The Big River
Matchmaker Liao went to Chang Le’s house for a marriage proposal and even had lunch there. When he returned, many villagers saw him. Upon inquiring, it turned out that Yu Qingze had invited him to propose to Chang Le and they had already agreed on it.
As a result, the news of Yu Qingze and Chang Le’s engagement quickly spread throughout Niutou Village.
After the villagers’ initial surprise, some were happy for Chang Le, like other Chang families. Some felt sorry for Yu Qingze, thinking that with his current conditions, he could find a better and healthier match, at least ensuring a secure future for their children. Others envied Chang Le, especially those who had previously set their sights on Yu Qingze. They had hoped for a chance, but now they had to put away their own desires and find another suitable spouse.
Upon hearing the news, Brother Chang came to see Chang Le in the afternoon.
Inside the room, the two sat on the edge of the bed, whispering to each other.
“Brother Le, congratulations on getting engaged to your beloved! That’s wonderful!” Brother Chang happily expressed his congratulations.
Brother Le gestured his thanks and blushed, but he was genuinely happy.
“I was wondering why Boss Yu didn’t set up his stall today, turns out he came to propose to you! Hahaha, he kept it a secret really well!”
Thinking of this matter, Chang Le remembered his embarrassing moment earlier in the morning. He quickly shook his head, trying not to think about it. It was too embarrassing, and he didn’t want to remember it anymore.
Seeing his reaction, Brother Chang asked, “What’s wrong? Why is your face so red?”
Chang Le quickly shook his head, indicating that there was nothing.
Brother Chang looked at him with suspicious eyes, clearly sensing that something was amiss.
Chang Le held strong and refused to disclose the embarrassing incident to Brother Chang.
Seeing that Chang Le wouldn’t speak, Brother Chang changed the subject and asked, “Hey, Brother Le, what kind of betrothal gifts did Boss Yu give you?”
Chang Le gestured: food, pastries, cloth, a silver hairpin, and a gold ring.
“Silver hairpin and gold ring too?” Brother Chang widened his eyes and then smiled, “Brother Le, Boss Yu values you a lot! I’m genuinely happy for you! Those people in the village are just gossiping! They would be so jealous if their faces were swollen.” In the village, betrothal gifts were not usually as valuable as these, but of course, it was because Boss Yu had earned a lot of money.
Brother Chang patted Chang Le’s shoulder and asked, “Are you overjoyed?”
Chang Le blushed and nodded, saying he was very happy, especially happy!
He got engaged, and the other person was Brother Yu, who he had mutual feelings with. The heavy burden that had been weighing on his heart for so many years was suddenly lifted, and his heart felt bright. His whole body seemed to relax, and he felt a warm sensation.
He thought, maybe that’s what happiness feels like.
“Hey, Brother Le, what gift did you give in return?”
Chang Le: New clothes and a belt.
Brother Chang was surprised and said, “Didn’t you prepare new cloth shoes?”
Chang Le shook his head and gestured: Didn’t have time to prepare.
Brother Chang nodded and said, “Yeah, who knew Boss Yu would come so suddenly. Hey, what do you think, should I make a pair of cloth shoes now? What if one day I find a partner and don’t have time to prepare?”
Chang Le covered his mouth and chuckled.
Brother Chang saw him and playfully punched him, “What are you laughing at? Even though I don’t have a suitable partner right now, who knows, maybe one day I’ll find someone I like!”
Chang Le quickly raised his hand in surrender and then gestured: You don’t even know how big the person’s feet are, how can you make shoes? Even if you make them, they might not fit.
Brother Chang deflated instantly and sighed, “You’re right. Sigh, I really want to meet that person soon.”
Chang Le comforted him: You will meet them.
Then, Brother Chang helped Chang Le try on the silver hairpin and gold ring that Yu Qingze had given him. The two friends enjoyed themselves in the room for a while.
“Hey, where are your grandpa and Boss Yu?” Brother Chang asked.
Chang Le gestured and said, “Grandpa went up the mountain, and Brother Yu went to the foot of the mountain to tend to the cows.”
Brother Chang raised an eyebrow, “Boss Yu is tending to cows?”
Chang Le nodded and gestured again, indicating that he would go chop some firewood later. He asked if Brother Chang wanted to come along.
Brother Chang nodded and said, “Sure, wait for me a moment. I’ll go home and get the machete.”
Saying that, Brother Chang went home to prepare.
The two quickly met up and walked towards the mountain.
On the way, they encountered several villagers who congratulated Chang Le, but there were also a few who made sarcastic remarks.
Chang Le thanked each of them, but when it came to those making sarcastic comments, he pretended not to hear. After all, he didn’t want them to affect his good mood.
However, Brother Chang couldn’t stand it by his side. He had a sharp tongue and skillfully retorted back at those people, leaving them speechless.
At the foot of the mountain, they happened to come across Yu Qingze, who was tending to the cows. Brother Chang congratulated him.
Brother Chang noticed that Chang Le still didn’t dare to make eye contact with Yu Qingze and just sneakily glanced at him, but unexpectedly, Yu Qingze caught him in the act.
Chang Le quickly walked a few steps to pass by.
Yu Qingze chuckled, “The fiancé is getting shy again. Hahaha, my fiancé…”
Walking a distance away, Brother Chang chuckled from behind.
Chang Le turned his head and looked at him in confusion.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Brother Chang laughed and said, “No, you two are already engaged. Why does it still feel like the first time we met? You can see each other every day, so why are you still shy?”
Chang Le blushed instantly upon hearing this and became embarrassed and angry. He chased after him to tickle him.
Brother Chang quickly begged for mercy and ran away. The two of them continued playing and teasing each other until they reached the mountains and stopped when they started chopping firewood.
That evening, there was a big argument at Yu Qiangsheng’s house in the west of Niutou Village. The nearby households went over, and even the village chief was called to mediate.
The Chang family, who lived in the east of the village, were far away and didn’t even hear the sound of the quarrel.
The reason for the argument was that Yu Qiangsheng’s eldest son, Yu Dahe, wanted to separate from the family and live independently.
Although it was called an argument, it was actually a one-sided scolding from Yu Qiangsheng and his wife. Dahe didn’t argue back, but only knelt in front of the ancestral tablet in their house.
When the village chief arrived, he saw Dahe kneeling in front of the ancestral tablet while Yu Qiangsheng was hitting him with a stick. His wife was swearing on the side.
The village chief quickly intervened and angrily said, “What are you doing? Do you want to kill him?!”
“I want to kill him! He’s a freeloader! Village chief, stay out of this. I’ll kill him today!” Yu Qiangsheng angrily exclaimed, shaking off the village chief’s hand and attempting to strike again.
“You, stop him!” The village chief pointed at two people, instructing them to restrain Yu Qiangsheng.
The village chief furiously said, “How many times do you argue in a month? What happened today?!”
Yu Qiangsheng pointed at the kneeling Dahe and said, “Ask him, this bastard. He actually thinks that he can do whatever he wants now that he’s grown up, and I can’t control him anymore!”
The village chief cast a sidelong glance at him and scolded, “You call him a bastard, but what are you? You’re his father!”
The village chief walked over to Dahe, bent down, and asked him softly, “Dahe, what’s going on? Tell Uncle Village Chief.”
Dahe lifted his lowered head and calmly said, “Uncle, I want to separate from the family and establish my own household.”
As soon as the village chief heard this, he understood what was happening. It was clear that this child couldn’t bear living with Yu Qiangsheng and his wife, so he made this decision.
The village chief sighed inwardly. Dahe was a pitiable child. He was honest, hardworking, and a good kid, but he ended up with such a father and stepmother.
Yu Qiangsheng used to be a drunkard with a volatile temper. When he got drunk, he would beat his ex-wife, often leaving him with bruises and even once breaking his arm.
When Dahe was three years old, his mother couldn’t bear it anymore and wanted to divorce. Yu Qiangsheng refused, and he endured it for another six months. After being violently beaten once again, he became desperate and threw himself into the river. After that incident, Yu Qiangsheng seemed to have learned a lesson and improved slightly, swearing off alcohol.
Two years later, Yu Qiangsheng found another wife. However, this wife treated Dahe, his stepson, very poorly, treating him like a servant, making him do all the work and subjecting him to physical abuse. When Dahe turned thirteen, his stepmother instigated Yu Qiangsheng, telling him to send Dahe out to earn money, with all the earnings being confiscated by the two of them, leaving him with just a few coins to buy steamed buns for lunch the next day.
Meanwhile, Dahe’s younger brother, born to his stepmother, was already seventeen and did no work at home. His stepmother was busy arranging marriages for him, but despite Dahe being twenty-two, his stepmother had never mentioned anything about his marriage.
The two husbands completely treated Dahe as a money bag, earning money to spend on themselves.
Many people in the village disapproved of the behavior of the couple, but it wasn’t their place to interfere in other people’s affairs. Even the village chief could only advise the two to treat Dahe better.
But it was useless.
The village chief sighed, lowered his head, and said, “Dahe, you’re not married yet, so you can’t establish your own household. There’s no precedent for this.”
When the topic of marriage came up, Dahe’s eyes became slightly red.
He had liked Brother le for many years, but he knew that with his family situation, he couldn’t give Brother le happiness.
So, he had made plans. He had worked hard these past few years, and the foreman noticed his diligence and gave him a raise. He didn’t tell his father, but secretly divided his wages into two halves. He secretly saved the extra part outside, while bringing the rest home, all in order to save enough money to get married and establish his own household.
He had almost saved enough money for marriage, planning to propose to Brother le in two months and then establish his own household. At that time, he could borrow some money from the foreman and rent a house in the city, where he and Brother le could live happily together.
But today, when he returned from work, he heard that Brother le and Yu Qingze were engaged.
He felt like he had been struck by lightning and stood outside Brother le’s house for a long time. But when he saw Yu Qingze and Brother le in the yard, picking vegetables and laughing together, he slinked back home with a heavy heart.
When he arrived home, he told his father and stepmother that he wanted to separate from the family and establish his own household.
“Uncle, I must separate from the family. Otherwise, what am I going to do in the future?” The tall man’s face was filled with sadness and a resolute determination.
“Well…” The village chief didn’t know what to say. It was common for families to separate after marriage, but he had never encountered a situation where someone wanted to separate from the family before even getting married.
Upon hearing this, Yu Qiangsheng started swearing again and wanted to hit Dahe, but he was stopped by the two men.
Ignoring his father, Dahe asked the village chief, “Uncle, is there no way to establish my own household before marriage?”
The village chief shook his head and said, “There’s no precedent for that.” Unless you sever ties with your family and establish yourself elsewhere. But the village chief couldn’t bring himself to say those words.
After hearing this, Dahe fell silent for a moment. He bowed three times to his ancestors, stood up, went into his room, packed a few clothes, and then came out, walking towards the door.
His actions left everyone dumbfounded.
“You bastard, where do you think you’re going?” Yu Qiangsheng cursed.
Dahe stopped, turned to look at his father, and calmly said, “Since I can’t establish my own household, I won’t come back to this home anymore. The money I’ve earned all these years will be considered as repayment for your years of raising me. Treat it as if you never had a son like me, as you never cared for me as a son either. From now on, we’ll go our separate ways.”
After saying that, Dahe walked away without looking back.
The villagers who were spectating automatically made way for him. As they watched him walk further and further away, no one approached to advise him, no one tried to stop him, not even the village chief made a move.
Everyone thought that he would surely have a better life living on his own.
Yu Qiangsheng chased after him to the door, cursing loudly, “You bastard, don’t you ever come back! I don’t have a son like you!”
Yu Qiangsheng’s wife rushed to the door and scolded Yu Qiangsheng, “What are you cursing for? Go after him! He’s leaving, who will go out to earn money now?”
The village chief sighed, completely speechless about the couple, and no longer wanted to intervene. He walked to the door, waved his hand, and said, “Everyone, disperse now, go back.”
The villagers finally dispersed, shaking their heads as they went back to their homes.
The next morning, when Chang Le and the others set up their stalls, they were shocked to hear the news.
No one had expected such a thing to happen.
Yu Qingze remained silent, lost in thought.
He didn’t have much knowledge about Dahe’s family situation before, but now that he heard about it, he felt that what Dahe did was right. Compared to his own lousy father, Dahe’s actions were commendable.
In the morning, while they were busy with their stalls, they didn’t expect Dahe to come to their stall.
“Brother Yu, Brother Le.” Dahe, carrying a bundle, stood next to their small stall and called out to them.
Yu Qingze and Brother le saw him and quickly walked over.
Brother le gestured, asking how he was doing.
Dahe shook his head and looked at Brother le with nostalgic eyes. He whispered, “Brother le, I’m fine.”
Seeing this, Yu Qingze immediately asked, “Dahe, what are your plans for the future?”
Dahe looked at Yu Qingze with complex emotions in his eyes and said, “…I plan to work on a boat with my boss. I came to say goodbye to you.”
Dahe glanced at Brother Le again, clenched his teeth, and said, “Brother Yu, Brother le, I wish you both happiness.”
After saying that, Dahe resolutely turned around and walked towards the north city gate.
Brother le watched his figure with great concern. When he was young, Dahe was the only child in the village who wouldn’t mock him. He always remembered that kindness.
Yu Qingze looked at Dahe’s figure and felt a sense of emotion. It was true that Dahe liked Brother le. He probably heard about Brother Le’s engagement yesterday and was deeply affected, which led to his final decision to completely break free from that family.
“He is hardworking and capable. He will be better off on his own. Don’t worry, he will be fine,” Yu Qingze patted Brother le’s shoulder and comforted him.
Brother Le could only nod in response and glanced towards the city gate a few more times before getting back to work.
Thandar: Great job, Dahe. Others have power over you only if you give it to them.