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Whether it was modern or ancient people, one liked to use “with four bare walls for a home” to describe poverty, but Xia YuanQiu did not agree.
At least “with four bare walls for a home” there were four walls. But this house she was living in had three and a half walls only. There were holes everywhere. It made no difference whether or not there was a roof. At any angle in the house, one could see the stars in the sky.
This person was really poor!
Xia YuanQiu constantly comforted herself. This house was only lacking a piece of glass compared to modern wealthy people’s glasshouses. It was very good, not bad at all.
Her fanciful thoughts were interrupted by a loud crying. She didn’t have to listen closely. This high-pitched and sharp sound like a pig being slaughtered, who else would be besides the Aunt Zhang next door?
Her younger brother who was sleeping next to her, rubbed his eyes and got up. “Jie [older sister], what’s going on with Aunt Zhang’s family? Is something wrong?”
Xia YuanQiu shrugged, “I don’t know.”
Xia YuanHao and the little fatty next door were good friends. He always snuck food from home to sneakily give to YuanHao. Xia YuanQiu also really liked the little fatty, but Aunt Zhang was not a good person. She bullied her and YuanHao for having no parents, using sharp and unkind words. She was not interested in such people so she had no intentions of going next door to inquire about the neighbors.
“Go sleep quickly. Didn’t we say we would go to the mountains tomorrow? If you don’t sleep now, you won’t wake up in time.” Xia YuanQiu urged her three-years-younger brother to sleep. But the crying sounds next door were getting louder and louder.
Xia YuanHao rolled off the bed. The ten-year-old him was already very tall, almost as tall as his jiejie. “No, I have to check on little fatty.” YuanHao then turned and ran away.
Xia YuanQiu was worried Xia YuanHao would be bullied in little fatty’s home so she followed along.
The Zhang household was noisy. Everyone was speaking lowly about what was going on. But those sounds were suppressed under Old Zhang’s wife’s ghosts wailing and wolves howling noises.
YuanQiu crowded with YuanHao into the front of the onlookers. She saw Old Zhang’s wife crying on the ground, with little fatty lying next to her. He had a pale complexion and his left foot in the air was obviously swollen bigger than his right. His instep had two obvious red spots. The areas surrounding the red spots started turning purple.
Little fatty was bitten by a poisonous snake. The doctors who came were helpless. They told Aunt Zhang little fatty was beyond saving and to prepare funeral arrangements. That’s why Aunt Zhang was crying miserably.
Old Zhang and his wife were married for ten years before they had little fatty. They couldn’t dote on him enough. With such terrible news, how could they live?
YuanHao understood the events. He looked at the unconscious little fatty and started crying with snot and tears running down his face.
YuanQiu sighed and looked at little fatty’s white face. “Consider yourself lucky you met me today. Or you would definitely lose your little life.” YuanQiu turned and walked in front of the middle-aged doctor. She opened his medicine bag that was on the floor. She rummaged and actually found a needle pouch. In this era, the needle pouch was regarded as an essential item.
“Hey — what is this girl doing?” The middle-aged doctor saw YuanQiu holding his needle pouch and hastened to reach out.
YuanQiu nimbly dodged and slightly smiled. “Doctor, let me borrow your silver needles first. A life is at stake. I’ll apologize to you after I save little fatty.”
The middle-aged doctor coldly sneered, “You?”
“How about we make a bet? If I can save little fatty, you give this needle pouch to me. If I can’t save him, I’ll pay you ten needle pouches. How about it?” YuanQiu smiled at the middle-aged doctor. A pair of bright eyes flashed a dazzling light on her dark face. The middle-aged doctor who had just thought she was ugly suddenly felt she was pleasing to the eye.