Chapter 10: Separating The Family
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This is a fan work and the interpretation represents only the translator’s personal views without any input from the author.
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Although Liu Xu’er didn’t want to waste any energy quarreling with her, that didn’t mean she would allow this little thing to bully her.
She immediately straightened her back and glared at her.
“The money spent was what nainai gave to my family to use for the New Year! Why should I give them to you Are you going to be reasonable”
Liu Yun’er glared at her and shrieked.
“You’re the unreasonable one! How daring; you spent all the family’s money yet you’re still able to answer back! That money was earned by my father’s sweat, toiling the land! Quickly hand over a rabbit! Otherwise, I will hit you!” Saying this, she shook her fists.
She was already eight, and taller than Liu Xu’er by half a head.
Her advantage was obvious.
Liu Xu’er rolled her eyes.
Truly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! Liu Xu’er thought to herself; your mother is so tall and burly, I can’t beat her, but you’re just a little kid.
I might be able to beat you! Although she was younger by a few years, Liu Xu’er still knew that when fighting a woman, you should go for her hair.
Seeing the two little pigtails at the side of Liu Yun’er’s head, Liu Xu’er made her plan.
If Liu Yun’er dared to beat her, she would pull on those pigtails and not let go! She would clutch them till she pulled out a fistful of hair! She needed to let her know the meaning of pain!
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Nkw Zwd’la pyo vbyv pbl pvkzz bye vbl nswaytl vs xykdvykd y pvayktbv cynj yde kxxlekyvlzu nyxl shla, qkpvp qzukdt, lmynvzu yp pbl bye plld bla xsvbla es.
Fokdtkdt bla yaxp aswde, fwpv yp vblu olal ycswv vs zyde….
“Nlv’p pll kq usw eyal!” Wasx vbl pkel, Nkw Fbw yde Nkw Nkd bye blyae vbl nsxxsvksd yde bye nsxl shla.
Nkw Fbw awpble vs pvyde kd qasdv sq Nkw Dw’la.
Qzyakdt yv Nkw Zwd’la, “R eyal usw vs bkv xu xlkxlk, fwpv vau kv!”
Nkw Nkd bye yzps awpble shla oyhkdt bkp qkpvp, “R okzz clyv usw esod!”
Fllkdt vbl vos sq vblx nsxl shla, Nkw Zwd’la qzyvvldle bla zkrp.
Fbl ycawrvzu bsozle.
“Ywx! Ywx, nsxl iwknj! Nkw Fbw yde Nkw Nkd oydv vs clyv xl! Ywx….”
Yy pbk nyxl awddkdt swv sq vbl assx.
Wasx vbl xykd bswpl, yp kq y csxc bye lmrzsele, Wkapv nyxl awddkdt swv.
Wynl talld okvb aytl, bl asyale, “Fnayx cynj vs vbl assx! Ebyv yal usw xyjkdt y pnldl qsa!”
Yy pbk pyo vbyv Nkw Ubydtik bye olzz yde vawzu zspv bkp vlxrla! Fllkdt vbyv Xze Yyd Nkw bye nyzzle bla bwpcyde yde bkp casvblap shla, pbl jdlo vbyv kv oyp zkjlzu vblu olal ekpnwppkdt vbl plryayvksd sq vbl qyxkzu.
Mbkp oyp lmynvzu bla tsyz, ps pbl bye ds xsal rzydp vs nsdvkdwl vs xyjl y qwpp.
Rd qynv, pbl oyp osaakle vbyv kq vblal oyp xsal sq y qwpp, kv oswze ydtla Xze Yyd Nkw kdvs elnkekdt ytykdpv plryayvkdt vbl qyxkzu! Eswzed’v vbyv cl pzyrrkdt sdlplzq kd vbl qynl.
Fs pbl tayccle Nkw Zwd’la cu vbl yax yde eayttle bla cynj, zlyhkdt y alcwjl vs Nkw Dw’la, “Ebyv y oypvalz!”
Liu Shu and Liu Lin were so angry the rims of their eyes turned red.
Liu Xu’er turned and comforted them.
“Don’t be angry.
We won’t be staying with them for much longer. Gege, you can go back to the work you were doing.”
Liu Shu and Liu Lin went back to cleaning out the pigpen.
Liu Xu’er continued back to her room when she heard someone yell, “Wastrel, wastrel!”
She looked back and saw a little head poking out of Ma shi’s room window, calling names at her.
Seeing that she had looked over, he immediately shrank back into the room.
That was Ma shi’s little son, Liu Tao.
Liu Xu’er didn’t take it to heart.
She continued to the room to feed the rabbits when she saw her xiaogu, Liu Hong chatting with her mother.
Seeing her enter, Liu Hong laughed and asked, “Xu’er what rabbits did you buy Why haven’t I seen them”
Liu Xu’er pointed at the inner room.
“Raise them well, Xu’er.
Once they’re grown, you can have rabbit meat!” Liu Hong smiled and said.
Liu Xu’er knew that this was xiaogu’s way of trying to comfort her.
But she had missed the point. Xiaogu thought that she was a regular five-year-old, and the reason she wanted to buy rabbits was to eat their meat.
Liu Xu’er didn’t say anything, she only smiled.
He shi’s face was grave.
She asked, “Xu’er, was Yun’er quarreling with you outside just now”
Liu Xu’er quickly laughed it off.
“It’s nothing, mum.
She’s just immature!”
That managed to make the grave faced He shi and Liu Hong laugh.
Liu Hong smilingly said.
“You’re five, she’s eight! Yet you say she’s immature”
Liu Xu’er giggled.
“People who are unreasonable are all immature.” As soon as that left her mouth, Ma shi popped into mind.
She stuck her tongue out at that thought and went to the room.
From behind her, Liu Hong’s laughter rang out.
“Ersao, you don’t say.
What Xu’er just said really does make sense!”
“Don’t you spoil her; if she heard that, wouldn’t she be smug! It’s all because we’ve given in too much, that’s why the situation today occurred!”
“Tell me what happened.
I just went out to borrow an embroidery pattern, how did the situation explode like that” Liu Hong looked at He shi and softly advised.
“Ersao, you don’t need to worry about that family’s person.
That’s just her personality….
Her thoughts – who doesn’t know.
All of us know what she’s up to.
All day she fusses and creates a scene; she really embarrasses my dage with her behavior.
Forget it, this time dad has made up his mind.
There are limited days for her to continue to fuss….”
Liu Xu’er placed the alfalfa in front of the rabbits.
Sure enough, once the two little rabbits approached it close enough to smell, they immediately started to eat it.
Back when she was dating, she had become very interested in the language of flowers, like the meaning behind four-leaved clover, lavender etc., and she had spent a lot of time researching them.
Four-leaved clover was also known as alfalfa 1, and they were something that rabbits loved to eat.
At that time, because she was researching alfalfa, she had unintentionally stumbled across information on how to care for rabbits.
Honestly, rabbits are an easy to rear animal, they are easily bred, and there were many uses for them.
Especially for this type of long-furred rabbits – their fur could be sheared for money and they could be slaughtered for meat.
Liu Xu’er had previously heard from Shi Cheng that there was a seller of long-furred rabbits.
At that time, she had already made plans to rear them, it was just that she was too small then and she was afraid she wasn’t up to it.
Villagers had a deeply held belief that one needed to rely on the heavens and the earth to eat2.
The ducks and chickens they reared were mostly for them to lay eggs to sell for money.
Rabbits were rarely raised in Taohua Village, let alone the large scale farming of them, because it was assumed it would be difficult to raise them.
In the northwestern Loess Plateau, there were few trees.
It was arid, there were no hills, but there were quite a few deep ravines.
They were all very deep, very large ravines.
But they were the kind that produced nothing, not like the northeastern region where the hills were full of delicacies, or the southern side where there was plentiful rainfall and a casual dig would yield mushrooms or bamboo shoots; there, it would definitely be possible to fill one’s belly.
Here, everyone relied on land.
If the land did not produce crops, the people who lived on those lands could only wait to starve.
The environment was actually very harsh.
Villagers didn’t have enough to eat or wear, and they definitely could not afford to fall ill.
If there was a single doctor within 10 leagues around, it would already be considered a very good situation.
Weak children often died young in this harsh environment.
As such, northwesterners really cherished their children, because it was not easy to raise them.
No family would frequently harshly beat their children; bystanders wouldn’t stand for it – they would report that behavior to the village head – to say nothing of family members.
In this place where it was difficult enough to support humans, nobody would think about raising other livestock.
At most, poor families would raise a few chickens and one or two pigs.
The eggs laid would be saved to be sold, and at the end of the year, they would sell a pig to supplement their income to celebrate the New Year.
The only people here who were truly rearing livestock was Shi Cheng’s family.
They had only just started this last half year.
Rumor had it that they had bought three or four milk cows, which Liu Xu’er kept wanting to see.
Liu Xu’er used a small stool to encircle the two rabbits.
They could nest there for a little while.
Tomorrow, she would go and gather more grasses to make them a soft nest, and when dad had more time, he could make them a wooden basket.
She went off and found a broken bit of pottery.
She washed it and ladled some warm water from the pot.
Once it cooled, she would bring it for the rabbits to drink.
She wasn’t sure what was going on with regard to the discussion of the separation of the family, however, these past two days, Old Man Liu kept calling his sons to discuss the matter.
Eagle eyed, Ma shi wanted to go and eavesdrop, but was caught and scolded away by Liu Gao shi.
Three days later, Liu Changgui and Jia shi returned.
They tried to sneak into the house.
Without calling out greetings, they instead tried to quickly lock themselves into their room.
However, it so happened that Ma shi was standing at the courtyard, so of course, she spotted the big bundle that Liu Changgui carried – it was at least as large as a chopping board and it’s weight appeared substantial – and immediately guessed that they had been given gifts from Jia shi’s family.
Ma shi deliberately called.
“Third and his wife are back! Mum! Quickly come out and see what a large bundle they’re carrying!”
Jia shi glared viciously at Ma shi.
Liu Gao shi came out when she heard the cry, however, she didn’t go toward them.
Seeing Jia shi’s defensive expression, Liu Gao shi was disgusted.
She merely said.
“Third! Since you’re back, come over.
Your dad is looking for you!”
In the room, Liu Changgui dragged his feet for a long while before coming out, completely unwilling.
He had probably thought that dad and mum were looking for him to ask for the things that were given by his wife’s family.
Jia shi had already told him in their room, they would give nothing away! They would just insist that nothing was brought back! He’d better not even try to give something to them!
With this drummed into mind, Liu Changgui went to the main house.
Seeing his brothers there, he was surprised.
After hearing that they were discussing the separation of the family, he let out a sigh of relief.
Of course he agreed.
Separating the family was exactly what he wanted!
With his return, all four brothers were present.
They went to Old Man Liu’s room to discuss for a while before deciding how to separate the family.
On the second day after his return, the village head as well as several clan elders all came to Old Man Liu’s place to witness the separation of the family.
They first split the important things.
One was the farmland, the other was the residence and the last was the harvested grain.
Old Man Liu had eight mu of medium grade fields.
There were four brothers as well as Old Man Liu to split the fields between.
If they split it evenly between all five, it would be difficult to calculate.
The brothers also all hoped to give their dad a bit more land, so it was decided that Old Man Liu would be given two mu, while the other four brothers got 1.5 mu each.
With regard to the residence, Liu Changshi and Liu Hong were both not married, so they would not be separated out to live separately.
As the eldest, Liu Changqi wanted to stay at the old residence so that he could continue to carry out his filial duty to his parents.
Old Man Liu refused.
“I understand that you’re filial, but we decided to separate the family so that everyone can live their own lives.
If you don’t go and Fourth doesn’t go, then what is the meaning of separating the family! Look for another place to live.
It’s not as if you would be moving far – we all stay in the same village – there’s no need to worry that you can’t show your care to us.”
After their exchange, the village head joined the discussion.
“It is good that First has the heart to say this, however, that’s good enough! Since your dad has given his opinion, no one else can comment on this! It would be best for you to move out.
For one, there would gradually be more and more people in your families and they would have no space, and for two, it’s as your father said.
If you’ve separated the family, then you should stay separate, otherwise how can that be considered to be separating the family”
With that, Liu Changqi nodded and didn’t say anymore.
The other available residences in the village were all those that the older generations within the clan had left behind.
They were all basically abandoned houses, abandoned either because the location was too far away, or too close to the deep ravine, or because the family had managed to accumulate some wealth and decided to build on the plain on top of the slope.
The clan gave them three houses that basically circled around the old residence and weren’t too far away.
This was also a basic custom – with the older generation still around, the sons and grandchildren shouldn’t stay too far away.
The three brothers weren’t picky, and amicably decided on their residences.