“Someone is beating the drum at the entrance of the village!” The village woman excitedly pushed her man, “Go, go and listen.”
The man was exasperated: “You also have shoes to wear now. There are more than one pair of shoes at home. Let’s go together.”
The village woman touched the back of her head: “Ai, I forgot about this.”
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 )
Now was no longer the time when the family only had one set of presentable clothes and one pair of shoes.
Seeing that all the people were almost here, the village head shouted loudly, “Someone from above has come! They said they want to build roads and bridges! They also want to build water wheels!”
The faces of the people below changed instantly. This was a draft. There was no monetary payment and you may not be able to even eat a full meal. If you die, there is no place to even cry.
At this time, the village head said again: “The above said, they will take care of three meals a day! All solid food! Full meals! There is also monthly wages! The harder the work, the more monthly wages!”
“Those who will build roads depends on which part of the road to be built!”
The village head spoke until his mouth was dry, and it was his wife who brought him a bowl of water to moisten his throat, so he could continue to speak: “At least 50 big banknotes a month!”
The people below started chattering.
“Building roads is a bit harder, but with money being paid, it earns much more than farming, and it’s also not farming season, so the wife at home can take care of the house and children.”
“That’s right, if it’s me, I won’t make fifty big banknotes. I will earn at least one hundred big banknotes. Maybe I’ll even be able to rebuild the house when I come back after work.”
The crowd of people put their heads together to discuss.
The village head said again: “Not everyone can go. You need to have a healthy physique. Anyone over the age of 15 and under 40, whoever signs up first, I’ll report you first, so you all go back and discuss with your family.”
“Move along. Come and find me before it gets dark. The registration time is three days, and after three days, there will be no chance left.”
Someone shouted from below, “Village head, will your family go?”
The village head gulped down a bowl of water: “Go, my three sons, all three! After earning money to build a house, and then marry and bring my daughter-in-laws back home!”
“Even the village head’s family will go, so I will go too!”
“I am going too!”
“Village head! Are girls allowed?”
The person who asked the question was an orphan girl who had no land. She made money by weaving rattan baskets in the village. Sometimes she also worked in the laundromats in the town. If any farmer in the village needed help she would also go, she only asked for some corn or beans or the like. The living conditions were very impoverished.
She lived in a thatched hut and adopted an orphan boy a few days ago. The orphan boy was only four or five years old. His parents died while fleeing, and he had survived until now with the help of others.
The orphan girl saw that he was pitiful, so she let him live with her.
Although the people in the village laughed at her saying she had found a child husband for herself, they all knew that she did not have it easy supporting herself and the boy.
Someone next to her said to her: “You little girl, are you even fighting men for food?”
The orphan girl looked at him: “Men have to eat, women also have to eat, everyone is grabbing food from the hands of God.”
Someone laughed: “Er Zhuzi, you can’t win against her in a verbal fight.”
The village head coughed: “Girls are allowed, but girls don’t get as much wages as men, unless the foreman decides that you have worked harder, then your monthly wages will be raised.”
Orphan girl: “Then I’ll go, village head, write down my name.”
Village head sighed, “Don’t you need to watch your child?”
The orphan girl shook her head: “He won’t starve to death. He survived before without me. I will earn more money and send him to the town to study at school.”
The people around said: “Such treatment is even better than that between two blood siblings. You’re not afraid that after he grows up he’ll ignore you?”
The orphan girl said firmly: “My father and mother are gone, and his father and mother are gone. We are both lone orphans. I treat him as family not because I want him to repay me in the future.”
“Then I’ll go too! I’m a grown man, yet I’m not as brave as a little girl? If others hear this they will laugh!”
“Go, I’ll go too!”
The village head recorded the names one by one, but still said: “Go back and discuss with your family, lest the wife disagrees.”
“My wife just listens to me, I say one and she doesn’t dare to say two!”
“Zhao San, you sure know how to talk big, who was kicked out of the house by the wife in the middle of the night last month and went to sit on the field ridge for an entire night?”
Zhao San blushed: “Don’t talk nonsense! I just felt that it was too hot in the house!”
The crowd burst into laughter.
Zhao San glared at them one by one, but couldn’t manage to glare at all as there were too many.
He managed to marry a wife with much difficulty, she had a round face and red cheeks, a sweet and soft voice, was not finicky but a good and hard worker.
How could he be willing to say a heavy word to her?
He just wanted to hold her in his arms every day.
Before, he never dared to think that he could marry a wife.
At that time, the village was so poor. Every family, whenever they gave birth to a girl they either abandoned or drowned the baby.
Ten miles and eight townships were all men. If anyone had a daughter, even if she was still a breastfeeding baby, someone would already want to engage their son to her.
Even in the village head’s family, there were three sons, the oldest was over thirty, the youngest was twenty, all three were bachelors.
It was Zhao San who was lucky. He went to the town to go to the market and met his wife who was setting up a stall. Although the two did not say it out loud, they both developed feelings towards each other after several meetings. Zhao San was afraid that he was too poor and the girl’s family would not agree, so he worked as hard as he could. After earning some money, buying a few acres of land, and preparing proposal gifts, only then did he ask the matchmaker to propose marriage on his behalf.
He was the first of those his age to marry in the village.
When the orphan girl first came to the village, the matchmakers almost wore out the door threshold of her thatched hut. If it wasn’t for her lack of interest, the men in the whole village were all for her to pick and choose from.
There was also a pair of brothers who were willing to share a wife. Anyway, they were blood brothers, and the children born would all have the blood of their family.
Even so, the orphan girl didn’t agree.
Fortunately, the village was now under strict lawful order, otherwise who knew what those old bachelors could do.
Zhao San thought of this, and started to worry again. If he left, leaving just his wife and old parents at home, if someone had evil intentions, what would happen without an able bodied man at home?
He went home and told his wife about this.
The wife asked, “Did the village head say how long it will take?”
Zhao San thought for a while: “He said, if you work near home, the money will be less, but every seven days there will be a day off, so you can go home and have a look.”
“If you go to a farther place, you have to work for half a year, but the money will be more.”
The wife said: “Our family has land, and the daily expenses are not large. You work near home. It’s safer.”
Zhao San grinned: “Sure, I’ll listen to you.”
The wife also smiled at him: “I also learned to weave the rattan baskets, and I can take them to the town to sell when we go to the market. Let’s work together, and life will definitely get better and better.”
Zhao San kept nodding, not pausing even as he spoke: “Then you have to follow the people in the village when going to the market.”
The wife laughed at him: “I’m not a toddler. Now, when the market is open in the town, there are soldiers watching. They are even equipped with weapons. No one dares to make trouble.”
Zhao San buried his head in his wife’s arms: “No, I’m worried.”
The wife kicked him: “Go and wash up for dinner, we are eating your favorite sweet potato rice today.”
Sweet potatoes mixed white rice was filling and not as expensive as plain white rice.
Zhao San drooled as soon as he heard it: “What kind of dishes are there?”
“Edible fern fronds, cold vegetables dressed with sauce.” The wife said, “There is also a big fish. I just cooked fish soup which is good for helping mother-in-law and father-in-law recuperate their health. Having suffered a few years ago, both mother-in-law and father-in-law’s legs always hurt these days.”
Zhao San’s eyes reddened, he hugged his wife and kissed her fiercely, unable to say another word.
For the sake of his parents and such a good wife, he had to work hard to earn money.
After half a month, someone came to lead the people away, and the three sons of the village head’s family were also among them. But they did not go to work near the village, but went farther away, saying that they were going to build bridges so that they could get more money, but it was also dangerous.
The eldest son said, “I heard that a bridge builder can earn 500 coins a month.”
“And two sets of clothes.”
“After working for six months, one will be able to build a house and buy two acres of land.”
“It’s dangerous, but the three of us go together and will take care of each other. We’re all strong men, and nothing bad will happen.”
The orphan girl went to build a road nearby.
Every seven days, she could go back to the village to see her brother. She just wanted to build a brick house, even a smaller one was fine. It was enough to have two rooms.
Always living in a thatched hut was uncomfortable.
The group of people said goodbye to their family members and left with their luggage.
While walking on the road, they even began to sing songs.
Lin Yuan looked at the memorials. Everywhere under his rule had begun vigorous infrastructure construction.
The top priority was to build roads. If you want to be rich, build roads first. All modern people knew this truth.
Bridges and water conservancy were among this, bridges were also roads, and water conservancy was the foundation of agriculture.
As for the wages, it was all from treasuries of local governments, and it must be reported to the top uniformly.
Lin Yuan knew how much money there was in the treasuries of these local governments. He would subsidize the poor places, and local officials would send up the money from the rich places.
For example, in Taizhou, Jiang Gui was in charge, and Jiang Gui had sent the tribute silver taels at the beginning of the year.
The same was with Ru Ning.
In affluent places, officials also knew that they couldn’t hide it. The account book was there, and the market had regulations made by merchants. There was also a set of account books on the merchant’s side. So it was easy to discover tampering just by comparing the account books.
What was more, the household registrations had also increased. How many people were in a city and what was everyone’s income, it all added up to a general number.
Officials also have places where they could embezzle some money, as the above was not too strict.
But everyone knew the meaning and bottom line from the above.
No one wanted to use the head on their neck to see if they could embezzle more than was allowed.
Song Shizhao said to Lin Yuan: “There aren’t any with particularly great daring. You have chopped off a lot of heads a few years ago, and their daring has become less.”
Lin Yuan put the memorial aside: “It’s a blessing that those heads that were cut last time could manage to intimidate them for as long as ten years.”
The modern Internet was so developed, but the fall of so many corrupt officials relied on the proof provided by their mistresses in the end.
So it was conceivable that in ancient times when information and transportation were so underdeveloped, there would only be more corrupt officials, not less.
Lin Yuan smiled and said, “Mister, don’t put on a bitter face. Zhen knows in my heart that there are no fish when the water is clear. Zhen has already given them space. If they still do not know what is good for them, then it can not be blamed on Zhen.”
Song Shizhao: “Your Majesty has considered much for them, we shall see what kind of measures they have.”
Lin Yuan took a sip of tea.
Song Shizhao said again: “Last time you said to open the imperial examinations, it is now the autumn, and the weather is neither cold nor hot, which is the most suitable.”
Lin Yuan nodded: “Then I’ll leave this to you.”
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 )
Song Shizhao breathed a sigh of relief. It was the first time the imperial examination was held in the new dynasty. If he did not supervise it, then he would really cry.
Lin Yuan: “I’m afraid it will exhaust you.”
Song Shizhao widened his eyes: “Definitely won’t be tired, definitely not! This official is still robust enough!”
If anyone tried to fight him for this job, he would bite off a piece of meat from the other party.
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