Chapter 87: Acrobat 4
“Uncle Jiang, this is the firewood I picked up for you. The day is cold. You will need a lot of firewood.”
Because his mother was seriously ill and could not work hard, Xiao Binbin had to go up the mountain by himself in the early morning to find dead branches nearby and save enough firewood for the winter. Besides, he also had to find enough wild vegetables due to the lack of labour at home. The rations received for the mother and three children were minimal, so with enough wild vegetables, they could barely be able to eat enough for the day.
Zhang Yanfen’s elder brothers also went outside to work, but her several sisters-in-law continued to stay in the village. She entrusted more than one acre of farmland in the family to her several sisters-in-law for planting and gave them more than 100 catties of grain each year. These sisters-in-law were kind, and occasionally when their man sent money back for meat, they would share a small bowl with this mother and son to solve their hunger.
The mother and son just held on like this, and they didn’t know how long they can continue to hold on.
“Didn’t you already collect a lot of firewood yesterday?”
Yesterday, Jiang Liu had distributed candies to the children in the village. Those children spontaneously filled the firewood room with the firewood they picked up, but the firewood really cannot help but continued to burn. If you want to keep warm all night, the firewood will only last for half a month at most.
The original body suffered from rheumatism due to the practice of this exercise when he was young. When it was windy, rainy or in cold days, his bones would feel painful. The bed and house he sleeps in must be hot enough to be able to barely let him sleep comfortably.
Jiang Liu was not the kind of person who will mistreat himself. Therefore, last night, he had contacted the boss of a coal factory, and let them sent a car of coal over in a few days.
In addition to his own use, some of it will also be distributed to the elderly in the village.
Not everyone was unconscionable. When the incident was immense and everyone was blaming Jiang Liu, there were still many people in the village who speak on behalf of the original body. But many older people in the village did not have mobile phones and did not know about the Internet. They thought they were talking to reporters. With the right words, the grievances of the original body can be washed away. How could they know that some reporters are only willing to publish the news that the audience wanted to see and not willing to publish the real but boring truth told to them
“After a month or so, this Yueshan Mountain will start to snow. At that time, the firewood would not be able to burn well if it was soaked in snow. It also would not be easy to collect firewood on such snowy day.”
The little boy who has been in charge since a very young age smiled, and then while looking a little embarrassed, looked at Jiang Liu and asked: “Uncle Jiang, I will pick up firewood for you every day from now on. Didn’t you say that you wanted to accept apprentice? I am exactly six years old this year. I am also able to endure hardship. Can you accept me?”
Thinking that he was too functional, Xiao Binbin quickly explained: “Even if you don’t take me, I will still collect firewood for you.”
Because he was too nervous, he stumbled and bowed his head dejectedly as soon as his voice fell.
He felt that he was a bad boy in the eyes of Uncle Jiang now. Would Uncle Jiang think that he was collecting firewood for him to force him to accept him as an apprentice?
” Can you endure hardship?”
Jiang Liu took the basket of firewood in his hand.
Although the cold winter had not yet arrived, due to the frequent heavy work, the six-year-old boy has already grown several calluses on his hands. His finger joints cracked, and there were many scratches on the back of his hand.
The cheapest hand cream was also something this small family can’t afford. It happened that Xiao Binbin’s mother and son received a lot of work for sticking firewood boxes from a small factory at the foot of the mountain. He moistened firewood paper with saliva and stuck it on the wound, or used the outer layer ashes of the earthen stove. The scraped ashes were then smeared on hand, and these were all earthwork handed down from the ancestors.
Children with such hands can indeed endure hardship.
Moreover, the original body’s memory told him that this child was more diligent than he thought. The original body even firmly believes that this child will be the best disciple he has taught, perfectly inheriting their Jiang family’s unique art.
But why did he harm the original body?
Turning the memory of the original body over and over again, Jiang Liu really didn’t want to believe that this child would do something treachery.
“Can can can, I can endure hardship.”
Xiao Binbin didn’t see the complicated emotions in Jiang Liu’s eyes. He only knew that since Uncle Jiang asked him that, he meant to accept him as a disciple.
He nodded sharply, for fear that Jiang Liu would not believe him.
“Come here in three days and formally become the apprentice to learn the art.”
Jiang Liu didn’t know how this child will choose to act this time. Yet he still decided to accept the apprentice as initially planned.
“En, en, en.”
Xiao Binbin was so excited. If Jiang Liu hadn’t said that he need to come three days later to start his apprenticeship, I’m afraid that he would have wanted to kowtow and called the person in from of him as master right away.
“By the way, I had ordered briquettes from the coal factory, so you don’t have to help me collect firewood from now on.”
He decided not to evaluate on what Xiao Binbin might do in the future. Now his life was hard enough, and Jiang Liu didn’t want to make him work in vain.
“Good, Uncle Jiang-“
When he heard that Uncle Jiang had bought briquettes, Xiao Binbin also put out his heart to help Jiang Liu collect firewood. Their family had never bought briquettes, but Xiao Binbin also knew that briquettes were very resistant to burning.
Seeing Uncle Jiang’s life strengthened his heart to learn the skill. In the future, after he learned the craft and earns money, he will also buy a lot of briquettes so that his mother and two sisters can live a warm and comfortable life in winter.
“No, yes, master.”
Xiao Binbin was also clever, and soon realized that it was inappropriate for him to call him Uncle Jiang at this moment, so he quickly changed his address to Master.
Jiang Liu also responded, showing that he recognized the identity of the other party.
After Xiao Binbin left, a little girl who had been hiding outside the wall, walked nervously towards Jiang Liu.
“Uncle Jiang, I, I want to learn too.”
Jiang Liu looked at the incoming children, and he found the girl’s identity from the memory of the original body.
Xu Meihua. The Xu family is the most common surname in this village. Xu Meihua’s father was one of the few capable men in the village. He worked at a construction site outside and earned more than 10,000 yuan a month, which was a lot of money for the villagers.
Moreover, Xu Meihua’s father was filial, unlike many young people in the village who immediately lost contact with their parents. He would send some money to his parents every month. With the money he earned, his family built a two-story house.
It just that, a filial son may not be a good husband or a good father.
Xu Meihua’s grandparents wanted to have a grandson, yet Xu Meihua’s mother gave birth to three daughters to the Xu family. Xu Meihua was the eldest and eight years old this year. There were two younger sisters, Huaihua and Taohua. Huaihua was 6 years old while Taohua was 5.
Because she could not give birth to a son, Xu Meihua’s mother and daughters had a difficult time in Xu’s family, especially when Xu Meihua’s father returned the news that he had met a woman at the construction site and received a marriage certificate. And after giving birth to a son, Xu Meihua’s mother and daughter were swept out by the old couple of the Xu family.
[T/N: Dang it, I always hate reading those ancient or rural area story where they blamed the mother when they did not manage to produce a son. Hello, it is not the woman fault okay~ and don’t bother explaining the science to them, none of them will believe it]
When Xu Meihua’s mother married Xu Meihua’s father, she was only fifteen years old. She was not at the age to receive a marriage certificate. Therefore, the couple never had a legal certificate. In addition to that, Xu Meihua’s mother was uneducated and a little cowardly. Thinking that it was her fault for not being able to give birth to a son, she honestly took three daughters to live in the old house of the Xu family. The life of the mother and daughters were sorrowful.
Xu Meihua wanted to learn this skill was a matter of course.
“I, I can also endure hardship, I can eat bitter no matter how great it is.”
Seeing Jiang Liu hesitation, Xu Meihua quickly expressed herself.
She was a girl. From the beginning, the girl was not in the range of Jiang Liu’s choice, but seeing her thin body as if it could be broken with a touch as well as her black and skinny yellow cheeks, Jiang Liu found it was hard to reject her.
“I don’t accept female apprentices.”
Jiang Liu shook his head.
The flame of hope in Xu Meihua’s eyes went out. She lowered her head and looked at her toes, then reached out and wiped her eyes, turning around to leave.
“But in the next few days, I may need someone to help me cook the meal. If you are willing to help, in addition to the three meals a day, I can also give you 100 yuan a month.”
A hundred yuan in the world outside may be just the cost of a meal, but for the mountain people, it is enough to do many things. Not to mention that Jiang Liu will also include three meals for her.
For the girls on the mountain, cooking was not something difficult. Xu Meihua had started to help her mother since she was four or five years old. She had taken over cooking at home a long time ago. She knew it was Jiang Liu who kindly helped her, so she nodded excitedly, and agreed.
The following process was not much different from the previous life. The Xu family and the Wang family brought their children to Jiang Liu to become the apprentice. He finally accepted the 8-year-old Xu Quanjun and the 6-year-old Wang Gouzi.
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