Chapter 2: The Ugly Ger’s Farming Story

It took an entire afternoon to straighten out the plot.
On each side of the courtyard entrance, he turned over two vegetable plots.
To keep the chickens from ruining his vegetables in the future, the plots were densely enclosed by bamboo poles in circles.
Speaking of chickens, Xu Qing did not know why the original body did not raise pigs or any other common farm animals.

Xu Qing tidied up the unkempt yard and tossed the debris under a large banyan tree outside.   He turned around and walked into the kitchen.
Xu Qing scooped some of the hot water remained in the pot from when he cooked lunch earlier and poured it into the wooden basin.
He picked it up and headed to the washstand by the well.   He took the towel off the stand and placed it on the basin’s edge.
He felt tingling and itching as soon as he splashed water on his face.

“Tsk, this is really serious.”  Xu Qing carefully washed his face with water, then gently wiped the droplets off his face with the towel hanging on the basin.
 It was inconvenient for a man to wash his face with so much care, but he had no choice but to do so in order to avoid aggravating the pimples.
 Even though the original body despised his face, he didn’t take care of it well, and sometimes he wouldn’t even wash his face at all.  Xu Qing pointed his index and middle fingers together in the direction of the basin; a stream of water flowed out from the tips of the fingers.  It was the spiritual spring water from his space.  Because the pimples on his face had accumulated for far too long, they needed to be treated with care.  Also, to prevent the villagers from noticing how quickly he changed, he only released a little bit of the spring water.  He used it to wash his face that was softened with hot water.  Xu Qing poured the rest of the water in the basin into a small ditch.  He then went back to the kitchen to prepare more hot water. 

[Please read on Hololo Novels]

Despite the fact that it was the end of winter and the temperature was cool, he was sweating after moving around so much.  When he finished bathing in the hot water, it was already getting dark outside.  He lit the oil lamp, fried the leftover veggies and garlic sprouts with cooked rice from the lunch, and made a bowl of simple fried rice.  After dinner, Xu Qing cleaned up his sleeping area, fixed the mattress made of straws, and repaired the broken bed frame.  It was about nine o’clock when he got to lie down and rest.  In ancient times, there was no entertainment at night, and he had no family to accompany him for chitchat so, he simply went to bed early.

He planned to go to the market the next day to purchase a pig, a few chickens, and some new clothes.   He’d also get a puppy to safeguard the house when he wasn’t there.
Xu Qing, who had curled up into a ball with the quilt and was thinking about his future plans, fell asleep quickly.
It was the most relaxing and peaceful sleep he’d gotten since coming to this world.

When it was bright outside, Xu Qing yawned and got up facing the cool air outside the bed.  He changed into the dark blue garment, which was the only decent clothing the original owned.  He put the patched overnight clothes aside and went to the kitchen.  He poured water and maize into the pot; he was going to make a simple corn porridge.  While his breakfast was cooking, he ran to the well and took out the willow branches soaked in the wooden basin the day prior to brush his teeth.  This simple toothbrush was what he made according to the ancient Chinese technique.  Just soak the branches ahead in water, when you want to use it, bite them with your teeth, and the willow fibers inside would work like bristles, a very convenient toothbrush.  After brushing teeth, he carefully washed his face with spring water.  He didn’t have the same tingling and itching that he had the day before.  He ate breakfast in a good mood.  When he finished eating, Xu Qing locked the courtyard door, and walked to the village in the south. 

Xu Qing didn’t know where the market was so, he could only go to Aunty Xie – the one person who often helped the original owner in buying seeds.  Aunty Xie’s family was from Jixiang village, but he married Xie Changming, a man from Xingfu village, and hadn’t had any children yet.  Even though Aunty Xie did not get pregnant, his life was still good.  Xie Changming was one of the few to get married in the past few years.  The eyes of all the single men in the village were red with envy.

[Please read on Hololo Novels]

Aunty Xie’s house was the first one at the edge of the village.  It was a rare blue brick house.  There were only three in the Xingfu village.  His yard was enclosed by a stone wall; it was built by father Xu, but it was not as tall as that of the Xu family.  In the village, Xu Qing’s family had the best relationship with Aunty Xie’s family.

“Who is it?” A man with the hoarse voice came out of the house. 

“Go and open the door.  It’s the end of winter, brother Qing might be coming to buy seeds,” said a soft voice.  Xu Qing had the impression that the owner of such voice might be a gentle person.

“It’s me, brother Qing.”  Xu Qing replied somewhat uncomfortably.  He wasn’t used to being called brother.

With a creak, the door opened.  “Brother Qing, come in quickly and have breakfast with us.”  Uncle Xie was a tall man with a height of nearly 1.8 meters.  Not only his voice was loud, his body was also very brawny.  He didn’t look like a man in his forties at all. 

“No need, Uncle Xie.  I already ate.
I was wondering if any of you were going to the market today.”  Xu Qing looked at the other’s lofty figure, and felt defeated for his own small frame.

“Brother Qing, come in.  It won’t take a long time.”  Aunty Xie also walked out to the front yard.  She patted Uncle Xie on the shoulder, walked straight to Xu Qing, and pulled his hands inside the courtyard.  Aunty Xie was about 1.7 meters tall.  He was slightly thinner and had softer features.  Xu Qing was a little embarrassed; he didn’t want to directly refuse Aunty Xie’s goodwill, but he eventually gave in and agreed to join them for breakfast after repeatedly pressured by Aunty Xie.

Farmers have no strict table rules; everyone ate at the same table in the main home.  There were not that many people in the Xie family anyway. 

Aunty Xie: “You were going to the market?  This is great.  Young people should go out more often.  Wait for me.  I’ll clean up and go with you in a bit.”

Aunty Xie quickly ate when he heard Xu Qing was going to the market.  He collected the eggs laid by the hens at home and prepped them to sell at the market. 

Xu Qing: “Thank you.  There is no rush though.”

Seeing Aunty Xie’s anxious look, Xu Qing felt it was a bit funny, but he was inexplicably moved. 

Uncle Xie: “Why no rush? You have to go early to get the best products.  You both go.  I’ll stay and watch the house.”

Xu Qing: “Thank you, Uncle Xie.  We’ll be leaving then.”

The Xie family’s house was on the outskirts of the village, at the fork in between two roads.  One path leads directly to the market, while the other is used to access the village.
The two roads are about the same distance apart.
It was still early in the morning, and there were few people on the road.
They came across a donkey cart that transports people around.  It cost three coppers per person from the village to the market.  It usually took about half an hour to walk to the market.  The money was well worth it in that case.  Aunty Xie insisted on paying for Xu Qing.  He couldn’t really do anything about it. 

The donkey cart driver was a man from the next village.  His surname was Li.  People usually called him Uncle Li. 

Uncle Li: “So, you’re brother Qing of the Xu family?”

Xu Qing: “Yes, it’s me.  Uncle Li knows me?”

Xu Qing pressed Aunty Xie’s hand to stop him from getting excited.  Just now when he heard Uncle Li asking about him, Xu Qing thought the old man would continue talking about him.  Aunty Xie was excited to partake in the conversation. 

[Please read on Hololo Novels]

Uncle Li: “I had some friendship with your father.  He used to mention you a lot.”

“What a coincidence.”  Xu Qing smiled and replied with a blushing face.  Although his face wasn’t very good looking because it was covered with pimples, his eyes were extraordinarily bright.  Aunty Xie looked on silently.  His heart ached for such a good child.

Uncle Li said in a heart-felt voice: “You eh, you should move around more.  The most important thing in life is to enjoy it.  You can’t just let it pass by.” 

Aunty Xie agreed: “Yes, that is it.  Brother Qing, this child deserves to live a good life.  Don’t be discouraged because of those who judge others by appearance.”

Xu Qing acted as a bystander as Aunty Xie and Uncle Li continued to talk.  He would sometimes interject a thing or two and make gestures with his hands.  He’d slap the cart’s wall and laugh to his heart’s content.  It seemed that Aunty Xie was not only a gentle person but also very kind.  Xu Qing smiled until his eyes bent into the shape of a crescent moon.

Uncle Li: “I’ll be here at noon to drive back to the village.  You guys wait me here.”

After thanking Uncle Li, Xu Qing and Aunty Xie went to a busy street to find a place for Aunty Xie to set down the basket with eggs for sale.  Once they found a good location, they carefully placed the eggs on the clean cloth on the ground and waited for buyers. 

Aunty Xie: “Brother Qing, when I’m done selling these eggs, let’s go shopping eh?”

Xu Qing was busy looking around the crowded market.  He turned his head and smiled with small white teeth when he heard Aunty Xie speak.
He assured Aunty Xie it was fine and not to worry.  The vendors next to their stall looked at him secretly and whispered, “Tsk, how come this ger’s face is full of red bumps?  What a pity!”  When Aunty Xie heard them, he glanced over, but they pretended to be minding their own business. 

Aunty Xie: “Don’t mind them, brother Qing.
You look good.
Obviously, it’s those people that have no good eyesight.”

Xu Qing was only 1.65 meters tall and frail looking, but his eyes were big and bright.  But even without those pimples on his face, he could at best be considered a clean looking boy.  Xu Qing didn’t think he could be regarded as “good-looking.” 

The market wasn’t particularly large, but it was bustling with activity.
The flow of people was relatively considerable because it was a gathering spot for all three surrounding villages.
Farmers would come here to sell what they had grown.
Vegetable stalls lined the right side of the street, while meat vendors lined the left: chickens, pork, game meat, and so on could be found.
In general, this market was small but brimming with a variety of goods.

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