Chapter 29: Sweetness Together
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
When Su Sanlang returned home, the three children immediately surrounded him and helped him with the basket and the food.
The warmth of the small family quickly brushed away the sadness in Su Sanlang’s heart.
After putting all the food away, Su Sanlang went into the back room.
Seeing that Madam Zhao was making quilts, Su Sanlang smiled and said, “Darling, let me tell you, I went to the Sun residence as soon as I entered the city today. I thought that the Sun residence would not be able to buy everything, but in the end, the Sun residence bought everything in one go.”
“We’re so lucky. I bought grains and vegetable seeds. I’ll go and sow the seeds later.”
Su Sanlang happily shared his joy with Madam Zhao. Looking at Madam Zhao’s sparkling eyes, he felt extremely satisfied.
Madam Zhao smiled and nodded. “That’s great.”
She was relieved, too, and no longer afraid of the winter.
Su Sanlang smiled and took out a paper bag from his pocket. He said to Su Sanmei and her siblings, “Come over. Father even bought candy today.”
Upon hearing that there was candy, Su Chong and Su Hua happily surrounded him and swallowed their saliva, revealing their desire.
There were twelve pieces of candy, each one the size of half a child’s finger.
Su Sanlang grabbed two pieces and placed them in Madam Zhao’s hands. He handed the rest to Su Sanmei and said, “There are still ten pieces left. Three of you will take three pieces each. The extra piece is for Sanmei.”
Su Chong and Su Hua had no objections. They were never greedy. After taking a piece from Su Sanmei and putting it in their mouths, they stopped staring at the candy wrapper.
Madam Zhao took a piece and put it in her mouth. She picked up another piece and fed it to Su Sanlang. She said, “Sanlang, you eat it too. We’ll each have a piece. We’ll taste the sweetness together.”
Su Sanlang looked at Madam Zhao’s hopeful and warm eyes. He could not reject her at all, so he opened his mouth and ate the candy.
The sweet taste filled his mouth.
Su Sanlang smiled back as his family laughed.
In the afternoon, Su Sanlang went to sow the vegetables in the field.
The barren land only had a layer of vegetation ash. He wondered if the vegetables would grow well.
After planting the vegetables, Su Sanlang went to fetch water to water them.
He had not asked the three children to help with this small matter.
Su Chong, Su Hua, and Su Sanmei were either pulling grass, catching insects, feeding chickens and rabbits, or playing with rocks in the courtyard.
Su Sanlang rested when he was tired, and his mood lightened as he watched the three children’s happy smiles.
At dusk, smoke rose from every house in the village, and Su Sanlang went home to cook too.
The days passed uneventfully. In early September, Su Sanlang brought his two sons into the mountains every day to chop firewood and filled the courtyard with the firewood.
In the past ten days, they had still caught a lot of prey and raised them.
On the 12th of September, Madam Zhao came out of confinement. She refused to lie in bed anymore.
The sun was shining brightly. Madam Zhao wrapped Su Xiaolu up tightly and said, “Sanlang, I’ve already recovered. As you said, there’s not much work at home. I’ll wash your clothes and cook for you. I’m not tired.”
Unable to dissuade her, Su Sanlang had no choice but to give in.
Madam Zhao carried Su Xiaolu out to bask in the sun. This was also Su Xiaolu’s first time going out.
The world was clear and bright. Madam Zhao went out and stuffed Su Xiaolu into Su Sanlang’s arms.
Su Sanlang carried her carefully, while Madam Zhao was already walking towards the chicken coop. The chicken coop was fenced up by Su Sanlang, and even the rabbits were kept inside.
When Madam Zhao opened the door and entered, she said, “I’ve long wanted to come out and take a look. It’s been a while since the hen started nesting. I wonder how many of them will hatch.”
Two days ago, the hen had stopped laying eggs. There were a total of 16 eggs in the hen coop.
When the hen saw Madam Zhao, it cooed warily.
Madam Zhao was not afraid at all. She reached under the hen’s wings and quickly lifted it up. Then, she began to check the eggs.
The 16 eggs were all very big and filled the entire nest. Madam Zhao only looked at two or three eggs before she counted and said, “Sanlang, this nest of eggs is not bad. There should be twelve or thirteen that can hatch.”
Su Sanlang smiled. “Are you relieved now?”
Madam Zhao smiled, embarrassed. “I am.”
The rooster and hen had grown several times larger and were in good spirits. Even if the hen nested, it never went hungry.
Su Sanmei, Su Chong, and Su Hua were pulling the grass and catching insects. When they saw Madam Zhao come out, they were very happy. They ran to Madam Zhao’s side and hugged her, calling sweetly, “Mother, Mother.”
Madam Zhao stroked their hair and praised, “Good children.”
The three siblings were delighted to be praised.
“You’ve grown taller and more energetic.”
Madam Zhao’s gaze was gentle. In the past, when she touched the children’s hair, their hair was always dry like straw. But now, when she caressed the hair of the children, she felt that it was smooth.
She took a closer look at the three children. Su Chong and Su Hua still looked innocent and ignorant. They hugged her hand and wheedled. Their complexions were much better than before.
Su Sanmei had also gained some weight. Her face was no longer yellow and was gradually turning fairer. Her oval face and big eyes were very beautiful.
How nice, Madam Zhao thought.
“Sanlang, you’ve worked hard.”
Madam Zhao looked at Su Sanlang. He had become much darker and was no different from before. He had worked the hardest in the past month.
Su Sanlang smiled and said, “What’s so hard for me? Let’s go and take a look at what I’ve caught. Darling, I’ve already planned everything. When I fence up the courtyard, I’ll bring Chong and Hua to set a few more traps and try to catch more to sell before it snows.”
The courtyard was an acre big. After cleaning it up and fencing it, they can build a small shed and store firewood. The empty shed would be used to dry the grains in the future.
Madam Zhao’s eyes reddened as she followed Su Sanlang around the house.
Behind the house, Su Sanlang had fenced up a small area to raise pheasants and hares. The captured turtledoves were kept in cages.
The yard had a pile of firewood that would keep them warm through the winter.
One could imagine what it would be like when the small courtyard was fenced up in the future.
Looking at the three happy children, determination rose in Madam Zhao’s heart. She would definitely protect their home with Su Sanlang!
At night, Madam Zhao helped to cook.
The cooking was no different from Su Sanlang’s. It was still rice and corn ground together and cooked together. Then, the dried vegetable soup was eaten as it was.
Even if it was dry food that was not delicious, it was still rare. Madam Zhao and Su Sanlang both told the three children to eat more.
Madam Zhao wanted to help Su Sanlang surround the courtyard, so the task of taking care of Su Xiaolu fell on Su Sanmei.
Su Sanmei held Su Xiaolu and could not help but kiss her many times. “Simei, you smell so good.”
Su Sanmei felt that there was a faint fragrance on Su Xiaolu’s body. Madam Zhao said that it was the fragrance of milk. Su Sanmei did not know what that was. She only knew that it smelled good.
Su Xiaolu hoped that Su Sanmei would take her because Su Sanmei would carry her around the house. This was much more comfortable than just staying in the room.
Hence, Su Xiaolu, who didn’t like to cry, began to cry.