“I will definitely repay the fourth aunt’s side, but it is the busy farming period now, so there is no hurry. As I said before, this chrysanthemum tea takes at least 15 days to complete, but it still needs the weather to be quite good to make it. Shijing and I collected many tea leaves before, since I really want to get into the tea business. But tea is also time-consuming and labor-intensive, so how would I still have the energy to tinker with other things?”
“I also made this chrysanthemum tea after I came across some chrysanthemums, when I went to the mountains with Shijing. I just picked some and made it by hand. If you didn’t come over, I would only hold onto the recipe for a while before giving it to someone else to make later. Giving you the tea can also be considered as earning reputation for Shijing and I later.
“Master Sun, we can only rely on you to take care of it. Shijing and I might as well sell you the production method. Although Shijing is a member of the Wang clan, we can’t count on the clan. If in the future Wang Zhisong really earns merit on the imperial examination, we will need people in the village like Grandpa Sun or Uncle Zhao to take care of us, so we won’t be in too much trouble.”
Grandpa Sun immediately said in a rough voice, “It would be a wonder if Wang Zhisong could earn merit on the examination, you don’t need to fear him. You also should not pay attention to your family clan. No one in the county town does not know what Wang Zhisong has done. With so many people taking the exam, why should they want him, who is known for his bad character? I haven’t liked this kid since before.”
“This time so many things happened, but he never came back or admitted his mistake. Wang Wenhe did so much for him and made his family worry when he was splashed with dirty water because of him, but he never went to his door to apologize.” Master Sun, who often went to the county town pharmacy to buy herbs, knew that Wang Zhisong became famous in the county town and it was not because of his good name.
Shao Yunan listened to this with pleasure, but didn’t show it on his face. He only said, “Shijing and I need to prepare for the worst and think about Wang Qing and Nizi. We can take out the recipe and earn money ourselves, but what will the village people say? Uncle Zhao is the head of the village, but still many people gossip behind his back. Master Sun, just take this recipe for the chrysanthemum tea and let the Sun family’s reputation sell it well. If something really happens to our family in the future, at least some people will remember our good deeds and not do things that get in our way.”
Grandpa Sun thought deeply. How could he not understand Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing’s meaning? But it felt like he came here specifically to ask for a bargain… Wang Shijing spoke out, “Master Sun, why don’t you go back and discuss it with Patriarch Sun, Uncle Sun, Aunt Sun, and the others? Yunan and I really want to hand it over to you. My family also does not intend to rely on this to earn money, since Yunan and the children can’t get so tired.”
Master Sun considered it for a long time before slapping his thigh. “I will go back and discuss this with them! Shijing, Yunan, Grandpa Sun has really taken advantage of you.” Shao Yunan laughed. “It’s really hard to say. In the future, if someone bullies our family, I’ll need to go to master Sun.”
Master Sun laughed. After drinking the chrysanthemum tea in his cup, he wiped his mouth, got off the bed, and left. As soon as he left, Shao Yunan poked Wang Shijing. “Now our family has another mountain to rely on.”
“It’s all because of my wife’s wisdom.”
“…” This person is not only getting smoother and smoother, but also more and more coy.
“By the way, I forgot to tell you an important thing. Tang Genshu came over in the morning and brought two tea tree branches. It’s another very precious tea tree. It’s a kind of black tea, but very different from Longjing. He said he already talked to you.”
Wang Shijing nodded. “Well, Tang Genshu told me that there are trees like that on the eastern side of the mountain, so I asked him to pick them and show them to you.” Shao Yunan said, “He said that these tea trees are on the top of the mountain. Isn’t that dangerous?”
“On the top of the mountain?” Wang Shijing was surprised. “He didn’t tell me it was on top of the mountain. This kid is too bold. There are wolves on that mountain.”
“Ah! How dangerous! Don’t let him go alone. It’s too dangerous.”
Wang Shijing frowned. “That child is also a hard worker. He must have lied to me because he wanted to earn more money. His grandfather is Wang Bensheng, Wang Benchang’s brother, so he can be called Wang Dafu’s cousin. His mother’s name is Yumei, but his father has already passed away, so sister-in-law Yumei’s life has not been easy after she was taken back by her two brothers to her maiden house.”
“Sister Yumei’s brother and sister-in-law cannot accommodate the three of them, so Yumei’s parents, who live with her second brother, also can’t take care of them. Uncle Zhao rented two acres of land to them and lent them a dilapidated house in the village. Only then did the three of them have a place to live. I think Genshu is a clever one. He is also willing to endure hardship, so I took him to pick tea, and hired him to help farm our family land.”
Shao Yunan was speechless. “The Wang clan really produces strange people. Is your patriarch incompetent or did you just meet with such a clan member? Doesn’t Wang Wenhe care?” Wang Shijing was also a bit helpless. “Sister Yumei moved out of the clan after she got married, so their family is not considered a part of the Wang clan. To say… at least Wang Bensheng’s family doesn’t care, so the patriarch is even less likely to care.”
Shao Yunan asked, “How old is he? He has a younger brother?”
“Thirteen. His younger brother is Gensheng. He is as old as our Qing.” Shao Yunan understood that the reason why Wang Shijing was willing to help this family was because of him, so he just said, “If you want to help them, help them. But, Shijing, I won’t think of any way to make money for their family. In their family situation, it would be like giving them a wedding dress for others to wear.” Shao Yunna did not feel at ease about Wang Benchang’s family.
Wang Shijing said, “We can’t give recipes to every family. But we can help uncle and aunt Zhou with a different method. Uncle Zhou and aunt Zhao have only three people in their family, while Zhou Tianbao is a fool, so giving them a recipe would only cause trouble for them. In the future, let them do clothes for us and when we start raising chickens and pigs at our house, let them look after them so that their livelihood can be guaranteed, but not attract too much bad attention from others. The same should be true for Tang Genshu’s family. Sister Yumei is a widow, so only Genshu can help us, if we don’t want gossip. But if you give her a recipe because we are both men, there would be gossip.”
Shao Yunan nodded. He didn’t expect Wang Shijing to have already thought about it. “Then you should speak to aunt and uncle Zhou, and not let them have any ideas.”
“I’ve already mentioned it to Uncle Zhou. He also thinks it’s good. His family only has five acres of land, just enough for Zhou Tianbao to take care of alone. In the future, if I help Uncle Zhou buy a cow, he wouldn’t even need to hire anyone to help and since their family will help with our family with work, we can pay them more.”
“That’s good. By the way, we have to let auntie Zhou make some cotton-padded clothes, winter quilts, and cotton shoes. Aunt Zhou’s craftsmanship is good, so as long as Aunt Zhou has no problem with her eyes, I will let her make all our clothes and quilts in the future.”
“Good. When we’re done, we’ll go to the county town to buy cloth and cotton.”
The two of them irresponsibly left all their worries to Grandpa Sun.
Wang Shijing, who returned in the afternoon after a walk to the fields, went to the site of the new house. Shao Yunan wanted to give the chrysanthemum tea to Grandpa Sun’s family, so Wang Shijing stopped to pick wild chrysanthemums. The chrysanthemums picked today were left to dry and would be steamed tomorrow, so he stayed home with Shao Yunan, drinking tea as the two children studied under Shao Yunan’s tutoring. This was one of the most enjoyable moments of the day for Wang Shijing.
Wang Shijing also told Tang Genshu not to go up to the top of the mountain alone in the future. If he had an accident, what would he tell his mother? Tang Genshu’s mother, Wang Yumei, had been in poor health since his father passed away. Since their family had no money and their land was rented, young Tang Genshu needed to support his family.
He would often go up the mountain to pick some medicinal herbs for his mother’s illness. Wang Shijing also told Tang Genshu straightforwardly that if he helped their family with work, he would get paid wages. He also would be the one responsible for the tea picking in the future. Tang Genshu’s eyes were red… he really didn’t know why Wang Shijing took special care of him.
For dinner, Wang Shijing baked pancakes and cooked millet porridge, while Shao Yunan fried shredded potatoes with vinegar, which his two children liked to eat very much. He also fried meat and vegetables, and rolled the shredded potatoes, sliced meat, and wild vegetables with some sauce. Wang Shijing ate three mouthfuls at once, while Shao Yunan ate three pancakes, his appetite very average. Drinking the millet porridge, he said, “When we move to the new house, I will prepare roast duck for you. If we make smaller pancakes that were thinner and smear them with sauce while rolling them with sliced roast duck and shredded green onion the taste would be…”
Shao Yunan drooled. Wang Qing and Wang Nizi also licked their mouths as they listened to Shao Yunan drooling. Wang Shijing made a decision. “I will buy chickens and ducks, and also two pigs after moving to the new house.” Shao Yunan, “There is also sheep. We can kill them in the winter and eat mutton. But I can’t feed them.”
“Little father, I will.” Wang Nizi raised her hand, just like she was taught by her little dad. “I will too.” Wang Qing said. Wang Shijing said, “You guys study hard. Daddy will find someone to feed them.”
Shao Yunan said, “I will buy a plot of land by the river in the future, so we can dig a pond and raise fish. It is better for little Qing and Nizi to eat more fish, so they can be smart.” As soon as the two children heard that they can become smarter by eating fish, they looked at their father, but Wang Shijing just said, “Good.” The two children grinned. Wang Shijing reached out to roll another pancake, when someone knocked on the door. “Shijing, are you home?”
Wang Qing quickly got off the bed and put on his shoes before running out to open the courtyard door. Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing also got off the bed and put on their shoes immediately. Outside, Wang Qing opened the door and greeted Grandpa Sun and Uncle Sun, one by one. Grandpa Sun, Patriarch Sun, Uncle Sun, Aunt Sun Guan, Sun Erjiang, and Sun Xiaojiang all came together.
Once they saw Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing, the gratitude of the group was overwhelming. Wang Shijing guided the group to Wang Qing and Nizi’s room, while Shao Yunan let the two children continue to eat. Wang Qing, seeing that everyone gathered in the room, together with Wang Nizi, took the porridge, pancakes, and vegetables that their Dad and Little Dad hadn’t finished drinking to the stove top to keep it warm.
The grandfather did not tell anyone about the tea matter after he returned, but asked his grandson Sun Xiaojiang to take him to the county town and took the chrysanthemum tea given to him by Tang Genshu to the ‘Yongning Hall’ to show the pharmacy’s boss. The boss asked master Sun if he dried the chrysanthemums himself. Master Sun said no and asked boss Feng to prepare a cup of the chrysanthemum tea. After boss Feng drank it, he said he wanted to buy it. As the head of the pharmacy, boss Feng knew the value of the dried chrysanthemums as well as master Sun.
Whether it was their own dried chrysanthemum or collected elsewhere, you should always be careful of mold. But the color and taste was definitely not comparable to the dried chrysanthemum brought by Master Sun, not to mention the dried chrysanthemum could also be used as tea. The boss listened to Master Sun’s advice and put in a few pieces of licorice. He then looked at master Sun as if he had seen a gold mountain.
The dried chrysanthemum flowers were carefully looked at and observed while the tea was seriously tasted again and again. Then he finally opened his mouth and stated a price of two taels of silver a kilo and how much he wished to buy. Grandpa Sun said that someone else asked him to ask, making boss Geng drag Grandpa Sun to ask the person who made this dried chrysanthemum to sell it to Yongning Hall.
Master Sun left the shop with a trembling heart. He didn’t let Sun Xiaojiang follow him in, making Sun Xiaojiang wonder why his grandfather didn’t buy anything after he ran to Yongning Hall in such a hurry. When their family finally came home for dinner from the field that evening, Grandpa said that Shijing and his wife had found a special way to earn money for their Sun family and only then did Sun Xiaojiang learn why grandpa Sun went to Yongning Hall.
Patriarch Sun was the nephew of Grandpa Sun, so when Grandpa Sun talked about the chrysanthemum tea, he called over patriarch Sun. Once they heard that this chrysanthemum tea could be sold to Yongning Hall for two taels of silver a kilo, even the shy Sun Xiaojiang spat out the water in his mouth. This time, Uncle Sun’s family exploded. The Sun patriarch also could not calm down. Shijing and Yunan were really giving them such a way to earn money? This is why after eating, their family came over, while poor Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan still haven’t finished eating yet.
Edited by: Jaisland