In the early morning in the countryside, soldiers held hoes in their hands. Compared to the farmers, their physical fitness was much better. After all, Lin Yuan had spent quite a lot of money on raising soldiers, and they were also of ordinary civilian backgrounds. So there were quite a few who knew how to farm. And even if there were some who didn’t know how to farm, there were veteran farmers around them to teach them.
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 )
The boys watched this scene in puzzlement. They couldn’t believe that these soldiers, who were like evil spirits in their parents’ words, would help them with their work.
The soldier who gave them candy before patted his trouser legs, smiled at them, and turned to pick up the hoe.
Farmers’ hoes were borrowed from the landowner. The property they had was very simple——a house, their children, parents, and the pottery urn on the stove. They couldn’t even afford to buy iron pots, let alone farm tools.
These farm tools were brought along by the soldiers. They were not in a hurry to greet the villagers. They also knew that the villagers were afraid of them. This was normal. The common people were afraid of soldiers. When soldiers had someone to be in charge of them, they were soldiers but with no one in charge they were bandits, sometimes even more terrifying than bandits.
The bandits had the imperial court to deal with them, but if soldiers murdered and robbed they were not held accountable.
At dawn, the villagers walked out of their houses. They did not know the specific time like the people in the city, but they worked at sunrise and rested at sunset.
The men wore patched clothes, some had hoes in their hands, and some were empty-handed——there were not enough farm tools and they had to wait for their turn to use them.
“There seems to be someone on my farm field…..” The scrawny man widened his eyes and looked at his own piece of land intently. He was afraid that it was the refugees who had fled over and were digging the ground for seeds to eat. That was their guarantee for the autumn harvest and the living capital for his whole family.
He yelled and rushed over frantically.
Even if he knew that with so many people, rushing over would do nothing but get himself beaten, but his mind was no longer able to think of the consequences.
He only knew that if those seeds were gone, his family would be done for.
The people next to him hurriedly stopped him, pouncing the man onto the ground. His eyes were red as he stared at his own land and tears fell silently, leaving a little water stain on the ground below him where it soon disappeared without a trace. He opened his mouth as if he wanted to cry, but he couldn’t make a sound.
Only one with good vision said: “It’s not refugees! They have hoes in their hands!”
“They are plowing the land, and they aren’t digging up the seeds!”
The farmers, who were still in a panic, finally recovered some sense at this time, and stared straight at the people who were working on the land not far away.
Just when they didn’t know what to do, a group of people came over, about a dozen in total. They were dressed in the same color and style of clothes, and with a glance the farmers knew they were the soldiers who arrived yesterday.
The farmers with hoes in their hands clenched the hoes tightly.
At this time, they were afraid that these soldiers would rob them of their land.
That was also the same as killing them.
In order to survive, even if they were the most honest farmers, they would also have to take up arms.
“The land in front here has all been farmed.” That was what the head soldier said.
The farmers were taken aback for a moment, and they didn’t know what to say for a while.
The soldier said: “You have a good place here. I saw some places that have not been planted, so I helped you plant some potatoes and sweet potatoes first. If you don’t want to plant them, you can dig them out and eat them. But the sprouted potatoes can not be eaten.”
The farmers were even more dumbfounded. The village head’s son was a little more courageous and asked tremblingly: “Soldier, soldier sir, what are you all doing?”
The soldier smiled wide, showing his teeth: “We are here to help. From now on our company will be responsible for your place here. We will come over during spring ploughing and autumn harvesting and provide fixed time assistance. We will bring our own food. The farm tools we brought this time will also be given to you. The South Bodhisattva said that the land here in Ru Ning will not be taxed for three years.”
“The landowners on your land here are gone, so you won’t have to pay rent anymore.” The soldier said, “Don’t be afraid. Our discipline is very strict and if someone goes inside your house without your permission, even if you beat him to death, you won’t be punished.”
The villagers didn’t dare to believe a word of what the soldier said, but it was not up to them whether they believed it or not, so they could only nod stupidly.
The company commander’s surname was Jiang, Jiang Erba. After he became a company commander, he changed his name to Jiang He. He liked this name as he remembered that he lived by a river when he was a child. He could not remember that river anymore, but it was still the most beautiful place in his memory.
Jiang He smiled at the villagers, and then said: “There is a party tonight, you must come.”
The villagers didn’t know what this party was. They looked at each other in confusion. Jiang He said, “I’ve spoken to your village head, and you don’t need to bring anything. You just have to come.”
The villagers breathed a sigh of relief when Jiang He led his people away.
The villagers discussed in low voices.
“Are they really here to help us?”
“What does fixed time assistance mean?”
“They will actually help us farm the land?”
“What are potatoes and sweet potatoes?”
“I know, I have heard people say that there are potatoes and sweet potatoes in Taizhou, Gaoyou, and that they were obtained from foreigners. One acre of land can yield dozens of stones of harvest.”
“There are so many? I don’t believe it.”
“I don’t believe it either.”
“Why don’t you believe it? I just know that the people in Gaoyou don’t starve to death.”
“How did you know that no one was starved to death?”
“Me? I heard others say this when I went to the city earlier.”
They did not dare to be alone, and could only walk in groups on the ridges of the farm lands, as if this would make them safer.
Soon, the farmers began to plow the land. Spring plowing and autumn harvest were the two busiest seasons of the year. They relied on the crops they grew to fill their stomachs. Women also came to deliver meals at noon. The so-called meals were also very simple. Those families that were slightly better off could have two multi-grain steamed buns, and those families who were worse off only had wild vegetable steamed buns.
Worse still, were those who could only fill their stomachs with water.
The sun hid in the clouds, the sky was full of red clouds, and the night soon fell.
The farmers had been busy all day, and also watched the soldiers being busy all day. Their hearts had gradually stabilized a lot.
Then they saw the bonfire that was burning in the grass, and a group of soldiers came over and led them over without any explanation.
They did not dare to resist, and obediently followed, but they did not bring their family with them as the soldiers suggested.
So this bonfire party had only a group of men attending.
They were sitting around the bonfire. The villagers looked like sheep that had strayed into a pack of wolves. They didn’t dare to even breathe loud or move. They could only watch the soldiers handing out bamboo tubes. Of course, they were also given shares too.
There was rice wine in the bamboo tubes. At this age, most people could not even eat white rice. Even the village head’s family could only eat rice with mixed grains and the rice was still mixed with chaff, let alone drink rice wine, which was something that only big wealthy families could afford.
The farmers smelled the sweet scent of rice wine, and their expressions became a little dazed.
When the soldiers saw them being cautious, they laughed on the side: “Take a sip, how can there be men who don’t drink?”
“Is it possible you are afraid that we will poison you? What do we want from you? What do you have that we would want?”
While the farmers did not dare to refute the soldiers, they were also rather craving for this sweet rice wine. So someone finally couldn’t help but taste it.
Under the dark night and light from the bonfire, and with the rice wine in their stomachs, the farmers’ courage gradually grew. This was not an indoor place, and there were no various rules. Everyone could see the dazzling starry sky when they looked up at the night sky.
“How did you do last year?” The soldier held a bamboo tube in his hand and chewed on soybeans fried with salt in his mouth.
“Want some?” He stretched out his hand, holding a handful of soybeans.
Such snacks were not common nowadays. The farmer swallowed his saliva and thought over and over again. Finally, he took a little bit and put it in his mouth. The more he chewed, the more fragrant it was, and the farmer quickly ate up the soybeans. The soldier didn’t mind at all, and grabbed a handful of soybeans for them again.
The farmer chewed a few more beans, and his words came out more casually: “Last year it was no good. The landowner took 70% of the harvest, and the family had no food, so we sold the old cow.”
“My parents saved all their lives just to buy that cow.”
He asked, “How are you in the barracks?”
The soldier smiled and said: “I used to be like you, a farmer, but after my hometown went up in upheaval, I fled. Fortunately, the South Bodhisattva was willing to take me in, so I stayed in Gaoyou and became a soldier.”
The farmer asked in a low voice: “Have you killed anyone?”
The soldier nodded and drank a sip of rice wine: “Killed.”
The farmer shuddered: “What does it feel like?”
The soldier thought for a while: “I didn’t feel anything when I killed. On the battlefield, either he died or I died. It was just a slash of the blade. I didn’t feel anything at all.”
“I’m quite busy, I have to clean up the corpses of my comrades when I get off the battlefield, and I have to continue training.”
The farmer asked again: “Do you have military pay?”
The soldier smiled at him: “Of course there are, and I save it all. The barracks take care of food and shelter, and I have less to worry about now compared to the past when I was a farmer. Occasionally we can also eat meat. These wines are only available when we come over.”
The farmer asked strangely: “Do you often do this? Help others to farm?”
Soldier: “How can you call them others? Now you are also the people of the South Bodhisattva. We are all a family, and the family should be like this. You all plant the land, and we fight wars. We will also have to eat the food you planted in the future. Helping you all is to help ourselves.”
The farmer was stunned. He looked at the soldier stupidly, unable to understand what he was saying.
In his impression, the soldiers would only enjoy themselves, occupying their food, their little money, and their daughters like tyrants.
No soldier had ever said such things.
“You don’t know the South Bodhisattva.” The soldier said with a smile, “When the South Bodhisattva came, I finally lived like a person.”
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 )
Soldier: “In the future, we will be responsible for your village. We will return next time for the autumn harvest. Plant more grains this time. Your harvest this year will definitely be good. I estimate that you will even have enough rations for next year.”
The soldier whispered: “If I’m still alive next year, I can also help you with spring plowing.”
The farmer drank a sip of rice wine and waited for a while before saying, “If I have money next year, I will treat you to a drink.”
If you like the content (or want more ;p) then please consider supporting the translator! ლ(⌒εー)ლPrevious