Fierce “Husband” – Chapter 26

After the couple made some money on this trip, Shao Yunan decisively asked Wang Shijing to buy cattle, so they went to a place where livestock was sold. Shao Yunan covered his nose with a handkerchief, while Wang Shijing told him to wait outside while he went inside. Shao Yunan thought about it and followed him to have a look.

Cattle were very important tools of production, which were sold uniformly by the government, who sold mostly calves. Sometimes the court, in order to encourage farmers to reclaim more land and produce more food, would subsidize silver money for farmers to buy cattle. But that was only the case when the court had money and the treasury was full. In recent years, the treasury was empty, taxes had increased and prices had risen.  In the past cattle which were worth up to ten silver a head, now soared to 25 silver. One calf cost 25 silver, while the average farmer earned less than twenty-five silver taels in two years, leaving them unable to buy cattle, cultivate more land, produce more food, or earn more money. Some of them were only able to afford to pay taxes, which was a vicious circle. On this street there were many people watching but very few buying.

Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan picked a female calf. Shao Yunan thought it would be best to buy a male and a female, but since it would be too eye-catching, they decided to buy a female first. When they ‘earned’ more money, they would buy a male. He spent another five taels of silver to buy two sheep, a male and a female. Most families bought sheep mainly for the milk, but not many people were buying sheep now, so they were sold cheaply. 

The cow and the two sheep were a total of thirty taels. Their house was small now and without any manpower, so pigs, chickens, and ducks would not be considered for the time being. If they wanted to eat chicken and eggs, they could buy them directly from the villagers. Anyway, they were not short on money.

Shao Yunan asked Wang Shijing to take him to the porcelain shop, so he could buy dozens of tea jars, both large and small. He also ordered six large wine barrels and ten small wine barrels. Shao Yunan wanted the wine barrel to have a switch faucet, so that it would be more convenient to drink from. All the wine barrel needed was a hold for a cork, so Shao Yunan talked with the shopkeeper and drew a sketch. A metal faucet was not realistic, so they would need to use wood. Shao Yunan thought of the water fountain type of up and down open faucet, and explained what the principle of the switch was to the shopkeeper, who looked at him with a strange expression. Drinking wine would indeed be more convenient with this novelty.

Once, the shopkeeper reached a contractual agreement with Shao Yunan, Shao Yunan left the design of the wine barrel to him. Maybe others would also want to buy this type of barrel or they might want to study it. Shao Yunan also did not care about the money, since it was likely he would have to deal with this shopkeeper for a long time in the future. Shao Yunan behaved so generously that the shopkeeper exempted all the money for the porcelain and the wine barrels that Shao Yunan bought. From now on, Shao Yunan only needed to come to the store to buy things according to its cheapest prices.

Shao Yunan was very happy. Today was full of surprises. The custom-made barrels would be available for delivery in about 15 days, so after Shao Yunan calculated the time, he ordered ten large wine barrels and bought five ready-made large wine barrels. The shopkeeper also did not want to accept Shao Yunan’s money for the fifteen barrels, but Shao Yunan did not let the shopkeeper give them to him for free. After the shopkeeper gave him the most favorable price, Shao Yunan paid only nine taels of silver. The larger the wine barrel was, the higher the craftsmanship required. The shopkeeper also said that when the custom-made wine barrels were ready, he would deliver them to Xiushui Village. Therefore, Shao Yunan would not need to make a special trip. Shao Yunan only felt that the ancient people were really truthful, and that the most important thing was that the ancients had a particularly strong awareness of intellectual property rights.

With five large wine barrels and dozens of tea jars, the borrowed cattle cart was full again. Wang Shijing bought a calf, but temporarily did not use it to pull the cart. The two of them also bought some meat, snacks, and other things before riding the cart home with the three livestock they just bought home.

When they returned to the village, there were inevitably some spectators and discussion again. The news of Wang Shijing’s land purchase had already spread. After all, there was no way to avoid others’ eyes when Zhao Lizheng took people to measure the land. All the villagers were talking about it, with both envy and jealousy, and even some hate. Wang Shijing bought another cart full of things after the separation from his family. Not to mention that it wasn’t that long since he bought the place he was staying at now and ten acres of mountain land. Now he even bought cattle and two sheep, all of which cost a lot of money.

Some people speculated about how much money Wang Shijing’s stones were sold for, while others speculate that Wang Shijing must have brought back a lot of money from his military service. Some people even said some sour words, that it was no wonder that old lady Wang tried to make trouble and that since Wang Shijing was so rich now, he should give his own mother some money. There were also people who sympathized with old lady Wang, that since her son married a powerful daughter-in-law, all his money was taken away from her

Shao Yunan automatically closed his ears to all these remarks. After all, he was a modern man and would not be affected by these rumors. In the great state of Yan, household registration management was strict, but even such a strict system had loopholes that could be exploited. As long as the family has land, they could move to the city or even the capital as long as they have money. If Wang Qing later took an examination and got a good spot, he could spend money to make Wang Qing an official. Then since they were Wang Qing’s family, their household registration could also be moved.

The couple went home first and arranged a place for the cattle and sheep in the open space behind the house, then they put away what they bought today. After that, they went to Wang Xing’s house to return the cattle. Of course, a bag of thank-you snacks could not be missed. It could be said that since Wang Shijing got married, Aunt Wang’s family has eaten more snacks than they have ever eaten in their lifetime. As a result, Aunt Wang and Uncle Wang were always happy to see Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing. Wang Xing was also on call, whenever he was around.

After sitting at Aunt Wang’s house for a while, Shao Yunan first said that the county magistrate called them over and reprimanded him. It was wrong to make ‘trouble’ in the county school after all, but since the county magistrate was generous, it was only a reprimand so Aunt Wang only felt that this county magistrate was really reasonable. To be honest, the Wang clan was dissatisfied with the Wang Dali family for a long time, as well as with the patriarch Wang Wenhe. In the years when Wang Shijing was away from home, the patriarch forced people to do farm work for Wang Dali’s family every year, but they didn’t receive even one copper coin or mouthful of water for it. Every time the farm was busy, Wang Tianyan would either twist or break his foot when he was just lazy and slippery, even Wang Guo would look for reasons to not work.

Who did not have land? Who was not busy during the farming period and did not have enough hands? Wang Wenhe used Wang Zhisong’s merit to persuade them every time. But even if the people of the clan wanted to see future glory, how could there be no complaints? Fourth Uncle Wang and Wang Xing were also asked by the patriarch to go to Wang Dali’s house to help. But fourth Aunt Wang, who was also a difficult person to mess with, went to Wang Wenhe’s house and scolded the stingy old lady Wang. Their family did not want to take part in Wang Zhisong’s future fame so Wang Wenhe should not ask the men from their family to help them. But not every family had someone as good as fourth Aunt Wang. In other families, if someone married a male wife, Wang Wenhe said that since they were both men it shouldn’t be a problem, making it difficult to refuse.

Following fourth Aunt Wang’s words, Shao Yunan pretended to say casually that he had sold a design for a wine barrel and that the owner of the store generously gave him a sum of money, otherwise he would not be able to buy the cattle and sheep today. Aunt Wang asked what kind of design was worth so much money, but Shao Yunan said that he had signed a contract, so he could not tell anyone. But when it was produced he would show it to everyone. Fourth Aunt Wang was amazed, saying that Shao Yunan was very skilled and that Wang Shijing married a really capable wife. Then Wang Shijing, who sat silently at the side, had a smile of satisfaction in his eye.

With the help of Aunt Wang’s mouth to spread the news, Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing went to Zhao Lizheng’s house. As soon as they arrived, they were greeted by a kind smile and hospitality. Shao Yunan kept rubbing his arms and had to whine, “Uncle Zhao, Aunt Zhao, if you keep doing that, I won’t be able to tell you the good news I brought back.”

“What good news?” Aunt Zhao Liu pulled Shao Yunan over and headed for the house.

Shao Yunan hugged Nizi who came out of the house and said, “No need to be so polite, I’ll say.”

“Hahaha…” Wang Shijing and Zhao Lizheng then entered the house. Some goat milk fruit and wild peaches were collected today, mostly picked from the nearby mountains by people in the village. Zhao Yuande and Zhao He were washing the fruits in the backyard and drying them. Hearing that Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing had come, they hurriedly packed up the processed fruits and washed their hands.

When everyone sat down, Aunt Zhao Liu asked eagerly, “Yunan, what’s the good news?” Zhao Yuande and Zhao He were a bit confused before Shao Yunan started retelling the story. “Shopkeeper Xu of Yizhang Xuan restaurant wants to buy the jam. The price has been temporarily set at a kilo of goat milk jam for 400 copper coins and 800 copper coins for peach jam.”

“…” There was a moment of silence. Shao Yunan just smiled and drank water without saying anything. After a few seconds several shrieks rang out. “What? Goat milk jam for 400 copper coins and 800 copper coins for peach jam?” Aunt Zhao Liu’s voice trembled, while Zhao Lizheng and Zhao Yuande were even more wide-eyed, wondering if their ears were out of order. Shao Yunan just chuckled and nodded. “Yes, 400 copper coins for goat milk jam and 800 copper coins for peach jam. You heard it right. It’s good news, right?”

Zhao He grabbed Shao Yunan. “Yunan, are you kidding me?” So expensive? This… how could this be possible?!” They thought they would be satisfied with a few dozen copper coins for a kilo. Zhao Yuande looked at Wang Shijing with anxiety. “Shijing, is this true?” Wang Shijing nodded. “It’s true. Yunan gave the jam to Butterfly Jewelry Pavilion shopkeeper Zeng. When shopkeeper Zeng saw that the jam was rare, he called out Shopkeeper Xu of Yizhang Xuan restaurant, who was also interested in buying the jam. So Yunan helped to set the price of the jam for you with shopkeeper Xu.”

The four members of Zhoa Lizheng’s family all felt faint. Aunt Zhao Liu also could not respond. Then Shao Yunan explained in detail what happened and said, “Uncle Zhao, Aunt Zhao, you don’t blame me for the price. One kilo of jam basically makes one kilo of jam. Since it is rare now we can raise the price high, but if our price is high, then the price set by the Yizhang Xuan restaurant would be even higher. So how many people could afford to buy it then? If no one buys it, the jam will not be worth anything. What we want to do is to make this jam business long lasting.”

“Now that the fruits are getting less and less, the jam will be old at this price. If the fruits are more abundant the price should also go down. Shopkeeper Xu also said that Yizhang Xuan restaurant will also help with fruit collection in the future. It is also a measure to prevent someone from figuring out how to make jam, then lowering prices and disrupting your business. But since we set the price to be flexible, people can also feel our sincerity.”

Zhao Lizheng immediately nodded vigorously. “You are right. We do not know about these things, so we still need Yunan to help us with more ideas in the future.” Aunt Zhao Liu was almost speechless. “So it’s settled? So expensive!” None of the four people blamed Shao Yunan for lowering the price so much. To be honest, if they really sold the jam at the price proposed by shopkeeper Xu, Zhao Lizheng’s family wouldn’t be able to sleep in peace.

Shao Yunan said with a smile, “Yes, the buyer and the price are set. Now you should make goat milk jam and peach jam, and take it to Yizhang Xuan restaurant to show it to shopkeeper Xu. I also told shopkeeper Xu that although the method of making jam is the same, but due to personal craftsmanship, the taste will definitely also be different. Jam taste also depends on water quality, so it’s best not to use the well water at home, but mountain spring water. Uncle Zhao, Aunt Zhao, if you have the means, collect some dates and hawthorn. There is no fruit in winter, but dates and hawthorn are durable, so when winter comes, you can make red date jam and hawthorn jam. You can also use sun-dried dates to make date jam. Make sure you have jam all year long.”

The four members of the Zhao family nodded their heads and Aunt Zhao Liu even cried in excitement. Finally, Zhao Lizheng spoke up. “Yunan, this 10% profit is too little. If you want to collect any fruit, just ask. I will not ask you for any money. The profit is much higher than we thought, so we should share 50-50, otherwise I would not feel at ease doing this business.” Who would have thought that the price of this jam would be set so high that Zhao Lizheng’s hand shook? Not to mention Zhao Lizheng, Zhao Yuande’s hands were also shaking from extreme excitement and expectation for their future life. Aunt Zhao Liu and Zhao He both agreed on the side that more money should be paid. Then Zhao Yuande said, “Before my father and I also discussed that if this jam can really be sold and the villagers start to comment, we will have the strength to deal with it if we have money.”

This thought also occurred to Shao Yunan. He thought for a while and then said, “Let’s do it this way. Uncle Zhao, we will both sign a contract. The 10% profit will remain unchanged, but I will only charge it for two years and not take any more money after two years. I will also sell you the method of making jam for 100 taels of silver, but you don’t have to pay me now. When you start earning money from selling the jam, you can pay me in installments. I have money in my hand now, so I am not in a hurry. Forget about the fifty- fifty split. I also have something to trouble Uncle Zhao, Aunt Zhao, and Brother Zhao with. I also need to collect some goat milk fruit every year, not for jam, but for other things. But my family is just me and Shijing, and it’s also not as good as Uncle Zhao’s family that has connections… so if you could help me with gathering.”

“In addition, I also want to collect some tea, but there are few tea trees in our villages. If it’s possible I want to collect more from outside the village, which I also need help with from Uncle Zhao, Aunt Zhao, and Brother Zhao. If you could say outside that you spent 300 taels of silver to buy my recipe and paid it off in a lump sum, because I found the buyer outside, while giving me 20% commission on every deal I would be thankful. It will also be written in contract with Yizhang Xuan restaurant that jam would only be bought from you. In this way, even if some people are dissatisfied you can block their mouths. Just say that you bought the production method from me for 300 taels of silver, not including sales commission. That way, no one will guess where I got the money from.”

“This is still a loss for you.” Uncle Zhao Lizheng hesitated. Wang Shijing then spoke up. “Uncle Zhao, if my family starts doing business, it will only cause trouble and only if you do it first, can we follow with doing other businesses with confidence if my family doesn’t want to suffer losses. In fact, Uncle Zhao, you have to bear a lot of trouble and deal with the villagers, so it is you who might have to bear losses. Just listen to Yunan.”

“Uncle Zhao, it’s a deal. Big brother Yuande please write the contract.” Zhao Yuande looked at his father, while Zhao Lizheng looked seriously at Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing before taking a deep breath. “Yunan, Shijing, I will accept this favor and listen to what you guys want to do!” Shao Yunan smiled, Aunt Zhao Liu smiled, and Zhao He also smiled. Zhao Yuande got up and went to write the contract with great enthusiasm. Shao Yunan then said, “Brother He, first make two jars of each and no more. Tomorrow I will go with you. The jam will go bad in a few days and even if you put it in an ice cellar it can last a month at most. If you want to do business, you have to use a special way of insurance and you should do this insurance as soon as the product is ready. If shopkeeper Xu thinks that what your family has prepared is all right, then you can start the official production while I guide from the side.”

“Yunan, thank you so much.” Zhao He’s smile was so big, you couldn’t see his eyes. Zhao Yuande wrote the contract. Shao Yunan meant for him to just write a hundred taels to buy the method, but he wrote that he would give Shao Yunan 10% of the fruit collected every year, no matter what it was. Zhao Yuande was very insistent, so Shao Yunan finally signed the contract. Zhao Lizheng might not have 100 taels of silver at this time, so Shao Yunan let them sell the jam first and make some money. Anyway, this is a private transaction so how could others check his money bags?

The jam was not yet made, but the buyer has already been found and the price was negotiated. The last trace of anxiety in Zhao Lizheng’s heart was completely eliminated. That night, the Lizheng’s family directly invited Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing to stay for dinner. Anyway, Wang Qing and Nizi were already here. After dinner, Shao Yunan instructed Zhao He on how to make the jam from beginning to end. Then Zhao Yuande personally went to get the mountain spring water.

The taste of their jam was worse than that of Shao Yunan. After all, Shao Yunan made his with water mixed with spiritual spring water. However, if you hadn’t eaten Shao Yunan’s jam, the taste of Zhao He’s jam was also very good. Shao Yunan also came up with the idea of adding sweet-scented osmanthus to the goat milk and peach jam respectively. The jam with sweet-scented osmanthus tasted even more unique. Together with four jars of jam, Shao Yunan and Zhao He would go early in the morning to Yizhang Xuan restaurant.

Shao Yunan also said that it was up to the Lizheng’s family to decide whether or not to teach the jam production method to other people from their clan. Anyway, he had already sold the jam recipe for 100 taels, so he didn’t care how Zhao Lizheng’s family handled the recipe. Zhao Lizheng also said that Shao Yunan could sell the jam production method to others, as long as it would not affect their family business. The great state of Yan was very big so it was impossible for them to sell jam all over the country.

The next day, Wang Shijing first took the villagers from the village up the mountain to pick tea, mainly teaching them the method of picking tea, and then went to the other village that Zhao Lizheng had friendly relationships with to collect more tea. He didn’t specify how much money he would pay for collecting a kilo of tea, since Shao Yunan only gave Wang Shijing a range with the highest at three hundred copper coins per kilo and the lowest at 30 copper coins per kilo, depending on the grade of the tea. If he was not sure he should offer 50 copper coins per kilo, this way they would definitely not lose money. 

Since there wasn’t much room at home, Shao Yunan did not accept wild chrysanthemum since whether he would make chrysanthemum tea to sell has not yet been decided. The shortage of manpower was one aspect, but Shao Yunan also did not want to cast a net all over the sky from the very beginning, so he only concentrated on his main priorities. Whether it was the status of the Zhao clan in the village, Aunt Zhao Liu, or Zhao He, they were all local bigwigs so it was absolutely appropriate and easy for Wang Shijing to collect tea from them.

Early the next morning, Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing sent their two children to Zhao Lizheng’s house and then Shao Yunan left two hundred taels of silver to Zhao Lizheng. Today, the people of the land department of the Yamen would come to measure the land. If they were quick they might even be able to pay for the deed today. Neither he nor Wang Shijing would be at home today, so he asked Zhao Lizheng for help with it. Zhao Yuande, Zhao He, and Shao Yunan went to the county town together. While Wang Shijing asked several boys he knew from the village to go up the mountain to find tea.


Edited by: Jaisland



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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. rafeala

    Thank you for the update

  2. rafeala

    Love it

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