Stir-fried soybeans with a little salt were snacks the easiest to come by. Almost everyone in the farmstead liked to eat them. It’s just that the cheeks hurt when you chew on them too much and cause you to let out smelly gas. But you do get a feeling of fullness even when consuming not much of it in a single day.
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The five hundred newcomers were provided a handful each day, which they cherish very much. They hide their handfuls in their clothes and sleep with their arms around it for fear of it being stolen.
These five hundred people came from all over the empire. Some were refugees, some were citizens who sold themselves as servants, and some were slaves that their masters didn’t want anymore. They were all men, and only the twenty additions sent by Jiang Guang were women.
The men slept in the grass huts as they waited for the inspection before they could move into the dormitories. They knew what inspections were although they didn’t know what was to inspect. everyone wanted to sleep in the middle of the grass hut which was warmer, while the outer perimeters of the huts had cold air leaking in. Therefore, the person beside it would definitely feel the cold keener.
They do not take off their clothes and sleep on the ground. Fortunately, the ground was covered with hay to keep out moisture.
Early the next morning, there was noise outside. Someone lifted the grass curtain and shouted at them: “Come out, don’t sleep, if you’re late there will be consequences.”
This group of people went out obediently and walked to the square in the center of the farmstead, scattered about in a sparse manner.
Zhu Yuanzhang could only have them line up first. Although these people didn’t understand, they were at least obedient. They trembled in the cold wind, and they dared not ask even if they have doubts.
Five hundred people were listed into three columns, one of which had fewer people than the other two, but it was still fairly even.
Then the cross-examination began.
Qiu Niang was not suitable for such occasions, so Lin Yuan could only have Yang Zi’an and Zhu Yuanzhang fill in first——after all, these two were two of the rare people in the farmstead who could read and write.
“What is the last name? What are you called? Where are you from? What did you do before?”
“You were a carpenter before? Take this sign and go over there.”
“A farmer? Go stand on the opposite side.”
“Peddling? Stand behind me and keep a hold on your sign.”
Zhu Yuanzhang and Yang Zi’an were exhausted. They used to think that marching and fighting were exhausting enough. They didn’t expect to be so tired just sitting here with an ink brush in their hands. Some people spoke with a strong local accent and the official language weren’t spoken all that well either. So, they ended up having to guess what they were saying, sometimes not even guessing correctly.
It had to be sorted out for several days in a row, not only registering for newcomers, but also for former people as well.
Zhu Yuanzhang and Yang Zi’an were preliminary screening, separating people according to their previous professions.
But because there were not many people who were literate, Lin Yuan could only fill in personally. Each person was given a small wooden sign with his name, birthday, and some obvious characteristics, such as where there was a scar, or how many moles they have on their face. In short, listing their obvious personal characteristics that were unlikely to be changed or disguised.
In fact, it was equivalent to a modern ID card. After all, there would be more and more people in the future, and it would become more difficult to manage.
The advantage of having this thing was that if someone from outside sneaked in, just on the ID card alone they will not be able to pass.
It was a little troublesome, but it was still a necessity.
Entering and leaving the farmstead must also be based on this wooden card.
There was also a serial number on the card. The serial number was compiled by Lin Yuan based on alphabetical order according to the pronunciation of the surname and recorded orderly in a booklet.
As long as the serial number and surname do not match, forging the card was useless.
Lin Yuan now felt that he really needed intellectuals and educated people, and the more the better.
However, there were originally few intellectuals, and most of them were of the landlord class and court official families. Court official families had more as they tend to have amassed collections of books over many generations. In this era, books were also a symbol of wealth and status.
That he could have a literate Qiu Niang, Yang Zi’an, Jiang Gui and Zhu Yuanzhang at his side were already quite good odds.
As for Yang shi, she was a family elder after all, and it would not be appropriate for him to ask family elders to do things.
“Not even one scholar?” After the tedious work was over, Lin Yuan sat in the room and talked to Yang Zi’an, “Let’s not mention scholars, are there no literate people at all?”
Yang Zi’an shook his head: “Most scholars are generally rich in family resources, the troubled times will not affect them.”
Lin Yuan sighed.
What Yang Zi’an said was reasonable.
Yang Zi’an: “You don’t have to rush it. When the time is right, someone will naturally come.”
Lin Yuan looked at Yang Zi’an, and Yang Zi’an also looked at him. The two of them were silent, but Lin Yuan suddenly understood that Yang Zi’an knew his plan a long time ago and knew that he was not satisfied with staying in this farmstead.
Suddenly Yang Zi’an said: “Fourth brother, a man of character must set his sights on the world level.”
Lin Yuan thought about it in his mind for a while, but he didn’t recall the name Yang Zi’an among the famous people living in the late Yuan and early Ming dynasties.
“Merchant Jiang is leaving.” Yang Zi’an looked out the window, “Let’s go and send him off.”
When Lin Yuan and Yang Zi’an walked to the gate of the city wall, they saw Chen Baisong and the others ready to go. They had rested in the farmstead for nearly a week, and their spirits were much better than when they were first here.
Because they caught back a lot of wild sheep, the women in the kitchens made smoked meat and had them bring some along their way back.
So when they came to the farmstead, aside from themselves they had brought nothing, but when they left, they brought along a lot of things.
“So much smoked meat.” One little brother rode his horse around, “After it’s dried, it doesn’t have that bad smell anymore.”
“Wild sheep have a more strong smell than domestic sheep.”
Jiang Guang also rode a horse. Although the mountain roads were not difficult to travel in, horse-drawn carriages and ox carts were still much slower.
As soon as Jiang Guang and the others leave, the newcomers have to be allocated dormitories and receive necessities.
They had to line up and wait their turn and not allowed to push or skip in line. There were people from the farmstead watching on the side and holding knives in their hands so these people were as docile as a quail.
The things they received were also simple, a set of underwear, a wooden basin, a strip of coarse cloth and a bamboo cup.
After checking their identity, they would be able to leave, and someone would show them the way to the allocated dorm room.
The newly-built dormitory building looked ugly, but it was big enough for many people, and the beds inside were also bunk beds.
Yao Liusan was one of these newcomers. His family was originally carpenters, but when food was not available back in their hometown they packed up their things and went to join their relatives.
But when they arrived, they found out that their relatives were also gone. They had nowhere to go and could only follow the people around them. As they walked, the family members slowly dispersed. First, his grandfather and grandmother died right after the other, and then his mother suffered a cold and passed a away. In the end there were fewer and fewer family.
When Yao Liusan realized it, he became the only one left.
He followed the people around him all the way, eating whatever he saw and only thinking about what he would eat tomorrow.
Later, they saw that someone was driving out the refugees, but instead of driving them away, they were driving them to a certain area. Yao Liusan found that many people were running towards there like crazy, he asked an old beggar: “What are they doing?”
The old beggar told him: “Those who are driving people are merchants. If they are picked, they can be sold by merchants.”
Yao Liusan couldn’t believe it, but he still went over.
After all, if you were picked by a merchant, no matter what you would at least get one bean curd cake a day?
It was better than the current life.
Yao Liusan ran over and was picked as expected, and so he followed this group of people to continue walking.
No one knew where they were going, and no one knew what they were going to do in the future. They only knew that they would not be facing starvation at the moment.
However, there were many people who died of illness on the way, and was just thrown on the side of the road, too lazy to even bury them.
Yao Liusan got the things allocated to him and walked to the side holding it in a daze, and then someone asked him, “What is your number?”
Yao Liusan: “Ah?”
The person was a little impatient: “Just now you got something and someone said which room you live in, do you remember?”
Yao Liusan hurriedly said: “Remember, the middle ten.”
Middle ten was the tenth room on the second floor.
That person: “Okay, you come with me, you are the last person in middle ten, I will take you up together.”
Yao Liusan discovered that there were already seven people behind him.
Although these seven people traveled with him, they didn’t know each other. Their expressions were similar to Yao Liusan’s.
These few days were almost like dreaming. There was a place to sleep and food to eat. Although they always had to line up during the day, there was no need to worry about starvation and cold. Although the hut was not warm, people would not freeze sleeping in it either.
The person led them to the dormitory room.
The door of the room was open. These rooms could be closed, but the door could not be locked or bolted.
“You divide the beds by yourself. If you can’t divide it, come to me again. If it is found that there was fighting, you will be thrown out on the spot. Do you understand?” said the person.
Yao Liusan and the others nodded their heads in a hurry.
When the person left, the eight of them stood in the dormitory, all with a similar stunned expressions.
“I……I will sleep here.” Yao Liusan was the first to speak, and he put his things on the first bed after entering the door.
It seemed that the other people finally reacted at this time and quickly began to divide beds.
“Will we fall off when sleeping?”
“It’s pretty high!”
“There is a fence next to it, we wouldn’t fall off, right?”
They all wanted to choose the lower bunk, but there was no way. Some people sleep in the lower bunk, so naturally some people must sleep in the upper bunk.
They all just arrived in the farmstead and they dared not clash with others, even if this person was just bought like themselves.
There were straw mats on the wooden bed, which were thick and soft. They were woven, so all they needed to do was spread blankets and bedding on it before sleeping.
Even if there was no bedding and they could only sleep in their clothes it would still be soft and comfortable.
Boss said that they could take a good day off today, but they would have to work tomorrow. If they don’t work, there would be no food to eat.
Yao Liusan touched his belly.
Although he could not say that he was completely full these days, it was much better than before, at least there was something in his stomach.
Not having to wake up hungry at night, such days were a good thing.
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For these five hundred people, Lin Yuan was prepared to have them mix up with the people in the farmstead as they work and train. They should not be allowed to group by themselves and must be dispersed at the beginning. But the number of newcomers was larger than the original farmstead people.
Lin Yuan thought for a long time, and planned to spend a day having them do training.
Have them walk for most of the day, then find a place to sit, chat, and cultivate friendship.
——Although Lin Yuan did not know whether it would be useful or not.
There was also the division system. Lin Yuan decided to put ten people in a squad, and then appoint a squad leader. According to the system there would be three squads in a platoon, three platoons in a company, and three companies in a battalion.
In this way, the position was much clearer.
It was also convenient to hold everyone accountable.
Li Da became a platoon leader inexplicably and was in charge of three squads. After a long time, he pointed to his nose in disbelief and asked the person next to him: “I’m a platoon leader? I’m an official?”
The person next to him was also very excited: “Yes! You have become an official Li Da!”
Li Da was so excited that despite the cold weather he almost wanted to take off his clothes and run around the farmstead shirtlessly.
“My……my family had never produced an official before!”
“Don’t be too happy. You think this platoon leader position is free. If there is an issue in your platoon, besides the squad leaders, you will be the first to be unlucky. If you find out, then it’s fine, but if you don’t find out and someone else finds out the issue, then you are done.”
“There is no such thing as a pie falling from the sky, and Boss has said that if your platoon performs well, your merits will be recorded.”
The newly created “officials” gathered together to chat, and felt that although there was not much benefit, the title was still very impressive.
Probably because of this, these “officials” were extremely strict during the training, but they did not dare to be too strict. After all, there was Yang Zi’an on the side making rounds. If anyone supervised too much, Yang Zi’an would take the leader out to recieve criticism.
The leader had been criticized, and the people under him would also be unlucky.
The punishment was also very simple, that was, to go hungry.
But these people were already scared of being hungry. When they hear that lazy people couldn’t eat, all of them worked harder.
After the excitement of being an official passed away, Li Da and his colleagues gathered for a meal, and they were all frowning as they talked about the people under their command.
“Let’s talk about Li Sijiu’s squad, usually training is just average, it don’t work no matter what you say to them, the movements are just irregular.”
“I said all that needed to be said, and trained them extra. I don’t sleep at night, but make time to give them extra training instead, but it still doesn’t work.”
“Because of them, I never have a chance in being evaluated as excellent.”
His colleagues were also with a lot of troubles: “I have one over there. His socks went missing, and insisted that someone in his dorm stole it. He woke me up in the middle of the night and asked me to go oversee the case. Oversee what damn case! One pair of socks! In the end we found it under his bed.”
The new official lights the fire three times (TN: vigorous new policies). After the fire had burned, there naturally won’t be any of the initial excitement.
Lin Yuan had also been paying attention to these people who have suddenly become “officials.” If anyone dared to take advantage, he could only kill the chicken to warn the monkey (TN: to punish an individual as an example to others) at this key juncture.
But the result was, these people were quite honest and obedient, and there was not a single troublemaker.
“Why is this?” Lin Yuan told Jiang Gui about his bewilderment. Generally speaking, when small unimportant people suddenly sit in a high position, it was easy to make mistakes.
Jiang Gui threw a bean into his mouth, chewing as he laughed: “Afraid of course, you forgot the one you kicked out last time?”
Jiang Gui went out for a round and returned when it was winter. Under the banner of a traveling merchant, he really went to many places, and even bought and exchanged some things.
For example, Sichuan pepper, it was all dried but he had also brought back seeds.
However, at this time, Sichuan pepper was used as a medicinal herb, which could relieve pain, promote qi, kill insects, and could also treat vomiting and diarrhea.
In short, it was a very versatile medicinal herb.
However, Lin Yuan used the pepper to cook hotpot, and like all the seniors who transmigrated before, he cooked the hotpot in the winter.
However, there was no chili, and the taste of pepper was only enough to make the mouth numb, but it was enough to break a sweat and drive out the cold.
Jiang Gui dipped a piece of mutton, put it in his mouth happily, and said to Lin Yuan: “Fourth brother, not mentioning anything else, just for the food, I will follow you.”
Lin Yuan also dipped a slice, but the slice was a bit overcooked and tasted so-so, so he dipped another slice.
Because of the start of winter, Lin Yuan, Jiang Gui, Yang Zi’an, and Li Congrong got together for dinner. They sat in the room with a brazier under their feet, and boiling lamb in a pot. The pores all over their bodies were stretched out and extremely relaxed.
Li Congrong picked up the meat with his chopsticks and put it in his bowl immediately after it was cooked. After eating the meat, he let out a long sigh of bliss: “Feels good! It would be even better if there is wine!”
Lin Yuan smiled and said: “When the conditions get better in the future, I will ask someone to specially make wine for big brother.”
Li Congrong slapped his thigh: “You said this, I remember it!”
Lin Yuan also said: “Third brother went out for a while, tell us, is there anything new and strange outside?”
Jiang Gui smiled and said: “There are quite a few novel things. Fang Guozhen has rebelled again.”
Fang Guozhen rebelled against Yuan in the eighth year of Yuanshun, and was later recruited by Yuan.
“In March of this year, I went out and traveled around before I found out.” Jiang Gui said, “He killed the Marshal Tai Buhua of the Eastern Zhejiang Province.”
“This person is capricious.” Yang Zi’an said, “Even on rebellion he goes back and forth, not interesting at all.”
Lin Yuan did not speak. He knew that Fang Guozhen would try to bribe the court next year and continue to serve for the Yuan Dynasty. In the 16th year of Yuanshun, he would be ordered to attack Zhang Shicheng in seven battles, all victories. Now Zhang Shicheng was not in Xinghua.
Maybe he would crusade against him when that time came.
Jiang Gui: “He has a lot of people in his hands now. I went out and heard that many merchants were going to Huangyan to sell him food.”
“Merchants will not act without profit. If he was not really capable, the merchants would not be like a dog smelling a bone.”
Li Congrong was a little confused: “Who is this Fang Guozhen?”
Lin Yuan could only explain: “Cai Luantou rebelled the year before, do you know?”
Li Congrong: “This I know, there was a big commotion.”
Lin Yuan also said: “Fang Guozhen rebelled at that time. He and his brothers gathered more than a thousand people to rob the food being shipped by sea.”
“This person is really brave.” Li Congrong sighed.
Li Congrong said again: “If it were me, I would not dare.”
Yang Zi’an laughed at him: “The knives are all placed on the neck, you have to dare even if you don’t.”
“Why do you say knife to his neck? Someone forced him to rebel?” Li Congrong asked confused.
Jiang Gui said again: “I know, I know, let me speak.”
“The year before, Cai Luantou returned to Yuan and was arrested by the court. Fang Guozhen had an enemy, and the enemy sued Fang Guozhen for colluding with Cai Luantou. Fang Guozhen could only kill the enemy and gather more than a thousand people together with his brothers and then rebel.” Jiang Gui sighed, “If he didn’t rebel, the heads of his entire family would have fallen clean.”
Li Congrong was taken aback.
Jiang Gui also said: “I heard that the White Lotus Society and the Mancheists are also making movements.”
“In short, there is no peaceful place.”
“There’s another folk song, I’ll sing it for you.” Jiang Gui cleared his throat, “The stone person with one eye, provoke the Yellow River, the world rebel.”
“What does this mean?” Li Congrong was puzzled. “Does it mean that a stone person with only one eye can provoke the Yellow River?”
“As long as it is provoked, the world will rebel?”
Jiang Gui also laughed: “The Yellow River has broken its dyke three times in the fourth year of Yuanshun.”
Lin Yuan: “What if the stone person with one eye was dug out?”
Everyone suddenly looked at Lin Yuan.
Lin Yuan said earnestly: “If someone unintentionally finds a one eyed stone person buried under the yellow sand.”
Jiang Gui was stunned for a moment: “Then this is the heavens telling us to rebel!”
Lin Yuan: “What if the stone person was buried by people?”
“Folk ballads are naturally passed on from person to person, and they must have a reason to be passed on.” Lin Yuan, “It’s like the story of Emperor Han Gaozu who killed the White Snake and then rebelled, same with the stories of Bai Di zi and Chi Di zi.”
Li Congrong: “How is that just a story? It must be true!”
Lin Yuan: “……”
Fine, it was no use making his point with this person with a one track mind.
At this time of widespread feudal superstition, speaking of science was the one with a screw loose.
Yang Zi’an then said: “The folk rhyme has spread. If there really is a one eyed stone person in this world, people will definitely rise up. Now the people are suffering and hungry, so if there is a sign from the heavens then people will naturally follow.”
Lin Yuan nodded: “Next year, the stone person should appear.”
Jiang Gui answered, “What shall we do then?”
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Li Congrong was the only one on the side with a dumbfounded expression. He understood every word but how come when all strung up together he doesn’t understand?
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4 thoughts on “Back To The Beginning Of Ming To Do Charity CH 041 Stone Person”
Thanks for the chapter! When i read that Lin Yuan is short of literate and intelectual persons, and i saw that Chen Baisong is returning to his villa, i tought i know where this is going, because i remembered that in Chen Baisong villa is a intelectual and well learned man who give him his new name, i hope i’m right, i was spoiled with the introduction of different interesting characters all the time in this novel, is not boring at all and i have not difficulty in keeping up with all tbe new people introduced, even through i have to make sure to pay well atention to what it’s happening to remember them all. I’m glad that this chapter mentioned a bit about Qiu Niang, i’m glad she is doing well, and i see more of Jiang gui this chapter. Yang zi is the most wise one between him, Jiang gui and Zhu Yuangzhang, Lin yuan can’t hide anything for him hahaha. Because history already started changing, i’m sure many people mentioned in history will not have the chance to become that well known becaus e of Lin Yuan appearance, and some unknown people, like Yang Zi for exemple, will rise alongside Lin Yuan and become well known in the new history that will be made. Those news delivered by Jiang Gui in our four brothers at this dinner in a long time seems to be the folk news that will become the crucial motive someone will rebel soon, i can feel that it was gard to translate, i had to reread those paragraphs to understand well the meaning. I should’t be surprised that brother Dao was the one that couldn’t get’it, hahaha, our most innocent, who always believe everything who hears😅. Until next chapter.
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Wow thank you for the always long and insightful comments. I always like reading what you have to say so yes, until next chapter. I’m going to give a hint: a major character is finally gonna make an appearance!
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For us modern people, slavery will always be inhuman. To think at one point in time, it’s actually the most logical way of survival. To most kingdom building novel, one of the goal will always be to abolish this system since it’s natural that we cannot accept this with our kind of education. I like that this novel, while not white washing slavery, was giving POV with new perspective, and the mindset was reasonable sounding. It’s an era where people severely lack education and mostly cannot think out of the box, it’s not illogical that once their usual means of living disappear, they would look for someone to relay on. Also, the narrative on MC POV never emphasize on them being one. Rather, he mostly treated them as laborers/employees so it doesn’t feel like glorifying slavery.
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Hmm i really liked this chapter. Thanks for translating! 💕