Song Xianhe was already five years old and was beginning to help the family feed the chickens. Song Xianshu also wished to help, but he was shooed away by Song Xianhe. Then suddenly, their adoptive father once more returned while carrying a bundle of swaddling garments!
Xianhe, Xianshu, look what Daddy brought back for you! the man said with a smile.
Song Xianhe and Song Xianshu ran over, and they were immediately stunned when they saw a baby inside the swaddling garments.
Song Xianshu said with a frown, Dad, we dont even have enough food for ourselves. What are we to do with one more brother?
The man was stunned, never expecting such a reaction from Song Xianshu. By the side, Song Xianhe said, Silly, having a brother is good. A brother can play with you. When that happens, you wont be bored anymore.
With that said, Song Xianshu nodded immediately and clapped his hands in glee.
However, the man felt guilt towards Song Xianhe as he ruffled Song Xianhes head in a helpless manner before heading out again.
The scenes kept changing. One of them was the man carrying Third Brother on his back, and Second Brother in his arms as he led Eldest Brother to plough the fields with an ox.
Another scene was of the man using a shoulder pole to carry two boxes, with Third Brother in front and Second Brother at the back. Eldest Brother helped to drag a hoe as the whole family went up the mountain.
The children kept growing up as the mans health clearly deteriorated. His straight body also began to slowly curl. Despite being only in his thirties or forties, his face was already covered in wrinkles.
When Song Xianhe was twelve, Song Xianshu was eleven, and Song Xiancheng was nine, the man went out of town to do some farming work. On this day, a male neighbor suddenly grabbed Song Xianchengs collar and came to the Song family. He clamored to see Song Yuan, the father of the three brothers.
Song Xianhe hurriedly rushed over and asked, Uncle Chang, whats wrong? Why are you grabbing my brother? My dad is out hoeing the fields. Tell me if theres anything. Also, can you let my brother down?
As he spoke, Song Xianhe noticed that Song Xianchengs face was swollen. There was a red palm print on his face!
Song Xianhes eyes narrowed as pangs of anger burned in him.
Let go of your brother? Hehe! A kid like you is getting angry? This child from your family chased my familys chicken and scared it so much that it can no longer lay eggs. Do you know how great a loss that is? And youre angry with me for teaching him a lesson? When the male neighbor said that, he raised his hand and gave Song Xiancheng another slap.
Song Xiancheng was only nine years old. The slap left him bleeding as he cried loudly.
Song Xianhe roared. Stop! Let go of my brother! Isnt it just some eggs? Well compensate you if you want!
Compensate me? Can poor fools like you afford to do that? I already long said that Song Yuan should have never taken in bastard children like you, but he refused to listen. Great, hes now burdened by you and cant even afford to eat! Chang puffed angrily.
The moment that was said, Song Xianshu and Song Xiancheng were stunned. At the same time, they looked at Song Xianhe and seemed to ask, Brother, we were picked up from the streets?
Song Xianhe looked at his younger brothers and felt his heart tremble. He hurriedly said, Dont listen to his nonsense. We are Dads true sons.
Nonsense? Chang was just about to continue when he saw the anger in Song Xianhes eyes flash with a hint of madness. It was as though he would bite him to death if he continued speaking on this matter.
Almost at the same time, Song Xianhe said, Uncle Chang, people have to be responsible for what they say. Certain things can be said, but certain things cannot be randomly said. Consider your words again before you speak!
As he spoke, the madness in Song Xianhes eyes intensified.
Chang gulped his saliva and snorted. Punk, who do you think you are trying to scare? Although he sounded fierce, he didnt dare continue. Instead, he said, Regardless, my chicken can no longer lay eggs. You have to compensate me! Im taking this chicken of yours!
With that said, Chang immediately ran to snatch the only hen in the Song family.
Brother! Song Xianshu burned with anxiety. The Song family was just too poor. The hen they had could be said to be their familys treasure! It was the only thing that could provide the family with a non-vegetarian diet, a treasure that allowed them to see hope. Now, it was going to be taken away from them. They would truly be thrown into abject poverty as a result.
Song Xianhe shook his head and didnt get his brother to stop Chang from taking the chicken.
Chang had to let go of Song Xiancheng to grab the chicken. Upon seeing this, Song Xianshu suddenly dashed into the house and rushed out with a chopper. He roared. If you dare take my chicken, Ill fight it out with you!
Upon hearing that, Chang jumped in fright. He wanted to mock him when he saw the weak child dash out with a chopper, but when he saw the boy really rushing at him with chopper in hand, he immediately abandoned the thought of chasing after the hen. He then said to the eldest Song Xianhe, Hey, arent you going to do something about your brother?
Song Xianhe said indifferently, Your brother scared your hen, while you have also scared our hen. Were even now. Uncle Chang, its about time for you to leave; otherwise, I wont be able to stop my brother if he goes crazy.
Chang was incensed, but when he saw Song Xianshus chopper, he stomped his feet and left. But after he stepped out the door, he turned his head in a rage and said, You three bastards, just wait and see! This isnt over!
Second Brother, watch Third Brother in the future. Dont let him run around, Song Xianhe said.
When Song Xianshu heard that, he hurriedly lowered the chopper. Alright, Brother.
Brother, I didnt chase after his hen. I was just watching from afar when he suddenly came and grabbed me, saying that I scared his hen and that he wanted compensation. I refused, and he beat me. Then, he came over. Although Song Xiancheng was only nine, a child from a poor family helped in the management of the family at a young age; therefore, he knew more and spoke with a clear thought process.
When Song Xianhe heard that, he patted Song Xiancheng on the shoulder and said, I know. As members of the Song family, we wouldnt do such things. We are not criminals!
Song Xianshu added. Thats right. We wouldnt do such things. That Chang guy must have noticed that Dad wasnt home, and he probably thought of using the opportunity to grab our hen. If he really took it away, thered probably be no way of getting it back. Furthermore, wed be labeled as bad children.
Song Xiancheng lowered his head and held his fist. Its all my fault. Im still too young and naive. I couldnt beat him. I want to eat more in the future and become muscular. Ill beat up anyone who hits me!
As Song Xianhe looked at his two brothers, he sighed without a word. However, there was some worry hidden deep in his eyes. Now that they had been targeted, he had a feeling that this was only the beginning.
Song Yuan returned in the evening, exhausted from a days work on the farm. Song Xianhe brought water to Song Yuan, while Song Xianshu did the cooking, and Song Xiancheng burned timber.
Song Yuan smiled in satisfaction, finding all his hard work for the day worth it.