The Green Lotus Peasant GirlChapters List
Chapter 91: Daily Activities 2
Li Qinghe inevitably paid closer attention to the next-door neighbors. The weather has been hot recently, so Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang would take their son out for walks daily in the mornings and the evenings. Hearing the quarreling noises, they looked at each other to comprehend. Zhou Chengkang picked up the baby and the three of them passed through the wasteland on the way to the Yangs’ household.
The door of the Yang family's courtyard was open, and many people were standing there. Li Qinghe was not familiar with them and could just barely recognize their faces. Those people were from Wang Village who had purchased the spoiled pork from the Yangs before.
"It doesn't make sense that we starve to death and still care about the contract with you. You are a very cunning person, you are just waiting for the time when we all die, so you won't have to pay us back- the debt, right?"
"Even I think this is the case!"
"You have no conscience! You can have all the meat, but at least leave us some soup…"
"My family is really out of food, or I wouldn't have given a thought to come to your door. Master Yang, pity our family just a bit......"
"Today, you can either exchange grains for use or pay us back. You are free to choose which one!"
The crowd was in an uproar, with sickles and hoes in their hands. They were shouting in the courtyard, while Mr. Yang tried to pacify them.
The two looked at each other and quietly retreated.
These people were probably used to making trouble. They knew now what the Yang family was afraid of, and after having their demands fulfilled twice, they will come to the Yangs again.
First of all, they were large in numbers, crowding the courtyard. Second of all, they had a fierce momentum, with hoes and sickles, making it impossible to have any room for negotiation, thus overwhelming Mr. Yang. And third of all, they all worked together in union. So no matter how hard Yang's family would try to coerce them, they wouldn’t budge.
It was only June, and the autumn harvest will occur at the end of July at the earliest. There was still more than a month left. Hence, many people in the village were out of food. As far as Li Qinghe knew, people boiled coarse grains and green vegetables from the fields and ate them. Although this porridge did not satisfy their hunger, they at least did not starve to death.
There was indeed a drought in many places last year, but it didn't happen in Wang Village. Most people quietly sold their food and ate sweet potatoes. They could continue eating just the soup but it was not harvesting season and they wanted to earn some money however they could.
The people who came to the Yang family maybe wanted to use this pretext to force money out of them. The Yang family had four acres of barren land and if they were to pay the villager's debt, it would take them years.
They don't know for sure- how much silver the others had, but with just one look at the Yang family, who were living luxuriously and eating nourishing food, while the workers had to patch their broken houses temporarily and eat white steamed buns. The Yang family definitely had silver with them, but whether it was sufficient to repay the debts, was still unknown.
Those who forced the Yang family to pay the debt early would get the money, but when the Yang family does not have enough money later, those who are late- will not be able to get their money back. Even if they don't pay them back, can they still attack the Yang family?
Thinking of this, Li Qinghe lowered her voice and said, "Go and inform my eldest aunt and the others about this."
It wasn't the case that she wanted to stir up more trouble for the Yang family. But if they weren’t able to repay the debts, it would all be in vain.
Zhou Chengkang nodded slightly. As soon as the two of them started walking towards their house, they saw Mrs. Xu hurrying over with some children. When she saw them, she frowned and asked, "What's going on inside?"
"I don't know." Li Qinghe shrugged and didn't say anything else. The two went home by walking through the other side of the wasteland.
Although the Yang family didn't live in the village, they could still hear all the chaos outside. When their lunch was ready, the noises didn't cease but instead became louder as if it were about to overturn the roof. It was evident that no one was stupid. More and more people rushed to the Yang family’s house.
They were eating their lunch when someone knocked on the door. When they went to open the door they found that it was the fifth sister Zhou. She entered the house and said with a smile, "There are people in the courtyard. My mother-in-law was afraid that I would bump into something so instructed me to stay at your house and see the ruckus."
With such a large crowd fuming, it was really easy for a physical fight to break out.
After Li Qinghe greeted her, she said, "Let's have lunch together."
Fifth sister Zhou agreed and took a bowl and started eating. She later helped them in cleaning the dishes after the meal. She was paying attention to the fight outside, and when the sounds gradually subdued. She asked, "Is it resolved?"
Sure enough, it didn't take long for Li Xingwang and Mrs. Liu Shi to come to Li Qinghe's house. They thanked her sincerely, "If you hadn't called me, I wouldn't have known that the next-door people were paying wages."
Who would call it ‘giving a salary’? The people forced them to pay.
Everyone knew that the Yang family looked rich and noble, but in fact, they were very cunning. Everyone was unsure about when they would receive their next pay,if they missed the chance of receiving it this time. And as far as the Yang family was taking the initiative to pay them their deserved wages, it was impossible in this lifetime.
Fifth sister Zhou couldn't help but say, "Did they really give the salary?"
Mrs. Liu pouted and said, "How can they not, after such a huge commotion? At first, the Yang family didn't agree, as the deed stated that they would pay the wages after the autumn harvest- to which there are still two to three months left. When everyone disagreed, he then changed it to paying only 30% of the wages…" She took a sip of tea and wiped the sweat from her forehead, "But no one agreed to this either. In the end, he agreed to give them half of their wages."
Li Xingwang had finished drinking water and sighed, "Even receiving half the money is fine for now. In case we can't get the rest, we will consider it as payment for the meals."
When the Yang family hired workers, Li Qinghe Li Qinghe also hired some workers and paid them 15 taels, and provided them with afternoon meals. Everyone agreed to this method. As for the Yang family, they were reluctant to cook meals for workers and were already in debt, so they paid the workers 25 taels. When he didn't pay them last year, the workers made a fuss and the money was raised to 30 taels. Now he paid them 15 taels, which was half of what was agreed. Li Xingwang was right to say this in this matter.
The workers made noise all day at Yang's house. At night, people who weren't paid didn't leave. As they couldn't stay in the Yang family's courtyard, they slept outside the house.
As it was the summer season,and so they wouldn’t catch a cold. The next day, by the afternoon, Mr. Yang paid the remaining workers and the matter was settled.
As people were going in and out of the next-door house, some would occasionally knock on their door. Li Qinghe and Zhou Cehngkang dried the sweet potato vines at their house. The visitors would come and sit in their courtyard.
Seeing that the autumn harvest was just around the corner, everyone was excited to get hired and earn wages. The villagers were in a happy mood when they talked about the harvest.
At night, just after everyone was gone they closed the door and were going to boil water to wash up and sleep, they heard a knock.
Li Qinghe went to open the door. It was Mr. Yang who visited them. He smiled, "Qinghe, I have something to discuss with you."
Zhou Chengkang heard him and answered him from the courtyard and said, "Come in."
Mr. Yang entered the courtyard and sat under the eaves. He looked a little despondent as he said, "My family had no money left. I even had to convert the food grains into silver to repay the debt. Can you please lend me some money to buy food?"
They had seen him pay the workers for the past two days, which meant he had enough money to pay everyone. He had always said he didn't have money before, but now that he paid them, who would believe his words again?
Besides, Li Qinghe didn't owe him anything. Zhou Chengkang smiled and shook his head, "I also do not have the silver. We also have many things to do at home and no one in my family can work right now, so we have to hire workers to take care of our four acres of wasteland...." He paused, "I still have some sweet potatoes in the cellar. As they have been kept in the cellar for a year, they might not taste very good. If you don’t mind, you can take a few dozen pounds back, and the next year you can return them after the harvest."
Mr. Yang was dumbfounded.
Zhou Chengkang's tone sounded very generous and he didn't even ask him to return it this autumn harvest, instead, he said to pay it back next year.
Seeing him stunned, Li Qinghe also said, "We can only help you in this way. If you don't like to eat that stuff, we can't do anything about it."
The villagers suffered from drought last year. No matter whether the food grains were sold or not, everyone ate sweet potatoes. The Yang family… may have tried it too, but probably never used it for meals.
Mr. Yang finally reacted and explained, "No, I will pay you interest. I will pay 30 taels of silver for borrowing 20 taels of silver. We can go and ask the village chief to write the deed."
Even if we have 20 taels of silvers, we will still not lend it to you ah!
Besides, the amount of money they had was not known to anyone. If they went to the village chief to write the deed to lend money, people would think that they had lots of money. And then, they will come to borrow money too. It was basically inviting thieves to their house.
Zhou Chengkang held Mr. Yang's arm and pulled him to the door to send him out, "No, Mr. Yang must be joking. Not to mention 20 taels, we don't even have 2 taels. It's getting late and we have to wash up, so it will be difficult to have you as a guest now."
It didn't look like sending him off but rather, as if pushing him out of the house. In the next two days, they had the Yang family borrow money from everywhere. Yang Lanrou was driven back to the Xu family too.
After borrowing around, Mr. Yang still came back and took 20 catties of sweet potatoes from them.
The sweet potatoes had been kept inside for a year which caused the outer crust to harden and when cooked, it did not taste delicious. Since Mr. Yang came to get from them again, it must have been that he had exhausted all his resources. It was worth mentioning that the Yang family didn't plant sweet potatoes in their field this year. The Yang family had four members and with their little harvest, they didn't have enough to eat.
The autumn harvest was just around the corner, and Li Qinghe accidentally found out that Zhao Wanwan had moved back in, and Mrs. Hu was looking for a concubine and her son. It was still acceptable, as according to the law, a scholar could take a concubine.
When Zhao Wanwan came back, she didn't go to Zhao family's house but went straight back to Qian family's house to live with Mrs. Qian.
On the day following her return, Mrs. Qian took her to the town to find the mayor to make a decision, saying: that the accusation that her younger brother hurt his parents for the funeral ceremony money was a heartless one and someone instigated the incident.
The one who instigated Qian Laiwen, was Qian Laixing- who had spent most of the time with him. The reason she mentioned this after a few years was because only now did Zhao Wanwan hear Hu Yanxi mention it when he was drunk.
Since this matter was attached to the people who had won scholar titles and brought prestige to Luoyue village, the mayor attached great importance to it. He decided to write a letter about it and send it to Lin Country.
If this matter did turn out to be true, then all the people involved, especially Qian Laixing will not only lose their title but even be accused.
When the news came out, everyone was very shocked. After all, the Qian couple were also Qian Laixing's grandparents. He was raised in front of them. Qian Laixing was really heartless, what did these two even study about after all the educational qualifications they had?
Killing one's relative just to get the funeral ceremony money was such a vicious thought that no one should even dare to come up with it. And these people not only dared to put it into action, but really succeeded as well!
If Zhao Wanwan hadn't said it, no one would have known about it for the rest of their lives.
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