On their way to the seaside and at the beginning of the river, they met people from the Hongjiang salt field who were checking the boats. At last, they collected the passage fee of two hundred copper pennies per boat and released them. Then they went to a fishing village by the sea.
This fishing village was not large, with a total of twenty families living there. They relied on fishing for a living, and their life was very poor. They were even poorer than the people in Hexi Village because many things here couldn’t be bought or grown by them and also because they couldn’t catch fish well every time they fished, so their fish often failed to sell at a good price.
For these reasons, they receive merchants who come to the fishing village to buy seafood very well.
The merchants who came here with Jiang Zhen were all old acquaintances of the villagers here. When the villagers saw them, they all gathered around them. This was when Jiang Zhen found out that the merchants’ ships were carrying some goods with them.
They had brought cloth, and small things like oil and sugar, but most of them had brought grain.
They didn’t sell the cloth and other things, but brought them to the villagers to exchange with them. The food they took was only brought out after they all had agreed with the villagers.
All the people in the fishing village went to the familiar merchants to exchange their own things and took them to their homes to see the goods. However, Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng, who were strangers, were ignored for a while.
But obviously, the merchants couldn’t buy all the goods in the village. After a while, a young man in his twenties came to Jiang Zhen saying, “I have some kelp and fish in my house. Do you want it?”
“Let me see it,” Jiang Zhen said. When he listened to the merchants talking with the villagers, he had already learned the approximate price of the things there. Now he just planned to take a look at those goods.
The man nodded and took Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng to his home.
There was a lot of salted fish drying in the sun in front of his door. The family’s house was also full of bundles of dried kelp, which gave off a strong smell of sea fish.
Many businessmen who came here couldn’t stand the fishy smell, so this man looked at Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng with worry. As a result, Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng were completely unaffected.
“Take a look. If you want, you can exchange grain with me or pay for it with money.” That was fair.
Jiang Zhen looked and found that these goods were no different from those of the others. He paid for most of the salted fish and all the kelp, which made the man look at him with surprise.
Kelp always sold well during the New Year’s festival, because people in Hecheng county would buy some to improve their dishes’ taste at the end of the year, but there weren’t many people who bought it during the rest of the year.
Looking at Jiang Zhen, the man hesitated whether to tell him not to buy too much of the dried kelp as Jiang Zhen won’t be able to sell it all. But he was afraid that Jiang Zhen wouldn’t buy his goods, so in the end, he didn’t open his mouth.
“Is there anything else?” Jiang Zhen asked. He originally thought that if he brought ten silver, it would be too little. As a result, he only used up two hundred kilos of rice and three or four silver to buy all of these goods.
“Nothing more.” It was gone.
Jiang Zhen heard his words but felt that it was a little bit strange. He remembered that there were many kinds of seafood. How could there be only kelp and salted fish? The variety of salted fish was quite small. The main selling point was that it was salty already. With the price of salt being expensive, in the eyes of many people it was very cost-effective to buy salted fish. Or in fact, it was not that there was nothing else, but that those were things people here didn’t treat as goods?
Jiang Zhen immediately changed his question. “What do you usually catch when you go out to sea? What do you like to eat?”
Now that the man heard these questions, after thinking about that, he took out a bucket and gave Jiang Zhen a bucket of clams.
This kind of thing could be seen everywhere on the beach after the tides fell. If you pick it up casually, you would have a pile of it. It’s worthless, and you couldn’t even sell it because it would die before long. It couldn’t be salted and saved.
Of course, the most important thing was that they were all shells without meat. Nowadays people didn’t like this kind of food very much.
“Can you take me to pick up some?” Jiang Zhen asked.
Of course, the man didn’t refuse, and took Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng to the beach.
In modern times, Jiang Zhen had been to the seaside and to some undeveloped beaches, so he was not surprised to see the sea, but Wang Haisheng was very curious. He looked at the sea constantly and saw that there were shells on the beach. He also picked up several of them, saying he wanted to give them to his children to play with.
“After you eat the meat from those clams, the shells can be used for fun.” The man that brought them there told them that their children would make toys from all kinds of shells.
After the tide, there were a lot of clams on the beach, which even looked a little scary. There were so many of them that after a while Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng had picked up a full bucket.
“Would you like to pick up more?” Wang Haisheng asked cheerfully. He liked the beautiful shells of the clams.
Jiang Zhen nodded and spent a few copper pennies to buy a very fine fishing net from the man, which was used to store small fish. Then he picked up more clams and put them in the net. It was about three or four hundred kilos.
Their boat was not small, but they could not carry too many things. They had to store the salted fish and the kelp. Jiang Zhen didn’t continue picking up clams but together with Wang Haisheng brought back the things he bought and the clams he picked up to the boat first.
In addition to the clams from the beach, there were actually crabs and other living creatures, but those crabs were very small, so Jiang Zhen didn’t give them any thought.
After loading everything on the boat, Jiang Zhen estimated that the load of the boat with salted fish was about 4 or 5 silver.
The price of these things can be at least doubled when they are sold outside. If they could be sold out completely, it would still make a good profit, it’s just . . .
“You’ve bought so many things on your first visit. How long will it take to sell them?” The people who came with them looked at Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng with surprise. They were all selling their goods in the county towns near their own homes. Generally, they only bought goods once a month or two, and only at the end of the year would they buy more. These two newcomers bought such a pile at once. Could they sell it out?
These people looked at Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng as if they were looking at two fools.
Edited by : Faro