Chapter 29 – Going out
It was another beautiful day. The lovely, bright sunshine poured in through the window.
Waking up from slumber, Li Man sat up and lazily stretched her waist as she pushed open the window while still on the bed. A gentle wind blew in and brought in the special freshness of mountain air that made people feel invigorated.
The vegetables that had been growing in the backyard looked they liked they were doing much better than before. The row of string bean vines had climbed up the frames, and the beans had already formed. In a few days, they would be ready to eat.
Thinking of last night’s dream, Li Man giggled in amusement. She rolled over, nimbly got out of bed, and put on her socks and shoes. In a cheerful mood, she left the hut.
The sun was already high up in the sky. Little Five was crouched down by the entrance and teasing the little chicks. There was already sweat on his forehead from being out in the hot sun.
Oh no! She woke up late again. Why didn’t anyone wake up her? Li Man rubbed her head and walked to Little Five’s side. Other than the sound that Little Five and the animals were making, the courtyard was extremely quiet. She knew it. Everyone else had already left to do his work.
“Have you fed the chicks? Where are the piglets?”
Little Five stood up. Like a guilty child trying to curry favor, he looked at Li Man with a big smile. These chicks were older sister’s darlings. Before oldest brother had left, he had even forbidden him from playing with them.
Knowing that Little Five couldn’t actually understand her words, Li Man wasn’t offended that he didn’t answer her question. Picking up the large wicker basket, she saw that the yellow chicks looked a bit listless. They didn’t sound as sharp and clear as yesterday either. Thinking that perhaps they were just hungry, she hurriedly went to the kitchen and grabbed a handful of rice to feed them.
As expected, the yellow chicks competed with each other to peck the food on her palm.
Little Five thought this was very interesting, so he crouched down again to get a closer look.
Very quickly, the group of chicks had completely snatched away the handful of rice. Li Man turned around, got another handful of rice, and placed it on Little Five’s palm so that he could feed them.
Little Five felt extremely excited. When he had been watching Li Man feed the chicks, he had felt tempted to do the same. He hurriedly crouched down, stretched his hand into the large wicker basket, and watched as the chicks clustered around his hand to peck at the rice. This was so fun! There was one chick that was a bit weaker than the others. Little Five felt bad that the other ones kept squeezing it out. Worried that the other chicks would snatch away all of the rice, he picked that one up and place it on his palm so that it could get enough to eat without facing competition.
Li Man returned to the kitchen and saw the two piglets snuggled up to each by the firewood that was stacked behind the stove. They were even snoring.
It was easy enough to feed the chicks, but how could she feed the two piglets?
Cook rice? Simmer congee? Steam cornbread? Bah, she was being ridiculous. Feeding them slop would be more like it. But, there wasn’t any slop in this household. With several men in this family, there was barely enough food at each meal. How could there be any food leftover to become slop?
Li Man started to regret her impulsive decision. This family was extremely poor. For this family, it was already pretty good if they had enough food for three meals. Where would they have the extra food to feed two pigs? Right now, the pigs were still small. But, they would get bigger in the future and require more food, ah.
But, since she had already bought them and took them home, she had to take responsibility for them. Li Man thought for a while, then she picked up an empty basket from the corner and went outside.
Little Five had already finished feeding the chicks. Seeing her coming outside with a basket, he stood up and followed after her.
“Follow me, we’re going to dig up some food for the pigs to eat.” Holding hands with Little Five, she headed out of their home. She wasn’t familiar with the surrounding area and needed a guide.
Surprised and dismayed, Little Five said, “Older sister, you haven’t eaten breakfast yet.”
The two of them headed towards the back part of the mountain. There were a lot of plants on that sloping side, especially wild herbs.
On the way there, they met a woman. Her slender waist swayed as she walked and the sight of her would cause people’s imagination run wild.
“Yo, it’s Little Five. Where are you taking your wife?” Although she was asking Little Five this question, Second Shun’s wife’s eyes were staring at Li Man the entire time.
Li Man felt as if there were stabbing thorns in that woman’s eyes. She felt very uncomfortable under her gaze. She decided to just ignore her and led Little Five to walk around her.