After a busy afternoon, Su Xiaoxiao finally peeled all of the persimmon skins.
She stood up and twisted her sore waist. ‘This was a huge project.’
To avoid another event like “stealing persimmons,” Su Xiaoxiao had to sun-dry the persimmons on the wall again this time. The golden persimmons were too attractive for the children outside, and it was hard for them not to pay attention to them. She found some big bamboo nests and wiped them clean before letting Fantuan, who had been writing for a long time, line up the persimmons with Doubao to sun-dry them one by one.
Fantuan was still the clever Fantuan. Ever since Su Xiaoxiao taught him how to count yesterday, he didn’t forget a single bit of it today. He taught his brother how to count clearly and distinctly while lining them up neatly.
After everything is done, Su Xiaoxiao assigns Fantuan to write the numbers 11 to 20 and proceeds with preparing dinner.
The dish she prepared for dinner was very simple. It is a white radish and fish soup with coarse-grained rice.
Because the fish soup takes a relatively short time to make, Su Xiaoxiao stewed the mixed grains and rice first and then shredded the radish.
When the rice plate was half cooked, Su Xiaoxiao fried the fish that had been lightly salted in the morning until both sides were golden. She poured a whole pot of boiling water directly into it, put a few slices of ginger in it, covered the lid, and let it boil until the fish soup was slightly white, and then put down the shredded radish.
After finishing these tasks, Su Xiaoxiao went out to see if Fantuan’s homework was done. She pointed out some of his mistakes, corrected his gesture of holding a pen, and held his hand several times to guide him on how to write well.
“Mom, do you think the number two looks like a duckling? Does number three look like our ears? Doesn’t number 7 look like a hoe? Does number 8 look like our two nostrils? Do numbers 6 and 9 look like spoons?” Fantuan asked.
The child’s imagination is rich, let alone what he said, which was pretty accurate.
Su Xiaoxiao nodded and said, “Fantuan observed it very carefully, and indeed, they are very similar. In case you can’t remember them, Fantuan can think about what they are like and remember them.”
“Mm-hmm.” Fantuan nodded and continued to lie down and write.
Han Cheng came back late today. The rice and fish soup were cooked for a long time before he came back.
Su Xiaoxiao greeted him and took the briefcase in his hand: “Are you busy today?”
Han Cheng used to work overtime, and sometimes even stayed up all night. Now he tries to bring back the paperwork he can do at home. He would rather go home than work overtime, so his off-duty time was relatively early.
Seeing his wife’s smile at home can eliminate his tiredness and improve his work efficiency.
Han Cheng nodded: “It’s a little late to discuss several cases. Next time I come back late, you eat first, don’t wait for me. If I can’t come back to eat dinner with you, I’ll ask someone to tell you at an earlier time.”
Su Xiaoxiao: “I know. It’s not that late. If the children are hungry, we will eat first and leave you a meal. Fantuan is very good. When I taught him to write numbers, he remembered them all in one try, and he can write them several times. His penmanship was really good too.”
Han Cheng said, “That’s because you teach well.”
Su Xiaoxiao disagreed: “It’s because Fantuan is smart and willing to learn.”
As they spoke, they looked at each other and smiled.
The reason why Su Xiaoxiao doesn’t like fish is that, when she was a child, a fishbone got stuck in her throat. She has to go to the hospital every time to find a doctor to pull out the fish bones with tweezers, which has made her grow up with psychological trauma when she sees fish.
But the nutritional value of fish is very high, especially the protein, which is best for the elderly and children. Therefore, Su Xiaoxiao taught that it is necessary to eat it once a week.
In tonight’s fish soup, Su Xiaoxiao didn’t add any seasoning, just a little salt.
The creamy fish soup and shredded radish were cooked until they became transparent and melted in the mouth. This is another delicacy with high nutritional value.
Su Xiaoxiao asked the two children to eat fish belly, which is the part with a few fish bones.
Fantuan was a little older and had eaten fish when he was a child, so she asked him to pick the fish bones slowly. As for Xiao Doubao, Su Xiaoxiao pinched each bite several times with her hand to ensure that there was no fish bone before she dared to let him eat it.
She didn’t eat much herself. She was very comfortable eating some of the shredded radishes and drinking some soup with coarse grains.
Even Han Cheng ate very slowly, and he noticed that Su Xiaoxiao didn’t eat fish. He removed some fish bones and put them in Su Xiaoxiao’s bowl: “Eat it.”
Su Xiaoxiao shook her head: “I don’t like fish very much, but I like the soup.”
Han Cheng didn’t force her.
Delicious is delicious, but it is too troublesome to eat. This meal lasted an entire hour.
Su Xiaoxiao thought that they couldn’t eat this more than once a week.
As soon as the bowls and chopsticks were put down there, someone knocked on the door.
Su Xiaoxiao, then remembered that the aunt was going to send the stone snail at night.
She went to open the door, but it was not the aunt, but a little boy who was a little taller than Fantuan and dressed in rags. This is the Zhuzi that Han Cheng mentioned, and Fantuan’s future classmate.
“Auntie, I was sent by my Grandma.” The little boy’s voice was very clear.
He is very thin, almost as thin as the current Fantuan, with dark skin, but his eyes are bright and vivid. His eyes were also simple and decent, and he didn’t take a glance around the house.
A child without a mother is like grass. This is the son of the martyr. Su Xiaoxiao couldn’t help but feel sad for him. She smiled and said, “Zhuzi, come inside first.” A child without a mother is like grass—just like grass, they were left unattended and no one cared about them. They were left to fend for themselves.
Zhuzi was surprised: “How did you know my name?” Immediately, something came to his mind, “My grandma told you, right?”
Su Xiaoxiao shook her head and said, “Your father is a hero, and you are the son of a hero. I naturally know that.”
Zhuzi’s eyes were hot. He lowered his head and didn’t speak again.
Su Xiaoxiao took the snail in his hand and estimated that it weighed several kilograms, and it was difficult for a little boy to carry it that far.
Fantuan ran over and asked him, “Who are you?”
Xiao Zhuzi sniffed. He raised his head and smiled shyly: “My name is Zhuzi.”
Fantuan said: “Oh…. my name is Fantuan.” He looked at the dark things in the basket and asked, “What is this?”
Zhuzi said, “Stone snail.”
Fantuan asked again, “Huh? Where did it come from?”
Zhuzi replied: “I went to the mountain stream to pick it up.”
“Wow, you’re awesome, you even picked up so many!” Fantuan squatted down and poked at the hard, stone snail.
Zhuzi shook his head and said, “Not really.”
During the chat between the two little boys, Su Xiaoxiao made a bowl of fish soup and said, “Fantuan, let Zhuzi come in and let him drink a bowl of fish soup first.”
Zhuzi was flattered and repeatedly waved his hand and shook his head: “No, no, no need, aunt, I have eaten dinner.”
The neighbors were very kind to him, but no one was willing to invite him to drink fish soup because it was too precious.
Su Xiaoxiao said: “It doesn’t matter. I cooked too much. It will go to waste if you do not drink it. You should drink water to moisten your throat, otherwise, Auntie won’t take your stone snails.”
Zhuzi is not stupid. He knows that this auntie is kind, and no matter how rich people are, they will not waste fish soup.
Fantuan stood up to help his mother promote the fish soup: “Taste it Zhuzi, my mother’s fish soup is delicious, but it won’t taste good when it gets cold.
Poor children become the heads of the family at an early age. Whether someone is sincere or is only acting politely, Zhuzi can clearly distinguish both.
After saying “thank you” in a low voice, he stopped rejecting Su Xiaoxiao’s kindness, picked up the bowl, and didn’t dare to sit down, for fear that his dirty clothes would stain other people’s stools.
“Sit down first before you drink it. I’ll go and take what’s in your basket.” After Su Xiaoxiao finished speaking, she picked up the basket and walked into the room.
Zhuzi quickly finished drinking the soup, stood up, and waited.
Not long after, Su Xiaoxiao came out with a basket containing some things.
Zhuzi saw that there was money inside, along with a small bag of white rice and a few milk candies. He was so surprised that he didn’t dare take it. He waved his hands repeatedly: “Auntie, just give me 50 cents, I can’t take these things.”
Su Xiaoxiao said, “You don’t have to say no, I talked to your grandmother about it, she knows what’s going on. Milk candy is a gift from our family’s Fantuan to his new friend. If you don’t want to be their friend of Fantuan, you can return the milk candy to him, but I think he will be very angry.”
Fantuan nodded: “Yes, all of my good friends got milk candies from me. Xiao Yu, Dundun, and Yaya, if they also have good things, will share them with me. You are also my friend, so you have to!”
‘Friend?’ This term is very strange in Xiaozhu’s understanding. The students at school don’t want to be friends with him, so he can also have a friend.
Su Xiaoxiao put the basket in Zhuzi’s hand and said, “It’s getting late. Go back. Come back to play with Fantuan when you have time in the day. We welcome you at any time.”
Zhuzi’s tears could not be controlled. He gave a deep bow, turned around, and walked away with the basket in his arms.
Only when he got out of the warm yard did he dare to lift his head and wipe the tears on his face with dirty hands.
Immediately, he touched the milk candy in the box and smiled again.
He has a friend. He finally has his first friend in his life. His name is Fantuan!
He also drank the most delicious bowl of fish soup in his life, which was from his good friend’s mother, a very gentle and beautiful Aunt.
T/N: I’m not crying!! By the way, I’m sorry! I thought I uploaded this chapter; it turns out, I didn’t.
|↑1||A child without a mother is like grass—just like grass, they were left unattended and no one cared about them. They were left to fend for themselves.|
Hello, I'm Lucia, and I love novels with themes from the 70s, 80s, and ancient eras. Therefore, I will mainly focus on translating novels from these time periods. If you have any recommendations for novels you'd like me to read and translate, please don't hesitate to send me a direct message on my Discord. Thank you!