“August autumn winds howl angrily, blowing away my three-fold thatch roof……The cloth quilts have turned cold as iron over many years, and beloved son has torn it from kicking in his sleep. The entire house lack any dry place, the raindrops are concentrated like hemp strings……”
The first thing Li Yi heard when he got up early in the morning was Nie Bufan reciting poems loudly outside the house. He had been slightly frightened last night and didn’t sleep well all night. This guy was in good spirits though.
“Since the chaos of Anshi Rebellion sleeplessness accompany me, how can we endure this wet and long night! How can we get a wide and spacious house, to shelter the world’s poor scholars so that they may all be joyful, as unmoving as a mountain in the wind and rain!”
En? Unexpectedly, this person had some literary talent, this poem was quite meaningful.
“Ai!” Nie Bufan stood at the door of his house and said with emotion, “When will such a house be seen, it is enough for just my hut to be broken and myself frozen to death!”
Li Yi followed his gaze and saw that half the roof of the house where Nie Bufan lived had been blown away. No wonder he ran over to sleep with him last night.
“Ai, old brother Du Fu’s “The Thatched House is Broken by the Autumn Wind” is too realistic, not possible to disagree even if you wanted to.” Nie Bufan rubbed his nose and shouted, “Chicken Servant, Chicken Servant.”
“Coming, what’s the matter?” Tu Beng ran over.
“Go to the city and find a few artisans. The houses in our village will need to be repaired and add a few fireplaces as well. It would be the best to get it all ready before winter comes.”
Although Tu Beng don’t know what a fireplace was, but he was very happy to be able to repair the houses and immediately made preparations and headed out.
Nie Bufan walked into the room, took out his piggy bank, and counted the copper coins one by one.
Li Yi also followed in. Seeing that his two jars of coins were no more than ten taels at most, he couldn’t help but say, “You only have this much savings?”
Nie Bufan didn’t even look at him, and said lightly: “We are poor people, do you know what poor people are?”
“Then will there be enough money to repair the house later?”
“Wealthy people like you don’t understand how cheap the labor costs of poor people are.”
Li Yi twitched the corners of his mouth and said, “I have some money with me.” He reached into his clothes and took out some banknotes.
Nie Bufan did not bother acting modestly with him, stretching out his hand to take it. Taking a look, he smiled and said, “100 taels per banknote, not bad.”
Li Yi was about to give him a contemptuous look when he heard: “It’s just that, these blood-stains, who dare to exchange silver taels for me?”
Displaying the banknotes in front of Li Yi’s eyes, all three banknotes were baptized with blood, looking very much glaring to the eyes.
Nie Bufan said in a huff: “Taking this thing out, others might think that I had robbed and killed someone. You should keep it yourself.”
Li Yi didn’t move, his expression dark.
“Honestly, if you knew that you have a banknotes on your person, you should have vomit less blood.”
Who was to blame? Li Yi shouted loudly in his heart.
“By the way,” Nie Bufan said again, “Where did you hide the banknotes? I clearly checked you over when I bandaged you.”
“Don’t tell me it was in the underpants?” Nie Bufan muttered to himself as he counted the money, “No, if it was in the underpants, it wouldn’t have been bloodied. Not like Li Fourth is a woman……”
Li Yi’s cold face collapsed, unable to hold back the blood rushing to his head. Flicking his sleeves he left in anger. If he stayed any longer, he could not guarantee that he would not fall into a violent and murderous rage.
In the afternoon, Tu Beng led a dozen artisans back to the village. These people had clever hands and feet, and soon started to work after some inspection.
Nie Bufan not only wanted to repair the houses, but also planned to install a simple fireplace in each house, and convert the utility room behind his house into a bathhouse as well.
This could be regarded as a big project, and would take two or three months at least. The labor costs plus the material costs were likely to spend all his savings.
But Nie Bufan was a model of looking forward and not looking back, if looking back then not looking forward. Spend if you have money, if you don’t have money……then we solve that when we get to it.
Taking advantage of the renovation of the village, Nie Bufan occasionally herded a group of restless chickens to the next mountain for outings, and bringing along Li Yi on the way.
Li Yi looked at the mighty flock of chickens around him, completely unable to understand Nie Bufan’s mode of thinking, nor could he understand the mode of action of these chickens.
“The scenery is truly beautiful!” Nie Bufan stood on the top of the mountain and looked into the distance.
A chicken spread its wings and flew by, drawing a graceful arc in the air, and leaped down in an extremely tragic posture.
Li Yi stretched out a finger, appearing to want to say something, but remained silent in the end.
Nie Bufan found a relatively flat ground, spread a cloth blanket, and placed fruits and flat bread on it.
“Brother Li Fourth, your injury should be almost healed, right? How about hunting some game?”
Li Yi said: “There are so many chickens, can’t you just randomly grab one and roast it?”
Nie Bufan had yet to say anything, but the chickens that had been wandering leisurely around suddenly looked at Li Yi all at once, their eyes full of killing intent, and some even had their chicken feathers stand upright.
“Okay, lets change the preference today.” Li Yi changed the thread of discussion wisely.
The chicken crowd immediately went on minding their own business as if nothing had happened, not even sparing him a look again.
Nie Bufan was already used to it, and calmly watched Li Yi disappear into the forest.
This mountain stood next to Xishan mountain, but it was much larger. Many of the tragic chickens in Chicken Nest Village came from here.
Nie Bufan started a fire and set up the grill. Li Yi also walked back with two rabbits.
Although it was late autumn and the leaves were falling, there was not much bleakness or desolation in the mountains. It was an ultimate pleasure to watch the scenery and taste the game while being surrounded by the mountains.
Li Yi had never been so casual. There was no need to maintain his manners, no hypocritical socializing, everything was according to one’s desire. The only pity was that there was no alcohol.
The rabbit meat was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, exuding bursts of fragrance. Nie Bufan and Li Yi both ate busily. In Chicken Nest Village, they could only eat chicken, now there was finally a different kind of taste.
In just a few bites the rabbits were eaten, but both of them still felt as if they had not fully tasted it.
“Bring some wild vegetables and mushrooms back later.” Nie Bufan wiped his hands and said leisurely, “We will come back tomorrow.”
“Fine.” Li Yi nodded in agreement.
At that moment, there were a few rapid chicken crowing sounds in the distance. Nie Bufan and Li Yi looked at each other, and ran to the place where the sound came from.
Pulling aside the dense branches, a huge black shadow came into sight.
“It’s a black bear.” Nie Bufan whispered.
Li Yi’s face was solemn, watching the black bear linger at a certain place unwilling to leave.
“Strange, black bears usually don’t show up during the day. Who provoked it to come out?” Nie Bufan looked around, all the chickens around him moved aside, acting innocently.
“It’s fine, the black bear already has food, it should leave soon.” Li Yi pointed to a chicken near the black bear with its legs still and unmoving in the air.
Nie Bufan squinted his eyes and laughed suddenly.
“What are you laughing at?” Li Yi asked strangely.
“That chicken is not dead, it is just pretending to be dead.” Nie Bufan was very familiar with that chicken. Its light yellow feathers were covered with brown spots. Its previous self was a kind of pig-nosed snake and loved to pretend to be dead, slightly poisonous but very mild, only able to poison some small animals like frogs.
“Pretend to be dead?” Li Yi looked suspicious, but then he immediately saw a weird scene. The black bear rolled the chicken over with its belly down. But who knew that the chicken rolled back into place again, with its belly up, to show that he was indeed dead.
Li Yi was dazed.
The black bear fiddled with the fellow on the ground, seemingly amused. Nie Bufan estimated that this big guy was likely already full, otherwise he wouldn’t be acting this bored.
“What should we do now?” Li Yi asked, “It’s hard to stop the black bear when it’s crazy. Before we attract its attention, let’s withdraw first?”
“That’s not possible, Piggy is still pretending to be dead.”
“You want to save that chicken?”
Nie Bufan nodded.
“Then……should I go lure the black bear away?” Although Li Yi didn’t think a chicken was worth saving, he didn’t want to continue to waste time here.
“No need.” Nie Bufan looked around, suddenly his eyes lit up, and said to a shiny and smooth yellow chicken not far away: “Little Yellow, go, exhibit some brotherhood and save Piggy.”
Little Yellow reluctantly creeped closer towards the black bear under the cover of leaves.
Li Yi said incredulously: “You aren’t going to exchange a chicken for a chicken are you?”
Nie Bufan waved his hand: “Just keep watching.”
Not too long, and don’t know what Little Yellow did but they saw the black bear suddenly cover its nose and jump up and down like it had suddenly developed epilepsy. The big bear’s paw slapped the tree trunk fiercely, and then rushed into the forest, disappearing quickly without a trace.
“What happened?” Li Yi asked with bewilderment.
“The Buddha said: It cannot be spoken.” Nie Bufan said with a smile.
The previously pretending to be dead Piggy, twisted a few times, and came back to life.
Little Yellow also meandered back arrogantly.
Nie Bufan nodded privately, not bad, the weasel’s ability carried over.
The little episode ended and Nie Bufan and company set off on their way home. The chicken flock was huge, the whole way leaving behind products of digestion.
Soon after, a new group of chicken brothers and sisters were welcomed into the Chicken Nest Village. Following the scent of chickens, many wild animals were deceived and from then on reduced to chickens as well.
The saying, people die for money and birds die for food, truly words of wisdom.
Two months later, Chicken Nest Village transformed into a new look. Not only were the houses renovated, but also each having a simple fireplace installed, and the utility room even became a bathhouse, able to enjoy the fun of bathing at any time.
The chicken coops were also newly covered with a thick layer of straw. In addition, Nie Bufan also had them install a fence at the front and back of the village to clearly delineate the scope of the village, and added a plaque inscribed with “Chicken Nest Village” at the entrance. On the two pillars holding up the plaque was engraved with the warning “Non-chicken animals are not allowed to enter, if entering, we will not be responsible for the consequences.”
After the rennovation of the village, Zhang Junshi specially sent a generous gift, including four sets of washware, cups, tableware, and tea sets, four sets of bedsheets, four sets of winter clothes, and two pairs of woolen boots.
Li Yi twitched as he looked at it all, this was seeking marriage.
But Nie Bufan liked it very much and gave a gift back, still a basket of eggs, but all large sized.
Zhang Junshi really wanted to say: “You really, truly don’t need to be this courteous……”
After enjoying the warmth of the fireplace, Zhang Junshi decided to move into Chicken Nest Village temporarily. His family were not in Xishan City. Instead of spending the winter with his servants, it was better to spend the winter with Nie Bufan. The occasional masochistic abuse could also be delightful.
This winter, it should not be too cold……
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