“You this child, how come you went to sleep on the doorstep? Don’t break your head on the door.” Liu Qiaoye walked towards the room holding her child in her embrace.
“Mother, I just now had a dream again. That Old Daoist Priest was hitting my palm. Still, my Master is really so vicious.” Zhang Jiaohua was very angry at his Master in the dream.
“Has your Master taught you to transform?” Liu Qiaoye said with a smile.
“No. Just taught me something called Water refining, even with the little bit of mistake, he would hit me with a plank. The beating really hurt. Hit here, also hit there.” Zhang Jiaohua then showed his hands for his mother to see, but his tender hands didn’t have any redness.
“Then you will have to go to school soon, will you fear the Teacher’s plank?” Liu Qiaoye asked laughing.
“I’m not afraid. Jiujin said that in school teacher hit only those children who are disobedient. Jiujin didn’t get beaten, I even more so won’t get beaten.” Zhang Jiaohua said confidently.
“Then when the time comes, you shouldn’t come home crying.” Liu Qiaoye was still somewhat anxious in her heart. After all, this child was somewhat different from other children. Just now Husband had secretly called her to one side and told her about the things that had happened today while catching mudfish. At first, they had thought that Jinhu et al would one day leave, but they hadn’t thought that they would still be continuing to entangle their son. Son is still so young, what would happen later?
“Precious son, you would be the only man to safeguard house in the afternoon, would you be so kind as to help mother dig up peanuts?” Liu Qiaoye was afraid that one day her son would no longer be there.
“Certainly would dig up peanuts with Mother.” Zhang Jiaohua’s interest in peanuts was very high. Those peanuts could also be eaten raw, some peanuts which still hadn’t ripened would still have very delicious kernels inside them. Sweet, the moisture would still be retained inside, it wouldn’t be desirable to have them become rough and dry after being dried in the sun.
While going out, Liu Qiaoye carried a hoe, Zhang Jiaohua was holding a small steel hoe used for planting vegetable seedlings. Hopping and skipping along behind. Jinhu, et al., were also happily following behind. They hadn’t realised that they were already dead and were following behind Zhang Jiaohua as if no difference.
On the road, bumped into Zhang Jiujin. Zhang Jiujin was really said to be weighing nine jin at the time of birth. [TLNote: Jiu means 9, and Jin is a measure of weight] In the rural areas, the greater the weight of the baby, the more nutrition the baby was able to obtain in the mother’s womb and would grow up quite robust and sturdy. Therefore, Zhang Jiujin’s family straightforwardly named him Zhang Jiujin.
Zhang Jiujin was quite big at the time of birth, he was barely one year older compared to Zhang Jiaohua but he was already looked like he was studying in Junior High School more or less. This fellow was a chowhound and would have something in his mouth at all times. If at any time he no longer had anything in his mouth, he was even capable of casually picking up the weeds from the road, and chewing them down with great relish. Therefore, his height was barely one meter four, but his weight had already crossed a 100 jin.
When Zhang Jiaohua ran into Zhang Jiujin, Zhang Jiujin was holding a half of a sweet potato. He was chewing down in big gulps, making big crunching noises.
Seeing Zhang Jiaohua, Zhang Jiujin’s narrow-as-a-thin-stick eyes, suddenly opened wide, as he shouted excitedly: “Jiaohua, Jiaohua. Where are you going?”
Zhang Jiaohua replied, “Going to dig peanuts.”
“Can your family’s peanuts be eaten?” Zhang Jiujin asked.
“Yes. Has your family planted sweet potato?” Zhang Jiaohua seeing that what Zhang Jiujin eating was so fragrant, that sweet potato must definitely be very sweet.
“En, due to there being plenty of rainwater, it’s not that sweet. Sweet sorghum is also as tasteless was water. It seems like must wait for several days before eating.” Zhang Jiujin shook his head, apparently quite pleased.
Zhang Jiaohua laughed gently, this fellow was even eating deliciously an untasty thing.
“I told you not to talk with Jiaohua, do you turn a deaf ear to your mother’s advice?” Zhang Jiujin’s mother hurriedly came over and dragged Zhang Jiujin away. It seemed as if merely just talking with Zhang Jiaohua would result in her son being eaten by Zhang Jiaohua.
Zhang Jiaohua stood there watching as Zhang Jiujin’s mother pulled along Zhang Jiujin while constantly looking back as they slowly went far off into the distance. Jinhu, et al, were all looking blankly at Zhang Jiaohua.
“Son, you should ignore such persons, they don’t have even the slightest bit of reason.” Liu Qiaoye came running over afraid that her son would feel wronged.
In the morning time, Jinhu, et al, had scared father. Zhang Jiaohua was worried about them scaring mother this time. However, he didn’t dare say anything to Jinhu et al. Moreover, every time, no matter what Zhang Jiaohua said, they would all behave as if they couldn’t hear. Only while Zhang Jiaohua was doing something, they would imitate.
“Precious son, Mother will pull up the peanuts, you just stand to one side and collect them from the ground. Mother will come dig peanuts from the ground. In the evening, Mother will prepare poached egg for you.” Liu Qiaoye set up Zhang Jiaohua’s task in the peanut area’s ridge.
“Fine.” Zhang Jiaohua nodded.
It having just rained, the peanut field ridge was dry, but the soil covering the peanut sprouts was still very moist, thus the soil was exceptionally loose. Just by pulling gently, the peanuts could be pulled out. By tapping gently with the hoe, the moist soil on top of it could be knocked off.
Zhang Jiaohua’s task was very simple, only needed to pick apart the fibrous roots from the peanuts and put them into the winnowing fan. However, the speed couldn’t necessarily be compared to Liu Qiaoye.
However, what made Liu Qiaoye feel astonished was that although she was working deftly, and pulling the peanuts quite fast, she unexpectedly was not able to keep with the speed of Zhang Jiaohua picking peanuts. In the beginning, Liu Qiaoye didn’t pay attention. Later, Zhang Jiaohua urged her to pull up peanuts a bit faster, otherwise, he would be left nothing to do, she took note of this point.
After watching attentively for a while, Liu Qiaoye got a big fright. The peanuts were flying into the winnowing basket on their own. A chill ran down in Liu Qiaoye’s heart. Those several fellows were still entangled with her son. What could be done about this? She wasn’t afraid too much. Although Jinhu, et al, had been entangled with her son for a long time but hadn’t brought any trouble to the family. Only the knowledge that her son would always be entangled with little ghosts, would leave people anxious.
Zhang Jiaohua patted the ground, and raising his head asked, “Mother, can also pull peanuts?”
Jinhu, et al, also looked towards Liu Qiaoye.
“Pull.” Liu Qiaoye cast off the distracting thoughts in her head, no need to think so far ahead. So long as son is alright, it’s good.
Being the parents of a child that stood out amongst the masses was indeed very toiling. Even so much that there was always a need for the parents putting in several times, even hundred times the effort. Whether or not Liu Qiaoye had prepared herself for it?
The mute was pulling his ox on the field ridges making squeaking sounds. Their ox was raised plump and sturdy, entirely due to a simple and honest child. The mute was called Zhang Bangen, his ear was not so good, which in turn affected his voice.
“Mother, in the future would I be able to go herding our cattle?” Zhang Jiaohua looked on enviously at the mute moving leisurely and carefreely on the field ridges. For kids, working was a sort of delight. Although in the future when they grow up, this also would become a sort of burden. At least for now they love work. No matter what, they are a hindrance more than help.
“En.” Liu Qiaoye didn’t want to see the look of disappointment on her son’s face. Therefore she assented.
Ever since the accident, it became incumbent open upon Zhang Youping to go take the Ox in the Zhang Jiaohua’s house for cattle herding. The grownups would often tie the Ox to a tree, then take a sickle to cut grass from places which the ox couldn’t go eat, to ensure that the Ox is able to eat quickly. In this way, it gave time to pick firewood or for doing other farm work.