Accompany by a Fool to Do Farming
Chapter 65:赵兰 ( Zhao Lan)
The next day, Zhong Ziqi took Zhao Xue Mei and the rest to the town early in the morning. Originally Zhong Ziqi wanted to walk there, but unexpectedly Zhao family’s of Second Uncle Zhao, specially, drove his carriage to send these several people to the town.
“It’s still thanks to Lingzi, otherwise we would have had to walk!” Zhao Xue Mei said jokingly!
Zhong Ziqi and Liu Mei Feng also nodded in agreement.
Qian Ling smiled shyly, he had always been a person with few words and could only laugh when he encountered such a situation! He didn’t know what to say.
Zhong Ziqi turned left and right, kidnapped and led the three of them straight to the small courtyard.
“Qi Ge’er, this… Isn’t your shop on the south side?” Zhao Xue Mei asked, puzzled. He had been to Zhong Ziqi,Zhao Amu’s small shop, but it was not here, this place is a little to the north.
“I bought this separately. It’s for another purpose.” Zhong Ziqi said, didn’t realise a bit,how shocking his words were to others!
“Your family bought this?”
Liu Mei Feng cried out in surprise, even Zhao Xue Mei and the ‘reticent’ Lingzi looked astonished. How much money must this have cost ah!
Buying a house in the town was something that many people couldn’t even dream of. If at first they thought that Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zheng’an had made a lot of money, now they have disproved that idea. It wasn’t ‘quite a lot’,but the earned money was definitely a lot’!
This hundred taels of house, bought at the drop of a hat, really let people ‘intimidate at the first glance’.
[望而生畏 wàng ér shēng wèi
intimidate at the first glance (idiom); awe-inspiring / terrifying / overwhelming]
“Old house, not worth a lot of money!”
Zhong Ziqi smiled indifferently.
The three people who were following behind Zhong Ziqi looked at each other. They all saw the look of surprise, envy, awe, etc. in each other’s eyes.
After the renovation, the house had two doors. One of the doors was for the office and the other one was on the left side where the door to the workplace was. Zhong Ziqi made two large strong locks to secure the doors.The doors were locked securely to prevent people from entering when they were not there!
Zhong Ziqi opened the locks and hung it aside: “Come in first! You guys get familiar with this place first while I go and boil some hot water.”
After half an hour in the carriage, everyone’s faces were red with cold!
Zhao Xue Mei and the others looked at the three stoves and the decorative items of the house, wondering what Zhong Ziqi wanted.
By the time Zhong Ziqi had poured the boiled water for the three of them to warm their body up. Only then did Zhong Ziqi unhurriedly take out a few sheets of paper and hand it to the three.
Liu Mei Feng and Ling Zi looked at him in confusion, failing to understand the reason why.
It was Zhao Xue Mei who could read a few words, stumble along while reading it out.
“From this day forward, the skill that Zhao Xue Mei has learned here at Zhong Ziqi shall not be passed on to others without permission.Do not privately-owned….No unauthorized sale to the public. Must not divulge the cooking recipe ….Otherwise pay 100 taels silver of compensation! If there are any unforeseen circumstances, it may be decided according to the circumstances….”
After Zhao Xue Mei finished reading, he looked up at Zhong Ziqi.
Zhong Ziqi smiled and explained: “I believe that the three of you are not that kind of person. It’s just that we need to have a guarantee.This contract is for everyone to put their fingerprints on.If you don’t break the rules, everything will be fine and the paper will be useless (exist in the name only). Think about it, in case you finish your learning and run away and set up another business, then what should I do, right? This is also a way to set the rules in advance for those who will be recruited in the future.”
Liu Mei Feng and Qian Ling looked at Zhao Xue Mei to see what he would react
Zhao Xue Mei was clever and quick minded. He thought about it carefully and came up with this reasoning.No one would want to teach his skill to someone then have the person quit the next day. If you think about it, it was pardonable. It said that after ‘you teach the disciples, you starve the master’, isn’t that the reason?
[教会徒弟,饿死师傅: When the students master the knowledge, teacher would lose his/her job.
Meaning: The apprentices are very talented, they have learned all the skills of the masters so their skills are better than the masters. Others are looking for apprentices to help with the work, instead of looking for the masters, so the masters didn’t make the money and starved to death.]
Thinking this through, Zhao Xue Mei nodded, opened the lid of the vermilion (cinnabar) small box, dipped his finger in it before he put his handprint on the paper: “I’m not that kind of person, so this contract is useless, just as Qi Ge’er have said. Qi Ge’er, by allowing me to work here, I’m already satisfied. If the word of this gets out to the village, they’ll be envious to death.”
[Envious to death = very envious]
When Liu Mei Feng heard what Zhao Xue Mei said, he also pressed his fingerprints on the contract paper .Qian Ling naturally followed suit.
Zhong Ziqi nodded his head in satisfaction. These three people, apart from having good personalities themselves, their family’s condition and members were not complicated. They were not the kind of people who were greedy and had bad intentions.This was also what Zhong Ziqi felt ease for.
After collecting the three contracts, Zhong Ziqi began to teach the three of them how to make mahua and you tiou (fried dough twist and deep fried breadsticks). The steps were simple. Since the three of them were all used to cooking, they learned quickly.But for mahua was a little slower. The main thing for mahua was the twists, if you didn’t twist the dough properly, it would break apart when you fry it in the pan. Moreover, they couldn’t make it too ugly so it took the three of them a while to learn.
Furthermore, they admire Zhong Ziqi more in their heart. At such a young age,yet he knew so much.
“Qi Ge’er, where did you learn these mahua and you tiou from? I’ve never heard of it before.”
Liu Mei Feng, who was of a similar age to Zhong Ziqi and had a lively personality, couldn’t hide his curiosity and asked.
Zhong Ziqi knew they would ask, so he had already thought of excuse to say: “My Amu is a refugee from abroad, so these mahua and you tiou are what they eat there. We don’t often see it here.”
Liu Mei Feng, so the others suddenly realized that this was the case, no wonder they had never seen it here before.
In half a day’s time, Zhao Xue Mei and the others had learned the recipe. Zhong Ziqi went back to Zhao Jia village with the three of them. When they left, they each brought some mahua and you tiou with them.The three of them were unable to contain their happiness and took it with great joy.
Zhong Ziqi did not go straight home, but went to Zhao Lan’s house at the end of the village. Zhao Lan’s house was the most dilapidated house in the village because it was a mud house, so if there was heavy rain, the water might leak into the house. He was a single ger and could not get a man to help him fix it.
Fortunately, Zhao Lan had a good childhood friend in the village.When something happened, his friend (a ger) asked his husband to come and help Zhao Lan.
When Zhong Ziqi went there, the door of Zhao Lan’s house was closed, therefore Zhong Ziqi knocked on the door.
Shortly afterwards, he heard a knock on the door. A footstep approached from a distance yet when it reached the door, the door didn’t open, but the person asked, “Who is it?”
Zhong Ziqi knew that the other party was a ger, so he could not open the door as his own initiative. It would be too late to shout if something went wrong.
Clearing his throat, Zhong Ziqi said, “Is this Lan Ge? I’m Zhong Ziqi from the village.”
Zhao Lan’s face was full of surprise when he heard it was him, because he didn’t have anyone but his good friend coming over here.
Zhao Lan opened the door, there was a gentle-looking ger with a smile on his face standing outside. With only one glance, it produced a favorable impression toward the person.
“Come in ba!”
Zhao Lan moved sideways and let him in. He clearly knew in his heart that the other person must come here for something.
Zhong Ziqi followed Zhao Lan into the house.As his eyes looked around,at first glance, he saw several embroidered handkerchiefs and other semi-finished items on the bed in the room. Zhong Ziqi took a closer look at it and praised him sincerely: “It’s beautiful, Lan Ge! Your handicraft is so good.”
Zhao Lan smiled at his words, “I’m just ordinarily doing what I can to support myself.”
“In a moment winter already, have you made your cotton-padded clothes and quilts?”
Zhong Ziqi was considered to know the answer perfectly well, because on Zhao Lan’s heated brick bed, there was an old quilt. It was sewn with many patches and looked particularly thin.
Zhao Lan was silent for a while, squeezed his patched cotton jacket, and instead of answering him, asked, “Today, you came to my place for something, didn’t you?”
Zhong Ziqi smiled, “Yes, today, indeed, there is something I came to see you for.”
Zhao Lan was puzzled and asked, “What is it?”
“Here’s the thing…I’m doing business in town and I need an extra person to help me sell my food. I don’t know if Lan Ge would be willing?” Zhong Ziqi asked.
“Why is it me?” Zhao Lan didn’t give the appearance or the look of being very happy, he looked very rational and calm.
“Having said it after this, Lan Ge, don’t be angry!”
“Actually, I heard it from Zhao Amu. He said that you were a very nice person, very capable, and in addition to that, you were alone and had no one cared. More or less, that’s why I came looking for you.”
Zhao Lan laughed at himself: “Right or wrong, if I had gone to your place, I guess, there would have been more disputes. Your ideas would have come to nothing.”
Zhong Ziqi smiled warmly, “I believe Lan Ge will handle it well.”
Zhao Lan didn’t say anything.
“I’ll give Lan Ge some time to think it over, so after you think about it, come with me to the town tomorrow morning.” Zhong Ziqi said and got up to go out.
Zhao Lan just nodded and sent him out the door.
Zhong Ziqi walked home unhurriedly and started to wash his hands before he made some hot soup. Then he waited for Zhao Zheng’an to return from the town to eat it together.
The next morning, Zhao Zheng’an and Zhong Ziqi got up early, after finishing their breakfast, they met up with Zhao Xue Mei and the others. Later on, Zhao Amu, Zhao Ning and Zhao Sheng also came over. Thus, Zhao Er shu drove a carriage over to see them off.
“Qi Ge’er aren’t we leaving yet?” Liu Mei Feng asked, obviously everyone had arrived, why hadn’t they set off yet?
“Wait a little longer.”
Zhong Ziqi said this as his eyes looked into the distance.
A short while later a figure gradually appeared in front of everyone’s eyes, this person was none other than Zhao Lan.
“Lan Ge’er, why are you here?” Zhao Xue Mei was also stunned.
Only Zhao Amu had a look of understanding.
Zhao Lan gazed toward Zhong Ziqi, who smiled and patted the seat beside him, “Come up Lan Ge! I am the one who approached Lan Ge and let him help me sell my food.”
“So that’s how it is! I told you so.” Zhao Xue Mei nodded his head.
Zhao Lan glanced at Zhong Ziqi with his eyebrow raised, “It’s like you’re sure that I’ll come.”
“I am also not sure either, I just feel in my heart that you will come. If you are a rational person, you will not miss this opportunity.”
Zhao Lan was silent, indeed he couldn’t miss this opportunity. Don’t look at him being the only one in his house, the food, the clothing and everything he needed, all need money. Although he could embroider to earn money, how much money could he earn from it?
Besides, embroidery was such a waste of time. From morning till night,he could not even finish a single piece of embroidery even though his eyes were tired until it was almost blind. His handicraft was not very exquisite either, so he couldn’t earn much money at all. Usually, it was already good for him to be able to keep enough food and warm clothes but it was impossible to make cotton padded clothes or quilts.
Each of his clothes, which he wore carefully for years so he didn’t have one without a patch.The only one with fewer patches was the one he was wearing today.
When Zhong Ziqi saw that Zhao Lan did not say anything, he did not continue to talk about this issue. Instead, he talked to him about what he was going to do today.
“There’s nothing complicated about it, just selling the goods and collecting the money.If there is something that you don’t know, just ask Zhao Ning and Zhao Amu.”
“Lan Ge, if you have something that you don’t understand, just ask me. I know everything.” Zhao Ning said with an exaggerated pat on his chest.
He made everyone in the carriage laugh,even Zhao Lan had a smile on his lips.
The group of people just talked and laughed like this as they entered the town.