Chapter 9: What’s the Point of Chopping Firewood?
Proofread by Claire.KK
Ye Xiaoxian carried tools such as a wood knife, shoulder pole and grass rope to go to the mountain with Xiao Baozhu and Xiao Baofeng to cut wood.
In order to go to the mountain they needed to pass by a large banyan tree at the entrance of the village. At that moment some villagers sitting under the big banyan tree were holding big bowls, drinking porridge and chatting. When they saw Ye Xiaoxian coming, those villagers began whispering to one another.
“You heard about it? Li Hongmei really married her elder daughter-in-law to her second son, tsk, how brazen she is!”
“It’s said that old Mr. Xiao is going to live apart from them. Last night, he went to the Village Chief to write a statement and sign it.”
“What is on the statement?”
“That row of houses made of earth still belongs to them, plus a piece of earth slope on the mountain and a half mu (a unit of area, about 666 square meters) of land in the field. In addition, they pay 500 copper coins a month as a filial piety, but who knows if they can hand in that amount of money, just judging from the looks of their family.”
All the villagers in Daliang Village are leather-lunged so even if they lowered their voice, they were still heard by Ye Xiaoxian and the other two.
Ye Xiaoxian just pretended not to hear anything. She didn’t bother to deal with them. Xiao Baofeng was a boy and he didn’t care about such things either. Only Xiao Baozhu was very sensitive, and after she heard those talks she suddenly blushed. Still, she didn’t say anything since now Little Ye had already become a member of their family, and if there was someone to blame, it must be their reckless ma.
On the mountain, Ye Xiaoxian and the other two were chopping firewood together.
She came from modern times. Although she worked hard as a cook, it couldn’t compare with the hard work of cutting firewood. Farmers were people who bowed to the loess with their back towards the sky. She had to tie the firewood up into bundles after cutting. Besides, she was not that strong; after she chopped a bundle, she was drenched in sweat and her clothes were soaked.
When she couldn’t even cut down a sapling, she then suddenly threw the axe aside angrily and sat down at the buddle of firewood, puffing.
Baozhu and Baoshan didn’t know why Ye Xiaoxian suddenly sulked. Baozhu hurriedly came to her and asked, “Little…sister-in-law, what happened to you?”
Bao feng stopped too, wiped his forehead and looked at Ye Xiaoxian.
Ye Xiaoxian then asked Baozhu, “Baozhu, what’s the meaning of chopping firewood?”
“To burn it,” said Baozhu. “Since now we live apart and we don’t have to burn so much firewood, we can sell the rest.”
“How much money will you make by selling them?” asked Ye Xiaoxian again.
“Um…one jin (a unit of weight, half kilogram) of firewood is worth half a copper coin. We can make ten copper coins by selling twenty jin,” said Baozhu excitedly.
All the firewood burned in the Xiao family before were chopped by Bao Feng and her, and they hadn’t sold any before. She was pretty excited about making money, even only ten copper coins.
Ye Xiaoxian looked at the shoes on Baozhu’s feet and said in disdain, “Ten copper coins are not enough to buy a pair of cloth shoes, are they?”
When she was a cook, she could make at least 600 yuan a day, and with 600 yuan she could buy a hundred pairs of cloth shoes.
‘Nah-ah. It’s too slow to make money by this.’
Hearing what Ye Xiaoxian said, Baozhu suddenly felt displeased. “If you stop chopping, we can’t even make one coin, can we?”
Ye Xiaoxian said, “You two continue and I’ll take a walk around.”
“What…what are you doing?”
Baozhu was shouting behind her while Ye Xiaoxian had already ducked into another mountain road.
Bao Zhu shouted angrily, “She indeed becomes a lazy wife after getting married! She was willing to do any work in the past and now she even threw the axe away. Who suggested that we live apart last night?”
Baofeng said, “As she’s now our formal sister-in-law, we’d better just leave her alone and continue to chop our firewood, or we will be too broke to even cook a meal.”