Apparently, Song Xiulian was also very aware of the character of her mother-in-law. She sighed in the room, “I haven’t heard a chicken crow since I got home, probably…”
Sure enough, When Autumn went to check the henhouse, she found it empty. She came back and said to Song Xiulian, “Mother, do our chickens have any marks?”
Since the chickens in the countryside were all free-range, they occasionally would go to the wrong house. Therefore, almost every household had marked their own chickens: some had a strip of cloth on the chicken feet, and some painted on parts of their bodies.
Song Xiulian answered, “I painted a red spot under the chickens’ wings… But Autumn, if the chickens are gone, don’t bother with them. You are too young. You should protect yourself.”
“Yes, mother, don’t worry!” Autumn readily agreed, but she had already made up her mind inside her heart.
The fence gates of their home were closed. The villagers at this time were still relatively simple. As long as the door was closed, they would not enter. Only Autumn’s grandma was not afraid to be seen. Besides, she was so greedy that she would definitely not allow the three hens to go back!
However, this matter was not urgent. At this time, few people in the countryside were willing to kill the hens and eat them. They were all raised for eggs. Her grandma could steal the hens back and she could not release them in a short time. Autumn had to wait until her grandmother relaxed, to find an opportunity to get the hens back.
When the medicine was ready, Autumn brought it to Song Xiulian with warm water. After Song Xiulian drank medicine and gargled, she turned and walked out of the room.
Autumn washed the towel to clean Song Xiulian’s face and hands. Then she washed her hair and scrubbed her body—the weather was cold and it cost firewood to heat water, so they barely bathed in winter.
Autumn had clearly seen the dirt on her knees… but the conditions were limited. What she could do was to wash her hair and scrub herself. It was too cold to have a bath!
Then Autumn washed and hung out her brother’s diapers and clothes. While rubbing her aching waist, she remembered the bucket she collected at noon.
She raised the curtain and looked inside. Her mother and younger brother both fell asleep, breathing evenly and long. She quietly took out the bucket of rice. The rice that could not cover the bottom at noon had piled thickly at the bottom of the bucket after half a day.
There were about 2 kilos and they could fill 3 bowls.
Half a bowl of rice had become three bowls in half a day. It would be almost nine bowls after a whole day. That was eighteen times. If she put a bucket in, would it become 18 buckets?
Autumn felt excited in her heart. She measured a bowl of rice and put it in the bucket. Then she put the rest back. She wanted to see how much it would become tomorrow morning!
Lying in bed, feeling the warmth and dryness of the kang, Autumn relaxed and stretched out, while raising a question in her heart: why hadn’t she seen her Aunt Hu Weihong, who was such a gossiper?
This thought flashed across her mind. Before going to sleep, Autumn was thinking of the oil, meat, and powder in Qu Mingqiang’s room. If she had found her storage space earlier, she could have taken all the things away!
She had no dreams during the night and when she opened her eyes, the sky was already bright.
Her younger brother next to her had already woken up, sobbing. Song Xiulian was leaning over and feeding him in her arms.
Autumn quickly got up and checked Song Xiulian. Hearing that she slept well and didn’t have a fever, Autumn was relieved. She put on her clothes to wash her face and combed her hair. After that, she started cooking.
After eating breakfast and washing the dishes, Autumn finally could take a break. It was not until now that she remembered the rice that was collected the night before.
She took it out to have a look. Hey, the bowl of rice she stored last night had become half a bucket!
Autumn grinned silently, “Hehe, this time, they didn’t have to worry about food!”
However, If there was more rice, she could hardly explain it to people. Autumn replaced the rice with a small bag of sesame that was probably less than half a kilo, and a bag of soybeans she kept in a tank in the corner of the house. She put them into two buckets and stored them.
Sesame can be changed into sesame oil and hemp sauce. They are very nutritious and good; Soybeans can produce bean sprouts, tofu, and soy milk… They could not afford milk, but they could drink soy milk once a day.
She heard Wei Hongmei greeting people at the gate before she packed up the bags, “Elder aunt is coming over? Hey, hey, Xiulian returned from the hospital yesterday… The girl is so honest that she didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t know until Xiulian got home. I thought they went to your house.”
“You’re right. Autumn didn’t tell me that Xiulian was in the hospital either. I heard it from others this morning… I’m quite concerned about how they were doing these days…” The voice sounded a little old and hoarse, but Autumn felt it was very kind because it was her maternal grandmother’s voice.
Autumn swiftly turned and went out. As soon as she got out of the house, she saw that her maternal grandmother, Zhong Yuqin held a basket, followed by her little aunt, Song Xiuju, and had already walked into the yard.
After decades, she finally saw her maternal grandmother, the one who cared about her the most, again. Autumn instantly misted up and bit her lip to stop herself from crying. “Maternal grandmother…”
Seeing Autumn, Zhong Yuqin stopped talking to Wei Hongmei and speeded up. She went toward Autumn and raised her hand to give Autumn a slap. She said bitterly, “You silly child, your mother was hospitalized for so many days. Why didn’t you look for me? If your aunt hadn’t met your aunt Yuhua, we wouldn’t know about it yet.
“Pitiful girl, how could you take care of your mother these days?”
While saying it, Zhong Yuqin couldn’t stop crying.
Hearing this, Autumn could no longer hold her tears and she cried out. They cried at the gate, holding each other’s hands. Song Xiuju was also crying and even Wei Hongmei’s eyes turned red.
Fortunately, she was relatively calm. Waiting for a moment, when Zhong Yuqin and Autumn calmed down, she held the old lady’s arm and said, “Aunt Song. Don’t cry and take care of yourself. If you fall ill, Xiulian will be worried…”About the author Leave a Reply
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