Chapter 5: Unquestioning Filial Piety 5
Jiang’s family separation came faster than anyone could imagine. On the second day after Jiang Liu’s big act of killing the cock, the Jiang old couple called several elders from the team to preside over the separation of the family properties. They were intent on making a clear division between the two households.
Because the old couple decided to follow their second son’s family, they were separated into the first and second households. The room where Jiang Liu’s couple lived until now and the utility room, used initially as a storage room, were given to the first household.
That was to say. The first household now owned the west wing of the house. The original east wing room and the main house now belonged to the second household.
The remaining five hens and the pots and pans were equally divided according to the number of people in each household.
As for the money in the house, since Miao Caifeng insisted that their family do not own any, she did not allocate it. As for the 60 yuan owed by Jiang Liu to the hospital, they insisted on making it a sole debt that belonged to the first household.
Jiang Liu and Xu Xiuxiu did not object to such a way of separation. Yet, because this pair of husband and wife appeared too honest, those elders witnessing this matter at the side could not help but interrupt the issue.
“This couple has been working their lung for the family, and in the end, what do they get? A burdensome debt after the separation.”
This matter was raised by one of the Jiang clan’s elders. According to the generation, Jiang Chuangen had to call him an old man.
“Chuangen’s wife ah, I rely on myself as an elder to persuade you. It would be best if you were not too ruthless, nor should you overdo it. This action of yours will make your child’s heart turn cold. It is wrong to take advantage of their filial piety to do this kind of thing. Leave some way out for yourself. Can you guarantee that your second son will be filial to you till the end?”
The team was not without an elder who was biased, but finding someone at the level of Miao Caifeng was extremely rare.
“Uncle, what are you talking about? My husband and I had always been respectful to our parents. How could you accuse us of such rebellious things?”
Wang Xuemei was very satisfied with the current way of separation. She was clear in her heart. She thinks the old lady should still have lots of money. These things should be left to them in the future. So when the elder wanted to defend the first household, she was the first to disagree.
“What Xuemei said is true. Our second son is also filial. Besides that, our family still need to depend on our grandsons to burn the incense for us in the future. We also need to spend money to welcome their bride into the house. As an elder, I also need to think about them.”
Miao Caifeng thought hard for one night. It doesn’t matter whether she had a grudge against her eldest son, but looking at things now, this eldest son was unlikely to have children in this life. Therefore, she must continue to be biased toward long-term development and strive to leave more property to the second household.
[T/N: Many would disagree with her, but after translating the later arc, I found that Chinese people believe that their ghosts form (Some Chinese believes in the afterlife) need incense as food. Therefore having a descendent who would burn an incense stick for them was deemed necessary so they won’t be a hungry ghosts in Underworld.]
As for her eldest son, they both had their own hands and feet. They also did not have children dragging them down. So it doesn’t matter if they still owe the debt.
Miao Caifeng felt that this method of separation was for the sake of the overall situation. Others just stood on the side and took everything for granted. Of course, they were not qualified to say anything about her decision.
“My husband and I can still work in the field. We do not have any need for our eldest son to send money to us from now on. After turning a hundred years old, we will still live at our second child’s home. This part of family property is enough to act as a cost for our retirement income.”
Looking at the face of the elders who were particularly dissatisfied, Miao Caifeng continued.
“When the old man and I turn seventy years old, and our eldest son finished paying his debts, if he is willing to support us, the elderly, it will be the best. If he doesn’t want to, I will not blame him. However, if his dad and I were hospitalized in the future, I hope our eldest son will still help us a bit. According to the proportion of the current separation, one-third is still good, in my opinion. Old man, do you agree this is fair for all of us?”
When the words came out, it was tough for others to say anything.
Because Miao Caifeng’s separation method was equivalent to binding the family’s property with the future retirement fund, it clearly stated who would inherit more and pay more. Whether this division was fair was not a necessary thing.
Everyone knew that Jiang’s current house was still brand new, built with bricks and tiles. They also knew who had been helping to pay the expense to let Jiang Lu’s brother and sister study.
At present, half of Jiang’s wealth is attributed to Jiang Liu’s couple. Yet, they can’t use this reason to help them get a fairer distribution of the family property.
Still, all these years, were there any elder children who had not been working hard to help their parents and even helped arrange their younger sibling’s life? And in the end, the eldest children always got less out of everything.
As for Miao Caifeng’s partiality, everyone already knew about it. Now that she took a step backwards, indicating that she did not need Jiang Liu’s couple to help them in the future, it had already reduced whatever burden this couple would face later on.
“Uncle, Xiu Xiu and I still have our hands and feet. I also agree with this matter. I know all about your concern, but since this is my parents’ decision, Xiu Xiu and I will recognize it.”
Jiang Liu also felt that this way of separation was good. Currently, he is in a weak position. Therefore he will look even more pitiful to others. In the public eye, his show of defeat was enough to compete with others’ filial piety. Even if he did something in the future, everyone would first think about his troubled years. They will remember the grievance and pressure on his shoulder, which had forced him to compromise.
If Jiang Liu himself had recognized it, what could other people say? They can only mourn for him.
“Jiang Chuangen, you will regret this in the future.”
This was the most-heard sentence for Jiang Chuangen today. Everyone felt it was the wrongest time for him to force such a filial child to separate himself from the family.
In the beginning, Jiang Chuangen still listened to it. However, as it continued being repeated, he gradually got a rebellious mentality.
He could not understand why everyone implied that his second son wouldn’t be filial to him in the future. He was still Jiang Liu’s father. Now everyone was criticizing him like he was someone without a brain as if he had been forcing his eldest son to an end.
In the end, no matter what everyone thought of, the issue of separation had become a foregone conclusion.
The field belonged to the original body’s third Red Star production squad team, a large saline-alkali fused field. This field was not suitable for the growth of crops such as rice and wheat. But it was especially suited for planting sunflowers. The sunflower seeds harvested each year generated a lot of income for the team. Therefore, the third team was also known to others as the sunflower team.
In addition to being suitable for sunflower growth, the saline-alkali land was also ideal for thatch’s growth. Every year, the most troublesome thing for the team was dealing with a large number of thatch from taking the nutrient for the sunflowers.
During this time, thatch did not worth a lot of money. The thatch was usually left aside except for some women who knew how to do simple weaving. They will take some away to make either mat or slipper. Apart from that, the thatch had almost no other economic value for the farmer. They can only be used for burning. This plant was also tenacious; once it occupied a spot, it was practically impossible to clean it up.
After absorbing the memory of the original body, Jiang Liu stared at the thatch that had been classified as wild grass and thought of a way to generate an income.
Everyone knew that he needed to recuperate. Jiang Liu had met Big Guan and asked for a half-month leave. Therefore, these days he had been looking for thatch before picking it up and spreading it around the yard to dry.
“Xiu Xiu, what do you pick up so many thatches?”
Some people were curious about Jiang Liu’s movement. If he wanted to weave a basket, the amount of thatch needed was not that much. So the people around them decided to find Xu Xiuxiu to inquire about it.
“You all know my husband can’t sit well in one place. If not for the doctor instructed him to rest, he would never stop working in the field. So he planned to cut the thatch to make some sandals and mats for home use. He also wanted to bring some to the market to see if anyone is willing to exchange it for other materials.”
Xu Xiuxiu told them the excuse that her husband, Jiang Liu, had prepared for curious people. Ever since the gang of four [T/N: 4 people who served as a scapegoat during China’s Cultural Revolution) was overthrown, the previously cancelled market was now opened. With the restoration of the market, the villagers can now exchange any excess materials with other people. This was not considered illegal by the government.
There were two big markets for each month. Apart from the surrounding villages, some people from the town and even another district will exchange fresh vegetables and eggs with coupons unavailable in the countryside.
After listening to Xu Xiuxiu’s explanation, everyone’s curiosity was put to rest. Despite that, they instinctively did not favour Jiang Liu’s idea to exchange food or other daily necessities with thatched mats and other handicrafts.
In fact, some people had thought of such an idea a long time ago. They weaved the straw shoes and wanted to exchange them for other materials. But they neglected that the city people have more comfortable and nice shoes. They do not have any need for grass shoes like the country folks. Since then, they stopped the idea and only kept it to be used by their own family.
In the same way, straw baskets were popular in the summer, and a straw mat was good enough to be used for ten or twenty years or even longer. The demand for it was not great, and the cost of weaving a straw mat was considerably small. It was just that the time used to produce it was far beyond the value in itself.
With few failed lessons, people in the vicinity have already lost their motivation to do this business. They will just occasionally cut the thatched grass to be used for their own needs.
However, now Jiang Liu can’t do anything due to his body. It’s good for him to find some work to kill time. Even though they thought this wouldn’t profit, they did not want to say anything against the couple.
What did Jiang Liu do while everyone thought of his idea so pessimistically? He actually went and picked up many wildflowers on the mountain and then sorted them out by colour. After that, he kneaded them into a paste and soaked the dried thatch in the paste. After waiting a while, he spread the dyed thatch under the sun and let it dry.
This simple method had a limited degree of colouring. Moreover, many of the wildflowers on the mountain were limited to red and yellow. But then again, this colour was richer than the single yellow-green tone.
When the preparatory work was done, Jiang Liu started to weave.
In his previous life, thatch handicraft was a trendy industry. At that time, he already lived together with his grandfather. This pair of grandfather and grandson also took some thatch handicraft work. At that time, a basket can earn them 8-15 yuan. If they worked faster enough, he and his grandfather could make five pieces daily, earning them enough money for daily expenses.
Of course, the thatch work at that time was not simply thatch weaving. The woven patterns, colours, and shapes had undergone constant innovation. There was no market for the traditional kind of thatch during that time.
As he was reminiscing that, he started to join the red thatched one at a time. His weaving speed was getting faster and faster. After over an hour, a round basket-like product finally took form in his hand.
The thing that formed in his hand was about two palms in size and less than ten centimetres in height. It was similar to the bowl that was used to store the fruit. It was amazing how the red thatched grass he weaved could end up into something that looked extraordinarily novel.
Jiang Liu made another pair of fruit bowls using the thatch leaves before designing other new patterns.
In a few days, there will be an open market. He wanted to complete the first batch and planned to test the current market.
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