That said, meeting the hopeful and excited looks of the two children, he couldn’t stand to let them down. Okay! He would take them with him! If they ran into a passel of wild hogs, he would take care of distracting the wild hogs and gave the kids a chance to run away!
“Alight, but if we run into any dangers, you don’t worry about anything else other than running away full steam ahead, understood?” Gu Xiao, still a bit worried, repeated himself again when they were almost arriving at Wild Hog Ridge. The sibling Li Hao and Li Xiuniang also came with them. If anything happened to them, it’d be very difficult to face the village head after that!
“Ah, my granddaughter is so smart!” Gu Xiao nodded approvingly at her. Even though this granddaughter seemed very weak on the outside, he quite liked her personality. Gu Ye gave her a bright smile in return.
The group climbed over a hill and came inside a pine forest. “Shhhh…” It wasn’t long before Gu Xiao discovered wild hog tracks. The feces left behind from the wild hogs seemed very fresh; they must have just left this area. With his sword in hand, Gu Xiao looked around vigilantly. There were four kids behind him, could one blame him for being so nervous?
After making sure that the wild hogs were gone, Gu Xiao relaxed a little. He turned around at the four anxious children and smiled, “Let’s dig the trap here!”
Gu Xiao started on the job with the two boys. Gu Ye noticed some mushrooms and took Li Xiuniang with her to collect them. Gu Ming was a little worried so he looked up from time to time and reminded her, “Don’t go too far. Be careful you might run into the hogs!”
Naturally it was impossible for her to run into wild hogs, she still have the beast-repelling powder on her! Gu Ye kept on picking the mushrooms happily. These were no ordinary mushrooms, there were matsutake! Crisp and smooth and very flavorful. The hogs loved them; that’s why this placed was called Wild Hog Ridge!
Li Xiuning was very nervous at first, but seeing how relaxed Gu Ye was, she quickly got into the task. When the trap was done, the two girls had already collected a pile of mushrooms. Gu Ye lifted up the bottom of her shirt to hold them all. She grinned and showing off her two rows of white teeth. That smile was bright than the sun.
“Give me the mushrooms. You are a girl and you should act more like one!” Gu Ming has so much to worry about this sister of his. He took off this shirt that was full of patches and was about to take all the mushrooms from her. It was deep into autumn and inside the gloomy forest it was even chillier. Gu Ming had on all two shirts – his inner and outer wear. After taking off a layer, he shuddered.
When Gu Xiao saw that, he cut a few vines with his sword and with his handywork, he was able to quickly weaved them into a simple basket, “Here, stop with all that and put all the mushrooms in here. Little Ye-zi, good job for picking so much matsutake! Boy, and some of them are truffle nests too! These were wonderful to stew chicken with!”
What he referred to as truffle nests were actually truffles dug up from the soil by Gu Ye. They have higher nutritious value. Gu Ye was lucky today and she was able to get a few of those as well.
Picture: truffle nests
After returning home, they made it just in time for dinner preparation. Ninth Aunty and a few other women from the village were helping with dinner preparation inside the temporary straw kiosk constructed on the empty ground next to the construction sites.
The main sustenance was a combination of rice and millet made from sorghum and there were two big pots of those. Worry that there might not be enough food, there were also combination steam buns. For the dishes there were cabbage stewed in lard, and a big bowl of wild hare meat with potatoes. These were the hares from Gu Ye’s traps from the night before.
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