“Mother, you eat.” The child that was not even knee-high had a huge head that was not harmonious with the rest of the body. He was holding a melon vine in his hand. He was also very hungry and craved food, his eyes unable to help staring at the melon vine while swallowing saliva.
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The woman straightened up, her face weather beaten and so tired she couldn’t even smile: “You eat, mother is not hungry, mother drank a lot of water, mother’s belly is still full.”
The child didn’t know that the adult was lying, stuffing the melon vine into his mouth, chewing it twice before swallowing——there was still mud on it, but no one would complain at this time.
The child squatted on the ridge between fields: “Mother, when will little sister come back?”
The woman paused. Tongzhou began recruiting soldiers. Though it was called recruiting, in fact, it was arresting able bodied men. Her father-in-law was arrested, her husband was arrested, her eldest son and second eldest son were also arrested, and even her brother-in-laws were arrested. Their family was originally a small landowning family, but now even after having sold their servants and all valuable things, they still failed to pay all of the taxes.
She could no longer support her daughter. Her daughter was still so small, but she could already call her mother and talk. She also looked very adorable and lovely, a flower-like little girl she was.
But they could no longer feed her!
Towards children who were too young even human traffickers were unwilling to buy.
She took her daughter to the city and abandoned her daughter at the door of a large wealthy family.
These days, she had been telling herself that such a big wealthy family must be kind-hearted, her daughter would definitely survive.
At the beginning, it was just pawning away family valuables. Later, when the family wealth was gone, her mother-in-law and the other old people locked themselves in the house. Except for drinking water they were unwilling to eat anything at all. In the end, the elders died.
The elders died, but their days did not become any easier. The taxes got heavier and heavier, and soon it reached the point where they had no choice but to sell their children.
Several older daughters were sold.
Later, it was older sons.
Later, the children remaining were too young to sell, so they could only be abandoned.
There were some poor families who had given birth to children, but regardless of the newborn’s gender they were all drowned directly in the end.
The child asked the woman: “Mother, I heard that there is a South Bodhisattva in Gaoyou, a place where anyone can find a living and eat their fill. Mother, why don’t we go to Gaoyou?”
The woman gritted her teeth and said nothing.
Nowadays, Tongzhou was closed off, only people were allowed to come in while none were allowed to go out. If you tried to leave the city without paperwork, you would be killed on the spot as a spy.
The common people did not dare to escape.
Besides, she was born and lived in Tongzhou all her life. Her world was composed of only this small spot of land in front of her. She had never been outside, and she didn’t know what it was like outside.
She didn’t know if her husband and father-in-law were still alive or not, and whether they would come back.
In the past, when the days were peaceful, she was also the lady of a small landowning family, and all she had to worry about was scheming among her sister-in-laws.
Nowadays life was difficult, but the sister-in-laws were united like one rope.
The sun had set.
The woman glanced at the red clouds on the horizon, took the child’s hand, and said, “Go back home.”
She gave birth to four sons and three daughters. But in the end, only the youngest son was left. None of the sister-in-laws’ sons were saved, so this youngest son was the only root of their family. As long as this youngest son was here, the family would continue. When he grew up, married a wife and had a few children, then the family would be revived again.
The original brick house had also been sold. The woman’s family now lived in a grass shack. She first fetched water, preparing to cook a pot of wild vegetables with some beans. Together with water, it could somewhat fill the stomach.
The sister-in-laws came back one after another. They were originally young ladies from landowning families, and when they married over they were still wives of a landowning family. But now they were all peasant wives and the land must be farmed by themselves.
They dared not sell their land. The land were all ancestral properties. If they really sold it then they would become sinners. No one wanted to be sinners of the family. They would rather starve to death than sell the land.
The sister-in-laws had toiled the whole day, but did not eat much, looking at the woman eagerly.
The woman smiled at them: “It will be done soon.”
No one talked at the dinner table, the atmosphere was very depressing, and the child also didn’t dare to talk. Every day at this time, the family was like this. He was too young to remember what it was like when he was even younger. He only recalled that there were a lot of people. Once he asked his mother, where did the older brothers and sisters around him go?
As a result, his mother hugged him and cried. Since then he dared not ask.
But tonight, the woman’s second eldest sister-in-law whispered after dinner: “I heard that in Gaoyou, women can also set up households…..”
After a moment of silence, the eldest sister-in-law said: “Don’t think about it, we can’t get out.”
The second eldest sister-in-law lowered her head, tears falling into the bowl: “I was thinking, when we go to Gaoyou, we can all go to sew and make clothes. I heard that in Gaoyou if you can work then you can live a good life. There is a baby in my belly, I don’t want to drown him when he is born.”
She only found out that she was pregnant after her husband left, but the pregnant woman was not precious at this time, so she still went to work in the fields. Her sister-in-laws would just take more care of her.
The second eldest sister-in-law whispered: “We can’t just live this way forever, who knows if one day we will be gone just like that.”
Her voice was hoarse: “I don’t want to die yet.”
The choice between life and death was not so easy.
Since the men in the family were gone, the decision maker had become the eldest sister-in-law. When it came for a family to find daughter-in-laws, the eldest daughter-in-law was the most strictly selected because the family business was passed on to the eldest son, so the eldest daughter-in-law had to be able to manage the house and handle the affairs. The old mistress had chosen for several years before she decided on the eldest sister-in-law.
And she didn’t disappoint her elders either. She took over her husband’s family account books after she married over, managing the entire household affairs. Even without any children, her position was unrocked.
The men were gone, so she became the one to act as the pillar of this family.
Eldest sister-in-law drank the last sip of wild vegetable soup. She looked around at the women and found that everyone had their heads bowed. She asked: “You all want to go to Gaoyou?”
The sister-in-laws hesitated for a while, but finally nodded.
The eldest sister-in-law asked again: “Even if you might die on the road, you still want to go?”
The woman hugged the child and said to her eldest sister-in-law, “Eldest sister-in-law, he is already six years old, and after eight years old he will be at the age of conscription…..”
How could an eight-year-old child go to the battlefield? Could he even hold the barrel of the spear securely? Sending him to the battlefield was the same as sending him to death.
In the eyes of the lords above, this child was just disposable fodder. But in her eyes, this was her lifeblood.
She couldn’t save the other children, and she didn’t want to be unable to save this last one.
She thought that she was the only one who wanted to escape to Gaoyou, so she didn’t dare to bring it up this whole time. Now she knew that the other sister-in-laws had also thought about it, and finally got the courage.
Eldest sister-in-law fell silent, and the rest of the sister-in-laws were anxious and did not dare to speak.
Though they said that they had to wait for the men to come back, they knew in their hearts that with no news after so long, the men would definitely not be able to come back.
The dead have died, but they still have to live!
Eldest sister-in-law put down the bowl: “We leave tonight. No luggage or dry food. There is a dog hole at the root of the city wall. Let’s go when there is no one.”
“Eldest sister-in-law…..how do you know there is a dog hole there?”
Eldest sister-in-law coughed slightly: “Is it just you who has thought about escaping to Gaoyou?”
The family of women and one small child left Tongzhou in the middle of the night. They lived on the edge of the city. They only dared to run when the soldiers of the night watch changed shifts. The child did not dare to make a sound. He stubbornly gripped the hem of his mother’s clothes and used the greatest strength in his life to keep running.
There was a road to survival ahead!
The sister-in-laws gritted their teeth, running forward with crouched bodies.
Who wanted to live like an animal if there was a chance to be a human?
“The people of Tongzhou have begun to flee?” Lin Yuan didn’t expect the people of Tongzhou to endure this long. Enduring until now before running. At the end of the thirteenth year of Yuan Shun, Tongzhou drove out the refugees. Now it was already the end of the fifteenth year of Yuan Shun before the common people began to flee.
Some of the people fled to Gaoyou, some fled to Taizhou, and some turned into bandits.
Lin Yuan was not afraid of there being too many people, he was afraid of there being too few people.
Of course, this kind of ‘too many people’ must be within his limits.
Luo Ben said by the side: “Tongzhou’s tax is too high.”
Tongzhou had not implemented the taxes set by the court for a long time. They conscripted for the army aggressively, conscripting away the strong laborers of the family, leaving only the old, weak, sick and disabled. And they also had to feed these soldiers. They did not dare to tax too much from the big households. So of course, they could only take from the common people. Various taxes had been raised to equal commercial taxes.
But how could the common people have the financial resources of merchants?
The people at the very bottom ran away first. Later, the small families were also dragged down by the taxes and began to flee.
In the past three months, the number of people under Lin Yuan’s rule had increased by 50,000 and the number was still increasing.
Lin Yuan borrowed taxation knowledge from his previous life. He set a limit, those whose income was lower than a certain amount were not taxed.
As for how much exactly did people earn, this was the responsibility of the officials. There was a special tax bureau to handle this matter.
There was also some help given to poor households——no subsidy as Lin Yuan was also poor.
Those who earned less did not have to pay taxes.
Those who earned a mediocre income did not pay too much taxes.
Those who earned more would pay more taxes.
Moreover, now the work was generally done by large workhouses, and it was easy to keep track and manage. The income reported to the tax bureau was basically the same as the actual income.
However, tax evasion was common, and Lin Yuan also understood that so different industries had different tax deduction standards.
After the tax bureau had set the rules and presented them to him for review, Lin Yuan himself got a headache, and it took a few more overnights to pick out the irregularities and let them continue to correct them.
The agricultural tax in the Yuan Dynasty was very low. Lin Yuan always felt that Genghis Khan was a really good ruler. From the perspective of a ruler, he conquered an empire and worked hard to support the people. The Yuan Dynasty relied on commercial taxes, not agricultural taxes. According to historical records, some local agricultural taxes were so low it was practically nothing.
The situation was fine when Genghis Khan was still alive, but when he died, the central government orders began to be discounted.
For example, Tongzhou dared to collect taxes on their own standards.
Moreover, the taxing system in Tongzhou was very strange. Tongzhou looked at the land. For example, Tongzhou said that one mu of land could produce 30 shi of rice, so the people in this city must pay 10 shi of the tax this year.
But what if the harvest was not abundant?
What if there was a flood or drought?
In addition to this, there was also a poll tax. The poll tax was not paid by farmers, but by ordinary city people who had no land. How many people in the family, how much tax each person must pay in a year. What? A little baby still drinking the mother’s milk? A baby was also an individual and had to pay taxes.
So the people in Tongzhou dared not have children, drowning them if they did.
Last year, the tax was only paid once a year, but this year, it must be paid twice, once every six months.
That was why so many people fled.
Lin Yuan said softly: “Tongzhou…..it’s time to move.”
After collecting so many taxes and not actually going to war, the granary should be quite full, yes?
Lin Yuan smiled at Luo Ben: “Dare to fight, Sir?”
Luo Ben solemnly bowed: “I look forward to this battle!”
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
AN: Lin *Domineering CEO* Yuan: “It’s dawn, let Tongzhou go bankrupt.”
Tong *Pitiful* Zhou: [Shivering.jpg]
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