Chang Le’s house is on the east side of the village, and the rice fields are on the west side. A small stream separates the rice fields from the village.
Chang Le walks ahead alone, carrying a threshing machine on his back. He looks very strong!
The so-called threshing machine is actually an open wooden box made of several large boards nailed together, shaped like an inverted three-dimensional trapezoid. There are no wheels or lids inside. Yu Qingze is curious about how they will thresh the grain.
Grandpa Chang follows behind, carrying a bamboo basket with a jar of water and a winnowing basket inside. The bamboo basket is also specially made, super-sized, clearly meant for Chang Le.
Yu Qingze has a foot injury and cannot walk fast. He walks slowly with a wooden crutch, accompanied by young Chang Hao. Yu Qingze takes this opportunity to observe the situation in the village. With Chang Hao around, he has gained some understanding.
For example, the name of the village, Niu Tou Village, is because the mountain behind it looks like a bull’s head. Yu Qingze glanced sideways and indeed, it did resemble one.
There are two main surnames in the village, Yu and Chang. The Yu family has over thirty households, mostly living near the creek. The Chang family has only sixteen households. They moved here during the war and settled in the eastern part of the village, a distance of one to two hundred meters from the Yu family. However, over the past ten years, the Yu family has become familiar with and accepted the Chang family.
Most of the houses are still thatched cottages. There are only two adobe brick houses and a large brick and tile house, which can be considered the wealthy households in the village.
Yu Qingze became curious and asked about it.
Chang Hao explained, “The large brick and tile house belongs to one of the Yu families. The head of the household is the scholar.”
When the young boy mentioned the scholar, his face showed respect and longing.
Yu Qingze had a thought and asked, “Xiao Hao, do you want to go to school?”
Chang Hao didn’t hide his desire and replied, “Yes, there is a small school in the village. The scholar is the teacher, and people from nearby villages come here to study. But it costs 200 wen per month, and we can’t afford it.”
Upon hearing this, Yu Qingze fell silent for a moment and then said, “If you want to learn how to read, I can teach you.”
Chang Hao immediately turned his head, staring at him with excitement, and exclaimed, “You can read? And you can teach me?!”
Yu Qingze nodded confidently, “Yes, I can.”
“Great, great! I want to learn!” Chang Hao’s face blossomed with a radiant and bright smile.
After a while, he asked again, “Big brother Yu, can my brother learn how to read with you too? My brother is very smart and has a good memory!”
In the village, almost no one has the opportunity to go to school. Only the boys go to the school. Afraid that Yu Qingze might refuse, Chang Hao praised his brother once again.
“Of course!” Yu Qingze smiled. These two brothers had such a good relationship, always thinking about each other’s benefits. He felt envious.
They agreed to start studying after they finished their busy days of harvesting. With this matter settled, Chang Hao was extremely happy and eagerly answered all of Yu Qingze’s other questions.
“That tiled house belongs to the village chief. He is skilled in woodworking, and his son is also good at it. They make various furniture for the neighboring villages. Our big wooden barrel was also made by them. My brother went to the mountains and brought back the best wood, and they didn’t charge our family any money. Instead, they gave us a wooden basin, the one we use for washing vegetables.”
Upon hearing this, Yu Qingze had a clear understanding and silently formulated a plan in his mind.
The two of them walked through the village, and suddenly, everything became clear in front of their eyes.
A golden field.
The golden rice paddies seemed to have laid a carpet of golden color over the earth. The gentle breeze brushed through, causing the rice stalks to sway and rustle, joyfully singing a song of abundance.
This season’s early rice harvest was decent, and the villagers were happily busy harvesting the rice. Although the weather was hot, with sweat covering their bodies as soon as they stepped outside, as if they had just emerged from hot water, the joy of a bountiful harvest overshadowed the fatigue.
The thought of the harvested grains filled them with inexhaustible energy.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
By the time the two of them reached the field, Chang Le and Grandpa Chang had already harvested a long stretch of rice.
Chang Hao picked up the sickle and started cutting the rice. Yu Qingze, due to his injured foot, couldn’t squat down like them to cut the rice. However, he could stand beside the thresher and help with the threshing work.
But the problem was, facing the empty thresher, he didn’t know how to operate it. He turned his head and looked at the other villagers nearby, but it seemed that everyone was busy cutting the rice, and no one was threshing. Moreover, the threshers in other households looked the same as the one in front of him.
In the end, it was Chang Le who brought over a large bundle of rice and placed it next to him. Yu Qingze took the opportunity to ask for guidance. He watched as Chang Le took a handful of rice, raised it above his head, and smashed it down onto the inner wall of the thresher.
“…,” Yu Qingze heard the sound of the grains falling into the bottom of the box.
Then he saw Chang Le shake his hands, shaking off the loose grains from the rice ears. When there were no more left, he raised them up again and gave another forceful strike!
After several strikes like this, it was mostly clean, with only a few remaining grains that could be removed by hand.
Yu Qingze: “…” No wonder it’s called “threshing,” it couldn’t be more fitting!
It was extremely primitive and rough, and it looked very exhausting. This made him more determined in his idea of making their future harvests less tiring.
In any case, Yu Qingze now knew how to thresh the rice.
Chang Le, considerate of his leg injury, kindly moved all the rice beside the thresher for him before going back to cutting.
The field was quite large, probably about 70-80 percent done. Chang Le was cutting the rice swiftly, with extremely skillful and proficient movements.
He squatted in front of the rice stalks, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. In his right hand was the sickle, and his left hand held the rice stalks. Swish, swish, swish… His body moved from right to left along with the movement of his hand, and within seconds, he cut from the right side to the left side. With a flick of his left hand, he shook the rice ears, then neatly arranged the handful of rice on the left side, turned back, and continued cutting…
When he went to harvest the rice, he could probably cut eight or nine sheaves in one go.
After about two hours, the entire field was harvested, and Yu Qingze didn’t take any breaks.
Grandfather Chang and Chang Hao would stand up and move around when their feet became numb from squatting, taking short breaks. But Chang Le never stood up. As soon as he finished cutting in one direction, he smoothly turned and cut in the opposite direction.
Yu Qingze had no doubt that if they let him cut the entire field alone, it would probably end up looking like a circle of incense or a dragon.
After finishing the harvest, they sat down by the threshing machine and rested for a while, and Yu Qingze took a break as well.
After more than two hours of work, even if he was strong and robust, his arms were sore, and he was drenched in sweat.
He deeply realized that cutting the rice was relatively easy, but threshing was the real challenge! Especially under the scorching sun of midsummer, it felt like a saltwater bath! He was practically producing and selling salt!
He particularly missed modern harvesters.
When he was a child, his grandfather’s house had a diesel-powered thresher with rolling wheels. At that time, their village was the envy of others because they didn’t have to use a foot-operated thresher.
Now, let alone harvesters and diesel-powered threshers, even if there was a foot-operated thresher, he would be ecstatic!
He quickly recalled the structure of a foot-operated thresher and some commonly used agricultural tools, as well as some simple and useful agricultural tools he saw in the agricultural museum. He planned to go back and draw them, and find someone to make them!
Although he was tired, his hard work yielded satisfying results. There was already a large pile of straw behind him, and the bottom of the thresher was covered in a thick layer of grain.