Chapter 81 – The Harvest
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There was a school activity on the day before National Day. This activity was the school’s tradition. All the students got to go to the farms to do the harvesting. This was to let the students experience the hardships of a farmer and remind them not to waste food.
In every classroom, there were two poems about the hardship of farming written on the wall.
“Under the mid-day sun, the farmers were working in the fields. Their sweat drips into the soil. Who knows how much hardship was there in each grain of rice?”
“Planting a seed in Spring and collecting 10,000 grains in Autumn. There were no fields that were not planted, but there were farmers that starved to death.”
This was a poem by a Tang Dynasty famous poet, Li Shen. But for Feng Yu who like history, knew that Li Shen wrote this poem was just to gain the attention of the Emperor and get promotions. And after Li Shen was promoted, he just enjoyed his life and was never concerned about the hardship of the farmers.
Although Feng Yu does not like Li Shen, these two poems were really well written.
The students sat in the bus for 2 hours and finally reached a farm, north of Bing City. This farm was only about 1 hour away from Feng Yu family farm.
There was a cornfield here, and the students were to cut the stalk, peel off the husk. Corn and stack them together to wait for the tractor to transport them away.
Now in Longjiang province, the main crops were wheat, followed by soybeans. There were very few corn fields around. That’s why they had to travel so far. This was the closest corn farm which the school contacted.
There were about 500 students from the school, and they were divided into their classes. The school also allocated areas to each class.
There were about 40 students in a class, and they oversaw such a small area. If it were at a real farm, it would take 5 men to finish harvesting this area within a day. The students were all hyped up to experience the life of a farmer.
However, there were also students who grumbled. There were from a farming family, and they had to harvest corns instead of helping with their families at their own farms.
Feng Yu, Wen Dongjun and a few others who had come from farming families, were more familiar with the farming work compared to the students from the cities. They were assigned to cut the stalks with a sickle, and the rest will follow behind to remove the husk and stack the corns into a pile.
Wen Dongjun, like a raging bull, slices through the corn stalks at an alarming speed and soon he was way ahead of the pack.
“Look at me, I am so fast unlike the rest of you. You all are moving at snail speed.” Wen Dongjun said proudly with his sickle resting on his shoulder.
Feng Yu shook his head and thought: “This idiot.”
“Dongjun, didn’t you notice you are the fastest among those who oversaw the cutting of corn stalks? You are even faster than those year 3 students. Don’t you find it weird?”
Wen Dongjun scratched his head and asked: “Why?”
“It was because the cornfield is only this big. If you had cut all the corn stalks now, what will you do in the afternoon? Watch the rest of the students remove the husk? This means that the faster you are, the more you got to work! You think the teachers will praise you, or the other students will be in awe of you?”
Wen Dongjun was speechless. He realized that it was not the rest of the students were slow, but they were taking their own sweet time. He looked around and saw that all the students were chatting while they work. In the end, he was the only silly one working so hard!
“Eh, learn from us. Work for a while and rest for a while. Or you can sit on those stalks to rest. If you carry on working so fast, you will make the rest of us look bad. You really want that?” Feng Yu patiently taught Wen Dongjun the art of skiving. This Wen Dongjun should be good at skiving but where did all his smartness go?
Without a word, Wen Dongjun sat on the corn stalks and rested. But after a while, he got bored. He had nothing to do, and there was no one to talk to him.
He saw the corn stalk and got an idea.
Feng Yu saw two corn stalks which were still green, and he used his sickle to cut it. He then sliced the outer layer of the stem to reveal the tender and juicy part. One bite and you can taste the sweet juice flowing out.
There were sugar canes in the South and in the North, there was something that looks like corn and sorghum. It was called Sweet Sorghum. It was about the thickness of a finger and tastes like sugar cane. If there were a lot of rain and not much sun, the lower portion of the corn stalk would also have some parts which were very sweet.
Feng Yu used his sickle and cut away the part he bit and then removed the outer layers of the rest of the corn stalk. He walked towards Li Na with the corn stalk.
“You must be thirsty. Have some sweet corn stalk.”
Feng Yu passed the one which he had tasted, to Li Na and Fat chick snatched away the other. They were the only ones besides this small pile of corns. Now, the rest of the students dared not play with Li Na. This was all Fat chick’s fault. She had spread rumors about Feng Yu’s family associating with the triads, and Li Na was dragged along as well.
Li Na had hesitated before but how can she be a matched for the “wisdom” of Feng Yu’s forty years old experience? It only takes Feng Yu a few words, and they were back like before.
Li Na took a small bite and slowly chew. She had a beautiful smile, and her eyes narrowed into a crescent.
“Bah, bah, bah. What sweet corn stalk? It smelled like the sewers and had an astringent taste!” Fat chick spat out the dregs and complained.
Feng Yu calmly explained: “Maybe you are unlucky. After all, these are corn stalks and not Sweet Sorghum. It is normal if there are some which are not sweet.”
Li Na broke her corn stalk into 2 and passed half of it to Fat Chick. Fat Chick cautiously took a bite, and it was indeed sweet!
“You break this half into 2, and we share it.” Li Na passed the remaining half to Feng Yu. She saw Feng Yu’s lips were dry.
“I can’t break it. You eat it. I will be in front cutting those stalks. I can find more of it.”
Li Na insisted Feng Yu to have at least a bite. Feng Yu leaned forward and was prepared to bite the part where Li Na had eaten before.
“Who? Who hit me?” Feng Yu turn around angrily, looking around. Just when he was about to bite into the corn stalk, he felt something hit him on the back of his head.
“Hahaha, how was it? This corn stalk bow I made was not bad. I can hit your head from this distance!” A few meters away, Wen Dongjun was holding on to a bow made from corn stalk, looking proudly at Feng Yu. The thing that hit Feng Yu was a small piece of the corn stalk.
Fuck. This idiot kept interrupting me!
“Cornstalk bow? I would like to see if your bow is more accurate than the corn stalk I throw!”
Feng Yu picked up the piece of corn stalk which Fat Chick had thrown earlier, broke it into two and threw at that idiot. He must teach this idiot a lesson today!
Li Na blushed when she saw Feng Yu breaking that piece of corn stalk into two. She remembered that Feng Yu had earlier claimed that he was unable to break her corn stalk, and was about to bite the part where she had eaten.
Author’s notes: Li Shen was not some kind person, and his reputation as a court official was not good either. There were sayings that he likes to eat chicken tongue. A plate of chicken tongues means a few dozen chickens!
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