The Green Lotus Peasant Girl

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Chapter 24: Dowry

Despite feeling a little hungry, Li Qinghe didn’t want to go to the main room to eat together with the others, since Zhao Wanwan’s soon-to-be in-laws were sitting there. She needed to avoid any suspicion, so she got up and went to the kitchen.

There were two steamed buns on the side of the pot and a half plate of vegetables. There were even a few pieces of meat left too. Seeing this, she never expected Mrs. Qian to prepare this for her.

As she picked up the plate, she intended to go back to her room to eat.

As she passed by the main room, she heard Mrs. Hu’s words, “I have the same idea as you since I came here. I think the marriage should be settled as soon as possible.”

“The dowry must be discussed carefully.” She continued without waiting for Mrs. Qian’s reply.

After she stopped speaking, Li Qinghe saw Zhao Wanwan and Hu Yanxi leave the main room one after another.

Seeing Li Qinghe with a plate, Zhao Wanwan was a little worried and intentionally or unintentionally blocked Hu Yanxi’s view. “Sister, will you take it to your room and eat?”

Li Qinghe hummed in response. She glanced at Hu Yanxi who was staring at her over there, then walked back inside after greeting.

Zhao Wanwan’s voice came from behind. “This is my sister Qinghe. She just got engaged a few days ago with the Zhou family’s son. Although my parents are unwilling, she is pleased with Brother Chengkang and insists on marrying. The lovers are finally getting married.”

Generally, people would introduce their sisters with no more than one or two sentences, but Zhao Wanwan introduced her so ambiguously that it seemed deliberate.

Upon hearing this, Li Qinghe gained a deeper insight into Zhao Wanwan’s thoughts.

Zhao Wanwan’s words suggested that her sister is engaged and that she has a deep relationship with her fiancé. However, they also implied that she had little confidence in herself.

She didn’t care about the two people outside. She heard Mrs. Qian’s voice from the next room, “How much would you like to discuss the dowry?”

She heard Mrs. Hu say, “I heard that your eldest daughter’s dowry includes over ten acres of land and a pond.”

 Li Qinghe gnawed on her steamed bun.

 Are they talking about my land?

Li Qinghe wasn’t interested in listening to Li Fu and Mrs. Qian’s explanations and instead concentrated on eating.

After the meal, she had to sew clothes for Zhou Chengkang. Before they had decided upon the marriage, he helped her a lot but never accepted any gifts. Now that they’re engaged, it’s time to give each other gifts.

When she returned to the kitchen after eating the dishes, she found Mrs. Hu and her son leaving.

When Mrs. Hu saw Li Qinghe, she looked at her from head to toe and asked, “Are you Qinghe?”

Li Qinghe paused for a moment and said, “Hello Auntie. Are you going back now? Wouldn’t you like to stay a little longer?”

Mrs. Hu waved her hand, “No, your family has been very busy lately with the autumn harvest. We would be embarrassed to delay your work.”

“There will be no delay. Someone will be home anytime.” Mrs. Qian walked out of the house and smiled, “Sister, stay a little longer. You can return after sunset so we can talk more.”

Mrs. Hu waved her hand, “It’s alright, we will be returning now.”

After the mother and son duo left, Li Fu picked up his sickle and headed back to the farm.

While Zhao Wanwan washed the dishes and chopsticks, Mrs. Qian stood with her arms folded under the eaves. With a gloomy expression on her face, she asked, “Are you satisfied?”

The words were spoken to Li Qinghe.

Despite the fact that her question had no beginning or end, Li Qinghe understood its underlying meaning, “My marriage is settled. I am satisfied, and yours are as well. What’s wrong?”

Mrs. Qian was irritated by the reply, and said, “It’s just a ten-acre barren land. Rumors are spreading rapidly now. People are now aware that the Li family’s eldest daughter is being married with ten acres of land.” Her tone became more ironic towards the end.

Li Qinghe didn’t let her be comfortable. She raised her eyebrows and said, “The barren land is worth more than ten taels of silver.”

Mrs. Qian was choked up by her words. Not to be outdone, she said, “The money earned by an unmarried girl should be handed over to the elders of her family.”

Finally, you have shown your true colors?

At the time when Mrs. Qian thought of taking her money, Li Qinghe quickly bought the land and made the land deed. After that Li Qinghe was busy clearing fish ponds and buying fish, so she didn’t bother to discuss the ownership of land with Li Fu and Mrs. Qian.

As Li Qinghe leaned against the wall, she said, “Why? Are you going to take my land back? Please don't say I refused. Now, if you want this land, you have to get permission from the Zhou family. Furthermore, it’s my land, and who dares to take it? Let go of this thought as quickly as possible!”

Zhao Wanwan asked with a pale face, “Mother, what did Aunt Hu say?”

Mrs. Qian replied angrily, “They want half ownership of the barren land or the pond, then only will this marriage be settled.”

“Ah!” Zhao Wanwan covered her mouth, “How can they ask ...that place? It belongs to my sister.”

Her gaze darted to Li Qinghe as she spoke.

Li Qinghe completely ignored their careful calculations.

I can offer them my assistance in the kitchen or with cleaning, but it is impossible for me to give up my land to Zhao Wanwan!

She walked back to her room and continued to sew clothes.

As the sky darkened outside, Li Fu returned carrying the wheat stalk and spread it in the yard.

The villagers cut the wheat stalk and brought it back with the straw. Although bringing the straw after the wheat was cut was a little trouble, the straw could be used as firewood, saving the need to chop wood.

As the evening progressed, Li Fu went out again. It was probably that he wanted to take advantage of the night to bring the wheat straw again.

Li Qinghe dropped the needle and thread in her hand and ran to join her father, “Father, I will also go.”

This time, Li Fu did not refuse but nodded.

The father and daughter were silent on their way. Li Fu took the lead and started speaking, “Today, Hu’s family said they wanted half your land as a dowry for Wanwan, or you need to give her the pond. Only then can this marriage be sealed.”

Li Qinghe hummed in response.

Li Fu walked in front and said again after some while, “It doesn’t matter if this marriage doesn’t happen, your land will always belong to you. If your Aunt Qian asks about it, you can pretend you don’t know.”

Li Qinghe was surprised by his words. Li Fu had always sided with his childhood sweetheart whenever there was a dispute between Li Qinghe and Mrs. Qian. When did he ever care about his daughter?

Li Qinghe didn’t conceal her surprised expression from him. Li Fu turned around and saw her expression, he was a little unhappy, “You are my only child, why would I still snatch your things?”

“Then didn’t you ask for my money before?” That was not something Li Qinghe agreed with.

Li Fu emphasized, “I want to keep it safe for you, not take it from you.”

“I am also concerned that the money will go to those girls.” Li Qinghe asked after a pause. “Has he returned the money yet?”

Isn’t it like a dog is beaten by the meat bun and there is no return.¹

Li Fu coughed uncomfortably, “That’s not what I promised. Can I still take the silver to give to other people?”

With Li Fu’s words, Li Qinghe was in a good mood. Although she had already made up her mind not to agree to divide the land, if Li Fu were persuaded by Mrs. Qian, it would be rather annoying to quarrel.

She carried a small bundle of wheat stalks and waited for Li Fu to pick them up together. She had just tied them up when she saw someone approaching from afar.

While it was dark and difficult to see, Li Qinghe recognized him as Zhou Chengkang when he approached her at a distance and asked, “What are you doing here?”

Zhou Chengkang approached her and said, “I’ll help you carry it. It should be done in two trips.” He then turned to Li Fu, and apologized, “Uncle Li, I’m sorry I couldn’t help much. I was busy with work at my house.”

Li Fu nodded, “It’s okay, finish your work first.”

In other words, Zhou Chengkang would not be considered an outsider, and therefore should continue to assist the work.

However, Zhou Chengkang liked his attitude. Filled with fighting spirit², he carried Li Fu’s bundled wheat stalk and said, “I’ll come again.” Then he quickly left.

Li Qinghe was dumbfounded by his enthusiasm.

On the other hand, Li Fu smiled as he watched Zhou Chengkang leave. As he went to bundle another wheat stalk pile, he didn’t forget to praise him, “Don’t look at him as poor, such a person leads the most practical life.”

Li Qinghe stepped forward to hold the pile together, “And how about the Hu family?”

Lu Fi sighed and said, “They are aloof. They look down on our family's Wanwan. They are not a good match for us. Earlier they were too arrogant and if you ask me, I can see that after he passes the exam they will be even more arrogant.”

Li Qinghe couldn’t help blurting out, “Then will they still want to marry Wanwan after that person passes the exam?”

Li Fumo paused and said, “I don’t think they will come back. Today they probably heard about your dowry and wanted to get a piece of it.”

“I will not give it to Wanwan.” She said seriously, “ I earned that money to buy the land. You may not know this, that day that Wanwan and I went to town in the early morning, we came across Young Master Xu on the road, who was beaten up and could not get up from the spot. Wanwan didn’t come forward to help him at all but urged me to help him.”

Therefore, Zhao Wanwan was the one who ran into him, and maybe she slipped away after that. It would be impossible for her to rush up to save people.

Upon hearing this, Li Fu remained silent and said after a while, “At the beginning, I was surprised that you would do your best to save people. You appeared to be very interested in Young Master Xu. But without any concern for life…” He shook his head, “The Xu family implied that you could get married, I still assumed that you would take advantage of the situation.”

Seeing Zhou Chengkang rushing in the sunset light, Li Qinghe said seriously, “That was a road of injustice.”

As Zhou Chengkang approached them, Li Fu smiled, shaking his head, “Here, carry this one. It happened to be tied up here.”

They returned together to the village.

Li Fu didn’t mention Xu Changjie again. The last time he was injured, it’s been a long time since he heard from him. He must still be recovering at home.

1.Meat buns being bitten away by dogs that are used to beat them are often compared to people without conscience. It is specifically mentioned the person would never return once he left, or that the thing would never be returned after being taken out. In other words, there is no return for their investment.

2.The original text 打了鸡血 is translated as Injected with chicken blood/ Fighting with chicken blood which refers to a behavior that satirizes a person’s sudden excitement towards a specific person or thing.

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