Fierce “Husband” – Chapter 6.2

The productivity and livelihood of the people in this era were still very low. In his later years, the late emperor’s head was foggy, causing a lot of troubles which affected the stability of Yan. Then the emperor finally died and the prince ascended the throne. The new emperor was considered a wise ruler and he was trying to change the country, so some improvement could finally be seen. However, in his later years, the late emperor made a lot of construction projects and many of them were not finished even until his death. It was a pity to give up on these projects so they continued, but needed money. Some of these projects were also useful for people’s livelihood and the development of the country, so the new emperor gritted his teeth and set aside a sum of silver from the treasury. He took money from his own private treasury and then collected donations from other people around. He also stopped completely unnecessary projects, but insisted on the completion of the rest, which was why Wang Shijing’s service lasted for two years.

The project was not completed and foreign enemies were ready to make a move, while there were many large and small natural disasters every year. Even if the new emperor knew fully well that it may  cause discontent among the people and unrest in the country, he could only increase taxes again. Those big projects needed money, war needed money, and disaster relief also needed money. Maintaining the operation of the country also needed money. Shao Yunan could imagine how worried the late emperor’s son was.

Because of the increase in taxes, prices were higher than before, so many farmers couldn’t afford to pay taxes and had to sell their land cheaply or leave their homes. The location of Yongxiu region was relatively good and could be considered a major transportation route between the north and the south. Plus the land was fertile, so the population was also large and was considered a relatively rich place. Xiushui Village was not far from the Yongxiu region. Relying on mountains and rivers, it was a rich village under the jurisdiction of the Yongxiu region, so relatively speaking, everyone’s life was not so difficult. If it was the borders or one of the places hit by disasters in successive years, 9 out of 10 homes would be empty and everyone would be displaced. The Wang family has twenty-seven mu of land and in Xiushui Village was considered an upper middle class family. Originally considered a large family, they sold a lot of land because of Wang Zhisong’s medical treatment.

The geographical location of the Yongxiu Region determined that the average farmer’s land was not too small. Shao Yunan did not know how much old lady Wang’s family earned a year. The Shao family had twenty-eight mu of land, plus old man Shao and Shao Dahu would go to work as part-time workers, so they had an income of 20 to 30 taels a year, if they were diligent. But now taxes were heavy and the year was difficult, so after the deduction of land tax, poll tax, and other exorbitant and miscellaneous taxes, they needed to pay more than a dozen taels of land tax every year. After deducting what they spent on eating, drinking, and clothes, the final balance was only two of three taels of silver. If you pay the tax, conscription tax, etc., then you would have to borrow money. This was the situation all around the Yongxiu region, including Chi Nan Prefecture, which could be regarded as the relatively rich state capital of Great Yan. If it was a poorer place, they wouldn’t know how they would endure the day and no one knew how many people would have to leave their homes and become refugees.

On the one hand, it was related to the unstable situation at home and abroad. but on the other and more important one, Great Yan’s commerce was not developed enough. Most of the court’s taxes were collected from the peasants and resulted in the peasants’ life getting harder and harder, while court taxes became harder and harder to collect, as the country got poorer and poorer.

Shao Yunan remembered that 70% of the Song Dynasty’s revenue was from commerce and agriculture only accounted for 30%, so the people in the Song Dynasty were very rich. However, no matter how underdeveloped a dynasty was, there were still many rich people. Shao Yunan thought about how to make money in the future as he walked, when he suddenly got an idea when he saw two people. He bought five large meat buns at the bun stall on the street and clenched four coins in his hands as he walked towards those two people.

Two beggars standing at the bottom of the wall waiting for handouts from passers-by. A teenager dressed in ordinary clothes came up to them and smiled as he put a paper bag smelling of meat in front of them, making the two beggars rush to say thank you to him.

“Thank you, thank you.”

Shao Yunan did not mind their dirty smell and as the two beggars’ black hands grabbed the buns to eat, he said, “Two big brothers, I have something I want to inquire about.”

A beggar swallowed the meat bun and nodded. “Just ask, little brother.”

Another beggar also nodded fiercely. They had met many people who gave them alms but it was the first time someone was willing to smile at them. There was also no dislike or disgust in the eyes of the young boy and the young boy was also very handsome.

Shao Yunan was very happy as he spoke. “I came to the county town for the first time and want to understand the situation of the town. Tell me what you know. The more detailed the better.” After saying that, he put down the four coins he clutched in his hand. “This is a thank you fee.”

Thank you fee?

These words sounded new, but the two beggars were shaking their heads. ”No, no, you have already bought us buns, how can we still ask you for money?”

“It’s okay, it’s not much. Maybe in the future Yuan might have to trouble two the big brothers to help me find out some news.”

The two beggars looked at each other and did not refuse. They immediately told Shao Yunan everything they knew about the Yongxiu region, since there were steamed buns to eat and money to earn. Shao Yunan, who sat casually to one side, attracted the attention of passers-by. Such a clean young man was also a beggar?

The two beggars told everything they knew and Shao Yunan asked a few more questions to get a clearer understanding of the Yongxiu region. This understanding also gave him a more intuitive understanding of the world.

After getting the information he wanted to know, Shao Yunan bought some more meat buns for the two people before he left. As he walked away, he  did not notice that the two beggars were watching him until he disappeared into the crowd. One beggar put away the four coins, while another beggar helped him to stand up.

“Big Brother, that little brother is a good man.”

“Well. I hope all good people will be rewarded.”

There were two jewelry shops in Yongxiu County, one was run by locals while the other was run by businessmen from another place. There were a lot of people coming from both north and south in the Yongxiu region, so there were all kinds of shops. Of course, in Shao Yunan’s eyes, they were still lagging behind. According to the instructions of the two beggars, Shao Yunan found one of the jewelry shops, the ‘Butterfly Jewelry Pavilion,’ which was opened by a businessman from outside.

As soon as he walked into the store, he was immediately greeted by a clerk. “Please come inside. What do you want to see?”

The clerk did not drive Shao Yunan away just because of his simple clothes and greeted him with a gracious smile. Shao Yunan also smiled as he said, “Let me have a look first.”

The clerk’s smile remained the same as he said, “Please.”

Shao Yunan followed the clerk to the shelves. There was no glass here, so there were no cabinets and all the goods were on the shelves. Not only were there clerks in the store, but also two big men in the courtyard that looked like they came from out of town. Shao Yunan first went to one side to see the silver and gold jewelry, then he went to the second side to see the jades.

At this time, gold, silver, and jade were all handmade and looked much more delicate and beautiful than the mass-produced jewelry found in modern society. Shao Yunan secretly thought that when he had money in the future he had to buy some beautiful jewelry and exquisite antiques. After looking around, Shao Yunan said to the clerk, “I have a set of jade pendants that I want to show to your shopkeeper.”

The clerk was stunned at first, but then said, “Sir, if you want to pawn them, there is a pawn shop on that street just past the left turn at the crossing of the road.”

Shao Yunan said, “I’m not here to pawn silver, I’m here to show your shopkeeper a novelty.”

“To see the novelty?” The clerk did not understand.

Shao Yunan smiled, “I have this set of jade which can’t be bought anywhere and it’s very unique.”

The clerk hesitated when suddenly a voice came from the staircase on the second floor. “Unique jade? Please lead the guest upstairs.”

Shao Yunan looked up as the clerk who also looked up immediately said. “This is our family’s boss.”

“Thank you.” Saying thank you to the clerk, Shao Yunan walked over while the person upstairs clasped his fist. “My surname is Zeng, but I don’t know the guest’s surname.”

“My surname is Shao. Thank you, shopkeeper Zeng, for giving me a chance.”

“Sir Shao, please.”

Shao Yunan followed shopkeeper Zeng upstairs.


Edited by: Jaisland



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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Madam Lilith

    Good job there inquiry the news from the beggars. Most people will looked down on them. But honestly they the one who knows the news and the streets. Great work A’shao

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