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YuanQiu firmly shook her head, “No, you must pay one silver now. Otherwise, we’ll act according to what Aunt Zhang said. When your Xiucai son’s reputation stinks, don’t blame me for not giving you a chance.”
To deal with this evil poniang, using her reputation as a threat was useless. She simply didn’t care. But she cared about her son’s reputation. She was waiting for her son to rise to Juren [successful candidate in the imperial provincial examination] and become an official. She could then boast of being an official’s mother. She could not let a basket of vegetables ruin her son’s future.
After thinking and weighing matters back and forth, she eventually gritted her teeth and stomped her feet. In front of everyone, she gave YuanQiu one silver. She then carried her wicker basket of vegetables home, swearing all the way.
The onlookers saw there was no more liveliness so they returned home. YuanQiu thanked Aunt Zhang and asked YuanHao to pick a head of cabbage for her to take home.
Aunt Zhang now saw YuanQiu as her benefactor and was not polite with her. In the future, the two households would still need to take care of each other. She readily accepted, “I just dried some small fishes. My husband will bring some over. You can taste it while it’s fresh.”
YuanQiu also readily accepted. She knew Uncle Zhang was a fishing expert. When he used to sell his fish at the market, YuanQiu would beg him to sell her vegetables too. Uncle Zhang agreed readily but Aunt Zhang had words to say. She wanted a reward for selling the vegetables. The former YuanQiu was weak and cowardly and had not seen the world. She could not sell the vegetables by herself so she agreed to Aunt Zhang’s request.