Shitou Village was a small village with just over 20 households. During the war, all the men in the village were drafted, leaving behind all women. Outside, Shitou Village was also called the Widow’s Village. The village head’s family consisted of three widows, and the old matriarch was in charge of the women in the village.
It was fortunate that the village had her as the women in the village would not have survived that chaotic time otherwise.
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 )
After all the men were drafted, they stopped interacting with the outside world and focused on raising their children. Only the peddlers would occasionally bring some salt to exchange with them.
The old matriarch from the village head’s family was called old woman Zhao by the villagers. She was a sturdy old woman, skinny as a withered branch but still possessing admirable physical strength that was even greater than that of young men. Her hair was completely white and wore rags all day. She also dug a cellar with her two daughters-in-law and raised chickens and ducks in the cellar.
The women in the village all learned to do this, otherwise, if they kept the animals outside, the minor officials might rob them all.
The women went to work in the fields, and the children were all sent to the village head’s house to be looked after by old woman Zhao’s eldest daughter-in-law.
All the women in the village were united and used their strength in one place, so no matter whether there was famine or war, they all survived.
The children also survived, thanks to old woman Zhao’s strong command.
Later, the peddlers didn’t come back for a long time, and they didn’t dare to go out after the village’s stock of salt was eaten up.
It was only with the peddlers’ reappearance that they could exchange for salt again, but the peddlers told them that the dynasty had changed now. The current emperor was a good emperor, and the tax taken for farming was very small, and women could also possess private property when they set up households.
“Old woman Zhao!” The woman ran into the village head’s house, and she excitedly said to old woman Zhao, who was sitting in the courtyard picking vegetables, “The peddler has brought salt!”
Old woman Zhao also stood up excitedly when she heard the words, and she followed out: “How much salt did they bring?”
The woman’s hands waved excitedly: “An entire cart! They also said that salt is cheaper now! Official salt is cheaper than private salt!”
Old woman Zhao was taken aback: “Official salt?”
She hadn’t heard of official salt for so many years.
The woman nodded: “He said that the dynasty has changed! The emperor has been replaced!”
Old woman Zhao: “Truly?”
The woman laughed happily: “Yes, and he said that the new dynasty will not collect land tax for the first three years, and women can also set up households!”
The women laughed in a silly manner.
Old woman Zhao’s small eyes narrowed.
The woman restrained her expression and instantly became nervous.
Old woman Zhao said vigilantly, “You believe him just because he says?”
The woman whispered, “So much salt, he couldn’t get that much before.”
The woman felt that what she said was very reasonable: “Even if he lied to us, what could he get out of it?”
Old woman Zhao scolded her: “It’s more a flattery to say you’re stupid!”
“The little children of our village!”
The woman’s face turned blue instantly. She managed to raise her only daughter with difficulty, and she planned to rely on this daughter in her old age. If her daughter was taken away, she would lose any motivation to live.
“Then…..what should we do? He is at the entrance of the village now…..” As the woman spoke she turned around and walked back, “I’ll go get a hoe! Beat him to death and bury him, no one will know we’re here!”
Her tone was fast and urgent, it obviously wasn’t the first time they had done such a thing.
There were mountain bandits who came scouting before, and once they were discovered, the women of the village would do just that.
There were no men in the village, only women. If someone wanted to break into the village, the women would not even be able to die even if they wanted to.
When they killed the first time, none of them dared to do it.
It was old woman Zhao who took the only rusted knife left in the village, and cut the man’s neck like one did with a chicken, letting the blood out.
After the person died, they found a place to bury him.
Later, the women in the village learned to take up arms to protect themselves.
There were hoes at the door of every household. If something happened, they could swarm the enemy with a hoe in each woman’s hands.
Fortunately, there were not many bandits who attacked them. With the scouts dead they couldn’t figure out how many men and weapons there were in this village, so they didn’t rashly attack the village.
So the women in the village listened to old woman Zhao’s words very much.
Because facts have proved that what old woman Zhao said and did was right.
No one would question old woman Zhao’s decision. When everyone is united, their strength should not be underestimated.
The peddler didn’t know that his life might end in this Widow’s Village.
He was still talking to the women in the village about the outside world.
“A lot of new houses have been built!” The peddler smiled, his hands gesturing exaggeratedly, “My parents, wife and I have also been allocated a house, and I will be a salt seller hired by the government in the future! The more I buy, the lower the price!”
He excitedly shared with the women: “I only have one daughter, but now when daughters grow up we can recruit a son-in-law. The grandchild born will take the maternal surname. If her man bullies her, we can kick her man out and find a better one!”
Although he was a peddler, he was not young anymore. He injured his body when he was fleeing for his life during the civil strife and could no longer have children. So he cherished the daughter in the palm of his hand, and carrying on the family line was now entrusted to his daughter in the future.
The women exclaimed again and again.
Was it that good outside now?
Was what the peddler said true?
The peddler wouldn’t happen to have hurt his head and was now saying crazy things?
Don’t know who shouted: “Old woman Zhao is here!”
The women parted one after another for a visible path.
Old woman Zhao walked over from the open path made by the women and walked in front of the peddler.
The peddler knew that the old woman was in charge of the village, and quickly said: “Old woman Zhao, look, this time I brought all good salt! Fine salt! You can’t even buy it with money!”
He knew that the women in this village had no money, so every time he came here, they would exchange things for things. The women would give him chickens and ducks, or chicken eggs and duck eggs. Although he didn’t earn much, no matter how small a mosquito was, it was still meat. He was still willing to earn this hard money.
And he was also a kind-hearted person. He felt that the life of the widows in this village was difficult. In the past, when the days were difficult, he was afraid that other peddlers would leak their situation to the bandits, so he always went out in the middle of the night and brought salt over.
“Tie him up.” Old woman Zhao gave an order. Although the women didn’t know what happened, they still held the rope and pressed the man to the ground as they tied him up tightly.
The peddler’s eyes widened and he resisted frantically. He shouted: “What are you doing?! I didn’t hurt you! You can’t return kindness with ingratitude!”
Old woman Zhao looked at him darkly: “If you tell the truth, you will naturally be let go. If you tell a lie, there is no need to leave this village again.”
The peddler was frightened, he was dragged into the yard of old woman Zhao’s house, and a rusty knife was placed in front of him. There was a red mark on the handle of the knife, which was the trace of blood that had never been scrubbed completely clean.
What kind of blood was that?
Chicken blood? Duck blood? Or…..human blood?
The peddler was tied to the ground, he didn’t dare to move, and he secretly scolded himself that he shouldn’t be a good person.
Good people were not rewarded.
If only he hadn’t pitied them and thought of bringing them salt back then.
Before the peddler could speak, he was hit with a stick on the back of his head.
For a moment, the world was spinning, and the peddler’s vision blurred.
It was already night when he woke up again.
“Old woman…..” The peddler was lying on the ground with a disheartened face, he didn’t dare to say harsh words, he only dared to plead, “We have no past grievances and no enmity in recent days, these years the mountain road had been steep, but I still pulled the cart to send salt over, even if you don’t remember my kindness, don’t kill me…..”
“My father, mother, wife, and child are all waiting for me at home.”
Old woman Zhao was sitting next to him, and old woman Zhao said, “You said, the dynasty has changed outside?”
Peddler: “Why would I lie to you about this!”
Old woman Zhao said, “Tell me.”
The peddler explained the events of the past few years clearly, saying that he was now a salt seller hired by the government, and that he had been assigned to a house, his whole family had a place to live, and there were no bandits outside. The government’s soldiers patrolled the streets, those ruffians and hoodlums dared not commit crimes, and the life of the common people had never been easier.
Men could find jobs so long as they have the strength, and so could women so long as they were willing to go out of the house.
Moreover, women could find a husband to marry into the wife’s family and set up female households.
If you set up a female household, you could have private property.
There was no worry about it being snatched away.
“Since that’s the case, this old woman will come with you to take a look.” Old woman. Zhao untied the peddler herself.
She said to the women around her: “If I don’t come back, you don’t have to worry about me, and you should live your life well. Ertou’s wife is a smart one. If I don’t come back, you will listen to her.”
“If what he said is true, I’ll come back and take you all to the outside world.”
The women were very afraid, old woman Zhao was their backbone and pillar.
It was Ertou’s wife who stood up and said, “Don’t fuss! Old woman Zhao is clever!”
Only then did the women calm down.
Old woman Zhao helped the peddler up and took off the gold bracelet from her wrist.
This was the dowry passed on to her by her mother, and she was not willing to pawn it even when the family was in the most difficult straits.
She put the gold bracelet into the hands of the peddler: “Young man, I have wronged you. You can take this bracelet and pawn it, and buy something for your home.”
Even if the peddler felt terrible anger, his anger disappeared when he saw the gold bracelet.
This gold bracelet was worth more than a half-year’s worth of salary, and it was even a solid gold bracelet!
“Nothing to it!” The peddler grinned, “I know you are a sincere old lady! Never do wrong to a good person.”
Early the next morning, old woman Zhao left with the peddler.
The women in the village sent them a long way, and many of them were wiping their tears.
The children were pulled along by their mothers to watch old woman Zhao leave.
“Mother, where are they going?” The little child looked up and asked his mother.
The mother said worriedly: “They are going outside.”
The little child had never left the village since he was born. He said strangely: “Where is the outside? Are there people outside?”
Mother hugged him, crying with tears and snot running down her face: “Mother came from outside, and Mother’s family is from the village outside!”
As soon as she cried, other women began to cry.
The natal family was also family.
Married daughters also missed their natal home.
Who knew if their natal home was still there or not?
The little child didn’t understand very well, but when his mother cried, he cried too.
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 Widow’s Village was quickly drowned out by sobs and crying.
They hoped that what the peddler said was true.
The emperor had really changed outside, women could really set up households, and taxes on farming were exempt for three years.
If that was the case, then they would set up a tablet for longevity for the peddler and offer him incense every day.
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