Title: Fortunate Wife
Chapter 74 - Kindness
There were several ponds at the foot of the mountain, so there was a separate pond for everything: one for animals to drink water, one for washing toiletry items, one for clothes, one for washing vegetables, and so on.
The pond that they had stopped at, which couldn't be any clearer, was where the villagers would wash their clothes.
Li Man followed Little Five to the pond while carrying the basket of clothes. At this time of the day, there were already clusters of women in twos and threes by the pond. They were chatting and joking around as they washed the clothes. Perhaps, something amusing was recently said. Several women were chortling.
Walking around the pond, Li Man found a spot that no one was using and told Little Five, "Sit here, it won't take me long." She had Little Five stay by the shore as she went down further to wash clothes on a boulder.
Seeing that Little Five was obediently listened to her words, Li Man crouched down by the edge of the water, took out all of the dirty clothes, placed them down by her feet, and started washing the clothes. This family couldn't even afford soap, so she could only use plant ash to wash the clothes. From time to time, she would use a wooden club to beat the clothes to help clean it better. Fortunately, none of the clothes were too dirty and soaking them in the water for a little bit longer was enough.
She washed the clothes very quickly. It didn't take long before she had finished washing half of the clothes. Remembering the new clothes that Li Hua had made her, she thought that she should bring them out to wash too. The water in this pond was really great. The results from washing clothes in this pond was even better than using a washer.
Just as she was about to turn her head and ask Little Five to go back to bring her new clothes over here, she saw a kindly-looking middle age woman. She also had a basket of clothes and was heading over here.
Li Man hurriedly looked away. However, after that woman saw Little Five, she smiled in greeting and said, "Oh, you're... Li family's wife, right?"
Li Man knew that she was only capable of saying a smattering of words in the local dialect properly. Worried that someone might end up misunderstanding her, she simply pressed her lips together and gave a good-natured smile.
"Aunty Li, this is my older sister." Little Five stood up and took the initiative to help Li Man out by introducing her.
Aunty Li had already walked over to Li Man's side, put down her basket, and crouched down behind Li Man. She clucked her tongue in approval and said, "Aiya, I heard rumors that Li family had married a celestial maiden as their wife. From what I see now, those words weren't an exaggeration. Even a real celestial maiden might not have a face as beautiful as yours."
This woman spoke very quickly, so Li Man wasn't able to understand the general meaning of her words. However, Li Man could see that this woman didn't have any ill-intentions towards her, and Little Five was only showing a silly grin. So, she didn't take this woman's words seriously. She smiled at that woman again before resuming her washing.
"You're almost done washing, right? Aunty Li will wait to use your spot then." Aunty Li added. Then, she took out Chinese leeks from her basket and started plucking the leaves. She listened to the other womenfolk talk, and from time to time, she would interject with her own words.
Li Man couldn't quite understand what the other women were talking about, but she felt entertained by this lively atmosphere anyways. As she heard their frequent carefree laughter, she also smiled too.
Very soon, Li Man finished washing the clothes. Just as she had gathered up the clothes and was about to leave, Aunty Li stopped her. She took out a large handful of Chinese leeks from her basket and insisted that Li Man take them home.
Li Man felt awkward about accepting this gift. Besides, she didn't have a place to keep them. Her basket was full of clothes.
Aunty Li gestured Little Five over and had him hold the vegetables. Then, she warmly told Li Man to come visit her when she had free time. She had two daughters that were about the same age as Li Man. They would definitely find something to chat about.
Li Man nodded her head in agreement. There was a trace of joy in her heart as she thought how nice it was to be the recipient of kindness in this strange world.