The Cross Over Of A Loving Wife - 4
“Thirty silver’s worth…” Ding-Xiang mumbled after counting the money.
If only he was not pregnant, these thirty silvers would last them for a long time. If only he had decent in-laws and did not need to leave the house, it would have been much easier. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and these thirty silvers will not last until his husband returns.
Ding-Xiang put the money back in the small box and placed the box back to where it was before. He opened the larger box and picked up some paper, ink, and a brush. Even though De-Lun came from a poor family, his father made sure that he and his brothers are all well learned. He and all his siblings could read and would always carry some cheap paper, ink, and brush with them.
Since the original De-Lun had such a good husband, he was able to keep up with his studies and teach his children too. At the age of four, Hui-Ling was good at reading, writing, and arithmetic. Slaves that can read and write are sold at higher prices.
Ding-Xiang went and sat at the table. He wrote a few words testing out his handwriting. He knows that his calligraphy is good. He was a professor at a well-known university. In the original world, he does his own bookkeeping; he knows he can be an accountant here too. If someone can hire him, he can probably earn a few silvers a week. The only possible problem is that he is a ger. During this period, women and gers are discriminated against indiscriminately. However, gers are seen as weaker and lesser than their female counterparts.
He continued listing his strengths and weaknesses. He crossed out anything that may be impossible or of no use for him in this era. Afterward, he started listing jobs that he may be able to get. Then, he started crossing out anything that would not be available for him as a ger. He also crossed out those that will be too risky for his pregnancy.
He was so focused on what he was doing that a frown was forming on his gentle face. He was so startled when Hui-Ling, the eldest milk bottle, started rubbing his brows and the side of his mouth. He stared at this cute milk bottle while she said in a very serious tone, “Papa said that mama shouldn’t think of anything that makes him frown. Also, if mama ever frowns, I should rub it out.”
Ding-Xiang let Hui-Ling rub his frown away. They stared at each other for a while and gave his adorable daughter a bright smile.
“My good daughter, mama thanks you. My frown is all gone now,” said Ding-Xiang while he pinches his daughter’s cheeks, making her laugh. He hugged her and told her gently, “Okay, go play with your brothers. Mama is okay now.”
He watched as she went back to her brothers. Then, he went back to his notes. He saw that two big inkblots fell carelessly on the paper. He went down the list and encircled two options. His safest option would be either an embroiderer or a scribe. Although he cannot compete with those professional embroiderers, his embroidery skill is acceptable enough to do small jobs.
For being a scribe, it would be harder to find someone who will hire him. Most scribes are male and the village is already full of them. The competition is too much for him. Even if there were someone who will hire him, it would be too risky to bring important documents home. The risk is too much than what he might gain.
He made up his mind and crossed out the scribe option. He will find a job as an embroiderer. It might take time and patience to finish even one embroidered piece but that job can earn more in one go. Now that he has a general plan, he folded the paper and burned it. He put away his writing tools back into the large box. He went into the bedroom and went to his trunk.
Ding-Xiang looked for some high-grade cotton fabric, thread, and needles. Finding what he was looking for, he went and sat down on the bed with Hui-Liang. He looked at the blank fabric on his lap and smiled. He started working on his sample. As he worked on his project, his mind drifted ahead. When he finishes this sample work, he will take it to the village. Then, if he is hired, he will have enough money to hire a couple of people to work in the fields.
Ding-Xiang leaned back on the pillow as he continued to work on the embroidery. He was happy that the original had an embroidery holder; it made it easier for him to work. He would need to hire someone to bring him firewood. Meat is too expensive, so they might need to eat more eggs and vegetables. He will need to buy a couple of hens, so they will have a daily source of eggs.
Ding-Xiang stopped his work when he heard a small cry. He looked beside him, just in time to see Hui-Liang looking over at him with watery eyes. When he checked he found that Hui-Liang’s diaper was wet again. He put away his embroidery and started changing his youngest milk bottle. Then called his Hui-Zhong and Hui-Ling to look after their youngest sibling, while he prepares lunch.
He started by cooking the rice. Then, he checked the remaining ingredients and saw that the meat might spoil by tomorrow. He decided to cook some stir-fried vegetables with meat. He diced the meat and marinated it with some salt, soy sauce, and sugar. Then went out and got some firewood. He started the stove. He took out a wok and put some oil in it. He placed the meat to fry. Started chopping some mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, and celery. He mixed it with the meat.
It was then sautéed until it was ready. Afterward, he boiled some goat’s milk in a smaller pot. When it cooled off a little, he poured it into a small bowl and took it to Hui-Liang. Ding-Xiang picked him up and sat down slowly feeding him until all the milk was gone. He held him close and patted his back until the little one let out a burp, at the same time farted. He could not help but laugh. He wiped Hui-Liang’s face and set him back on the bed, surrounded with pillows.
Ding-Xiang woke up Hui-Ling and Hui-Zhong. He told them that it is time to eat. The three of them went into the kitchen. Both milk bottles sat down at the table, waiting for their food. He started preparing three bowls of rice and three small plates of stir-fried vegetables with meat. Calculating it they would have enough leftovers for dinner. He then placed all the food on the table. They started eating their lunch.
After eating, he asked the two milk bottles to go back in the bedroom and watch over their brother. He went to his large box and took out two small books for children. He went back into the bedroom and gave those to his two milk-bottles. Then told them to try reading the characters written in the book. They both nodded and opened the books. He smiled approvingly.
He started collecting dirty clothes. He went to the storage room and took out a big basin, where he put the dirty clothes and a bar of soap; he then carried it outside. He went to the well and started filling the basin with water. He started washing the small underclothes. Hui-Liang always wets the bed and ends up with a pile of dirty napkins.
Then, he went and washed Hui-Zhong and Hui-Liang’s clothes. Soon, he finally got to his own clothes. He washed, rinsed, and wrung out the water for all three batches. Afterward, on the bamboo rack, he started hanging them up to dry. He looked at the clean clothes gently swaying with the wind and felt a little proud of himself.