Chapter 90: Fan Hua School
“Town Elder, you must say something for justice. Why is it that they can use the wasteland in the west?” A shrill female voice arose. It belonged to the Hua family’s oldest daughter-in-law who acted as if she was greater than her previous generations.
“This… I agreed to it…” muttered the Town Elder, Wang Geng Fa.
“You agreed? Town Elder, you’ve been the head of our village for so many years. My family always supports you, don’t we? How… No matter what, they’re outsiders. What will you do when they buy all the wasteland in our Fan Huo Town?”
“Why wouldn’t it be good? The wasteland is just barren land, isn’t it?”
“Oh my! Elder, if you stayed muddled like that, all the land will become someone’s properties. The entire Fan Huo Town only has so little land. If he becomes a landlord, will all of us become his tenant farmers?”
“Hua family’s daughter-in-law, your words aren’t correct. He just bought the wasteland. Why did you say he’d become the landlord? If you want to buy, there are a lot of available slots in the West…”
“You talk nonsense! Spending three silvers for an acre of wasteland. Why would I do that? We can’t grow anything on such land…”
“But of course. He just bought the land to build a house…”
“There’re just two people in their family. Why would they have to build so many houses?”
“You shouldn’t mind others’ business. Perhaps some of their relatives are going to move in. It means our Fan Hua Town is getting more famous!” Town Elder stroked his beard, smiling until his eyes became a line. He was dreaming about the day when Fan Hua Town will become the biggest town in Da Hui Empire.
“Tsk, they want to come and live in a place of green hills and limpid water like our Fan Hua Town, but they don’t contribute anything…”
“Hua family’s daughter-in-law, what do you mean? If they want to live in our town, they have to contribute something? If so, when your Hua family came and settled here that year, my ancestors didn’t ask you guys to do anything, did they?”
“Alright, Hua family’s daughter-in-law, why do you have to act like that? Not every ancestor of the families in our Fan Hua Town grew up here. They came from many places. It’s just the matter of time of who came earlier. Living standards are good now. A Yao has spent dozens of silvers to buy the land and build the houses. He doesn’t need your permission to do that.” The Town Elder showed his powers when Hua family’s daughter-in-law’s words had gone beyond boundaries.
“I just saying, just saying..”
“You don’t need to say anything else. Everybody hear me. If any of you need land, you’re welcomed to come to the West side and choose. Three silvers per acre. The silvers belong to the common fund of the town. If we save enough, I will invite the theatrical troupe to perform some plays during the Lantern Festival*. We will have a good time.”
(*The final event of the Spring Festival on 15th of the first lunar month.)
The Town Elder didn’t mind the oldest daughter-in-law of the Hua family anymore. He talked to the other villagers who were surrounding the ancestral hall to watch the fun.
“Okay!” Before Hua family’s daughter-in-law wanted to retort, unexpectedly, everybody had agreed.
You… You people rumored and clamored about the Lin family buying land and building houses. You all wanted to complain to the Town Elder. She was hot-tempered so she took the lead and came here. She hadn’t expected them to change their minds as soon as the Town Elder said that, which made her stand out as the only protester against the Lin family buying land and building houses.
Geez, how could this happen?!
She looked around. Hmph. In this group, besides the ones with some grudges against the Lin family that would never talk to them, the others seemed to receive favor, big or small, from the Lins.
For example, the daughter-in-law of the Fang family. Her husband Da Sheng was working as a carpenter for the Lin family. It was easy to understand. When people bought the land and built the house, her husband would have more work to do. If they built houses every year, Fang Da Sheng would have a lot of work.
She looked at the others. When the Lunar New Year came, more or less, they had received the New Year’s gifts from the Lin family. But then again, the good wooden cutting board her family was using was also from the Lin family.
When her thought came to this, the Hua family’s daughter-in-law rolled her eyes. Right, the Lin family needed to make a lot of wooden furniture. There would be pieces of extra wood… If the Town Elder agreed to let them buy the land, she would go and ask for some extra wood. She could make some small stools for her son. Hmm, it would be idiotic if she didn’t take the benefits…
“What? School… A school?” When the Town Elder heard that, he had almost jumped up from the kang.
He had just delivered the ideas of the other villagers. He agreed that they had good ideas as he actually hoped that Lin Si Yao and his wife could do something for the town. It could help stop those people with bad thoughts from making rumors.
But he had never thought that Lin Si Yao had had a plan. Moreover, it was good news to them: He said that he would open a school in Fan Hua Town.
School, it would cost a fortune!
“Yeah, after we move into our new house, I’ll want this house rebuilt into a school. And, about what or whom we need, we will leave it to you to decide and after I will talk to Shuilian,” Lin Si Yao said as he sipped his tea.
He actually wanted to wait until their new house was completed, then demolish the old house, and rebuild it before discussing with the Town Elder about this. However, some people had minded the fact that he had bought six acres of land at the same time and come to trouble the head of the town.
It didn’t matter to him. However, he worried that those bad words would find their way to Shuilian. It would affect her time nourishing the babies.
Thus, he decided to tell him that he would build the very first school in Fan Hua Town. Moreover, he would pay for it, doing a good turn for the entire town.
Of course, the first children Lin Si Yao had put in his consideration weren’t the mischievous kids in the town, but the babies in Shuilian’s belly and the other kids they would have later.
In several years, they would need a place for the children to learn the Four Books and the Five Classics of Confucianism. He hoped his children would be well-educated and well-bred just like their mother.
Besides, instead of letting them go to schools outside of Fan Luo City, which were dozens of miles away from here, he would rather put them under his eyes to control them easier.
Furthermore, he no longer wanted Shuilian do any more embroidery jobs. He wanted her to teach the kids how to draw and have more free time. No matter what, the embroidering work was laborious, he thought. When the kids were born, she would be busy enough to take care of their clothes and the entire family’s clothing. He thought that it would be alright if she no longer accepts work as a chief embroider.
Of course, it had to wait until the contract between her and the Yue Yun Embroidery Floor ended.
Thus, Lin Si Yao had long wanted to rebuild the old house and make it a school.
The Fan Hua Town had around eleven kids in the age range of five to ten. But if the villagers from the two neighbor towns wanted to send their kids to study in the Fan Hua Town, he wouldn’t reject them.
However, if the kids from the other towns came here to study, they would have to travel pretty far and wouldn’t be able to go home for lunch. So, they had to take care of their lunches themselves. They had to either bring some money to eat at the cafeteria or bring steamed breads or rations.
No matter what, it was a good turn to Fan Hua Town’s residents and the others living next to them. It was no doubt!
The Town Elder nodded after listening to Lin Si Yao’s simple explanation.
Lin Si Yao didn’t mind it much. Anyway, with the fortune he had saved up, his several generations later wouldn’t use it all living in this isolated village . It would be better to use a part of it to do something good for himself and his children.
There was no difference whether he did that from kindness or for his children’s sake. In short, he didn’t want his blood-soaked hands to affect his later generations with karma.
As the baby in Shuilian’s belly was growing, this desire grew stronger in him. He admitted that he was afraid. He was afraid that everything warm in front of him would be destroyed because of his former occupation, because of the blood-puddling road he used to walk.
“Great! Great!” Besides nodding continually, Town Elder Wang GengFa also appraised.
Building a school in Fan Hua Town, and it was free? Who dared to disapprove? Who wasn’t convinced?
Let alone a free-tuition school, this town couldn’t even open a private school that the kids had to pay to study. First of all, no household would pay to invite the private teacher. And second, the fees collected wouldn’t be enough to compensate the money they had invested in the school.
Gradually, no one talked about about opening a private school in the town anymore.
With the little coins that everyone has, sending their children to school in the city for a year or two was already considered a big achievement.
Of course, to the insufficient family, the older kids would take the younger kids to play over the hills or by the rivers. When they grew up, they would follow their parents to work in the fields.
If everything went well, the Fan Hua School would be opened next year. Then, every household in Fan Hua Town would be so thrilled!
Every family’s got kids at the right age to go to school.
Moreover, what did A Yao say? He would invite the teacher to teach the kids how to read, write, compose poems, and study teach moral and ethics!
What a beautiful this plan is! What a grand goal this was!
Wang Geng Fu strongly believed that this little Fan Hua Town would be famous in this Da Hui Empire in the near future.
Wang Geng Fa walked on the village road to home. His head was filled with the good news Lin Si Yao had just told him. He was calculating what to do to open the Fan Hua School. Lin Si Yao would pay all the fee. As the Town Elder, he just needed to invite a teacher who had both integrity and talents and prepared some teaching tools.
It’s simple, isn’t it? As long as he got money, he could do anything. To him, it wasn’t a difficult task.
But thinking back again, where did Lin Si Yao get all of that silver?
The Town Elder stroked his special goatee beard while walking and thinking, frowning.
After raking his mind for an answer in vain, he could only assume that it was from his family.
Yeah, think about it. Since Lin Si Yao and Su Shuilian had moved in this town, they had never seen the young couple worry about money, hadn’t they? Never!
Although the couple, one was so excellent in martial arts, and the other got skillful needlework talent, the way they moved also revealed their identity. They must be born from the noble families. Perhaps they got trouble with their family and eloped.
Previously, two luxurious four-horse carriages had come to the Lin family, right? Right! Their family must have come to see the young couple and give them money.
As they were rich, perhaps they had given more than one hundred silvers! Tsk tsk!
The more Wang Geng Fa thought about it, the more logical it became. He even nodded. Eventually, he confirmed that he got the right assumption. He found the most logical reason to explain the origin of Lin Si Yao’s money used to fund the building of Fan Hua School.
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