Accompany by a Fool to Do Farming
Chapter 16: 记号 (Mark)
The weather in Zhao Jia’s village is cold in winter and hot in summer, so even wearing short clothes is unbearably hot, not to mention Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Ning have been near the fire, so their faces are sweating like rain. But there was no time to wipe them off.
Zhao Zheng’an came back from collecting the money and stood next to his wife as usual, just in time to see a drop of sweat being shone by the sun in folds. He pursed his lips unhappily, his eyes looked around, then he picked up his sleeve to wiped it on Zhong Ziqi’s forehead carefully, like wiping some precious treasure.
Zhong Ziqi didn’t need to look up to know who it was. His handsome face unconsciously rose into a smile.
Zhao Ning was so close to them that he couldn’t help but snickersnicker, “You’re so in love. I’m so jealous!”
Zhong Ziqi’s poisonous tongue then shot back, “Don’t worry! You won’t have to be envious any time soon.”
Zhao Ning shut up abruptly. This year, he was already at the age of marriage which is sixteen years old and it would be hard to find one at an older age. So recently, his Amu has started looking for someone for him.
Zhao Sheng watched the scene in silence, his eyes flashing with laughter, his younger brother never able to win over Qi Ge’er in talking. In the past, Qi Ge’er was quiet and did not like to talk. His younger brother was always the one who was chattering non stop. Occasionally, Qi Ge’er would say a few sharp words when he was angry, leaving his little brother speechless.Qi Ge’er is now much more cheerful than before, every time he speaks out,Zhao Ning is unable to take advantage of him.
As it got hotter and hotter, more and more people were coming, therefore they couldn’t fit in his small stall. Uncle Song didn’t mind people coming to sit in his stall because they were familiar and mutually beneficial to each other. On the other hand, he didn’t know the other stall owners well, even though they all showed him kindness, he didn’t want to beg.
It was just that there were more and more people here, they were crowding the road. What to do? Zhong Ziqi looked on worriedly, wondering if there was anything he could do to ease the situation.
When his sorrowful eyes inadvertently swept across Zhao Zheng’an walking back with the empty bowl, his eyes suddenly lit up.He spoke quietly to Zhao Sheng, only to see Zhao Sheng give him a very puzzled look and walk away.
Zhong Ziqi cleared his throat and shouted loudly: “Everyone, uncle, Amu, as you can see, my stall is really too small. With people crowding around, it’s really affecting you from eating your food.From now on, you can take the noodles and the bowl with you for seven wen while eating it anywhere you like. But don’t worry, the two wen is a deposit for the bowl.If you return the bowl, we’ll refund your money. If you don’t return the bowl, the money is for the bowl. What do you think?” The bowls were originally two wen each, so Zhong Ziqi did not raise the price.
This was the first time they had seen this way of doing business, when they thought about it, it was not to their disadvantage, so they agreed to it. It was hard to bear for them to cram in too.
In a short while, Zhao Sheng, who had gone out, came back, surprisingly holding a small ink stone with a brush in it, containing black ink. It turned out that Zhao Sheng had gone out to borrow a brush and ink from Uncle Huang’s house as instructed by Zhong Ziqi.
Zhong Ziqi took the brush and said to the surprised crowd with a smile, “I have a total of thirty bowls here. In order to prevent people from using their own bowls as a counterfeit, I have to mark all the bowls. Even if someone impersonates mine, I will still recognise them. This is also a guarantee for everyone, I hope you understand.”
Some people were annoyed, some were embarrassed, some were impressed and some were bright-eyed, the reactions varied. Zhong Ziqi took all these reactions in his eyes and just laughed, only whether this laugh was a sneer or not was unknown.
“Okay boss! You mark it! I’m dying of heat and I’m still waiting for my noodles! ” someone shouted. Many people then echoed.
Only then did Zhong Ziqi pick up the bowl with his left hand, hold the brush in his right hand and write a number 1, which he then placed by the fire to roast for drying. Then he picked up a second bowl, wrote the number 2, handing it to Zhao Ning. Zhao Ning immediately understood and put it by the fire to roast.
“Arabic numerals,” Zhong Ziqi believed that unless there were fellow transmigrators in this world, no one would know what they meant,moreover his handwriting was so clear to him that there was no way to imitate it. It was also thanks to the fact that he had been born in a family of calligraphers in his last life so his brush writing had been taught to him by his grandfather. It was a pity that neither he nor his elder brother had any interest in teaching and educating people.
It was only when he reached 37 that Zhong Ziqi stopped writing. He was also quite surprised that his family had so many bowls.
“Okay, this time everyone can eat noodles in peace, who wants to take it away, buy from me, those who stay at the stall to eat, buy from the person next to me. Here, everyone line up so there is no chaos.”
The crowd stood hesitantly in two rows, and someone paid the seven-wen bill for the marked bowl and walked away, looking back after two steps to see that nothing was wrong, then continued to stride away. Soon there was a first, then a second. Zhong Ziqi looked at the mark and returned the money to everyone who came back to return the bowl after eating which added to the trust of everyone.
Tired and thirsty, Zhong Ziqi remembered the canned food he had made yesterday and, with a sideways glance, whispered into Zhao Zheng’an’s ear: “In the bag in the trolley over there, there’s a porcelain jar. Take it out carefully, don’t spill it, pour out the contents and let’s quench our thirst.”
“Oh.” Zhao Zheng’an nodded his head, curious about what it was, because every time Zhong Ziqi finished making something good, the first time, he would give it to him to eat. This time it was so mysterious that even he didn’t know when his wife had made it.
Zhao Zheng’an went to the trolley and there was indeed a grey bag with a grey porcelain jar inside, he took it out and it was quite heavy, with a layer of cloth wrapped around the lid. Zhao Zheng’an carefully untied it, opened the lid and inside was a square piece of fruit, he recognised it as pears and apples, he remembered the pear water his wife made yesterday and thought it was the same as that. After pouring into four small bowls, Zhao Zheng’an put the lid back on.
He looked up at the three people who were busy, picked up one of the bowls and took a sip. Eh? Zhao Zheng’an looked down at the bowl, how come it tasted different from yesterday? He took another bite of the pear and he was even more convinced it was different, much better than the one he made yesterday, smooth and sweet with a hint of crunch. He drank all of one bowl with wide eyes, then took the other three bowls over carefully and gave one to Zhong Ziqi before giving the rest to Zhao Sheng and Zhao Ning.
The two men also recognised what it was,both of them thought it was the same as yesterday’s too and drank it down without blinking, then like Zhao Zheng’an they noticed something was wrong in it.
“Ziqi, it’s not the same as yesterday, is it?” Zhao Ning smashed his lips and said.
“En, it’s done differently, yesterday’s was pear water, today this is called canned fruit.” Zhong Ziqi said smoothly, he was also thirsty, picked up the bowl then took a big sip.
“What do you mean by canned?”
“Er …… it’s just a different way of doing things.”
“Oh.” Zhao Ning didn’t ask more questions.
He didn’t ask but someone else did, “Boss, what are you drinking?” It looked, well, very tasty.
“That’s right, Boss gave me a bowl to try.”
These people who were regular customers of the stall, even though it had only been two days,were already convinced of Zhong Ziqi’s skills, so when they found something strange and unusual on Zhong Ziqi’s stall, they were not curious, they felt admiration only.
With a decent smile on his handsome face, Zhong Ziqi politely declined, “These are just some small foods to quench my own family’s thirst, so I don’t intend to sell them to the public either.”
“Don’t be so stingy, boss.”
“That’s right, we can pay for it.”
In the end, Zhong Ziqi had no choice but to sell the food for two wen a bowl.
The first reason he didn’t intend to sell was that the two types of food on the stall were enough to keep them busy, so he didn’t want to add to the mess.The second reason was that there was a lot of good food which is easy to steal people’s business and cause public anger, although he had already done so….The actual fact is that he has not yet stood on his ground.
It is not advisable to reveal everything to the outside.
Two wen for a bowl is not cheap,a bowl of noodles costs five wen If you add these two, that’s seven wen which is a bit expensive.Many people shrink back, usually they only eat one bowl of noodles, which for some people is considered to be a luxury.Besides, they could only earn a few dozen a day at most, and that was if they got good business, or if they worked for a wealthy family, otherwise it was not uncommon to earn a dozen or more a day.
The taste of canned fruit is sweet and creamy,not all the men liked it, but on the contrary, it captured the hearts of many children.
Halfway through the afternoon, the temperature was still hot but not as hot as it had been in the middle of the day.Zhong Ziqi decided to close his stall.In fact, even if he continued to sell here, there would be a lot of business, especially in the evening when the workers were off duty, but he did not want to go home too late.Firstly, it was unsafe, secondly, if he spent the whole day here, he would not have time to do the work at home.
It would be endless to earn Money. It is important to be relaxed too since everyone is already tired all day, there is still a chance in the future,right? As usual, they made up for the ingredients needed for tomorrow, sent them to Huang’ Amus house, and settled the rent.The four of them went back at a leisurely pace.
When they arrived home, Zhong Ziqi wanted Zhao Ning and Zhao Sheng to stay for dinner but they refused, they were too embarrassed to freeload a meal here all the time. Absolutely unreasonable!
Zhong Ziqi didn’t force the issue, but settled the two men’s wages and sent them out.
He locked the door before he went inside to count the money he had earned today on the table. He had earned nearly 400 wen today. He still had about a third of the cucumbers and persimmons left. Zhong Ziqi felt that at this rate, the goal of renovating the house was just around the corner. After all, many people have lived here before, so he is a bit of a clean freak at heart! The thought that people had lived in this house had done something, or probably someone might have died, made him uncomfortable. After he had money to spare, he wanted to build a house according to his own ideas and his own preferred layout.
But the better the house, the more money it would take, so it would probably be a long way off.
Zhao Zheng’an sat quietly by the side as he saw his wife giggling foolishly at the copper coins scattered on the table, so he went over and asked curiously, “Does wife like this?”
“Of course I like it! I tell you, in this world, money is not everything, but if you do not have money, you can do nothing.” Zhong Ziqi educated him in a serious manner, which might have been more convincing if he ignored the suppressed smile on his lips.
This kind of money is not the same as what he feels when he is paid in modern times. It is something that he cannot understand without experiencing it first hand.This is the true reward of labour.
Zhao Zheng’an blinked his dark eyes while he listened in a puzzled way, his wife’s last sentence was a bit complicated, so he didn’t understand it. But he did understand that his wife liked money therefore he kept it in his mind that this was the first time his wife had said he liked something.