Chapter 2 Part 1: A Nightmare
After some days had passed, Gu Sui’er finally regained her spirit and resumed working in the field.
All the villagers knew what she had gone through. They had agreed not to mention it again as they could guess that she would feel uncomfortable. The long-tongued women also refrained from mentioning that matter.
But Gu Sui’er seemed to have become more clumsy in her work. When it was time for weeding the grass, she was hoeing the ground and when it was time for fetching water, she looked like she was about to step into the river.
Moreover, she was unable to eat which made her thinner as days passed.
Her parents didn’t let her go to work in the field anymore. They let her stay at home to recover. Although she was not allowed to go to the field, they let her do the household chores like chopping wild vegetables to feed the pigs, cleaning the house, and sewing clothes for the family.
One day, Gu Sui’er suddenly fainted while she was chopping vegetables in the kitchen.
When her parents came home, she had already been lying next to the chopping board for a long time.
They were frightened. Her father hurriedly went to the town to invite a doctor. The doctor was a little taken aback when he checked her pulse. After a moment of silence, he finally said, “She is pregnant.”
The doctor frowned as he noticed that Gu Sui’er’s hair was not combed into a bun(1) but he said nothing.
After seeing off the doctor, Father Gu sat on the big stone in front of the house without a word. Her mother couldn’t help crying again, “What should we do now?! Why is Sui’er’s life so bitter?!”
Gu Sui’er’s brother stood there blankly. He didn’t know what to do. He was five years younger than Gu Sui’er, so he was only ten years old.
Her father was silent for a long time before he finally made up his mind and said, “This child cannot be kept. After the child is gone, let’s find someone else for Sui’er. There are so many unmarried men in the nearby villages. We should be able to find a suitable family.”
As she listened, Mother Gu understood that this was the only way left for them. Before, so many people in the village sought her daughter’s hand in marriage. Now, that it has come to this point. Gu Sui’er’s reputation was ruined. Would it possible to find her a husband in the future?
Maybe she could be wed as a second wife, or become the bride of a widower. Nonetheless, it would be hard for them to talk to their daughter about this.
At this time, Gu Sui’er woke up. Naturally, she did not know what had happened.
Her mother hurriedly fetched a bowl of rice soup and said softly, “My good daughter, you are sick now. Hurry up and drink this. Mother will go to the kitchen to cook.”
Gu Sui’er was hungry. She had not eaten anything for a while, so she obediently took the bowl and drank the soup.
While she drank the rice soup, Mother Gu didn’t go to the kitchen. She ordered Gu Bao’er to cook some food before hurrying to second Aunt Wang’s house next door.
Second Aunt Wang had four sons and three daughters. They were all born in the same year [T/N: OMG! Another set of septuplets? w(°ｏ°)w ].
Mother Gu was afraid that she would not be able to feed all of them if she had any more children in the future. But she didn’t know what second Aunt Wang did as she never gave birth again.
Mother Gu thought that since the doctor had already left, why not ask second Aunt Wang about this issue first.
Second Aunt Wang was shocked when she heard Mother Gu’s intentions. “What? Hey! This is a crime! Why do you want to do this kind of a thing to your daughter?!”
Mother Gu wiped her tears and said, “I can’t tell others about this. Sister, I have no choice but to ask you now.”
Second Aunt Wang lowered her head and thought for a while before saying, “I have a prescription. My mother-in-law was able to obtain it from the mountain nunnery after spending a lot of money. I’ll give this to you now but you can’t tell others about it.”
Naturally, Mother Gu was extremely thankful to her when she heard second Aunt Wang’s words. Second Aunt Wang lifted the bedding on the Kang. Mother Gu saw a yellowed paper there.
She handed it to Mother Gu and said, “You must remember to not let outsiders know about this. You can return it after you have used it.”
Mother Gu thanked her and nodded repeatedly.
When she got home, Mother Gu gave the prescription to Father Gu, and added, “Hurry up and go to the town again. Tell the doctor to follow this prescription. Now that we won’t use his prescription, it would save us some money.”
Father Gu took it and looked at it but he couldn’t understand it. Their whole family was illiterate.
Father Gu put on his clothes immediately, folded the yellowed paper in his arms, and set out.
Mother Gu talked to Gu Sui’er for a while, in an attempt to comfort her. At this time, Gu Bao’er had already cooked the rice, heated the old thick noodles, and put them in the pot again. He put some rice in it and boiled a pot of soup. Gu Sui’er had drunk a bowl of rice soup just now, so she couldn’t eat anything anymore. Mother Gu had no appetite.
The family didn’t eat. They all sat in a daze for a while before Gu Sui’er finally asked, “Where is the father?”
Mother Gu hurriedly smiled. “Your father has gone to the town for something.”
Gu Sui’er felt a little strange, but she didn’t say anything.
She felt sluggish and had no strength. Finally, she closed her eyes and leaned on the Kang’s head to rest.
After midday, Father Gu finally returned. He was holding a yellow paper bag in his hand which was tied with thin twine. Gu Sui’er knew that it was medicine.
Mother Gu took the yellow paper bag and said to Gu Sui’er, “You are weak now. I asked your father to go to the town to get the medicine for you. Just take it.”
Gu Sui’er looked at her, then at the yellow paper bag and whispered, “I can go to work in a few days. Don’t spend money to buy medicine for me.”
Mother Gu hurriedly said: “The doctor prescribed it because you had fainted. We won’t buy it for you in the future.”
With this, Mother Gu went out to make the medicine.
Gu Bao’er bit his lip without saying a word. Standing for a while like a statue, he finally went out.
When the sun slanted towards the west, her medicine was ready. Mother Gu brought it over and handed it to Gu Sui’er, “Come on, Sui’er. Take this medicine.”
Her brother heard Mother Gu’s words from outside. He couldn’t help widening his eyes.
At this time, Gu Sui’er felt uncomfortable in her belly. She felt nauseous, but because it was the medicine that her father had bought for her with their hard-earned money, she didn’t throw it out.
Mother Gu stared at Gu Sui’er without blinking. Even after drinking the medicine for quite some time, Gu Sui’er remained silent.
Mother Gu couldn’t help but wonder if it had worked properly.
At this moment, Gu Sui’er suddenly retched. She wanted to get up but was only able to lay on the kang while spitting out a lot of black medicine.
(1) bun [罗髻] – Married women were required to tie their hairs in a bun. So the doctor was suspicious as to why she had not tied her hair (he must have assumed she was married since she was pregnant).