Jiang Zhen frowned, then asked, “What happened to your wife?” He had seen this man several times these days. He had also seen his two children catching shrimps by the river, but he had never seen his wife. Unexpectedly, he was dying.
“Sick.” The man touched his face again and wiped away the rain mixed with his tears.
Fishermen didn’t live very well.
They didn’t have their own land or place to stay. Although they could catch fish and sell it for money, their income was actually very small, and they could only support a day-to-day existence. Once they got sick, they could only wait.
At first, his wife just had a stomachache, and he didn’t take it seriously. As a result, he had been vomiting and burning up these days, and he had become very thin. . .
Yesterday, when it was sunny, he took all his savings and took him to see a doctor. As a result, the doctor said that it would take at least twenty or thirty silver to cure him, but he could not guarantee that it would work. And if they could not cure his illness, then they could only wait for his death.
He had come here with his boat from far away to earn a living. He had no relatives here and no place to borrow money from. The only thing he owned worth some money was his boat, but the people who needed a boat here did not lack a boat. And nobody else needed a boat . . . Who would buy such a broken boat?
What’s more, that boat was his home. If they sell it, their family would have no place to go.
The fisherman’s name was Wang Haisheng. The wife he spoke of was actually a ger named Sun Xiaoshan. He had picked him up from the river.
For people like him who have no land of their own or any foothold, and live on a boat, it was very difficult to find a wife.
People who cherish their children even a little wouldn’t marry their daughters or gers to a person who didn’t have a fixed residence. So Wang Haisheng, like Eldest Jiang, was in his mid-twenties and still hadn’t gotten a wife.
Then one day while he was catching fish, he saw someone floating from the distance; he picked up a ger.
This Sun Xiaoshan also had a bitter fate; his mother died early, and his father married another woman, who treated him badly. Later, when he was only fifteen or sixteen years old, he was sold to an old man in his forties.
After he got married, the old man was nice to him, and he was able to live a good life for a while. However, within two years, the old man died of an illness.
After the old man died, it was the son of the old man who took charge of the household. It was reasonable to assume that his stepmother should still able to eat well under him; otherwise, he could make him remarry. But the son of the old man had a crooked mind and tried to force him. The wife of the old man’s son became angry, yelled at him to get out and called her family to beat him up.
He didn’t want to live any longer, so he threw himself in the river. Later, he was fished up by Wang Haisheng. He was very grateful, so he decided to live with Wang Haisheng.
They had been together for ten years and had two children. The elder one was Wang Yuer, a ger and nine years old this year. The younger one was called Wang Daniu. He was six years old this year and was male.
In fact, between them, they had another child but they had lost him (due to death, not abandonment).
Although their family was poor, they had a happy life, but then Sun Xiaoshan suddenly became ill.
As Wang Haisheng spoke, he cried again, and Jiang Zhen frowned.
In modern times, people had always complained that it was difficult and expensive to see a doctor, but in fact, compared with ancient times, the price of seeing a doctor was already outrageously low, and it was not difficult at all.
In ancient times, it was really difficult and expensive to visit a doctor.
There are only a few doctors in Hecheng county. Some of them only knew a little about medicine but it was still difficult to meet them. As for the cost . . .
The disease of Zhao Liu, Zhao Jinge’s mother, was by no means serious in modern times. But in ancient times the Zhao family, after a period of treatment, had to sell their land to see a doctor . . .
At that time, people in Hexi Village thought Zhao Jinge’s father Zhao Fugui was really ignorant . . . Which of them, in the countryside, did not suffer from an illness? Wasn’t selling land just for treatment nonsense? If Zhao Fugui didn’t sell the land, even if Zhao Liu died, he could still marry some widow to warm his bed. Perhaps she would even be able to give birth to another boy for him.
In ancient times, ordinary people couldn’t afford to get sick. When they got sick, they could only wait to get better. Wang Haisheng’s wife was ill and needed urgent treatment. He had no money to treat him, so there was no other way but to wait for him to die.
“Let me take a look,” said Jiang Zhen.
“You can cure him?” Wang Haisheng looked at Jiang Zhen in surprise. Although he had lived on this side of Hexi Village for some time, people in the village excluded him and didn’t keep in touch with him. He didn’t come into contact with people from the village so often, so he didn’t know about Jiang Zhen.
Jiang Zhen looked very magnanimous, so he thought that he knew how to cure some diseases. Most villages don’t have doctors, but occasionally there are some people who know a little about herbs.
Jiang Zhen didn’t speak. Of course, he won’t be able to cure the disease. Although he had learned how to provide first aid before, how to stop a bleeding and sew a wound, the other one had a stomachache and fever.
If he knew what was wrong with Sun Xiaoshan and there was a modern drugstore nearby, he could get some antipyretic drugs simply by finding out the right symptoms, but he could definitely not take his pulse and figure out what was wrong with him!
He wanted to see if Sun Xiaoshan could still survive.
Wang Haisheng secretly looked at Jiang Zhen and saw Jiang Zhen’s expressionless and motionless appearance. His heart calmed down inexplicably and was no longer as sad and desperate as he was at the beginning.
Wang Haisheng took Jiang Zhen to his boat.
It was already rainy and humid in the south of the Yangtze River. Although people here were used to this climate, it had been raining heavily recently, which also made them very uncomfortable. Jiang Zhen felt that the humidity in his home was too high, so he almost used up all the firewood piled up at his thatched cottage to light a fire in order to remove some of the humidity inside his home.
As a result, his mud house became wet, but the ship was much wetter than his mud house! Among other things, this environment was not suitable for a sick person to live in.
When Jiang Zhen entered the cabin and saw that there was a moldy fish hanging inside, he was even more speechless.
Wang Haisheng was also a little embarrassed. Fish had no value to him. He pulled the fish and directly threw it in the river. “I haven’t been able to clean up my house these two days . . .”
Of course, it’s also the humid weather that made things go moldy easily.
“Daddy!” Two children came over; their eyes were red. They had been crying before they came inside.
“How is your mother?” Wang Haisheng had cried hard before, but in front of his two children, he was very calm. The family needed his support.
“Mother vomited again. He also vomited bitter water.” The bigger one with a red cinnabar mole in the middle of his eyebrow choked with sobs.
Jiang Zhen frowned and took two steps inside before he saw the sick ger on the bed.
At times like these, big families were very fastidious. They would never allow a man to go near a ger in bed, but poor families didn’t care. Wang Haisheng also took the initiative to ask Jiang Zhen to see his wife.
“Is there any hot water at home? Do you have any sugar?” Jiang Zhen asked.
“There is hot water and some brown sugar,” Wang Haisheng said. They usually buy food to eat, so he had a few silver, but not enough to see a doctor.
When the doctor said that he could only wait for his wife’s death he thought that, at least, he should let his wife eat better before he died, so he went to buy some food. The brown sugar was bought at that time.
Sun Xiaoshan couldn’t eat the past two days, so they had been giving him hot sugar water, so there was also some hot water.
“Make some sugar water and add some salt for him to drink,” said Jiang Zhen. Once a person who vomited was seriously dehydrated, it would be hopeless.
“Yuer, go get it,” Wang Haisheng said to his elder son and looked at Jiang Zhen. “And then what?”
“Do you want to sell this boat?” Jiang Zhen suddenly asked.
“Twenty silver—no, fifteen silver for sale.” Wang Haisheng didn’t want to say he had been looking for a buyer before, but even if some people have money, they would rather buy land than buy his boat.
“Twenty silver, I will buy your boat,” Jiang Zhen said. “I’ll go back to get the money, and then we’ll go to the county town to treat your wife. I can’t cure his illness.”
Edited by : Faro