Border Town: A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
New in the Harper Perennial Modern Chinese Classics series,
figure out the meat’s cost, thrust the coins into the bamboo tube that was the merchant’s money box, seize the purchase, and leave. The butcher, knowing how he would react beforehand, would give Grandpa the choicest portion and make sure it was overweight. But the ferryman might notice that and say, “Hey there, boss, I don’t want any favors! Tenderloin cuts are for city people to sauté with squid. Don’t make me laugh! I want meat from the neck, rich and sticky. I row a boat. I want to make a stew
his own words during his last visit. He knew that No. 1 had spoken frankly, and also that Shunshun liked Cuicui, so he was elated. But local custom said that No. 1 would have to come in person with gifts of cakes to Green Creek Hill and speak for himself to prove his seriousness. The old ferryman said, “When he gets home, you tell him that after hearing your funny story, the old codger told one of his own—‘In a game of chess, the chariot—the rook—moves one way and the horseman—the knight—another.
vein, so he stifled his words and changed the subject with a contrived joke. The weather was warming day by day. It was hot by the time the sixth month drew near. The old ferryman found time to drag a black earthenware vat covered with dust out of the corner of the house and piece together some wood slats to make a round lid for it. He also took out his saw and made a tripod stand, whittled a big bamboo tube as a ladle for dipping out tea, then tied it to the vat with kudzu vine. After he’d
any hardship!” “We have to eat. I’d have to be on my way even if the heavens above were on fire!” “Eat? Don’t tell me that’s a problem in No. 2’s family!” “Oh, we have what we need, but Father says that young men ought not to stay home and eat without earning their keep!” “How is your father these days?” “He eats and works, as before. Why do you ask?” “Ever since your elder brother’s misfortune, the tragedy seems to me to have dealt your father a heavy blow!” No. 2 was silent. He gazed at
the dock and went up to Cuicui with a wry smile on his face again. He wiped his forehead with his hand. Cuicui said, “What’s the matter, Grandfather, are you suffering from heatstroke? Lie down and rest in the shade! I’ll take care of the boat.” “Yes, you take care of it. Fine. Excellent, this boat is yours to take care of!” He felt like he really did have heatstroke. He was sick at heart. Though he put up a strong front before Cuicui, when he was alone in the house he found a piece of broken