Yu Hai’s eldest uncle’s family didn’t have anyone who could fish, so they relied on about five mu’s worth of sandy land to make a living. Yu Xi and Yu Jiang also occasionally went into town to find work or to the docks to move cargo. Their family’s circumstances were not very comfortable. Earlier that morning, Yu Jiang had left home empty-handed, yet came back with more than a tael in his hands...
Yu Lichun and Yu Xi looked at him, flabbergasted. Apparently, they were waiting for him to explain.
Yu Jiang stammered somewhat emotionally, “This is from the seafood purchasing business today…”
“You bastard!” Yu Lichun was stunned for a bit before he burst out into rage. His beard stuck up in the air as he snarled, “Didn’t we agree that we will only take forty percent of the income ah? You...you took all of the money your elder brother earned? Quickly send it back!!”
Yu Xi also regarded his younger brother with disapproval, “Younger Brother, it’s not that I’m scolding you! But, when Dahai gave you money, you just took it? Did you not calculate it out yourself?”
“No, no!” In front of his father and older brother, Yu Jiang didn’t quite know what to say and felt a bit depressed. He did his best to explain what happened, “This money is forty percent of what was earned today, I even looked at the account book!” However, he left out that he didn’t quite understand what was written in the book, argh!
Yu Lichu and Yu Xi still didn’t quite believe him and asked, “So you’re telling us that today, in one day, they earned almost four taels? That’s not possible, right? How could buying gathered seafood be that profitable?”
Yu Jiang analyzed the situation for them, “Zhenxiu Restaurant set a price for Second Brother and his family’s labor. Do you know how much seafood they took in today? Over a thousand catties ah! On average, one catty is about thirty copper coins, so isn’t one thousand catties around thirty to forty taels? For the work of our two families, we got around three to four taels as our fee, so me taking at least one tael home isn’t a problem!”
After he heard his son calculate out everything, Yu Lichun finally was convinced. The money that his son had earned today equaled the amount that the whole family used to make in a month doing temporary work ah! When he started to think about the total income his son could make in one month and then in one year, he immediately became light-headed. If they continued with this and earned a whole year’s worth of money, they could buy more than ten mu of good land, or even buy a pretty good house in town. With a few more years of work, wouldn’t his family become one of the wealthiest families in Dongshan Village then?
Yu Lichun forcefully swallowed down his saliva and spoke in a trembling voice, “Jiang’er, in the future, you absolutely must remember your Brother Dahai’s benevolence. If we didn’t have him, then our family couldn’t even dream of making so much money in one day ah! You must work hard for him!”
“Father! Believe in me!! My older cousin is basically my biological second brother. Xiaocao and the kids are now my full-blooded nieces and nephews!!” In the past, when there wasn’t anything to be given in return, Yu Jiang was able to help Yu Hai’s family whenever they had difficulties. Now, it was a given since they were collaborating together in business!
Yu Lichun suddenly frowned and remarked, “Remember, you absolutely cannot broadcast this news outside! This will prevent your third uncle’s family from finding out and causing problems for Dahai’s family!”
Yu Jiang also realized that Second Brother asked him to help with that eye popping business and not Dashan and the others. This meant that Dahai trusted him explicitly. He absolutely could not cause trouble for Second Brother’s family!
Xiaocao had no idea what had just occurred at Eldest Granduncle’s house. She lifted her small bucket, which had her exclusive ‘fertilizer’ in it. Yu Hai was behind her with two buckets of water on a shoulder pole. From time to time, he would remind her to be careful where she was walking.
After they finished watering the fields, Yu Xiaocao walked around the watermelon fields. Under the prompting of the little divine stone, she discovered there were two watermelons that were already ripe. These two melons were large and round, and both of them weighed around twenty catties each. Their outer skins were a vivid green-blue and looked so fresh that one could pinch water out of them.
“Father! These two watermelons are ripe already. Let’s pick them and bring them back home to taste!” Yu Xiaocao took one off the vine and held it in her arms. She toddled over on the ground. When Yu Hai saw his daughter struggling, he hurriedly strode over in large strides and took the watermelon from his daughter’s hands.
The two watermelons, which didn’t weigh over forty catties altogether, were considered small weights to Yu Hai. He held one under each arm and took them to the edge of the field. He then softly spoke to Xiaocao, “I’ll send you home first and then come back to build the melon shed.”
Watermelons, to the villagers of Dongshan Village and other neighboring villages, were considered to be very rare and strange objects. When they first planted them, they attracted a bunch of curious people who came over to look. Now that the melons in the field were on the eve of ripening, there needed to be someone in the fields watching over them. Yu Hai had already chopped some bamboo in preparation for building a melon shed.
“Father, do what you need to do now! In a moment, Godfather will return and I can have him help us bring them back!” Yu Xiaocao watched from the side as her father swiftly built the shed. She would occasionally help with some smaller tasks and propose a few suggestions. Before noon, the outlines of the shed could already be seen.
Surely enough, Xiaocao’s prediction came true. After finishing up some tasks at the docks, Fang Zizhen rushed back home on horseback. When he found out that his adopted daughter was helping build a wooden shack in the melon fields, he felt bad, ‘A little girl should be pampered in life, how could she possibly be doing such hard labor? That’s not okay, I need to go over there now to help!’
With the addition of another strong man, the melon shack, which would have taken two days to complete, was finished in less than a day. Yu Xiaocao also had her two fathers construct a bamboo bed in the shed as she was afraid that her father might become chilled while watching the melon fields.
That evening, Little Shitou came back on his rest day and the whole family sat together in a circle to eat dinner. They prepared to share the first ripe watermelons amongst each other.
At this period, watermelons were not a common crop. The fruit was not only rare for the Yu Family, but even in the capital Fang Zizhen had also rarely eaten watermelon.
“Xiaosha, send the other watermelon to your grandfather. Let your grandfather taste some too!” Yu Hai saw that the watermelon, when cut open, had brilliant red flesh. The bright red juice flowed along the knife and the smell of sweetness hit his nose. When he was happy, he also thought of his aged father and hoped that he could also try some of this.
Yu Hang scowled slightly and softly replied, “If my grandmother thinks it tastes good and wants us to send some over every day, should we give in to her or not?”
Technically, Yu Hai could send them a watermelon every day. However, he had previously heard Fang Zizhen mention the prices of watermelons in the capital. They were even more expensive than meat! On the cheaper side, one watermelon could go for a couple hundred coppers. If they sent over one every day, what was the point of their family growing watermelon then? Were they still planning on earning money?
The excitement in Yu Hai’s eyes immediately dimmed, and he slowly sat down on a stool. He let out a deep sigh. The originally happy atmosphere had also fizzled out at the mention of the main branch.
Yu Xiaocao didn’t want her father to look so confused and stood up. Her clear voice broke the silence, “Why don’t...I go deliver the watermelon to Grandfather?”
“No! What if your grandmother makes things difficult for you? Actually, even if we don’t send any, it’s okay. Tomorrow, we’ll invite your grandfather over to have a piece, that also works!” Yu Hai was afraid that his daughter might become injured so he immediately changed his plans.
“It’s okay! With Grandfather around, my grandmother wouldn’t have the guts to do much! That being said, she should be as happy as a clam when she sees me sending her some watermelon. How could she possibly try to make things difficult for me?” When Yu Xiaocao got an idea in her head, it was very difficult to convince her to do something else.
Fang Zizhen promptly stood up and stooped over to grab the other large watermelon, “Daughter, the watermelon is heavy. I’ll help you carry it. Let’s go, the faster we get there, the faster we’ll get back. You can all wait for us to get back and then eat!”
Yu Xiaocao knew that her godfather was afraid that she might get bullied by the main branch, so he was coming with her as support! She was touched by his kindness and naturally allowed him to go with her.
As expected, when they got there, Madam Zhang found out that watermelon was a very expensive fruit. She not only wasn’t grateful but she also insinuated that they brought over too little. Old Yu glared at her for a long time and only then did she quiet down. In addition, Fang Zizhen was also there, so Madam Zhang didn’t dare to throw a tantrum.
As they were leaving, Yu Caidie escorted them to the gate. She stated somewhat shamefully, “Xiaocao, my mother is just that type of personality, so don’t take it personally. Please thank my second brother and second sister-in-law for me. Thank you for thinking of us whenever you guys get something good.”
Before they split from the family, this youngest aunt of hers was probably the only one in the family besides Old Yu who had good intentions towards them. Although her youngest aunt had a weak personality and was somewhat squeamish, Yu Xiaocao still had somewhat of a good impression of her.
She pulled on Yu Caidie’s hand and softly said, “Youngest Aunt, I heard that your wedding date is already set. Congratulations. When the moment comes, my mother and I will come over and add to your dowry.”
Yu Caidie flushed red as she lightly patted Xiaocao’s hand before she quietly replied, “Please thank my second brother and second sister-in-law for me…” When she finished, she turned around in embarrassment and fled back inside.
On the side, Fang Zizhen remarked, “Your youngest aunt is very similar to a lot of the noble young maidens in the capital. She gets shy and embarrassed too easily. Her personality isn’t as good as my daughter’s, confident and calm. That really goes well with my personality!”
Yu Xiaocao pulled at the sleeve of his official’s uniform and grinned until her eyes turned into small crescents, “Godfather, you think everything your daughter does is good! Perhaps in other people’s eyes, they think I don’t resemble a little girl at all!”
“Who said that my daughter isn’t good? Just watch me beat them up until all their teeth fall out!” Fang Zizhen made a giant fist with his hand and waved it around fiercely.
The two of them chattered happily as they walked into the old residence when they suddenly saw that there were two additional people in the courtyard. With a closer look, they realized it was the Wang Ergou couple.
Ergou’s wife was currently pulling on her husband’s ear and had an apologetic expression on her face. She said, “Second Brother Yu, I am truly sorry! Ergou’zi picked a watermelon from your field without asking for permission...tell me how much it is, we’ll take it as if our family bought it from you.”
Because their fields were close together, Madam Liu had some interactions with Ergou’s wife in the past and had a good impression of her. She replied, “We’re fellow villagers and neighbors. If you want to eat some watermelon, just tell us, no need to mention money!”
Ergou’s wife resolutely shook her head, “Yu Hai’s wife, even if you didn’t tell me I would know that this watermelon is a rare fruit. It’s absolutely very expensive! Ergou’zi, how could you? I’ve warned you so many times! If our family is poor, then we have to be honest and poor! Didn’t you promise me that you were going to be an honest man now? How could you go back to your old, rotten ways? You...you truly disappoint me too much!”
When Wang Ergou saw that his wife was so mad that tears were pouring down, he immediately panicked. He repeatedly apologized, “Wife, I know I was wrong!! This is the last time, I absolutely won’t do this again!!”
“How many times have you told me, ‘this is the last time’, ah? I was stupid to believe that you might change your ways! Now, I see clearly, a dog can never change its desire to eat poop! Tomorrow, I’m going back to my parents’ house. I’d rather my child not have a father than have a father who idled around and steals other people’s things. A father that would make my child ashamed to raise his head in this world!!” Ergou’s wife had an expression full of despair on her face as she pushed aside his hand.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s Thoughts: Oh dang I was expecting the main branch to try to steal a watermelon first.