The next day was the big day when the beams were laid. It was early morning when Gu Xiao brought home a young shoat. Gu Ming and his little friends all screamed and laughed around the shoat like it was some kind of a festival. The hidden guard who witnessed this from afar wiped away his non-existing tears – he spent half of his night being chased by a passel of hogs just to lure the shoat into the trap!
After a very simple ceremony with the clan leader as the host, the beams were set. After all, villagers were not too much of sticklers to the rules. They quickly laid thick layers of straws on the roof of the house and covered it all up. Even the wooden sheds that were to become the kitchen and the storage room were mostly completed.
The delicious smell of the food almost filled the entire forest and spread to every single corner of the Qingshan Village. Those with no relations with Gu Xiao and weren’t able to join the dinner could only sniffed the air and eat their rough biscuits with the smell.
Gu Xiao borrowed tables and chairs from the village and put them all out albeit they were all of different sizes. Everybody who had helped out during this period of time were invited to this festive meal.
Naturally, Mrs. Wu and Mrs. Gu weren’t on the invite list. Mrs. Wu, her rice bowl in her hand, saw Mrs. Gu who were also peeking at the mountain in the front of her house came over and said to her, “Both of his children were adopt from your house, you are an actual relative. I can’t believe he didn’t invite you. It seems he had no respect for you at all.”
“That old man was still mad at us! Remember how he really wanted to adopt my husband to take care of him in his golden years? Think about it, he had a bad leg, and is only going to get older by the day. Who else can he count on when he get sick or if something happens to him? My husband is no fool to take on a burden like him!” said Mrs. Gu in her usual caustic manner.
Ever since that brat was adopted, her canker sores all went away and she felt much better overall. And she was also able to rid of that boy so her sons would be the only rightful heir of this house. Of course, she has been much happier than she was before. That girl was, indeed, a magnet of bad luck, always there angering her!
“Exactly! You were so smart to get rid of those two burdens! Even though that old man might have some money, but those kids can eat a lot. The old man just returned to the village with no food in stock and will need to buy just about everything. Whatever money he has would be gone soon, let’s see how prideful he will be then!” Mrs. Wu was very unhappy that she weren’t able to get some free food yesterday – it was just a bowl of rice and a scoop of meat and vegetable. They were being so frugal!
She continued, “Chunhua, you better watch out and don’t let that old man send the two young ones to ask for food from you!”
“How will my family have extra food for them? Even if I do, I’d rather feed them to dogs before giving to them! Serves them well to starve to death!” The smell of stewed meat made her furious. She spit in the direction of Gu Xiao’s house and went back into her own house. If she stayed out there any longer, she was going to start drooling.
“Meat! Meat! I want meat!” Seeing the coarse wheat biscuit and preserved vegetables, Xiao Zhuang immediately sat down on the ground and started throwing a hissy fit.
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