Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
“Oh? Why?” Fangzheng was puzzled. One Finger Village always employed the experienced. As long as one was diligent and willing to work, everybody would attempt to snatch them. At the end of the day, people who were familiar left one at ease. Unless the person was too lazy and unwilling to do work, it was quite unlikely they wouldn’t find any work. However, the Zhou brothers were obviously diligent and hardworking men. Why would no one employ them?
Zhou Ziyuan said in resignation, “They all use machines now. The machines are like monsters. They sputter on the moment they enter the fields before quickly returning, and with that, the paddy is completely harvested. Although we are experienced and are fast enough with good technique, human strength is ultimately limited. We can’t compete with machines. Furthermore, the cost of running those machines is lower than what we get paid… Sigh.”
With that said, Zhou Zishan and Zhou Ziyuan couldn’t help but sigh as well. Only the youngest, Zhou Ziheng, sat behind with mixed emotions.
“So that’s the reason. That would indeed not be weird. I also heard that many places are now using modern wheat hands. Certain families run combined harvesters and go from farm to farm from the south to the north. They earn quite a bit as a result. Brother, you should get a combined harvester too. In this day and age, using just strength alone won’t work.” Wang Yougui nodded and expressed his understanding.
Zhou Ziyuan shook his head and said, “We wish to buy a combined harvester too, but we are short on money. We hoped to earn the remaining amount we needed this year, but who knew that combined harvesters would suddenly become so prevalent already? We couldn’t earn anything. Trying to buy a combined harvester is too difficult. Thankfully, there are certain mountainous regions and low landforms that prevent the entry of these machines, allowing us to earn a little. We came out in search of work since June, heading north all the way. As we advanced, we found jobs all the way until now. Village Chief, when we came, I saw that your farmlands are rather flat. It doesn’t seem like you need wheat hands, so we won’t be disturbing you any further. We will try our luck elsewhere.”
After Zhou Ziyuan patted his child beside him, the little guy looked back at him sadly, “Dad, I’m tired. Can’t we leave after we rest a little more?”
Zhou Ziyuan’s eyes reddened when he heard that. Every family cared for its children the most. Although children tended to be brimming with energy, they were still children. Zhou Ziyuan could grit his teeth to persevere for the same journey, but a child really couldn’t take it.
Wang Yougui and Fangzheng exchanged looks. “Patron, since the journey is so tough, why do you bring your children with you?”
“We can’t not do so. There’s no one at home. We can’t just leave them home alone,” Zhou Ziyuan’s wife said with hints of grumbling.
When Zhou Ziyuan heard that, the look in his eyes darkened. He looked like he had aged considerably.
“Mom, I’m tired too. Let’s rest a little more.” The girl also tugged at the hand of Zhou Zishan’s wife, Shen Aijia, as she whispered.
Shen Aijia’s face stiffened as she smacked the little girl’s buttocks and reprimanded her softly. “We’ve rested for so long; isn’t it enough? It will be nighttime if we rest any longer. Our day would then be wasted. Every day we remain jobless gives you nothing to eat or drink in the future.”
The girl immediately shut up when Shen Aijia berated her. She held onto the corners of Shen Aijia’s clothes and stood there with a look of aggrievement.
When Zhou Zishan saw this, he hurriedly stood up and said, “Village Chief, we won’t be disturbing you any further. Thank you for your hospitality. We shall be bidding you farewell first.”
Fangzheng could tell that Zhou Zishan was really in quite a rush. To wheat hands, every day without work meant a loss of income. Clearing wheat fields could only be done at particular times of the year. Now that it was already Cold Dew, in a few more nights, all the paddies would have been cleared, leaving them with no money to be earned. They needed to rush now, so it was no wonder that they were so pressed for time. They didn’t even want to take a break.
However, Fangzheng knew better than Zhou Zishan that all the neighboring villages around Mt. One Finger basically had flat plains. Furthermore, everyone had already discussed the hiring of each other to help in the harvest. It would be difficult for outsiders to join this arrangement.
But when he saw the adults pick up their huge luggage again and pull the two children who were so tired that they didn’t wish to walk again, Fangzheng’s heart winced in pain.
Red Boy secretly tugged at Fangzheng’s clothes while Squirrel used Fangzheng’s ears to wipe his tears.
Lone Wolf looked pitifully at Fangzheng while Monkey kept chattering. When Fangzheng paid closer attention to his mumbling, he was surprised to hear “stone-hearted monk… Amitabha…”
Fangzheng rolled his eyes and nearly slapped the stupid monkey.
However, Fangzheng wasn’t free enough to deal with his disciples right now. Instead, he looked at Wang Yougui and said, “Patron, our village has already hired wheat hands, right? Having more people would make it faster. It’s already Cold Dew. In a few more days, the frost will be coming…”
“Alright, Abbot Fangzheng don’t continue. I know what you wish to tell me. In fact, I’m quite stumped as well. As you know, our village has earned quite a bit this year thanks to you. In the past, people weren’t willing to spend money, but this year is different. Everyone is wealthy now, so they have purchased a combined harvester collectively. Yang Hua has already gone to bring it back. I think he will be back soon.” With that said, Wang Yougui shrugged. It was clear what he meant.
Fangzheng knew that with the people collectively buying a combined harvester, who would hire wheat hands?
At that moment, Dog Song came over with a sickle and a cup in hand. His hat was worn slanted as his face was flushed red. He walked over in glee, and when he saw the few wheat hands exiting, he wore a look of curiosity. He came over and asked, “Village Chief, who are they? Why are they lugging around all that luggage with kids? They look quite pitiful.”
Wang Yougui explained the situation and then smiled wryly. “To be honest, I really wish I could help them, but our village no longer needs wheat hands. Sigh. By the way, what did you do to get yourself all sweaty?”
Dog Song used the sickle to prop his slanted hat and said, “What else? Weren’t we encouraged to develop the wastelands? By the mountainside, there is a water pool that has been developed, but it was a mess, with potholes everywhere. I suspected that machines couldn’t enter, so I went to harvest the paddy by myself. It took me the entire morning to finish the job.”
Everyone’s eyes lit up when they heard the first part of his sentence, but when they heard that the job was done… Fangzheng and Wang Yougui were still alright but by the side, Red Boy, Lone Wolf, Monkey, and Squirrel were unhappy to hear that. They were there for food, but they realized that all the jobs were done when they came down to the mountain. They were pissed. To think that this guy did the job all by himself! How could he do that? Besides, there were a few pitiful people waiting to do work! Therefore, all of them glared at Dog Song and felt that this fellow was only here to mess things up.
Dog Song was flustered when he was glared at. “Abbot Fangzheng, what’s wrong with your disciples? Why are they looking at me so strangely?”
Fangzheng turned his head, and the few guys immediately wiped away their fierce looks. All of them looked innocently at Dog Song, taking him aback. These guys sure had uniform expressions, and they were so skilled at changing them…