Chapter 44 – Borrowing an Ox Cart
Since tomorrow was the day of the market in Daxing Town, Ms. Zhong, Yan Shuqin, and Yan Shuxue didn’t go to cut firewood on the Four Sisters Mountain in the afternoon. Instead, they spent the afternoon tidying up the firewood they had piled at home, bundling them neatly to sell at the market tomorrow.
People in the town were very particular when buying firewood. They judged the firewood on quality and appearance.
Yan Xiaosi wasn’t very skilled at these tasks, and Yan Shuyun’s foot was injured, so the two of them helped Ms. Zhong, Yan Shuqin, and Yan Shuxue by fetching water, knives, and vines for tying the firewood bundles.
By evening, Ms. Zhong, Yan Shuqin, and Yan Shuxue had tied up five bundles of firewood.
Looking at the neatly stacked five bundles of firewood, Yan Xiaosi frowned, feeling somewhat worried.
“Mother, are we going to sell all five bundles of firewood at the market in Daxing Town tomorrow?”
Ms. Zhong nodded in response, “Tomorrow morning, I’ll get up early, carry two bundles of firewood to Daxing Town first, and then come back to take the remaining three bundles with your elder sisters. Winter is approaching, and we need to earn some money as soon as possible. First, we need to prepare food for winter, and second, we need to find a way to repair our broken grass temple to withstand the wind and snow.”
Yan Xiaosi’s eyes fell on Ms. Zhong, seeing her slightly hunched back, she felt a sting in her eyes. Shifting her gaze to Yan Shuqin, Yan Shuxue, and Yan Shuyun, she saw their pale, thin faces and malnourished appearance. This made her eyes sting even more.
In the past, Ms. Zhong, Yan Shuqin, Yan Shuxue, and Yan Shuyun carried the firewood on their shoulders to sell in the town. Such heavy labor had long exceeded their capacity.
“I think I should borrow a cart to carry all this firewood to Daxing Town.”
Ms. Zhong immediately stopped her, “Xiaosi, where are you going to borrow a cart? Don’t go, I still have strength.”
Ever since Yan Bowen passed away, the third family of the Yan household had become the most impoverished in Shaoyao Village. Almost no one in the village was willing to interact with them, let alone lend them anything. So, Ms. Zhong would rather be more tired than let Yan Xiaosi ask for help and be subjected to others’ whims.
Yan Xiaosi didn’t stop, “Mother, Tian Dazhuang’s family has a cart. I’m close with Tian Dazhuang, I’ll go and see if I can borrow it.”
Yan Xiaosi stubbornly left the broken grass temple and headed towards Tian Dazhuang’s house in the center of the village.
Ms. Zhong, Yan Shuqin, Yan Shuxue, and Yan Shuyun watched her leave, none of them holding out much hope that she could borrow the cart from Tian Dazhuang’s family.
Yan Shuqin said, “Mother, can Fourth Brother really borrow a cart? Although Fourth Brother often plays with Tian Dazhuang, his mother is quite fierce, and I’m afraid she won’t easily lend the cart to Fourth Brother.”
Ms. Zhong sighed, “Since Xiaosi wants to give it a try, let him try. He won’t give up without trying. It’s getting late, let’s go inside and cook dinner.”
When Yan Xiaosi arrived at Tian Dazhuang’s house, his mother was cooking dinner.
Just outside the door, Yan Xiaosi smelled the aroma of stir-fried meat, like the scent of twice-cooked pork. Her body was craving meat so badly that the smell set off alarm bells in her stomach.
It felt like she hadn’t eaten twice-cooked pork in a century.
Yan Xiaosi licked the corner of her mouth, patted her flat stomach, and wore a disheartened expression on her face. However, she still remembered that she came to Tian Dazhuang’s house tonight to borrow a cart.