Everyone in the village knew about the Wang family’s affairs. Wang Shijing was the eldest son of the Wang family, but in the Wang family, he seemed to be almost raised by a stepfather and a stepmother. Wang Shijing only got married at the age of nineteen to a girl of the same age (an older young woman) from Qingshan Village, a neighboring village. The Song family was also a very poor, casual household in Qingshan Village. If Wang Tianyan had not been in a hurry to get married and the Song family was not found by Wang Shijing himself, old lady Wang would not have agreed to this marriage. But being poor has the advantage of being poor. Old lady Wang needed to spend only 200 coins to marry the Song family’s daughter. As a result, Wang Shijing and the Song family’s daughter weren’t even married for two months before Shijing was taken to serve in the army. If old lady Wang was willing to pay three taels of silver, Wang Shijing would not have to go, but old lady Wang said that their family had no money and Wang Tianyan was not qualified, because he was not married yet and forced Wang Shijing to leave his newlywed wife. After Wang Shijing left, Wang Tianyan got married.
At that time, the imperial court was building rivers, fortifications, and many other major projects. Usually, service took two or three months, but Wang Shijing worked for two years before returning. He was so thin and dull that he looked even worse than before, making old lady Wang dislike her eldest son even more. When Wang Shijing came back, his eldest son Wang Qing was one year old and there were rumors in the village that Wang Qing was not Wang Shijing’s son. He just got married and left within two months, his wife shouldn’t be able to have a child so soon.
Wang Shijing did not react to this and continued to live his life as usual with Song. Old lady Wang never liked her son, but as Wang Shijing grew up, she didn’t dare to scold him as much as she used to. Wang Shijing was the tallest and strongest in the Wang family. In addition, he came back a lot more gloomier, so old lady Wang didn’t even want to talk with him anymore. With her husband by her side, Song, who was usually bullied by her mother-in-law and younger siblings and aunts, started to live much better. Within two years, Song gave birth to a daughter, Wang Nizi, but the good times came to an end again. This time the imperial court drafted soldiers and Wang Shijing and Wang Tianyan both met the conditions for the draft.
Wang Shijing had served in the military for more than a year and according to the law, if there were brothers in the family who met the requirements, they were not required to serve in the military again so Wang Tianyan became the first candidate for the draft from the Wang family. But old lady Wang refused to let him go, saying that Wang Tianyan was not well and would not survive if he went. Wang Tianyan also cried and refused to go. Old lady Wang forced Wang Shijing to go again, but Wang Shijing refused to go. Old lady Wang used filial piety and said that Wang Shijing was the eldest so he should protect his younger brother and sister, but Wang Shijiang was still unmoved. Old lady Wang refused to take out the money and refused to let Wang Tianyan go, so in the end she went directly to the place where the soldiers were drafted and wrote Wang Shijing’s name on the roster, so Wang Shijing was directly taken away.
This time he has been gone for three years. He joined the army for three years and fought for two and a half years. When Wang Shijing came back this time, he was faced with two children who did not have enough to eat and nothing to wear. The year after he became a soldier, his wife eloped with another man, because she was not able to stand the bullying at home. Wang Shijing became more sullen and gloomy. With one eye missing and his face disfigured, Wang Shijing went to the country magistrate and handed in a letter of divorce. He did not blame his wife for running away with someone else. With this letter of divorce, even if Song returned in the future, she would not be punished by the clan and her status in the family register would be changed to single and divorced. After returning for only seven or eight days, Wang Shijing was once again forced by his own mother, this time to marry Shao Yunan whose marriage had been rejected by his brother. This time, Wang Shijing traded his marriage for his freedom. If they wanted him to marry, he could, but first he wanted to separate from the Wang family.
This time, Zhao Lizheng and Wang Wenhe, the patriarch of the Wang clan could not stand it anymore and intervened to reconcile. Old lady Wang agreed to the separation of the family, but asked Wang Shijing not to say anything before the marriage. The Shao family had given their word that if the Wang family ruined the marriage again, they would go to the county school. Wang Zhisong was studying in the county school. For the sake of Wang Zhisong’s reputation, old lady Wang did not dare to take risks. The old woman gave Wang Shijing five mu of land, including two mu of the worst rice fields. The other three mu were also inferior. The Wang family had twenty-seven mu of fields, so dividing these five would not kill old lady Wang.
In the Wang family, Wang Dali was the nominal head of the family, but in reality, he did not care or worry about anything. The eldest son Wang Shijing was so battered by his mother, but he seemed not to see it and didn’t say a word. His eldest daughter-in-law was also bullied by his wife to the point of being unable to live, but he also didn’t say anything. Old lady Wang was not good to Wang Shijing and Wang Dali, the head of the family was also not good. In modern words, it would be called cold blooded violence. Wang Dali would also talk to Wang Tianyan and Wang Zhisong, but he rarely spoke to Wang Shijing.
Wang Shijing agreed to marry Shao Yunan after signing the deed of separation. While Shao Yunan who attempted to commit suicide, seemed to have lost his soul. Fearing that there would be more trouble, the Shao family quickly set a wedding date with the Wang family and married them just three days later, without even choosing an auspicious day. The Shao family did not even tell Shao Yunan who he was going to marry. Fearing that Shao Yunan would find out the truth on the day of the wedding, old lady Shao drugged Shao Yunan. Shao Yunan got married in a daze, not even knowing what his husband looked like.
Shao Yunan got married, but the Shao family found that Wang Shijing got separated from the Wang family. The Shao family resisted again. They married Shao Yunan to the Wang family to connect with Wang Zhisong. But they couldn’t do it if the family was separated! The Shao family said that the Wang family cheated the terms of the marriage and wanted the Wang family to pay for it. But since Shao Yunan had already gotten married, old lady Wang had nothing to fear. In addition, after Shao Yunan’s marriage, Wang Shijing directly received Shao Yunan’s dowry into his old house, giving old lady Wang a chance to make a move. For this marriage, old lady Wang paid three silver for the bride price, but did not get even a coin in return. So old lady Wang, who had nothing to lose, also followed the Shao family. This was the trouble Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing went to solve at the beginning.
Edited by: Jaisland