After searching for a few days, they finally returned with a final answer. There is a married woman who lives near the Huanyang village, surnamed Zhang who is said to be very filial, and her virtuousness is unparalleled.
I refused to let anyone in the house know about my research, so I woke up before sunrise and climbed out of bed before Xiang Qing woke. Spending less than half an hour, I went down the mountain road, more than the 40 miles and found that woman's house, changed into a cat and hid in a big tree, to wait and watched.
At this time the sun had just risen, and the woman had already washed a large bucket of clothes and then went to the kitchen to start making porridge for breakfast, the rice used for the porridge was very particular, it had been finely ground and soaked all night, she used a spoon to stir it and set it to simmer for a long time before the unique fragrance of rice wafted through the air.
She gently sat down beside the stove and absentmindedly started picking green onions and started dozing off, her head was going to the direction of the fire. I was so shocked I jumped into the kitchen through the window with the fastest speed and used my body to move her head back up to avoid her getting burned.
The madam was shocked and suddenly woke up and saw me, then she embarrassingly laughed and said, "How come I dozed off again? Thank you very much
Then she looked around for a long time, seemingly looking for something to give me to eat, but could not find anything.
There was a faint smell of something burning, I looked at the porridge on the stove and gently, "meow" -ed to alert her. She immediately jumped and rushed over, but the porridge was already sticky
It's okay, you can still eat it, I rubbed against her legs to comfort her.
I didn't expect the madam to start crying out loud, she removed it from the fire and turned the thick porridge with the spoon. A burly county man hurriedly walked in, sniffed and frowned, "What is going on?"
"Husband...I was careless..." She shakingly said, looking very upset.
"Keep it down." The man hurriedly started eating the large bowl of hot porridge holding it in his hands, enduring the pain, looked back at her with a grin on his face.
I looked behind him and saw the curtain at the entrance shaking, then saw the wrinkled face of an old woman as she entered with stern eyes and very rudely said to the madam, "What a great morning. You brought my son to be affectionate, ah? Don't you have work to do? Are the chicken fed? have you fetched water? You just know how to play!"
The man quickly hid the porridge and walked forward and laughed, "Mother, you got up so early. If you don't get enough sleep, your body will be tired. How will your son be able to feel at ease?"
The old woman's stern expression changed to an adoring one and she touched the man's head, "There are so many things to be done at home. Your wife has been married for a few years already and still doesn't know how to do the work properly if I don't come out to oversee things. Don't worry about it and hurry and go to work."
"Mother. Ah Cui's body is poor, it's not good for her to do heavy work. You should be more considerate." The man urged.
The old woman gave him a look, "You are saying this. Her body is not good. Is it then this old woman's body that is good? Isn't this way it was when I was a daughter-in-law? You go out and handle your own business. I know how to do things in moderation."
"Today, your child was very hungry and finished the porridge. " The man said with a wide smile.
The old woman just smiled and urged him to go out.
When she couldn't see his shadow anymore. She suddenly turned and slapped her daughter-in-law's face, it immediately became red and swollen. The old woman started scolding her, "You this useless woman, do you really think that I cannot smell that burnt porridge? Do you think our Zhang family has property to squander, that you are wasting money willfully? Even something so small you cannot do, you might as well leave early! Don't seduce my son!"
"I didn't...no..." The madam looked on weakly as she was scolded and silently cried.
"You did not seduce my son? You're just a good for nothing useless damaged daughter that has come into my family. If not before that I heard you were virtuous and sensible, I would never have let Da Niu marry you." The old woman continued to fiercely scold, "I didn't expect you to be so shameless, does not work well and every day instigate my son to only listen to your words and stand against me. Is it better to let you suffocate this old woman to death or to drive you out early?"
"I didn't instigate him...I really didn't!" the madam desperately argued.
I saw the madam was getting bullied and so I walked over and growled showing my displeasure warning her to be careful. I didn't expect the old woman to stretch out her foot and kick my mouth, "Where did this broken cat come from? Is it that you've been secretly taking food from the house to feed it?"
The madam who was afraid to whimper, explained, "Today when I was cooking, I accidentally almost fell into the fire, the cat happened to rush out to wake me up and saved me. I don't know where it came from either."
"How useless are you to light a fire and fall into it?" This old woman is colder than me when I was the king of Louying mountain, "Why didn't you burn yourself, so you don't have to think of an excuse not to work every day."
"I... I was just too sleepy," the madam said whispered.
"You've been together so long, yet I have not seen you bear any fruit." The old woman spat out, "I don't care what shameless things you do with Da Niu at night! Won't you hurry up and get to work!"
The madam covered her face and went out with tears rolling down. I was very angry in my mouth, but it would not be good if I talk as a cat. So when the old woman turned to go out, I sneakily stretched out my tail and tripped her, she fell and screamed at me calling me a rotten cat, then turned and continued to shout at the madam to run and go and fetch water, then she held her back and returned to her room to go back to sleep.
Even so, I was still angry with the old woman for calling me a rotten cat and yelling and wanted to attack her some more, but it was now already bright and people are about. The family is living around the village, I had to hold back and so continued to chase the madam to learn about being virtuous. I wanted to find the chance to transform into a human to talk with her about her experience.
But I could not find a chance to talk to the madam, she first went to fetch water, then fed the chickens, then fed the pigs, and then went to clean the house. After cleaning, she started to cook. It seemed the old woman just suffered a few scrapes and was not heavily injured, she still came out to scold the madam for about half an hour before her head began to hurt and then went back in to rest.
After the madam received the scolding, she rubbed her shoulders and walked to a small room with a very weird machine in the house, that could weave cloth threads. I could see that she was working hard on something, but I really didn't understand what she was doing, so I remained a cat and went to her side to peek. After some time, the madam stopped and left to make dinner.
The dinner smelled so good that my stomach was growling.
Suddenly my neck was grabbed by a big hand and I was raised up and I saw Xiang Qing, he asked, "What are you doing here? Everybody is waiting for you to eat dinner."
I quickly nodded and jumped on him, sat on his shoulder and we went home, I walked past to 40-year-old aunts who were whispering.
One said: "Every day my daughter-in-law argues with me, it's really depressing."
The other said: "Oh if I had Zhang's family daughter-in-law I would be satisfied. Does not talk or fight back. Only if I had such a daughter-in-law, it's a pity my son disappointed me and went to marry a tigress."
"The son of the Zhang's family is good and honest, his wife is also very good, but the mother-in-law is too strong, and does not treasure the good one she has."
"It's really a pity..."
The two of them talked about the virtuousness of madam Zhang. After listening to them, I suddenly realized that to the people a virtuous woman is one that that does not fight or talk back to the mother-in-law.
This kind of painless thing is easy to do! Tomorrow I will go find my mother-in-law to get scolded and beaten!
Walking towards Xiang Qing, I don't know why I felt a chill.
MiraiSaesang's notes: LOL Miao Miao it's an easy thing to not talk back or fight with your mother-in-law when they are reasonable and not being b**chy towards you...you were just getting annoyed on behalf of Zhang madam because you could tolerate her harshness, so it's really not easy...being virtuous in those days apparently meant being a footmat... and even today it's still expected in some cultures....
....I remember during one of the classes I attended when I was in high school, I think it was the first day and people were asked to introduce themselves and maybe say their plans or hopes for the future or something like that...and this one girl actually said that, "I hope my future husband's mother is no longer alive..." I wondered what she had experienced to be talking about this so early...she must have a boyfriend who's mother hated her or maybe watched her mom or someone close being thorough b**ch to her daughter-in-law....for that to be her hope in life, it is quite deep LOL 😅