The First Business
During lunchtime, Yu Qingze didn’t sleep but continued perfecting his sketches.
The structure of the rice bed was relatively simple, so he drew it directly on the wooden board. However, the foot-operated threshing machine and the winnowing cart were more complex, so he had to sketch them on the ground first, confirming the details of each component, such as size, length, and so on. Especially for the foot-operated threshing machine, he had to ensure the proper sizing of the gears and whether they would mesh correctly. He also had to consider the dimensions of each wooden board for the rolling wheels. Once everything was confirmed, he would transfer the drawings onto the wooden board.
This was a time-consuming task.
Since it was time to transplant rice seedlings in the afternoon, and Yu Qingze’s foot injury hadn’t fully healed, he couldn’t help with the work. Instead, he focused on working on his drawings at home.
It took him the whole afternoon, but he finally managed to complete the basic structure of the machines in his sketches. However, there were still some details that needed to be discussed and decided upon with the people who would be involved in the construction. After all, they were the professionals.
After dinner, Yu Qingze asked Grandpa Chang to accompany him to the village head’s house. He had briefly explained his ideas to Grandpa Chang the night before.
Grandpa Chang saw that Yu Qingze had finished his sketches so quickly, so he readily agreed to take him to the village head’s house. Curious, Chang Hao also followed along to join in the fun.
However, before they even left the yard, they ran into the village head carrying a chicken and a fish, coming to their house.
Grandpa Chang smiled and said, “Oh, Gensheng, we were just about to look for you. Come in and have a seat.” The village head’s name was Yu Gensheng.
The group entered the main room, and the village head handed the things in his hand to Grandpa Chang, saying, “It was too late when I came back last night, and I didn’t have a chance to properly thank Brother Le. I’ve been busy during the day, so I came over when I had some free time. It’s just a small token of appreciation. I hope Uncle and Brother Le won’t dislike it.”
Grandpa Chang tried to refuse, waving his hand and saying, “Ah, what is this for? We’re all from the same village. Little Le just happened to be there at the right time. Take these back. Didn’t Da Jian recently have a baby? Take them back and nourish him! The three of us are in good health.”
Da Jian was the village head’s eldest son, and his wife gave birth to a baby boy just half a month ago, so it was a time when he needed nourishment.
“Hey, Uncle, there are still things at my house. If it weren’t for Brother Le yesterday, my water buffalo would have been lost. We must accept these small gifts!” The village head insisted.
Grandpa Chang continued to refuse, saying, “You already let us use your water buffalo. That’s enough.”
Yu Qingze and Chang Hao watched as the two of them went back and forth. Chang Hao heard the village head’s arrival and couldn’t even deliver the bowl of water he was holding.
After a while, seeing that Grandpa Chang wasn’t accepting, the village head simply placed the chicken under the table and put the fish directly on the dining table.
Finally, Chang Le managed to deliver the water.
The village head sat on a bench, received the water, took a sip, and personally thanked Chang Le before asking, “Uncle, you said you wanted to see me. What’s the matter?”
Grandpa Chang pointed to Yu Qingze and replied, “It’s not me who wants to see you, it’s Aze who wants to see you.”
Yu Qingze quickly greeted the village head, “Yes, Village Head, I have something to discuss with you. My name is Yu Qingze…” Thinking that the village head probably didn’t know him, he introduced himself.
“You have the same surname as us, and it seems we have some fate with our village,” the village head smiled and nodded, curious about Yu Qingze’s purpose. “What’s the matter?”
Yu Qingze smiled and said, “I heard that you are particularly skilled in woodworking, and I would like to ask you to make something for me. Here is the design.”
With that, Yu Qingze handed over the wooden board with a sketch of a rice bed.
The village head took it and looked at it for a while, then furrowed his brow and asked, “This… frame. It’s not difficult to make, but what exactly is it for?”
The wooden board depicted a square-shaped long frame with several evenly spaced horizontal bars in the middle. It didn’t have four pillars and a headboard like a bed, nor did it have wheels like a cart…
The village head was very curious.
Yu Qingze answered, “This is a rice bed.”
“A rice bed?” Everyone present looked at Yu Qingze.
Yu Qingze continued, “Yes, a rice bed, for threshing rice. It’s used to thresh the rice grains.”
As soon as he mentioned that it was for threshing rice, Grandpa Chang and Chang Le, the two brothers, both gathered around and curiously looked at the wooden board in the village head’s hands.
Yu Qingze continued to explain to them, “Currently, when we thresh rice, we directly beat the rice against the sides of the box, which is labor-intensive and slow. With this rice bed, when threshing, you can beat the rice on top of it. Look at these horizontal bars, they can be made of bamboo or thin wooden strips. When they are placed sideways, they provide resistance, making the rice grains fall off faster. And we don’t have to keep hitting the ground with our arms continuously, it’s faster and more effortless!”
As soon as Chang Le and the others heard that it was faster and more effortless, their eyes lit up. This thing sounded great!
But the village head was thinking differently. Having worked as a woodworker for many years, based on his keen intuition, he knew that this thing could make money! And it wasn’t difficult to make.
Yu Qingze carefully observed the village head’s expression and saw the gleam in his eyes, realizing that he had recognized the value of this invention. So he continued to fan the flames.
“And, this rice bed can be used directly in the thresher or placed on the ground, although you would need to sweep the scattered grains afterward. After the busy farming season, the rice bed can also serve other purposes, such as drying crops or storing items. It’s very convenient.”
That was truly tempting!
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
The village head pondered for a moment and said, “Young man, I’ll make this thing for you and even give you one for free. Can you sell me the blueprint for this rice bed?”
Upon hearing this, the three members of Chang Le’s family were surprised. The village head wanted to buy the blueprint? They immediately realized the commercial value of this invention. If Yu Qingze sold the blueprint to the village head, wouldn’t he be losing out? Should they remind him?
But before their thoughts could fully process, they heard Yu Qingze readily agree.
“Sure. How much can you offer?”
The village head pondered for a while and named a price he could afford, “Twenty silver taels. And you cannot sell it to anyone else!”
Twenty silver taels! Chang Le’s family stared for a while. That’s a lot of money!
Yu Qingze raised the corners of his mouth and held up three fingers, “Thirty silver taels! And I can also draw three more variations for you.”
Th…thirty silver taels?!
Even Chang Hao and Chang Le had never seen so much money before. Their mouths were wide open, enough to fit an egg. Even Grandpa Chang took a sharp breath!
Thirty silver taels exceeded the village head’s expectations, leaving him silent.
Seeing this, Yu Qingze took a step forward, snatched the wooden board from the village head’s hand, and said, “You can go back and think about it.”
With the wooden board taken away, the village head felt as if he saw the silver coins waving goodbye to him! His heart thumped.
He furrowed his brow, stood up, and paced back and forth in the room, completing five rounds before his sweat started to drip. Finally, he gritted his teeth and made a decision.
Yu Qingze grinned and handed the wooden board back to the village head.
Chang Le’s family: …We can’t help but feel like the village head fell for a trick.
Taking the wooden board, the village head wiped the sweat off his forehead and said, “I have another request, and I hope you can agree.”
Yu Qingze replied, “Please, go ahead.”
After a brief pause, the village head spoke candidly, “To be frank, I bought this blueprint to make money. However, the harvesting season for this year has already passed. I hope that until the autumn harvest arrives, all of you can keep this a secret, until I start selling it. Of course, I will fulfill my promise to make the rice beds for you as well, but you will receive them during the autumn harvest.”
The craftsmanship of this thing is not difficult, and anyone can quickly figure out how to make it. The real profit lies in being the first to sell it. The village head was well aware of this, which is why he made this request.
Yu Qingze readily agreed, saying, “No problem.”
The village head then turned to look at Grandpa Chang and his two grandchildren.
Grandpa Chang assured him, “Rest assured, we will never disclose it. This is your and *Aze’s business, and we understand the importance of discretion.”
*(T/N: putting “A” or “Ah” in front of someone’s name is for those who are familiar with each other.)
Chang Le and Chang Hao nodded in agreement. They had to keep their mouths shut for thirty silver taels!
The village head expressed his gratitude, saying, “Thank you, Uncle.”
Grandpa Chang waved his hand and replied, “It’s the least we can do.”
With their consensus reached, Yu Qingze turned to the village head and said, “Village head, I also want to discuss a business opportunity with you.”
Another business opportunity? The village head asked, “What kind of business?”
Yu Qingze smiled mysteriously and answered, “A partnership.”