We have an old lady in her 80s living with us in our country inn recently. She enjoys the country living and will stay for the rest of her life, possibly.
She told me a story today:
I had a great uncle in the village when I was about 8. He and his wife had 18 sons, 15 survived and 3 dead – to be precise, the 3 boys were drown in their pig urine pit by their father right after their birth – the man was so tired of all the sons. He was expecting a daughter!
And he finally had one daughter, who shared a quilt with her parents, while 15 boys shared seven quilts.
The boys mostly became powerful somehow, many of them were officials of various levels. On their mother’s birthday banquet, the chef team had to prepare for foods for about two thousands and four hundreds guests/helpers – right in the village, outside of their big house.
Grandma Chen – how I call her now – was a little girl watching the chef/cooks killing goats, pigs and buffaloes, in the morning. Suddenly there was a big trouble in the kitchen: the flame went downwards somehow, under the huge rice cooker. The smoke was messing around in the kitchen, and everyone was worried that the rice won’t be ready before the banquet. The chef head walked in, he held tight some chopsticks, talked to the air a little while, and then suddenly pushed the chopsticks right in the middle of the rice, like there was a ghost inside messing up with them. And it worked immediately, the flame went upwards, and the lamp became bright.
Everyone was relieved. They had time to prepare for the first round of guests – the high rank beggars in the region. Those beggars all had tobacco rods made of curved bamboo shoots.