, they would mostly be there to buy ordinary goods.

    Liu Changshi stopped the cart and told Liu Shu to hold onto the donkey. He entered the shop and asked a shop assistant, “Hello, is your shopkeeper here?

    The assistant straightened and looked at him. “What is your business? Why are you looking for our shopkeeper?”

    Liu Changshi quickly smiled and said, “Before the end of the year, I came here and asked if the shopkeeper wanted Ningxia’s goji berries. The shopkeeper told me at the time….”

    The other shop assistant seemed to recall the incident. He stopped his work and looked at him, “Why did you just come? Didn’t you say that you would be back before the end of the year?” He didn’t wait for Liu Changshi to reply before saying, “Wait here, I will go and call the shopkeeper.”

    Saying this, he ran to the back of the store. Liu Changshi was quietly happy. Filled with hope, he came out and was about to start to take down a basket of goji berries when Shi Cheng stopped him. “Sishu, wait…. They will definitely want to check the goods. We can’t let them think that we are too eager….”


    Although Liu Changshi had never done business before, he wasn’t stupid. He immediately understood what Shi Cheng was hinting at. So he nodded and stood by, waiting. 

    Very quickly, the shopkeeper and his assistant came out. Liu Changshi went over to greet them. Whether this deal was successful depended entirely on the storekeeper, so obviously, Liu Changshi needed to put his best foot forward. Shi Cheng coolly watched the shopkeeper. Wily business cunning was written all over him. From the moment he exited the shop, he had deliberately slowed his pace down. His expression unhurried, it looked as though he had all the time in the world. 

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