“Sending the betrothal gifts? Isn’t that next month? Didn’t we already plow the vegetable fields and plant the seeds? The crops should be ready by next month, so why do we need to ask Second Son for vegetables? It’s not like you don’t know about the living conditions of Second Son’s family. As his parents, even if we can’t help him, we shouldn’t add to their misfortunes and cause more trouble for our children. What would others say about us?” Of course, Old Yu didn’t believe her nonsense and immediately exposed her.
“Shouldn’t a son be filial to his parents? What would others say! Do you think that others won’t gossip about a son who eats and lives well while his parents barely have enough to eat?” Madam Zhang was an expert at pestering others endlessly.
Old Yu frowned and became even more displeased, “What do you mean by ‘we barely have enough to eat’? Although we’re not making as much money from selling fish as before, it’s certainly enough to feed our entire family. Moreover, you still have a lot of…”
“It’s for our third son’s studies, so no one is allowed to touch it!” Madam Zhang valued her youngest son the most and no one was allowed to touch him. When she heard Old Yu mention her savings, she instantly startled and glanced at Xiaocao with a guilty conscience.
Old Yu felt even more furious within his heart, “Whenever money is mentioned, you always say that it’s for Third Son’s studies! Yet you run over to cause trouble for Second Son’s family when they have already split from the family! Your heart is seriously too biased!!”
“I’m biased? You’re saying that I’m being partial?! After I married you, I gave birth to and raised your children. I don’t waste money on food or clothes. Who am I doing all this for? Was it for myself? I just want to foster a scholar from our family so that our whole family can live a better life. Who am I being biased to? Eldest Son is my biological son, have I ever been partial to him? Second Son is more capable than Eldest Son. I also remember all his contributions to the family!! In the future, when Third Son passes the examination to become an official, wouldn’t he, as his older brother, also be benefited?” Madam Zhang wiped her tears as she spoke, as if she was the one who had been wronged and taken advantage of.
Old Yu’s heart softened when he saw Madam Zhang’s tears, but he still persisted, “That still isn’t a valid reason to ask an older brother, who had separated from the family, to financially support his younger brother’s studies! Stop crying here, or else you’ll become a laughingstock. Quickly come home with me!!”
Seeing that she wouldn’t be able to take advantage of them today, Madam Zhang dawdled over to the entrance. Madam Li didn’t even dare to lift up her head as she dejectedly followed behind her mother-in-law. Her father-in-law was really angry today. He didn’t even give face to her mother-in-law, let alone her.
“Ay!” Old Yu touched the head of Xiaocao, who was standing beside him and staring at him with wide eyes. After that, he looked at his son and daughter-in-law, who had only come out from the rear courtyard at this time. With a tired voice, he sighed, “The husband will have less trouble if his wife is virtuous! It was fortunate that I didn’t listen to Madam Zhang’s decision to have you marry her niece. I have a good daughter-in-law. You guys need to live a good life!”
After that, with his hands clasped behind his back and his body stooped down, he left with heavy footsteps.
“Grandfather! I’ll gather some vegetables for you to take back!!” Yu Xiaocao was more or less satisfied with her grandfather’s performance today. It seemed like he wasn’t a complete fool yet.
Old Yu stopped in his tracks and turned his head to look at her. He slowly shook his head and said, “No need. Keep them to sell for money! This old residence needs to be renovated thoroughly so that it won’t be crushed by the snow during winter!”
Yu Xiaocao signaled her father with her eyes. Yu Hai understood her meaning and quickly said, “Father, it’s nothing much. This son of yours can still provide you with some vegetables to eat! Cao’er’s mother, you go and help Cao’er gather a portion of each vegetables.”
He personally went forward to pull Old Yu back to sit on the stone chair in the courtyard, and then poured a cup of water for his father to drink. After drinking the water brought by his son, Old Yu felt much better both physically and mentally. His son still had him, his father, within his heart.
Before he had finished a cup of water, Xiaocao and her mother had already swiftly gathered the vegetables and packed them in a basket. It appeared to be around ten catties of vegetables in the basket. Right now, in the Yu Family, there were only the Old Yu couple, the eldest son’s family, and the unmarried youngest sister. Thus, it was enough for them to eat for several days.
However, Madam Zhang wasn’t satisfied and felt that Yu Hai’s family had given them too little. While she scolded Dahai’s entire family within her heart, she took out most of the greens from the basket that Old Yu brought back, and then sent them to her youngest son early in the morning on the next day.
Madam Li, who had a terrible complexion after a night of nightmares, inwardly criticized Madam Zhang for her biasness. She grumbled her complaint to Yu Dashan for several days.
As for Yu Xiaocao’s family, who had earned over eight hundred sixty taels today, they were currently discussing what to do with sixty-something taels in front of them.
The head of the family, Yu Hai, was the first to speak. He cleared his throat and solemnly said, “As I have just said, our Cao’er’s recipe was sold for eight hundred taels. We have already asked Third Young Master Zhou to help us buy a storefront with the money. I reckon that the shops at the newly constructed port wouldn’t be too expensive! We should be able to buy four spaces! At that time, you siblings will each have a shop, fair to all!”
Yu Hang, who was half lying on the kang bed, hastily said, “Youngest Sister was the one who earned the money to purchase the store. As her older brother, how can I take advantage of her? I’ll leave my space to Youngest Sister!”
Yu Xiaocao glared at him with widened eyes and said unhappily, “Older Brother, what you’re saying isn’t right! We’re blood-related siblings, so why do we need to be so clear-cut about everything?”
“People say that even real siblings should settle accounts without ambiguity! For example, it wouldn’t make sense for Father to buy land and a store for Eldest Uncle.” Yu Hang insisted.
Yu Xiaocao snorted and said, “We have already separated from the family now. We won’t give them any less of the filial respect that we are obliged to, but we aren’t paying for a single penny more than necessary! Older Brother, when you get better, the business at the docks will be handed to you. In the future, when the new port is built, you would be able to expand the business at the docks and earn a lot of money. Would you disregard your younger siblings at that time?”
“Of course not! It’s our family’s business, so of course the profits should be handed into the family account!” Yu Hang immediately retorted.
“Isn’t that the same logic? The money that I’m earning right now is also handed into the family account to be managed. Even if it’s not given to you guys now, when we grow up and split from the family in the future, we still need to divide it evenly!” Yu Hang had never won when debating with Yu Xiaocao.
Yu Hang frowned and wanted to decline again, “But… Youngest Sister, you were the one who earned all the money ah…”
“Alright, let’s stop talking about this! It’s decided!!” Seeing that the siblings were each holding their own ground, Yu Hai spoke up to make the final decision, “Xiaosha, you don’t have to feel like you’re taking advantage of your younger sister. In the future, your younger sisters will also need their brothers’ support!”
Little Shitou, who had returned at dusk last night for his break, put down the book in his hands and laughed, “Father, even if we don’t have a store, Older Brother and I will still support our sisters! In the future, if that person mistreats Second Sister, I’ll bring her home and take care of her for a lifetime!!”
“You’re only going to take care of your second sister? Do you not care about your eldest sister at all?” Xiaolian teased her younger brother with a smile.
Little Shitou hadn’t had a chance to correct himself before Xiaocao pinched both his cheeks, “You heartless little fellow. There’s so many good things you can say, but instead you’re cursing your second sister to be bullied in the future?”
Little Shitou’s little face, which had just become more fleshy, was pulled out to two sides by his second sister, and then squashed together again in the middle. His small mouth was squeezed together until it looked like a pig’s snout as he struggled to explain himself. He, who would become a high-scoring top scholar in the imperial examination in his teens, was currently being bullied by his second sister.
After Yu Xiaocao played enough with his face, she finally let him go mercifully. Little Shitou covered his face, which had turned red from being pinched, and muttered with a pout, “Second Sister, I’m wrong! Who dares to bully you? You’re the one who is going to bully others!”
“Of course!!” Yu Xiaocao had a complacent expression, and then said, “It’s decided then, everyone gets a store! It would be better if the shops are cheap and we can buy more. If we have more younger siblings in the future, we can also prepare some for them too!”
Liu Muyun, who was sitting on the edge of the kang bed with a slight smile, heard her words and looked up. When she saw her youngest daughter’s teasing gaze, her pale face immediately flushed. She chided, “This child. How mischievous! You even dare to tease your own parents!”
Yu Xiaocao grinned and replied, “Mother, I’m not joking! Last time when Doctor Sun checked on Eldest Brother, didn’t he also take your pulse? He said that your health is much better now. I heard that lingering illness from the postnatal confinement period needs to be healed during the confinement period. If you want to restore your body, you should give birth to a younger brother or sister as soon as possible! You don’t need to do anything. Xiaolian and I will be responsible for taking care of the little baby!”
Yu Hai was eager to try when he heard that having another child could help his wife heal her body. He had never been someone who was good at hiding his emotions, so when Madam Liu saw his expression, her face became even more red. She quietly pinched Yu Hai’s waist, but her husband caught her hand and held it firmly within his own hand.
Little Shitou looked at the sixty-something shiny taels on the table. There was a genuine look of joy on his face as he said, “Second Sister, you’re truly capable!! Sure enough, you’re someone who have been enlightened by the deities…”
Yu Hai hastily interjected and reprimanded him, “Don’t go out and talk nonsense!! Your second sister was able to come up with so many recipes because she picked up a remnant of a recipe book and has some talent for cooking! If someone asks you in the future, just tell them that! Do you guys understand?”
Yu Hang and Yu Xiaolian nodded solemnly. Little Shitou mischievously replied, “Don’t worry, I’m not stupid! I won’t sell out my older sister!! I heard from my classmate that his hometown was rather ignorant and conservative. They had burned to death an older sister from the same clan because she could see strange things. They said that she was a monster and an ominous person, who would bring disaster to the village…”
Madam Liu was so frightened that she immediately threw down the clothing that she was making. She held Xiaocao tightly within her embrace and nervously said, “My daughter isn’t a monster. Our Cao’er will only bring good luck to others! Isn’t Cao’er the reason our family’s living conditions improved? Little Shitou, you can’t speak carelessly in the future! Understand?!”
“I know, I understand!” Little Shitou also realized that the severity of the situation and was so scared that he didn’t know what to do.
Xiaocao was reluctant to leave her mother’s gentle and warm embrace. With a happy smile on her face, she changed the topic, “What do you guys want to do with this sixty-something taels? Should we save it up, or spend it?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Should they spend it or save it?🤔