Chapter 18: The Ugly Ger’s Farming Story

“I see, thank you.”

“Why do you sound so awkward.
Thanking me for this and that.”

Aunty Xie pulled the excited Xu Qing to sit down and said jokingly, “by the way I heard something about Li Changfeng’s family in the village today.
The family separated with Li Changfeng.
Did he tell you before that he was separating?” Aunty Xie went out to buy some groceries today.
He heard a person who just returned from Jixiang village was discussing this matter with Wei family wife.
He eavesdropped their conversation wanting to know more about the Li family’s business.
Then he heard Li Changfeng was going to to leave the house.

Xu Qing quietly listened to Aunty Xie‘s words, “yes, he told me.”

Aunty Xie hated the iron for not becoming steel and patted Xu Qing’s shoulder, “What were you thinking? Splitting up with the family; it is not a good thing to completely sever the ties , and …“ Aunty Xie whispered, “this matter still had something to do with the third Li.”

Xu Qing didn’t understand and asked confusedly, “what does it have to do with the third Li?”

Aunty Xie signed slightly, “that Li Laosan is a well-known figure both in and out of the county.  He was admitted as a scholar a few years back.
TSK! TSK!, he was quite outstanding.”

“Are there many scholars in our village? Aunty Xie glared, “Is talent a Chinese cabbage that it is everywhere? They are not many.”

“Ha ha, I don’t understand the situation.
You go on.
You go on.” Xu Qing‘s silly expression amused Aunty Xie.

It turned out that Li Laosan was also an interesting character.
Among the three villages – Xingfu village, Jixiang village, and Anle village – there are only six scholars.
When Li Laosan was admitted as a scholar, he was the youngest in thess villages.

“Then what was the age of the oldest candidate to be admitted as a scholar?”

Aunty Xie stretched out five fingers and waved in front of Xu Qing’s eyes, “this,” Is that 50?

“50 years old.
It was a man from a village.
After being admitted, he also knew that he cannot pass further exams so, he opened a school in a village and became a teacher.
Don’t think that it is shabby.  He was quite good.
Later his school produced two talents who became admitted as scholars.”

“That person really benefited the villagers.” Xu Qing knew that there was no school in Xingfu village.
If someone wanted to study, they had to go to the school in Anle village an hour and a half away.

Aunty Xie also spoke with some respect, “Yes, he did, and after Li Laosan was selected as a talented scholar, he tried and sat in a few more exams but failed.
He was also ambiguously persuaded by the town chief.” 

Aunty Xie stretched his neck, changed his expression, and imitated the Chief’s tone, “You, young people, should take advantage of their age to do other things.
You can still be a champion in life.”

They both laughed together.
Aunty Xie continued, “later when these words came out, Li Laosan head no face to continue studying.
Even if he wanted to, the family didn’t have the money left to support him.”

Li Laosan felt lost and returned to Jixiang Village to farm in the name of a talented scholar, but he wasn’t used to the life of the rural people.
The body of a scholar wasn’t as strong as an ordinary villager.

Later, the villagers in Jixiang village requested Li Laosan to set up a school in their village, like the one in Anle village.
If the villages didn’t have enough money, they would send some food to Li Laosan, and only asked for the children to be enlightened a little.
That was it.
But Li Laosan was pretentious and unwilling to be a teacher because he still felt that he could still pass more exams one day.

“Then is this why the villages were annoyed by him?” If it wasn’t for this, Xu Qing thought that the two people he met at the market today would not be talking about L with such disdain.
A person with fame and talent wouldn’t usually be treated like this.
No matter what you look at it, he was still a famous talent.

Aunty Xie sneered, “No, he didn’t even want to consider it.
He was raised by the Li family to only study for years.
He didn’t want to teach, didn’t work hard, and even forced Li Changfeng out.
He is really good, humph.”

Is it really true that Li Laosan forced Li Changfeng to separate? Xu Qing had another speculation in his heart.

Aunty Xie was still worried, “this Li Changfeng is good with everything, but he is too honest.
Fortunately, he is entering your house.
Otherwise, I don’t know how he will be bullied by other people.”

Xu Qing shook his head in his heart.
It seems that many people have been fooled by that person.
He originally thought he had found an innocent golden retriever, but it turned out to be a black-bellied hunting dog.

It was noon, but there was no feeling of spring heat in the woods.
Instead, there was a breeze caressed by nature.  Li Changfeng and Chen Qi each carried a large bundle of firewood back to the village.

Chen Qi acted like a decent person to the relaxed Li Changfeng, “You said so suddenly that you were going to be a recruited son-in-law, which shocked me.
I don’t know, but at least you should give me a heads up to prepare.”

Li Changfeng easily walked down the mountain, carrying a heavy load of firewood, through the forest’s trees and weeds.
He shook off some leaves that had clung to his legs.
“Why do you have to prepare? It’s not like I was going to come live with you.” 

Chen Qi was unhappy, “in any case, we grew up together playing with mud; not to mention anything else.”

Chen Qi’s family had only one ger except him.
He got married when he was 17 or 18, but he still had no children.  Fortunately, Chen Qi’s mother was not a forceful person so, his wife led a good life.
They got along well even if he left for the military service five years ago.

“I’m happy.
At this age, if I don’t get married soon, I will have to be officially matched.”

Li Changfeng was delighted when he thought of Xu Qing.
He hasn’t received a message to this day, and he didn’t know when the wedding would be.
He heard that the 28th of this month was a good day, and many couples have chosen to get married that day.

“So, do you like him? What kind of person is he?”

Chen Qi picked up a branch from the side of the road and kept hitting the firewood carried by Li Changfeng, making ‘da da da’ noises.

 The annoying sound seem to display the eagerness of the person who caused it.

“It’s not like you know him anyway.” As soon as he reached the junction, ignoring Chen Qi who had a depressed look behind, Li Changfeng walked down the road on his own.

“This kid!” 

Chen Qi shook his shoulders to remove some branches that pierced his clothes, and walked towards another direction.
His and Li Changfeng’s houses were separated by these two roads.
They lived neither far or close to each other.

“You’re back.
Quickly wash your hands, and we’ll eat.”

When Chen Qi’s wife heard his husband’s peculiar footsteps, hhe spoke without looking back while taking care of the quilt in the yard.

Chen Qi’s wife was from Anle village, he was a kind and gentle person, but there was a hurdle in his heart.
After marrying for so many years, he still couldn’t give Chen Qi a child.

Chen Qi put down the bundle behind the firewood shed and stretched his neck.
He replied, “hey, you don’t say, I haven’t collected firewood in the past few years, and it felt a little strange today.”

Mother Chen brought the food to the table and overheard the loud voice of Chen Qi in the yard.
He glared at Father Chen who was sitting in the hall and smoking a cigar by himself.

Father Chen let his wife complained without looking annoyed.
Then, a soft voice was heard “Mother is saying that big brother is like father again?”

It was a pretty ger about 1.7 m tall.
He came out of the room carrying a basket of embroidered handkerchiefs and walked into the hall.  He was Chen Qi’s younger brother, Chen Hong, who was 15 this year and was waiting to become of age.

When mother Chen saw his son came out, he was no longer angry.
Chen Hong was his second child, and he was one of the best looking in the village.  He was good at embroidering and was filial.
He was mother Chen’s sweetheart – a little cotton padded jacket.

“If it wasn’t your brother’s voice sounding so loud like he was panicking.”

Chen Hong put the basket of embroidered handkerchiefs in his hand onto a small cabinet in the hall.
“It just shows that my big brother is in good health.” He took out a handkerchief from the basket, turned around, and gave it to his mother.
“This is my newly embroidered pattern.
What do you think?”

“Think about what?” Chen Qi and his wife heard Chen Hong’s last sentence when they entered the hall.
Chen Hong smiled and replied, “Big brother, sister-in-law, I was just telling mother about the handkerchief I just embroidered.
If he thinks it is OK, we could sell it.”

Chen Qi’s wife leaned in front of mother Chen and looked at the embroidered handkerchief in Chen Hong’s hand.
“Your embroidered work is one of the best in the village.”

Mother Chen happily listened to his daughter-in-law‘s praise of his little son; his eyes were full of satisfaction, “that’s just a matter of saying, come, let’s eat quickly.
I will go to sell this handkerchief tomorrow morning.
This is a new pattern, so the price will be good.”

Chen Qi had already set the table and chopsticks.
He gave his father and mother a bowl of slightly diluted porridge.
Although their family was not poor, it was also not a rich farmer’s family.

Chen Hong drank the porridge in the bowl and glanced at Chen Qi who was eating the buns on the opposite side of the table. “Brother, did you go with brother Changfeng this morning?”

Chen Qi chewed a mouth full of vegetables and replied without thinking much, “Yes, that guy is getting married.
I don’t wanna tell you guys much in advance”

Chang Hong‘s hand that was holding the bowl tightened slightly and he pursed his lips.
Mother Chen glared at Chen Qi, “then why are you telling us now?”

Chen Qi didn’t understand why his mother wasn’t pleased with him.
“Well, we grew up together since we were young so, I care about our relationship.”

Chen Qis wife noticed that Chen Hong beside him was a little absent minded.
He looked it Chen Qi, who was still blabbering, and remembered that Chen Hong asked mother Chen to go to the village this morning to find out if the news about Li Changfeng separating from his family was really true.
They didn’t know that Li Changfeng has already made a marriage arrangement with someone.

Chen Qi’s wife picked up some food with a pair of chopsticks for Chen Hong and nabbed the person who was still stunned, “come, eat more, or your brother will eat everything soon.”

Chen Hong recovered and listened to his sister in law‘s words.
He picked up a pair of chopsticks and continued to eat, “let’s eat otherwise, big brother will be hungry and become anxious.”

Father and mother Chen laughed loudly when they heard the words.
Chen Qi didn’t care.
He made a pitiful appearance, which makes the people at the table laugh more.
In that moment, Chen Hong’s pretty face blushed beautifully like a camelia in the mountains.

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