Chapter 239 - Returning Home

After saying that, the midwife began to bathe the baby. After going through the procedures, the water in the basin had already cooled down. Poor Little Linlin was stripped naked, and then put into the water. These days, Xiaocao bathed the little fellow nearly every day. The little fellow had gotten used to bathing once a day, so when his swaddling clothes were opened up, he still remained obedient and quiet. However, when the little guy was stripped naked and placed in the slightly cold water, he was suddenly startled and began displaying his amazingly loud voice, crying loudly.

The midwife smiled and said, “The young master is certainly someone who is blessed. With a ‘ringing basin’, one shall be blessed with good fortune and happiness.”

Then she started bathing the little guy. As she washed him, she recited the congratulatory speech, “First, wash your hair and be a nobility. Next, wash your waist and each generation will have a higher rank. Clean your lower body, and you will become a county magistrate. Clean your armpits, and you will become a senior official of a prefecture.”

The other midwife placed a ball of mugwort leaves with a slice of ginger as the base on the baby’s forehead and burned it in a token manner. After that, she combed the baby’s hair and tidied his appearance, while saying, “Comb three times with a comb and two times with a fine-toothed comb; you will grow up to be a high-ranking official. Draw your left eyebrow and strike your right sideburn; find a virtuous wife. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth; you will be an eloquent speaker.”

After that, she rolled an egg on the baby’s face and chanted, “Roll an egg on the face and your face will be like an egg’s skin. With fair skin and a healthy blush, you will be a lovely person.” Then, she gently patted the little fellow’s forehead three times with a leek and said, “One strike for intelligence. Second strike for wit.”

…… 

Fang Haolin wasn’t someone who would let others control him, so he was extremely uncooperative during the entire process. He kept kicking the water and crying desperately with his eyes closed. Lady Fang’s heart ached dearly upon hearing his cries. However, this was a tradition passed down by the older generation to pray for the child. Thus, she could only suppress herself from going up to stop it.  

When they finally completed the three stages of ‘washing ceremony’, Yu Xiaocao quickly picked up Little Linlin and stuffed him into the embrace of Lady Fang, who was lying on the bed. The little fellow, who was terribly exhausted from being tossed about, stopped crying and fell asleep as soon as he returned to the familiar and warm embrace.

Yu Xiaocao expressed deep disapproval for tormenting a three-day old baby like this. It was no wonder that the survival rate of babies was so low in ancient times. It wouldn’t be weird for a baby with a weaker body to fall ill after being tormented in this way! Last night, Xiaocao bathed the little fellow, who had a stuffy nose, with mystic-stone water, and added a few drops of the mystic-stone water in the water he drank. Hence, Little Linlin was able to avoid the danger of becoming sick.

This spring, Yu Xiaocao lived a full and busy life. During her godmother’s postnatal confinement period, she attended to her and thought of ways to make meals to nourish her body. She helped her godmother take care of the little guy, Fang Haolin. Besides his mother, Little Linlin was the closest to his godsister. She also had to go back every few days to water and fertilize the watermelon, corn, and potatoes…

Of course, she didn’t need to do the work herself. For her family’s a dozen or so mu of farmland, her parents and her aunt’s family, whose health had already recovered, would help take care of the fields. She just needed to be responsible for making the so-called ‘fertilizer’.  

When they grew melons and vegetables last year, Yu Hai still didn’t really believe that her so-called ‘’fertilizer’ could accelerate the growth of crops. Well, it didn’t look any different than clear water. It was colorless and tasteless, so he thought that his younger daughter said it casually like she was playing house.

But later, the family’s vegetable garden and melon patch grew extremely well. There was no comparison for the watermelon, so it didn’t need to be mentioned any further. With a rough estimate, the family’s two or three plots of vegetable fields actually had a bigger harvest than other families’ seven or eight mu of land. Not to mention, the harvest of the sweet potatoes in autumn was three times higher than Ergouzi’s family’s harvest. Three times higher ah!!

Yu Hai once watched the entire process of his younger daughter preparing the ‘fertilizer’. She had only added a few drops of water from a small bottle into the bucket. He had even secretly tried it with his tongue, and it was no different from the water that they usually drank. However, it was this extremely ordinary water that displayed such a great effect. Could people not be surprised?

He remembered that his younger daughter had once said that her soul had visited the underworld and she had encountered immortals. Could it be that she had really been enlightened by the immortals? Thus, she had the magical ability to turn normal water into a fertilizer that could accelerate growth of crops. Yu Hai thought about this in his heart, but he didn’t dare to say anything about it, for fear that someone with ulterior motives would hear it and treat his precious daughter like a monster!

Since then, in order to cover for his younger daughter, he dug a large manure pit at the foot of the back mountain. The manure of livestock, human waste, and fertilizer made of dead leaves from the mountains were all collected there. When it was time to fertilize the fields, he would come take some as a way to cover for his daughter.

When the villagers saw the Yu Family’s crops growing so well, they all praised Yu Hai for being so hardworking and capable, and that he had used the right amount of fertilizer… No one suspected Xiaocao at all.

Xiaocao’s oldest aunt’s family lived in town for several days. Liu Hu’s health had just gotten slightly better, and the family hurriedly packed up and went back to Dongshan Village with Yu Hai. In their opinion, although it was convenient to live in town, they needed to spend money for everything. The wild vegetables that could be found everywhere in the countryside needed to be bought with money in town. At present, her younger brother was responsible for all their food and accommodation. As his older sister, not only could she not take care of her younger brother, but she also needed to him to subsidize her. With that said, would she be able to stay in town with ease?

Fortunately, Liu Hu’s health recovered rather quickly. In addition, he was able to eat rice and wheat flour for every meal, and from time to time, there would also be chicken, fish, and meat. Every meal that the family ate was like a meal for the New Year. The three children had apparently gotten chubbier, and there was also a rosy glow on their faces. Even their personalities seemed to have became livelier. Yu Caifeng felt that her body was even healthier than before she became a refugee.

As soon as her husband was able to walk, Yu Caifeng packed the little luggage that they had and returned to Dongshan Village on her younger brother’s carriage.

After Yu Caifeng got married, she had only returned once. It had already been over a decade since she left Dongshan Village. When she saw the old elm tree at the entrance of the village again, she really did feel somewhat anxious when approaching her hometown after being away for so many years away. She smoothed out the cotton clothing that her younger brother bought for her, and then squeezed out a smile for those familiar, or unfamiliar, faces from her memory.

“Oh! Isn’t this Old Yu Family’s Caifeng!! I haven’t seen you for over a decade. Your children are so big already?” Under the old elm tree, there were several old people playing chess and chatting. The village head looked up and saw Yu Caifeng’s family coming down from the horse carriage. He was stunned, but he recognized her.

Yu Hai’s eldest uncle, Yu Lichun, heard this and quickly got up. He walked closer to them and looked carefully at Yu Caifeng. With slightly moist eyes, he choked up and said, “It’s Caifeng. It’s really that child Caifeng! You have gotten a lot thinner. It must have been difficult over the years, right?”

“Village Chief, Eldest Uncle…” Yu Caifeng’s eyes brimmed with tears, but it was unknown whether she had recalled how she couldn’t control her fate in the past, or if it was the joy of reunion.

“It’s good that you’re back. It’s good that you’re back!!” Yu Lichun wiped the corner of his eyes and said with a big smile, “Your father has been worried about you, since you lived far away in the northeast, since he heard about the drought in the northeast last year. You, this child, are so stubborn. Why didn’t you come back earlier ah? You must have suffered a lot, right?”

Yu Hai hastily interjected, “Village Chief, Eldest Uncle, my older sister just came back, so let’s get her settled down first.”

“Go, go!” The village head waved his hands at them. Yu Lichun, on the other hand, followed them to the Yu Family’s old residence.

Following the path in her memory, they went straight to the old residence. Although she had already prepared her heart, when she saw the black brick, tiled-roof house and a tall, imposing stone enclosed courtyard, Yu Caifeng still felt astonished inwardly——Younger Brother had really made a fortune. Besides the village head’s house, it was impossible to find such a dignified house in the entire village!

As soon as they entered the gates, their eyes were filled with the vigorous green vegetables that were growing under the sun. Some of the matrons who helped to pick vegetables were close childhood friends of Yu Caifeng, so there was naturally another series of chatting.

In a daze, Yu Caifeng settled in the two-room compound on the side. After a long time, she finally realized that it wasn’t a dream. The three siblings of the Liu Family had originally thought that the houses in the countryside would be about the same as their house in the northeast, so they hadn’t expected that it would be even more dignified than the houses in town.   

Although there were only two main rooms, there was a large courtyard and side rooms on both sides of the building. It was more than enough room for a family of five. The three siblings all got their own rooms, and they were so happy that they didn’t even know what they should do!

Before they could be happy for too long, Liu Hu called the children together later that evening and solemnly told them, “Children, you guys must remember that we’re only temporarily staying at your maternal uncle’s house. When Father’s health is better, I’ll find the village head to see if he can give us an approval for a piece a land. We’ll build a two-room straw cottage and move over! It’s improper to live in your uncle’s house for too long!”

Liu Junping nodded his head sensibly and said, “I heard that it’s easier to find a job at the docks now and there’s also a high wage. I’ll go to the docks tomorrow to take a look.”

Liu Yaner bit her lips and said in a soft voice, “I can also earn money by sewing pouches…”

Liu Fangping, who was only six years old, opened his mouth, but lowered his head and muttered, “I… I can’t make money. What should I do?”

Liu Yaner comforted him considerately, “You can help with the chores at home, such as collecting firewood, making a fire, and so on. In the future, our family will definitely raise chickens and pigs, so you can help feed the little chicks and pigs ah!”

Little Fangping immediately cheered up, nodded repeatedly, and said, “Mhm! Xiaoping can help catch bugs to feed the chickens. When the chicks grow up and lay eggs, I can sell them for money!”

Looking at her sensible and obedient children, Yu Caifeng held them in her arms, feeling sour and proud in her heart.

Hearing that Liu Junping wanted to work at the docks, Yu Hai looked at the little fellow’s still growing body, and weak and thin arms. He thought about it and said, “Our watermelons will ripen soon, so we will surely need help at that time. Why don’t Junping stay and help Uncle?”

Now, the five members of the Liu Family relied on the Yu Family for food and accommodation, so they naturally wouldn’t refuse to help. The recently recovered Liu Hu, Yu Caifeng, who couldn’t stay idle, and Liu Junping, who considered himself as an adult, followed Yu Hai to work in the fields every morning. They were all capable workers, so they swiftly finished watering, fertilizing, and weeding the dozen or so mu of farmland.

It was worth mentioning that Wang Ergou had become much more diligent since the birth of his son. He rented his land to Yu Hai to grow watermelon, and he was even more attentive to the melon field than when he grew sweet potatoes in the past. He had to come over and check the fields several times a day. He searched for weeds in the fields several times a day, so he had already pulled up all the weeds.

Looking at the tiny watermelons growing bigger day by day, he seemed to be able to see silver ingots flying at him in succession. It was as if he could see his own house covered with black bricks and tiles, and his son grown up and going to school…

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Myst's Thoughts

No need to worry too much about Yu Caifeng's family because they won't be the same as Madam Zhang and co...

Translator: Myst