Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Fangzheng said, “A temple destroyed is better than a marriage destroyed. Both of you, vent your anger on This Penniless Monk. After you vent your anger and stop quarreling, won’t that be a good thing?”
The moment the couple heard that, they smiled bitterly. Just as Fangzheng said, after venting their anger, they turned a lot more rational. However Wang Yunfeng still glared fiercely at Chen Daming. “I’ll settle this with you back home!”
At that moment, Yang Hua returned from afar. He held a child in his arms as he rushed over anxiously.
Wang Yunfeng saw Yang Hua, but she did not have a good impression of him. From her point of view, no one in the village was good. Feeling pent up, she wanted to leave without even greeting him.
Chen Daming was just about to speak when he heard Yang Hua exclaim, “Daming, Cousin-in-law, aiyah. Why are you doing this?”
Clearly Yang Hua already knew about what was happening.
“Cousin, it’s fine.” Chen Daming was quite a shy person.
Wang Yunfeng said, “Cousin, I have something going on. I’ll be making a move first.”
“Don’t leave, don’t leave. Listen to me. I’m holding this banquet today to celebrate my fortune in having a child after more than 40 years of age. Today, let’s set a rule. I can’t speak for others, but if you come to my banquet, I will not accept any cash gifts! If people are willing, they can bring some food like chicken, ducks, vegetables, and even tomatoes. Then we can cook them all and have a good meal while celebrating joyously together. How about that?” Yang Hua tugged at Wang Yunfeng.
Wang Yunfeng and Chen Daming were both stunned.
When Fangzheng saw this, he went forward. “Amitabha. Patrons, China has always been a society of interpersonal relationships, where relations are as important as the heavens. It’s not something that happened in a day or two. Although villages might have many such gift-returning matters, this has indeed been the etiquette of required reciprocity since ancient times, a way to express one’s love for one another. Of course, the way things have been going on in the village for the past two years are the sign of somewhat going astray, with banquets held for almost anything and money being borrowed without returning. Such questionable acts are indeed no good.”
With that said, Fangzheng did not give Wang Yunfeng a chance to argue with him. He turned around and bowed to everyone. “Patrons, in the past, all of you were indeed poor. This is something This Penniless Monk knows. Our village is remote and in a dead end. There are roads, but no one comes here and few people drive out. Recently though, the roads have been mended, and everything is on an upturn now. In the past, everyone might not have been able to return their loans, and even if they did have money, they would first think about their children and buy houses so that their children could get married. The repayment of the money borrowed got delayed as much as possible. But in this past year, everyone should have made some money. Isn’t it time to return the money you borrowed?”
Upon hearing Fangzheng say so, Wang Yunfeng swallowed back the words she was about to say. However she did not think much of Fangzheng. She knew that he was rather famous now, but she refused to belief that just a word from him would make those who owed her family money repay them.
And yet, she was taken aback the next moment.
“Venerable Fangzheng, you might not know, but we were planning on using Yang Hua’s banquet to return the money. Look, I have a bag of cash here! This is all the money I borrowed from Yunfeng. We all know that we were quite the scumbags to not return the money we owed them all these years.
“We all know how good Yunfeng and Daming are. We owe them greatly, but we really did not have money in the past. We always felt that Daming was rich, and that it would not affect him if we returned him his money early or late. Besides, he has never asked us back for the money, so we kept dragging it out. Furthermore, children need all sorts of money for their marriages, so we could only be thick-skinned and not return the money. Of course, I’m not saying we were lofty people doing nothing but good. If not for the improvement of our current livelihood and if we were still as strapped for cash as in the past, we would likely not be able to repay the money. But recently, we began the rural tourism activities and earned quite a bit. Therefore everyone did the math and decided to repay whatever we owed. I’m speaking the truth. I do not want to flaunt myself either. We were indeed scumbags in the past, but starting from today, we plan on turning over a new leaf.” A white-haired man spoke as he walked out. His name was Chen Jian, Chen Daming’s eldest paternal uncle.
Having said that, Chen Jian came in front of Wang Yunfeng and Chen Daming before suddenly bowing.
It gave Chen Daming and Wang Yunfeng such a fright that they immediately dodged the bow.
Chen Jian said, “Daming, Yunfeng, as you know, we don’t have many hobbies as farmers. When we have nothing to do, we just chit chat. Your third uncle doesn’t hold back, and it wasn’t the first time he bragged. Men all like face. When everyone is together, it’s inevitable they will brag about how well their own relatives are doing. He also ended up bragging. He never expected he would give you trouble with his bragging. I’ll apologize on behalf of my third brother. Take this money and go through it—”
Chen Daming extended his hand and took over the school bag. He said in a somewhat awkward manner, “Eldest Uncle… This.”
“Daming, try taking it. If you do, we will get a divorce the moment we return!” Wang Yunfeng suddenly said.
The moment that was said, Chen Daming immediately let go as he said with choked sobs, “What are you up to now?”
Wang Yunfeng rolled her eyes at him. “Look at that moral conduct of yours!” Then she bowed toward Chen Jian. “Eldest Uncle, sorry. I was not behaving nicely just now and lost my temper. To be honest, I was really angry. Anyone would feel the same if they were in my shoes. However, Daming is not the petty sort. As his wife, I’m not petty either. Now that I’m seeing the way you respond, I feel a lot better. We don’t want the money either. It was not easy to establish the rural tourism industry in the village. There will be investments and renovations that will need money, so keep it.”
Chen Daming looked at Wang Yunfeng in surprise as she rolled her eyes at him. “What are you looking at? Do I look like the unreasonable sort? I feel at ease as long as the nightmare ends early.”
“Yunfeng, take the money. Everyone isn’t that poor anymore. In the future, our home will be your home. Come back over the weekend for a meal. I might not be able to make any other claims, but our One Finger Village’s bamboo shoots are definitely the cream of the crop!” Old Third Chen exclaimed.
Upon seeing Old Third Chen, Wang Yunfeng said with a bitter smile, “Third Uncle, just don’t brag on our behalf in the future…”
Old Chen immediately blushed as everyone laughed in unison.
Fangzheng pressed his palms together. “Amitabha, it’s good indeed.” Then he said to everyone, “Patrons, This Penniless Monk is poor, and if everyone really holds banquets as described by Patron Wang, This Penniless Monk will definitely not dare leave the mountain.”
“I don’t care about others, but today I, Yang Hua, am not taking a single cent! Nor will I take any in the future! Of course, if anyone has any good dishes or fine alcohol, they can bring it, and I’ll gladly accept. Everyone can eat and drink it together!” exclaimed Yang Hua.
Upon hearing that, Chen Jian added. “I represent the Chen family in saying we will do the same. In the future, cash gifts will not be accepted at our banquets. As for the money that we gifted in the past, I’ll just treat it as an investment in better relationships! As our days are improving, we should not harp over the money we gifted or think about how much we lost in the past. I feel that it’s time to liberate ourselves.”
“I support that!” Chen Jin shouted as well.